Japanese Chin USA Breeders Thoughts | One of the great truths regarding Japanese Chin is “what was good is good!” The non-evolving quality of the Chin has been carefully guarded by its caretakers and is something that separates it from almost any other breed.
The challenges are real and not for the faint of heart, i.e., single digit of weight, brachycephalic, exacting head type, and parti-color markings with precise symmetry. “If it was easy, everybody would do it” has been the mantra of Chin breeders for centuries.
Evaluating the hallmarks of breed type is relatively simple. The application of the the word “round” best describes the outline of the Chin. Round eyes, rounded foreskull, rounded forechest, and rounded rib. There are simply no sharp edges on the Chin.
Polite evaluation, showing respect for the extreme and delicate detail of type, will be appreciated by the Chin and its owner.
The oral exam must be done with great care. In the US, we have no criteria for missing teeth, so only a visual examination and possible touch is needed to be certain of an aligned, reverse scissors bite. If complete dentition (6×6) is required, the protocol should be after the table exam is finished. Taking the pads of the fingertips, roll up one side of the lip and then repeat this on the other. Keep in mind that you will be closing the eye and compromising the breathing of the Chin. Never attempt to do both at once as this is very uncomfortable for the dog, and if it is even possible then the muzzle is too long to consider for an award. When encountering younger or hesitant Chin, ask the owner to show one side at a time if that is a judging requirement. While standards for the Pekingese expression will say, “combativeness rather than prettiness,” the Chin is all about daintiness, delicacy, and refinement.
The original point schedule for the American standard allotted 65 points out of 100 for head, eyes, ears, and tail. Without these qualities, along with soundness and condition, you simply do not have a quality Chin.
With social status by birthright established, watching an entry of Chin is a pleasure, and be assured, they have always participated on their own terms.
The two current areas of controversy with breeders are pigment of the face and eyes, and the color of the coat.
In the US, we have four allowed colors: black/white, red/white (self-colored pigment), sable/white (black pigment), and tri color.
The UK/FCI shows do not recognize the tri color Chin, but accept the other three colors. Originally, tri was considered the result of impure breeding with Chin. However, with the advent of DNA, it is the matching gene “Kk” to the sable color.
With the ease of DNA swabs, breeders can avoid sable and tri color alltogether, but if they continue crossing sables with black and white stock they will have tri color puppies.
Sable can have an extreme amount of black, almost appearing to be tri-colored, although the DNA would probably show them to be sable. As with any undesirable marking or color expression, savvy breeders will avoid breeding the less than clear sables.
Thoughts specifically on eyes:
The Japanese Chin is the only brachycephalic breed where the white pigmentation of the scleral tissue would not be a fault. Chin can have white scleral tissue, giving them a slight amount of white in the inside corners of their eyes.
In no way is the breed to be wall-eyed and the pupils should point absolutely straight ahead. The Chin from more direct Asiatic descent will have significantly less pigment under their noses and very white eye tissue.
In a somewhat recent standard revision, the wording “look of astonishment’ was added and has been taken to mean more eye white is a prized quality.
Any expression trait should be evaluated on the ground, and if visible across the room, is very
Qualities that make beautiful, historically correct eyes are shape, size, color, and placement. The amount of white scleral tissue is of
Fad breeding for this extreme trait will result in vision impaired Chin for generations to come.
The goal for all Chin fanciers should be to leave them for the next generation of Chin lovers as perfect as we found them.
Japanese Chin USA Breeders Thoughts | The strength of your bitch is key to its survival and key to picking those bitches that are the ones to watch for the next upcoming stud. Balancing production with type can keep your numbers at the most manageable point. Once you have gotten to the point of four or five generations of pick-of-litter bitches, your stock will be of consistent quality. Keeping different dogs for various reasons (like a color project) shouldn’t really be a factor for your core program. Faults are easily identified and worked around when breeders have confidence in their litters. The “A List” faults are things that you keep and work around, i.e., missing teeth or size. Keeping track of those details of faults in a litter is invaluable information when choosing future matings. The “B List” faults are things that are non-negotiable issues, requiring placement and the possible retirement of the parents. Neurological issues and digestive disorders are deal-breakers for me. Always look at your puppies with honest eyes and never believe your own advertisements! If you don’t take too much comfort in what you don’t know, and work with what have, the best will rise to the top!
In breeding dogs there is a sliding scale of type, and another of strength and production. There is a beginning and ending point in this adventure, and knowing where you are is a significant advantage.