The Tibetan Chin is a cross between two breeds that share lineages, the Tibetan Spaniel and the Japanese Chin. Published studies and modern DNA testing indicate that these breeds are among the oldest of extant dog breeds, and are descended from Tibetan dogs from around 10 thousand years ago.
The Tibetan Spaniel, one of three known Tibetan breeds, the other two being the Tibetan Terrier and the Lhasa Apso, was developed in the Himalayan regions and was originally bred for companionship and as watchdogs of monasteries. This small, clear-sighted dog would set itself high on the monastery walls and keep watch for possible signs of intruders or invaders. Despite the name, it is not a spaniel, and was probably named so because of its appearance.
The Japanese Chin, long the provenance of Japanese royals and nobles, has its origins in China. It is a lap dog, bred only for the purpose of providing smart, amusing and affectionate companionship. It is highly regarded in Japan, and markedly different from other working dog breeds, that for a time, ownership was only possible if the dog was given as a gift by a Japanese noble or royal.
The Tibetan Chin's gorgeous fall of silky coat can come in various colors and markings. Common are black tan points, black and white, or shades of red and white. But solids are also possible, in a wide range of colors and shades.
While similar in appearance and texture, the Tibetan Spaniel's and Japanese Chin's coats differ in that the former is double coated, while the latter only has a single coat. The double coat was developed as protection against harsh weather elements in the Himalayan regions. The Tibetan Chin may inherit either parent's coat. Strands will be long and silky, but where the Tibetan Spaniel's coat may lie flat on the body, the Japanese Chin's will slightly stand away from the body, especially around the neck, shoulders, and chest.
The Tibetan Chin is a graceful and elegant, yet sprightly, dog that can be a clever and amusing companion. It actively seeks out human presence, and will suffer from separation anxiety if often left alone or ignored. Lively yet relaxed indoors, the Tibetan Chin is ideal for owners that prefer petting and bonding with their dogs indoors rather than running with them or tiring them out. The Tibetan Chin is good with children and other animals, except that, as with affectionately dependent lap dogs, it can get attached to one owner and be possessive and jealous of other pets. It is, nevertheless, a dedicated and loyal dog, and will not be at ease with strangers.
Care and grooming of a long coat will require several hours each week. Professional grooming is recommended, or a committed owner may do it himself. Brushing out once or twice a week will keep the coat, but for mats, a pin-bristled brush should be used. Fur between the paws should be trimmed.
The Tibetan Chin is intelligent and trainable. With its love of attention and eagerness to please, this little dog can be trained for several commands and tricks. Intractability at times, common in intelligent animals, will require patience on the part of the owner, and consistency in giving firm yet gentle commands and corrections.
Small living spaces are not a hindrance to the Tibetan Chin's activity requirements, although a walk every now and then will keep it well-behaved and happy. Play and tricks indoors will suffice in stimulating the Tibetan Chin and using up its energy stores.