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Small is beautiful

If you are looking for a pal, Japanese Chin is the right choice for you as this is the breed whose sole purpose is to serve as a companion to man.

Japanese Chin is an amazing breed. When they get excited, many will do something called ‘Chin Spins’. This isbreed profile when they whirl around in excitement when they see their pet parents or are getting ready for a game or car ride. Many Chins also inherit the ability to vocalise in almost a human fashion when happy or excited. This is called woo woo’ing, and no written description can do justice to how endearing this is. It sounds like the dog is actually talking to you. Here’s more on this lovely breed.

Stylish and small…

Japanese Chin is a small, well balanced, lively, aristocratic toy dog with a distinctive Oriental expression. 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. They are found in various colours like black and white, red and white, or black and white with tan points (tricolour).

Japanese Chins have a small amount of white showing in the corner of their eyes and this gives them the desired look of astonishment. To look into their eyes is almost like looking at the face of a human.

Cat-like demeanour…

A properly bred Chin is a delightful companion. You will hear many fanciers refer to them as cat-like because of their dignified demeanour, ability to climb to high places, and lack of a ‘doggy smell’. Some Chins may be reserved with strangers, but with those they love and trust, they are an exceedingly loving and amusing companion.

Living with them…

Chins are an easy breed to live with. They can be trained to use a litter box to relieve themselves, and love being around other animals, especially other Chins. They are for the most part a very quiet breed and not yappy or annoying in any way.

While they can do well with mature, well-behaved children, Japanese Chin can be a sensitive breed, so most likely would do better in a home with no small children. If they do live with children, they should be taught to treat the dogs with care and respect to avoid either physical or emotional trauma.

Wash and wear breed…

Japanese Chins are often referred to as a ‘wash and wear’ breed. This is because a Chin with the correct, silky textured coat is very easy to groom whether for the show ring or home. Their coat should be combed or brushed in sections to ensure every strand is attended to so mats are prevented. Special care should be given to the area behind the ears as this is a prime spot for mats or knots to form. Toenails should be clipped regularly, because Chin is a heavily-coated, drop ear breed and their ears must be kept as clean and dry as possible to prevent infection.

Japanese Chins do shed and especially the intact she-dogs can lose a lot of coat after heat cycles and puppies. This is not a breed for someone who does not want fur in the house!

Puppy care…

Puppy care for Japanese Chin is similar to that of any puppy. A quality food, regular vet care, a warm place to sleep, lots of socialising and introduction to new things. It’s almost important to note that as with any toy breed, it is vital that a Japanese Chin puppy is given regular meals to prevent from hypoglycaemic or low blood sugar problem.

Games they play…

Japanese Chins enjoy outdoor time and short walks, but because of their flat nose, it is important they are not over-exerted or taken on strenuous walks, especially in hot or humid weather. They love playing indoors, chasing toys or enjoying tug of war game with their mates. Some Chins have gone on to enjoy wonderful careers in agility and obedience.

Health care…

For the most part, Japanese Chin is a healthy breed without an abundance of hereditary issues. As with many toy breeds, they should be regularly checked for heart health, and special care should be given to protect their large, prominent eyes from injury.

(Scott Toney owns Midwood Japanese Chin kennel in North Carolina. He breeds and shows Japanese Chins).

Tooth care for a small dogs

Tooth care for a small dogs – keeping their milliom-dollar smile safe!

Teething in small dogs

The adult teeth of small breed dogs (less than 10kg) appear between the age of 4 and 6 months and the fi nal molars come through, at the latest, at around 7 months.

Each half jaw carries 21 teeth including 6 incisors, 2 canines, 8 premolars and 5 molars.

Oral hygiene: starting early

As soon as the puppy’s adult teeth come through, it is important to keep a watch on oral hygiene to prevent the formation of dental plaque and tartar.

Infl ammation of the gum encourages the development of bacteria that produce toxins: the latter attack the tissue that holds the tooth (periodontium), which can come loose. The pain caused by this gingivitis can discourage the dog from eating.

Studies (Harvey & coll., 1994) have shown that small dogs are affected earlier and suffer from more severe periodontal disease.

Dental plaque

Symptoms: This is a felting fi lm of bacteria that allows the calcium present in saliva to deposit and form tartar. This hardens and can then only be removed by an operation systematically performed with a general anaesthetic for dogs: tooth depuration. This phenomenon worsens with age. The immediate consequence is an infl ammation of the gum in the area of friction, then the gingivitis extends (the gum becomes red). The tartar makes the gum recede, laying bare the crown up to the root; the teeth can become loose. A severe infl ammation rapidly becomes very painful for the dog, and generates bad breath; it can cause heart or kidney complications.

Prevention and solution: Daily brushing is the most effective solution as it prevents the formation of dental plaque. It requires both a little time and having accustomed the dog from a young age. Feeding with dental specifi c kibble helps with daily oral hygiene: the size and texture developed specifi cally for this kibble encourage daily superfi cial ‘brushing’ — the greater the contact time between the tooth and the surface of the kibble, the greater the effect.

The addition of salivary calcium chelating agents, such as sodium polyphosphates, reduces the transformation of dental plaque into tartar by fi xing it in the saliva. The latter, produced in greater quantities by chewing dry food, helps mechanical cleaning and enzymatic anti-bacterial action.

Particular predisposition of small dogs

It has been demonstrated (Gioso & coll., 2001) that the thickness of mandible/height of fi rst molar ratio decreases signifi cantly with the size of the dog. For dogs weighing more than 30kg, the thickness of the lower jaw is equivalent to the height of the carnassials. For dogs weighing less than 5kg, this ratio can drop to 0.6, or even 0.5 for Yorkshire Terriers.

When periodontal disease occurs, the progressive destruction of the bone along the root can weaken the jaw and cause fractures. (File developed with the help of the veterinarians of the Royal Canin Research and Development Centre)

Dog traininig

Shiba Inu: small ‘n’ beautiful

Naturally beautiful, Shiba Inus are the embodiment of dignity and independence. Lively and bold, these small dogs are big dogs in small packages.

Dog trainingWho am I? The Shiba Inu was originally bred for hunting as she is small but agile dog who copes very well with mountainous terrain. Inu is the Japanese word for dog while Shiba refers to a type of red shrub, which either owe its origin to the fact that Shiba Inus hunted in wild shrubs or due to the fact that red is the most common colour in these dogs. It is also believed that in old Japanese, Shiba’s referred to ‘small.’This breed was primarily used for hunting by sight and scen in Japan. Today, Shiba Inus are primarily kept as pets both in Japan and abroad.

How do I look?

Shiba Inus are small dogs with double coats, comprising of a straight, stiff outer coat and a soft dense undercoat. Their all-weather coat protects them from both, heat and cold.

Their frame is compact and muscles are well developed. Shiba Inus give an expression of good natured and a strong dog. Her deep-set eyes are brown in colour, while the eye rims are black. Ears are small but firmly pricked, while the nose is black. They carry their tails over their back in a sickle or curled position.

They may be red, black and tan, or seasame (red with black-tipped hair), with a cream, buff or grey undercoat. They have urajiro markings, which refers to a pattern of white on her underside in contrast to her primary coat colour. Males are 14-17 inches tall, while the females are 13-16 inches high and weigh around 10 kg and 8 kg respectively.

How is my temperament?

Independent, intelligent, strong-willed, bold, alert, good natured… is how a Shiba Inu is. Since they are very independent, they need to be socialised at a very young age. They form excellent watchdogs and companions.

Here’s a dog who is reserved towards strangers but loyal and affectionate to people she loves, says Pam adoringly. They are fast and playful and hence make good companions for children. If they are socialised with other pets like dogs and cats in the house, they do well with them.

How is it to live with me?

“The Shiba Inu is one of the smallest of the Japanese breeds, but is possibly the biggest in attitude. Shibas like to be in charge with their favourite word being “mine.”

In a Shiba’s eyes they see everything belonged to them. They are very independent and don’t always do what they are asked to do. Shibas can be good watchdogs and will often be seen perched on high

objects in order to keep and eye on things,” told Pam Petersen of Royal Kennels.

“They are generally quite and do not bark a lot, although they can scream or yodel when they are asked to do something they do not like, such as nail trimming, bathing and leash breaking,” added Pam.


We like to play!

“The Shiba is both an active and adaptable animal. They enjoy hearty romps in the backyard, but do well in apartment life, as long as the owner takes them for their walk in the park. Shibas are extremely peopleoriented and require a fair amount of love and attention from their owners. It should be noted that most Shibas are not to be trusted off lead unless in a fenced yard. The Shiba is a natural hunter and given a chance will take off in search of game,” cautioned Pam.

How to take care of me as a puppy? Shiba puppies are very intelligent and have great memories. Introduce your puppy to new things and people early and make it a positive experience.

For example, introduce your new Shiba puppy to a calm child, have the child give him a small treat, the Shiba will walk away thinking kids are good. If you allow a young child to chase or frighten your puppy, she will think children are to be feared. Most Shiba pups will not forget any experience, whether good or bad.

How to groom me beautiful?

Like cats, Shiba Inus love to keep themselves clean by licking their paws and legs. They like to keep their coats clean by avoiding mud and dirt. Shiba Inus shed heavily twice a year, which normally occurs at the beginning or end of each season. They need regular brushing to keep their coats healthy.

How much exercise do I need?

They are very adjusting dogs and would adjust to any living style as long as they get their share of daily walk. It keeps them healthier and happier.

Am I healthy?

Shibas are a basically healthy breed but can suffer from eye defects, luxating patellas, seizures and allergies. On a concluding note, Pam added, “The Shiba Inu is a wonderful breed but not the breed for everyone. This “big dog in a small package” combined with some of his unique characteristics could make this breed a challenge to the average dog owner.”

(With inputs from Pam Peterson of Royal Kennels, home of Champion Shiba Inu, Kai Ken, Shih Tzu, Larry The Basenji, Goldberg, Skunkie D’s, The Sly Fox and Tally Ho. Pam has been breeding dogs for 26 years and along with her husband, runs a boarding and grooming business.)