Originally the breed was named the Japanese Spaniel; the dog was first believed to hail from Korea and then later showed up in Japan.
In the 16th century, the Japanese Chin was highly sought after in Japan.
The women of Japan carried the dogs in small baskets lined with silk and spoiled them unmercifully.
When someone killed a Chin in Japan, it was treated the same as a human killing and punished in the same manner.
From the time breed was developed in China, the dog was meant to be representative of royalty.
The Chin was bred to serve two purposes; one being a royal companion dog to the Imperial Palace females and the other to warm the laps of Chinese aristocrats.
The dog could not be owned or gifted to just anyone, the breed was distinctly reserved for nobility and gifted to foreigners or diplomats who served Japan.
During the 1850's, Commodore Perry on a trip to Japan was preparing to open the country for world trade.
Upon his arrival, Perry was given several Japanese Chins' as a gift, when he gave a pair of the dogs to Queen Victoria of England; the breed became extremely popular in Europe.
When Commodore Perry gifted the President of the United States with a Japanese Chin, the dogs were first brought into America.
Once the dog was introduced to other parts of the world, popularity only grew.
The number of Japanese Chins dropped during World War I and natural disasters such as earthquakes almost entirely eliminated breeders.
The main reason the breed survived is because many owners and breeders hid the dogs, even at the risk of imprisonment.
In 1964, the country of Japan adopted the Chin as one of the national symbols and the Chin has since appeared on many postage stamps as well.
Every Japanese house of nobility that has owned Chins has bred the dog, with each cycle of breeding the dog was made to live up to their ideal.
This is the main reason why the dogs breed has resulted in so many different sizes and types of Japanese Chins.
In the desire to get the Chin to resemble a cat, they inbred the dog with a cat.
The attempt was successful in that they produced a Chin which could jump and climb much like a cat, using its front paws in a very adept manner.
The dog was so important to Japanese nobility that they did not even think of it as a dog, but rather as their own special creation.
Catherine Cross was the person who is most credited with saving the Japanese Chin dog breed.
She was integral in bringing many Japanese Chins back to Japan after World War II, saving the dog breed from near extinction after so many were killed during the war.
Today, the Japanese Chin is still considered to be extremely rare and to the Japanese, a most sacred dog breed.