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This delightful little dog has been in the company of kings, queens, and emperors for so long now he may believe he is one of them! Though they first came from China, this member of the Toy group of dogs has been the royal dog of Japan for centuries.

This dog is a bright, alert and playful companion who likes being clean and tidy. Sometimes he'll even make up his own tricks to show off to his audience of friends.

This breed is small, well-balanced, lively and noble. Dainty and stylish, it is usually between 8 and 11 inches tall and can weigh as little as 4 pounds or as much as 15 pounds, according to the national breed club. Its plumed tail is carried over the back and curved to either side. Its coat is semi-long, silky, soft and straight. This breed comes in a variety of colors: black and white, red and white, and black and white with tan points (also called tri-colored).

These dogs "... are often cat-like in attitude with an ability to climb that is surely unmatched in few other breeds of dogs! Most ... find their favorite 'spot' in the house on the back of the sofa or chair. Also, like cats, (dogs of this breed) tend to groom themselves by licking their paws and rubbing their faces," according to this breed's national parent club. "(They) often 'snizzle' or snort. This is not a sign of a 'cold' or other impending illness. The snizzling (blowing hard out of their nose, accompanied by a fine mist) is a result of the animal's flat face. (Dogs of this breed) ... also reverse sneeze (a honking sound). Although they seem almost unable to breathe, they are not in any distress. If this happens to your pet, many breeders apply gentle pressure on their rib cages or simply stroke their neck."

This breed is very sensitive to heat and humidity, according to the breed's national breed club. So owners should supply plenty of ventilation and fresh water, especially during warm weather.

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