Dog Breed Travel Profile: Japanese Chin

The large head and round eyes combined with a short muzzle and diminutive features create the signature expression of the Japanese Chin. The breed is also known for its ample mane on the neck and shoulders and a plumed tail which add a regal, almost feline, flair to the dog’s overall appearance. Along with the size and temperament of this breed, this is a great choice for people who like dogs and who like to travel.


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Size and Travel Options

Standing 8-11 inches tall and weighing between 7-11 pounds, the Japanese Chin is just about the perfect size for traveling in the cabin of a plane. Taller examples of the breed may struggle to be comfortable sitting and standing in the carrier, so it’s a good idea to use a soft-sided carrier to offer the maximum amount of space for your dog. It should have little trouble with other common modes of travel as well, but because they can be just a little wary of strangers, it’s not the best idea to introduce the dog to every one of your fellow passengers. Default toward leaving the Japanese Chin in their carrier while traveling. Moreover, this breed is NOT hypoallergenic.

Personality as a Travel Companion

As an independent dog, the Japanese Chin typically doesn’t struggle with separation anxiety. This breed is generally quiet, a definitive advantage when traveling especially on planes. That said, it’s important to keep them on a leash especially when exploring a new town. If they find or smell something they’re really interested in, they may show their stubborn side. Likewise, when traveling, you may want to be extra mindful of how your Japanese Chin behaves when first exploring a new setting. Once the dog has been introduced and reached a comfort level with your friends and family, and it doesn’t take long, they may start to show off. A smart, trainable dog, this breed can easily learn new tricks.

As a toy-sized dog, it’s not going to run any marathons with you, but the Japanese Chin is a fairly active dog that will enjoy going on walks. Despite the prominent mane, weekly brushing should be enough for grooming its mane to go along with seasonal shedding. This can also be a great pet for business travelers who can’t personally pamper their pet every hour of the day.

Health and Longevity

A generally healthy breed, there is a number of health conditions to be concerned about. This includes patellar luxation, cataract and other eye issues, epilepsy, heart murmurs, as well as Tay-Sachs (a fatal neurological disease). Most of these conditions can be screened for. While not as short-faced as some toy breeds, the round eyes of this breed does mean owners should be mindful of irritants. Dogs that do end up with these conditions also help explain why this breed has a life expectancy of 10-12 years.

Japanese Chin Breeders and Adoption Centers

Again, the health concerns are one reason to think about contacting a breeder. Size, and height in particular, is another reason to think about for people who are set upon traveling with their dog in the cabin of a plane. Finally, a breeder can help get just the right temperament and a dog that’s not too standoffish. That said, you can find a number of Japanese Chin and Chin mixes at rescue and adoption centers, many of which are perfect, healthy pets. This breed is perhaps a little more expensive than the average breed, but not much. You can expect to pay several hundred dollars at an adoption center or about $1,250-$2,500+ for a purebred from a reputable breeder.