The Best Dog Food For Japanese Chins

The Best Dog Food For Japanese Chins

Japanese Chins are a lesser known breed, but anyone who has one (or more) of these magnificent creatures knows how special they are. I got my first Japanese Chin in 2012, which quickly turned into 2 as my roommate’s Chin decided it liked me better. I have been in love with this breed ever since! These toy/small breed dogs are full of personality and affection. In order to keep them healthy and happy for a long life, you must feed them a proper diet. In this article, we will discuss the best dog food for Japanese Chins.

Originally called the Japanese Spaniel, the Japanese Chin was bred to be a lap dog for Japanese royalty. Despite their name, most believe this breed originated in China. They are loyal, affectionate and intelligent dogs with physical features as unique as their personalities.

Our top picks for the best dog food for your Japanese Chin

Let’s take a look at what ingredients should be in the food you feed your Japanese Chin. Since small dogs can’t eat large volumes of food in one meal, they need food that is packed with proteins and fats so they can maintain their energy levels. These nutrients should come from animal-based sources such as eggs, chicken, lamb and beef. You should look for food with over 20-25% protein and over 10-12% fat.  A fiber content of 3-5% is also preferred to assist with digestion. This suggestion is for maintaining weight, you should talk to your vet about specific nutrition for your dog based on their weight, age, etc.

Carbohydrates, antioxidants and omega 3 and 6 should also be part of the ingredients in your dog’s food. Some dogs develop allergies from grain-based carbohydrates such as wheat, rice and corn, so you might want to get food that has a grain-free source of carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes or peas. Avoid any filler ingredients, artificial flavors or colors or unspecified meat or fat sources.

Be sure that any food you buy has an AAFO statement of nutritional adequacy or purpose. This statement ensures that if the food you are buying claims to be for the puppy stage of growth in a small breed dog, that food will have the adequate amount of nutrients a small breed puppy would need.

See also
The Best Large Breed Puppy Food Brands

Japanese Chins generally don’t overeat, but you still need to ensure they don’t become overweight. An overweight Chin will be more prone to developing many of the health problems we will discuss next. It is recommended to follow the feeding guide listed on the bag of dog food to maintain a proper weight.

Chins grow to around 8-11 inches tall. Their weight range can vary a lot depending on their bone structure, some being as small as 3 pounds and others as large as 15 pounds (or more). The average weight for a Chin is 7-9 pounds. According to the AKC, Japanese Chins have an average lifespan of 12-14 years.

Common Japanese Chin health concerns

Every Chin has a unique personality, but as a breed, they share common health concerns. Most common among them are heart murmurs, patellar luxation, hypoglycemia and breathing/eye problems. We will go into more detail on each of these below.

Heart Murmurs

Depending on how your Chin was bred and raised, they might inherit a genetic disposition for developing heart murmurs. While this condition can be managed with medicine it generally shortens the expected lifespan of your dog. If you notice your Chin acting more lethargic, coughing more, having trouble breathing, has gums turning gray or blue, you might want to get them checked for a heart murmur. Your vet should also be checking for this condition during your annual check-ups. Regular exercise will help keep their heart in the best shape, along with feeding them nutrient-rich food.

Patellar Luxation

This is a common health concern for small and toy breed dogs. Also known as kneecap dislocation, Patellar Luxation is usually inherited through genetics/breeding. If you notice your dog limping or favoring one side, you might want to get them checked for this condition. Surgery can help fix this problem if it severe enough or causing your dog pain and discomfort.


This condition occurs when your dog’s blood sugar levels drop, usually from waiting too long between meals. Luckily hypoglycemia is mostly only a concern when your Chin is under 6 months old or when they weigh 4-5 pounds or less.

See also
The 5 best dog food brands for Schnauzers

Breathing and eye problems

Dogs with a flattened face (also known as a brachycephalic face) are more prone to breathing problems due to their shortened snout. A shorter snout also means they can’t cool themselves down as fast, so be careful when exercising them on a hot day. Japanese Chins also have bulging eyes which can lead to issues of cherry eye or other irritations and infections. Eye problems can be detected by visually inspecting your dog or noticing if they start itching/scratching their eyes.

Training and exercise

Your Japanese Chin’s overall health is not only determined by what they eat and how they were bred, but also by how much and how often they are exercised. While your Chin might seem to prefer sleeping all day, they should be taken on regular walks or get some form of exercise. Most Chins get less active as they age or develop health issues- so just be sure you’re getting your dog an amount of exercise they can handle.

Due to their small size, it won’t take a long distance or strenuous activity to use up your Chin’s energy. As mentioned earlier, due to their flattened face, your Chin won’t be able to cool itself off as well as other dogs so be aware of this on hotter days. Always have plenty of water available and don’t push your dog’s limits.

Just as you have to be careful on hotter days, you also need to be considerate of other inclement weather, especially if you live in a climate where it gets cold during the winter. Not only can your dog get cold, but their paw pads are also more likely to get damaged walking on cold surfaces or snow/ice. Be sure to check their paws and notice if your dog starts licking their paws more as this might be a sign of irritation.

Our recommendations

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Crude Protein (Min): 36.00%

Crude Fat (Min): 15.00%

Crude Fiber (Max): 5.00%

  • Grain free, protein-rich
  • Nutrient-rich with vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin E, vitamin C and vitamin A as well as minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium.
  • No wheat, corn, soy or meat by-products
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Contains Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
See also
The importance of taurine in your dog's diet

Taste of the Wild, Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Formula

Crude Protein (Min): 32.00%

Crude Fat (Min): 18.00%

Crude Fiber (Max): 4.00%

  • Meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance
  • First 3 ingredients: Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans
  • High protein content from easily digestible venison
  • Small kibble size is ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Probiotics and prebiotic fiber help support healthy digestion
  • Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids help keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny
  • Rich in proteins and fat, this formula provides the energy that active small dogs need

Blue Buffalo Life Protection small breed

Crude Protein (Min): 26.00%

Crude Fat (Min): 15.00%

Crude Fiber (Max): 4.00%

  • Meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance
  • First 3 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice
  • Delicious, protein-rich, Deboned Chicken
  • Wholesome whole grains, garden veggies and fruit
  • NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals
  • NO corn, wheat or soy
  • NO artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Contains Omega 3 fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin

Organix Small Breed Recipe

Crude Protein (Min): 26.00%

Crude Fat (Min): 15.00%

Crude Fiber (Max): 5.00%

  • Meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance
  • First 3 ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • USDA Organic
  • Grain-free
  • Probiotics and prebiotics to help support digestion
  • Contains Glucosamine & Chondroitin to keep joints healthy
  • NO artificial colors, flavors or preservatives


While my opinion might be skewed since I have one of these wonderful breeds, I think Japanese Chins are one of the best dogs you could get. Their spunky, intelligent demeanor combined with their jester-like quirks make them a lovable best friend.

Feeding your dog high-quality food and exercising them regularly will mean they live a healthier and happier life. In addition to this, be sure to take them to your vet for regular check-ups.