The Japanese Chin’s Origins and History Source: Wikipedia. Country/Region of Origin: Japan Original purpose: companion animal Name: Japanese for cat-like; also known as the Japanese Spaniel Historical notes: The origins of the Japanese Chin dog breed have been debated. One account has it that the Japanese Chin breed appeared in Japan in 732 as a gift from the rulers of Korea. Other accounts say that the breed is descended from Chinese breeds. Portuguese sailors brought the breed to Europe in the 1600s. Commodore Perry, the American who "opened" Japan to the West, presented England's Queen Victoria and later the US President, with breeding pairs of Japanese Chins, making the Japanese Chin breed famous in the West.