Since ancient times, the Japanese have had a passion for small dogs. These dogs are the descendants of some dogs raised in China and Korea over a millennium ago. It seems that they derive from the crossbreeding of the Pekingese with the Tibetan Spaniel. In Japan, through serious and careful selections very small specimens were obtained, so small that they could be carried in the kimono sleeves; they were very appreciated at the royal courts and in the houses of statesmen. In Europe it was brought in 1854 by a British squadron chief and was given as a gift to Queen Victoria. In England it was quickly appreciated and the standards were set. Hence it spread all over Europe.
It is a small-sized, square-shaped, well-balanced and pleasant dog. The head is quite big, the skull is broad and round in the front and it has a prominent stop. The muzzle is very short, strong and wide with a small and flat nose. The eyes are very big, almond-shaped, spaced, prominent and dark. The ears are quite small, drooping, wide apart and covered with long hair. The tail is medium-sized, carried rolled on its back and covered with rich hair. The legs are straight, smooth, thin, with longish paws similar to those of a rabbit, which helped it climb and jump long distances, which made it catlike. The fur is made of soft, long, straight, thick and silky hair. The fur is short on the head and very thick and long on the neck, thighs and tail, forming a mane around the neck. The most common combination of colours is black with white but it can also be red and white or black with white and fawn spots.
It is an intelligent, lively, cheerful, playful, eager for attention, calm dog, that has a good memory and is not too noisy, but can sometimes be a little stubborn. It is affectionate, loyal to its master and it gets along well with children. It has no problems with other dogs or other animals, but it can't defend itself if attacked by larger dogs. It doesn't bark too much and doesn't bite too easily. It is quite reserved towards strangers.
The fur should be brushed and combed twice a week and it should be washed from time to time to keep its beautiful white colour. The ears must be kept clean and the folds on the head should be cleaned with a special ointment to prevent the colour from darkening.
It is a dog that easily adapts to any offered living conditions, with a loving and careful master or family. Even if it has a pretty low level of activity, it likes running, playing and it feels the need of daily exercise. It needs socialization and training.
Even though it is sometimes stubborn, with a firm, consistent but gentle training, without being rough or tough the desired results can be obtained because it is intelligent and eager to make its master happy.
It is a lovely companion dog.