Judging Virtues in The Japanese Chin

By Sari Brewster Tietjen

I have always believed that it is important to look at the positive side when judging and then consider those positive aspects against the inevitable negative ones as no dog is perfect- even the Japanese Chin!

When the dogs first enter the ring, I look for overall balance, a square dog. As the go around the ring I want to see a lively, upright, proud, haughty, and yes, regal Chin with a flowing coat that defines the body.

On the table for the close up, my first attention is drawn to the head- large for the size of the dog- with large, round, dark, lustrous eyes. There should be white showing in the inner corner of each eye and the pupils should point straight ahead. If there is no white, I look to see if dark membranes may be covering the white. The nose should be positioned between the eyes and tilted back ever so slightly with open nostrils. The cushions should be broad and full (bubble-gum cheeks is what we call them). The lower jaw firm and positioned to signify a slightly undershot bite. (I do not open the mouths unless I suspect a wry bite or overshot bite- I may run my fingers along the bite line to satisfy what I see by touching it.)

In profile the head should represent one half of a backwards old-fashioned figure 8 with the forehead being longer than the depth of cushioning from the side.

Feeling the body, I look for solid structure. The old word “cobby” was taken out of the standard years ago, yet it accurately described the body of a Chin. Good spring of rib, firm rear, nice bend of stifles, with fine substantive bone (not fine like a Papillion).

The shiny clean coat is very important in a Chin. To the touch the coat resembles a silken cloak. This is a single coated breed with a definite ruff around the head and long skirts in the rear. The hair on the tail is long and flowing as the tail is flicked to either side of the body. I should be able to see the outline of the body both on the table with my hands on the dog and on the ground as the dog moves. A double coated or wooly coated dog will not have the right outline and scissoring misses the point. It is also important to note that young dogs do not carry the amount of coat that older, mature ones and bitches do tend to shed out down to their “bikinis”!

In moving on the down and back, I am again looking for clean lines- no crossing, no weaving to and from. On the side gait, again proud carriage, loose lead, head up, tail up- not racing, not running- a dog in total control with its owner/handler just along for the ride. Ideally I like to imagine a glass of champagne on its back with not a drop being spilled!

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