The japanese chin today, one of the most ancient of oriental breeds
Just where exactly did this sweet and adorable little lap toy dog, the Japanese Chin originate? As with many of our toy dog breeds, there are several theories for us to remember as the history of this toy dog breed.
There is plenty of evidence that the Japanese Chin can be traced back to the dogs that arrived in Japan as precious gifts from China and Korea over 1,100 years ago. The Japanese Chin is one of the most ancient breeds of dogs.
The exact history of the Japanese Chin is difficult to determine, however, evidence exists that at the end of the first century A.D., the Chinese had a type of dog known as ‘Pai’. Canine breed authorities say the ‘Pai’ was a very small, short-headed and short-legged dog. One canine breed writer, Collier, tells us there is little doubt the Japanese race of small dogs originated from China. It is fact that trade and association between the two nations date back as far as the fifth century. During the period of Tein Wu Ti (A.D. 673-686) and Ch’ih T’ung Ti (A.D. 690-696), Korea and China constantly gave small pet dogs to Japan.
As with many of our toy dog breeds there are various theories about the origin of the Japanese Chin. Some suggest they come from Korea and that a Korean prince went to Japan taking gifts for the Mikado in A.D. 732. The gifts included tiny dogs with flat noses which resemble our present day Japanese Chin. In those days they were called Shoku-Ken. They were definitely different from the dogs in Japan at that time which was of the Spitz type.
Another theory of the origin of our Japanese Chin states that as early as 520 A.D., Buddish monks took Shoku-Ken from China to Japan when they went to preach as missionaries. The dogs were said to be a symbol of the sacred Lion of Buddha.
Other people believe the Japanese Chin were of the Imperial Ch’in that supposedly originated in China. The Imperial Ch’in dogs were only owned by Chinese royalty. This seems to be the case of several of our purebred toy dogs. We are so very fortunate now that not only the wealthy have access and the companionship of the purebred toy dog.
It has also been said that the last Empress of China kept 50 of these dogs in the throne room. When the Empress entered the room story goes that these little dogs would line up from door to throne, standing on their hind legs and bowing until she was seated. Of particular note, I would like to add as the author of this article is about my little Danny Boy, who is not Japanese Chin, but is Shih Tzu. Of all the Shih Tzu I have owned, he is the only one who stands on his hind legs before me. Danny and I are very, very close. I wonder if this is a characteristic he inherited from the Imperial line of dogs in China. None of my other Shih Tzu exhibits this trait. I thought he was begging for something. He does it quite often and he looks as if he is just standing up on his hind legs like a human and his front legs are like his human arms and hands. It is so cute; I really enjoy seeing this little trick in my Danny Boy. I am also wondering if the little dogs owned by the last Empress of China lined up from door to throne, standing on their hind legs was out of “respect, love and honor for her.”
It has been said, however, that because the Japanese Chin is not the easiest of dogs to train, the thought of 50 of them doing this in perfect unison was a bit too much to believe. And…….it is only one of mine, out of all I ever had, who does this. Incidentally, my Danny Boy received no training for this. The only real thing different is my relationship with Danny Boy. He is my absolute favorite of all time Shih Tzu I ever owned and I have in many ways told him this. He does have one bad trait I think is cute, but is dangerous for him. He sees himself as rough and tough and loves to try and prove this to all the dogs, big and small. I have to many times rescue him, which may add to the beauty and love of our relationship also. He stands to his feet when I am around because I suppose in his mind, I am his “Empress.”
Other relatives of the Chinese Imperial Ch’in were the Chinese Temple Dog, the Japanese Spaniel, the Pekingese and the Chow. They resemble each other in my opinion.
With all we know about the Japanese Chin today I believe it is reasonable to assume that at least in the very beginning was an Oriental breed. We also know the early days of the Japanese Chin were spent with people of nobility or very high rank and were considered as something very valuable and precious. It is my opinion as well that this “precious look” that seems to glow from the faces of the Japanese Chin is the result of some of that pampering and adoration. The Japanese Chin is a delightful little lap toy dog companion for us today, and is still considered valuable and precious for all who truly love this breed.