Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Jatese
Have an image we can use? Message us here!

Mixing together the sweet-natured and attention-craving Maltese with the loyal and affectionate Japanese Chin has resulted in a good-natured and lively cross-breed that is known as either the Jatese or the Maltichin. The Jatese has large, imploring eyes and a circular skull that gives it a cute and puppy-like appearance, even when fully-grown. The soft, plush fur of the Jatese can be white, black or a mixture of both and will grow long and straight.

While this diminutive dog enjoys keeping themselves active and busy, they do not need a lot of exercise or space and are well-suited to urban life. They’ll never say no to a game or puzzle but do not need excessive amounts of attention. It is important to avoid the development of behavioural problems, such as separation anxiety or small dog syndrome, as these dogs mature, which can pose tricky in some.

About & History

While it’s true that the Japanese Chin and the Maltese hail from opposite sides of the world, these small lap dogs actually have a lot in common. Though it is not known when they were first crossed together, the resultant Jatese is thought to be a relatively new hybrid dog that has a lot to offer. Having only been in existence for a decade or two, there is not much to write about the short history of the Jatese, however, there is plenty to say about each parent breed.

The Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is an Asian breed that originated in China (despite the name!) and was always a popular pet among the higher classes and aristocracy. Contributing breeds include the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Pekingese and the Tibetan Spaniel.

How the breed originally came to Japan is not certain, although several interesting theories exist. Some believe they were brought by monks, while others claim that the first Japanese Chins to arrive in Japan were a gift from the Chinese emperor. Regardless of how they got there, this sweet little dog soon became a firm favourite among the elite. Over the years, breed members were exported internationally and the Japanese Chin is now a popular toy breed all over the world.

The Maltese

The Maltese can be traced back to truly ancient dogs that existed over 2,000 years ago and is possibly best known for its elegant, flowing white coat. As is true of the Japanese Chin, experts believe that the title Maltese is a misnomer and that the breed did not come from Malta but was actually developed on the ancient island of Meleda, off the Dalmatian Coast.

All along the Mediterranean, the Maltese was kept as a much-loved companion animal for many centuries and they continue to make excellent pets to this day. The UK Kennel Club recognised the breed as far back as the 1870s and today they are part of their Toy Group.


Predicting what any hybrid dog will look like when fully-grown can pose a challenge as it is hard to know which of their parent breeds they will inherit more of their genes from. All Jateses are petite, measuring only 20cm to 28cm and weighing from 3kg to 4.5kg. Their head is domed and relatively small. Some will have the stunted muzzle of the Japanese Chin, while others will have the longer muzzle of the Maltese breed. Their eyes are dark brown and take up a large amount of their small face.

They have pendulous ears that will either drop to the side of their head or fall somewhat forward. Their body is slim and elegant with a fine bone structure and light muscling. Their sophisticated tail is carried high above their back and arches considerably. It is covered in long, fine fur and is one of their most beautiful and defining features. Known for their luxurious coat, the Jatese has long, silky fur that may be Black, White or Black & White (also known as Pied). Those with a Black & White coat often have patches and spots of colour.

Character & Temperament

A dog that devotes themselves to their family, the Jatese is happiest when around people and will affectionately sit and lay on them when possible. Loving and gentle, those who take on a Jatese will be sure to instantly fall in love with their charm. They dislike being left alone and can be prone to separation anxiety, particularly if expected to spend long periods of time in their own company.

Playful and inquisitive, the vast majority of Jateses take well to being in homes with children and most other pets. As long as they are thoroughly socialised from a young age, they should not display aggression or frustration when in their company and should tolerate them very well. Caution is advised when children are young as they may be tempted to carry or play roughly with the Jatese. A dog that is so small and light can break bones from even small injuries.


Though a docile companion, it is not unheard of for some breed members to develop ‘small dog syndrome’, a behavioural disorder whereby the dog may develop hostile tendencies and can growl and snap at certain people when displeased. This behaviour is typically caused by them being spoiled or pampered and can be prevented by ensuring that all family members treat them as dogs and implement a routine, structure and strict rules.

It is anecdotally tricky to housetrain a Jatese, which is likely not helped by the small size of their bladder. Perseverance is key and owners should reward any outside toileting with lots of vocal praise and a favourite treat or two. For most, they will have toilet training mastered at about six to nine months of age.


With a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, most Jateses will live fairly healthy lives and are not prone to a large number of health issues. There are, of course, certain hereditary issues that can be more prevalent within the breed population and should be closely monitored for.

Heart Disorders

There are a couple of heart disorders in which the Jatese may be prone to getting giving the health history of the parent breeds.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

Patent Ductus Arteriosus is a cardiac condition that dogs are born with, whereby the ductus arteriosus fails to close as it should shortly after birth. Studies have shown that females are more frequently affected than males. Left untreated, PDA will typically result in an enlarged left heart and heart failure in early life and it is strongly advised that the defect is corrected.

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)

Mitral Valve Disease is seen in older animals as it is a progressive heart condition that worsens with time. While there is no cure, dogs can be managed for months to years with effective medicine.

Patellar Luxation

Owners may hear a knee 'pop' or feel an odd movement in their dog’s knee from time to time, which can be caused by a luxating patella. It is not uncommon for affected dogs to lift their affected leg up for a few steps when trotting and ‘skip along’.

A vet will be able to feel the defect on clinical exam and will usually order X-rays to confirm the diagnosis and further assess the knee joint. The treatment will depend on how badly the dog is affected and orthopaedic surgery may be beneficial for some.

Congenital Porto-Systemic Shunts

When blood bypasses the liver because of an abnormal vascular connection, this is known as a shunt and can cause severe metabolic and neurologic disorders. A lack of nutrients and a build-up of toxins results in an under-weight dog that can develop circling, head pressing and even seizures. Once diagnosis is confirmed, animals are medically stabilised and a surgery is then advised.

Exercise and Activity Levels

While it is true that the Jatese is boisterous and energetic, they are so small that they have quite minimal exercise requirements and their needs can generally be met with a few short walks each day and some play time inside and outside of the home.


Grooming a Jatese can seem like a full-time job as their long coat is very prone to mats and tangles if left un-brushed. Due to this, some owners will elect to clip their coat short, saving them from hours and hours of monotonous grooming. While some will claim that the Jatese is ‘hypoallergenic’ and ‘non-shedding’ there is no guarantee that this will be the case, though those that do shed will only do so minimally.

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.