The Chin 狆
The Japanese Chin is an ancient breed that probably originated in the Chinese imperial court. Highly prized, he was often given as a gift to emissaries from other lands, and it was probably as a gift to the emperor of Japan that he made his way to that island nation which gave him his name. In Japan, the Chin was regarded not as a dog (inu) but as a separate being (chin). There, he was probably crossed with small spaniel-type dogs and eventually achieved the look he has today.
The Japanese Chin remained unknown to the outside world until 1853 when Commodore Matthew Perry sailed into Uraga Harbor near Edo — now modern-day Tokyo — and introduced Japan to international trade. The Japanese Chin became a popular commodity and many were imported into Britain and the United States.
Among the first American owners of the breed were President Franklin Pierce, then-Secretary-of-War Jefferson Davis, and Perry's daughter, Caroline Perry Belmont. They became popular with people of wealth and nobility. In the United States, the Japanese Chin was known as the Japanese Spaniel and he kept that name until 1977.
"The Japanese Chin is a small, well balanced, lively, aristocratic toy dog with a distinctive Oriental expression. It is light and stylish in action. The plumed tail is carried over the back, curving to either side. The coat is profuse, silky, soft and straight. The dog’s outline presents a square appearance." - AKC, Standard.