Japanese Spaniel


A small Japanese Spaniel
Japanese Spaniel Quick Summary
Also Known AsJapanese Chin
Height (at withers)7-11in (18-28cm)
Weight5-9lbs (2-4kg)
Hair Colour(s)White with patches
Lifespan8-14 years
Energy LevelLow
Litter size1-3
Barking TendencyLow
Exercise requirementsLow
Ease of trainingHigh
Suitability for kidsLow
Animal compatabilityMedium
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftMedium

The Japanese Spaniel is an elegant and compact little dog. The body is square with a wide chest and rounded ribs, and the front legs are fine-boned and straight. The feathered tail curls up over the back. The head has a short muzzle, v-shaped ears that frame a broad face and protruding almond-shaped dark eyes. The soft coat is long and straight, with a thick ruff covering the neck and chest area, and the colouring is normally white with patches of black or red.


Japanese Spaniels are small dogs with large personalities. Gentle and affectionate, they are also spirited and playful and love attention, and make devoted companions and family pets. Although they can be difficult to housebreak, they are responsive and intelligent dogs, which makes training easier. In fact they are generally more obedient than most toy breeds and are good at learning tricks. For these reasons they are suitable for novice and experienced owners alike. Japanese Spaniels are only suitable for older, more considerate children because they do not appreciate being handled roughly, and some people maintain they are best suited to homes without kids. They get along well with other animals and pets but their reaction to strangers can vary from aloof and nervous to polite. In either case, early socialisation is important in order to minimize any timid tendencies. These dogs are not prone to barking but they do make good watch dogs.

History & Skills

Japanese Spaniels most likely originate from Korea, surprisingly, and were often offered as royal gifts and became a favorite of the Japanese court, which is probably from where they derive their name. They were used as companion dogs but also made good watch dogs and performers of tricks.

Breed Specific Ailments

Japanese Spaniels tend to live between 8-14 years, and some of the health problems associated with this breed include luxating patella, seizures, cataracts, PRA, and sensitivity to chemicals and drugs. Like many short-muzzled breeds they are also prone to respiratory problems and heatstroke, and they tend to pant, wheeze and snore.


Japanese Spaniels are medium shedders that also shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, and so are not really suited to those with allergies. The silky coat is pretty easy to maintain, needing just a quick brush two or three times a week, although this may need stepping up during periods of heavier shedding. The hair around the bottom area should be kept trimmed for hygiene reasons, and the ears should be kept dry and clean to reduce the risk of infections. They can be bathed and dry shampood when needed but the eyes should be cleaned regularly to ward off potential infections.

Exercise & Environment

Japanese Spaniels tend to live indoors, as they are sensitive to temperature extremes, and are suitable for small homes such as apartments. They need very little in the way of exercise, simply requiring an occasional outdoor walk, and can even do without a yard or garden area as they are moderately active while indoors. They love to climb and will tend to try this on furniture.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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