The Chin Pen and TenshiChin Breeder of Japanese Chin puppies for sale
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History of The Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin, as a family pet is unrivaled. Intelligence is just one of the reasons Chins make great companions. If you have chosen a Japanese Chin then your choice has been a wise one, and you will have a true friend who will share your joys and sorrows with the understanding of a human being and a dog’s never-failing love. He is an aristocrat who must rule and will soon position himself as the head of any household. He will command the love and affection of every member of the household including all other pets. Chins love people and are extremely loyal to their owner. They have some cat-like features in the way they lightly prance around and will often cross their paws in front of them in a dainty little pose. They will also use their front paws to scoop food and other objects, which is not known of any other dog breed. Few breeds are so quick to read your thoughts and adapt their own behavior to the mood of the moment. They have almost human thoughts and actions and are very people oriented. They will act as you act, if you’re excited they will get excited and start doing their infamous ‘chin-spins’. If you’re quietly sitting around reading a book, they will curl up next to you and sit content just to be near you. Full of courage, even tempered and above all a quiet dog.

There is undoubtedly a close relationship between the Japanese Chin and the other small short-faced eastern breeds – the Tibetan Spaniel, Shih tzu and the Pekingese. Some have confused the Japanese Chin as a longhaired Pug. More than likely all of these dogs evolved from a common ancestor. It is believed however that the Japanese Chin is the best preserved descendent of the old Chinese dog.

The name “Chin” has a debated origin, some believe it derived from “China”. Some say that it came from the Japanese meaning of chin which is “order to sit down” “to give a reward” or “to do a lot of tricks”. Some believe the breed at one time was called “Makura Tsin” (makura=cushion) a name that suggest a pampered, existence sitting on a tasseled cushion. The Japanese Chin has been called many things from the Japanese Pug and to Japanese Terrier. In Holland it is sometimes called “the child of royalty” and in Scandinavian countries was once referred to as the “Sun Dog”.

Although named the "Japanese" Chin this breed was actually developed in an area close to Peking, China. In the first century A.D. they were know as the ‘Lion Dog’ and the prized companion of Emperor Ming Ti who abandoned his faith and converted to Buddhism. He believed these Lion Dogs were touched by Buddha and hence the white spot on the forehead is named “Buddha’s Thumbprint”. In his Imperial Palace the highest honors of the land were bestowed upon these dogs. They were attended to by numerous personnel. When taken outside for exercise they were carried in luxurious palanquins and given daily baths and sprinkled with perfume. They were fed the daintiest of foods and petted and pampered constantly. The precious Lion Dogs were forbidden to be taken outside the Palace and torturous deaths came to those who attempted the horrible crime.

With the arrival of the Buddhist philosophy to Japan, the cult of the lion dog spread to that country as well. The Chin was taken to the island empire of Japan in the 10th Century where it became a favorite of the Emperor. It was often given as a ceremonial gift to royalty or visiting dignitaries. They were ruling class companions, developed for their beauty, intelligence and affection. They were greatly prized and carefully guarded.

Sometime during the late 16th Century, a Dutch Trader named Kaempfer was permitted a "limited" visit to Japan. He wrote of the Japanese passion for the Royal Japanese Chins, noting that to kill a Chin was considered equivalent to murdering a human and was dealt with equally. He also wrote of Japanese ladies carrying Japanese Chins in silk lined baskets. When Commodore Perry Arrived in Japan several centuries later he was given several Chins. In turn he gave his queen a breeding pair. She helped make this breed popular in England. Queen Alexandria was often painted with Chins in her lap. It is believed he also gave the President of the United States one of the pairs, which is how they first came to America.

These gifts caused the Chin to become the most sought after pet to such an extent that pups were recklessly bought, or as often stolen, from the Japanese. In the years between 1900 and World War 1, Japanese Chins were enormously popular until after the war when interest in the breed steadily declined. The survival of the Japanese Chin in Japan itself is due to the devotion of the people who concealed their dogs, risking imprisonment in doing so. Around 1964, the breed was honored as one of the country's national symbols and has appeared on numerous Japanese postage stamps. *




























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Page Updated January 8, 2007

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