JAPANESE CHIN COMMENTS ON JUDGING & THE STANDARD by MIKE BENSON
T he Japanese Chin was recog- nized by the American Kennel Club in 1888 as the Japanese Spaniel. After the opening of Japan, mid 19th century, specimens were imported to England and shortly after to America. Most imports to America entered through the ports of New York or San Fran- cisco. Early concentrations of the breed in America were in those cities. The AKC breed standard has changed over the century plus of recognition. Per- haps the most painful change was the addi- tion of the tri-color in the 1990s. We no lon- ger refer to a head that is large for the body and a short thick neck. A cobby body is out and size is no longer referenced by weight. In today’s standard a more balanced, moder- ate dog is indicated. Surprisingly the look of dogs today and the historic dogs is very sim- ilar. The present AKC standard (2011) seems to describe the dog we look for. My intent is not to debate the standard point by point but to take the reader through the judging process from my personal point of view as a breeder and a judge and to comment on what one is likely to see in an evaluation or in the show ring. The initial impression of a class and the individuals in it is very important. The Japa- nese Chin is a square dog (height at withers is equal to the distance from sternum to but- tock). The correct dogs must appear square. Balance is important. The body (ribs) should reach the elbow so the height will seem to be half body and half leg. Any dog that appears low on leg or proportionately long in back or
body is not what I look for, nor is it correct. The head should be up and the tail up over the back adding to the overall balance. Adults will be well coated with ample feathering as indicated in the standard. When viewing a class one may notice differences in size. Size is noted in the standard as “Ideal size is 8 inches to 11 inches at the highest point of the withers.” Type should not suffer within this 3 inch range. Considering the dog is square, any student of plane geometry will know an 11 inch dog is twice the size of an 8 inch dog. Most entries will be close to the middle of the ideal range but a big difference in size may be noticed and still be correct. During the first look at a class, color and coat condition are also noticed. The Japa- nese Chin is a parti-colored breed being most often black and white. There may also be “shades of red” and white and even black and white with tan points (tri-color). The tri-color dogs may appear to be black and white until examined more closely. The only disqualification in the AKC standard concerns color. The coat in adults should be profuse with a heavy mane or ruff about the neck, chest and shoulders and long furnish- ings on the ears, toes, backs of legs and tail and heavily coated rump and thighs. The Japanese Chin is a flat-faced breed. This should be evident when walking down the line-up. These days most Japanese Chin are “free-baited” in the show ring. Expres- sion should be viewed when the dog is look- ing straight ahead. The expression is often distorted when the dog is looking up as if trying to spot birds or airplanes overhead.
Some Japanese Chin will not respond to whis- tling, key rattling, or other attention getters and should not be faulted for it. Chin have been called “cat-like” and will often display some arrogance and indifference to their sur- roundings. This is normal for the breed. When viewing the head and face up close; we should be noticing proper propor- tioning, color and markings and the overall impact of the flat face. If you have not irri- tated these little dogs examining the face may do it. It is typical for Chin to go “nose in the air” and refuse to look at a judge. Again, the Japanese Chin is a “flat-faced” breed. It has a square head made up of subtle arcs and curves, attractively framed by the ears and ear fringes. Proper evaluation of the head and the face in particular is very important in determining quality specimens. When viewed head-on, the face seems one dimen- sional in that it should never seem to fall away to the sides of the head. The Japanese Chin has large round eyes which are dark (in all colors). White showing in the inner cor- ner of the eye is a historic breed trait which should not be faulted. The nose is tucked back between the eyes, the top of the nose being on the lateral center line of the eyes. There should not be any length of nose and the stop is very deep. One of the most chal- lenging problems for breeders is retaining a flat face. There is a concept among some breeders that extending the nose and fore- face of the Japanese Chin will make the breed healthier. Even if this were true it creates an undesirable fault and a significant change in the look of the breed. The Japanese Chin is
Photos courtesy of “Our Dogs”
226 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2015
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