The Shih Tzu is a small breed dog that unfortunately is the victim of several genetic problems. Often they are the result of poor breeding by puppy mills and individuals that have not researched their dog’s bloodlines. The puppy rarely shows any deformities but as they grow. It is at maturity that is when the problems arise.
The major genetic problems that the Shih Tzu dog face are problems with their eyes, more specifically Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Juvenile Cataracts and Entropion. Their kidneys are also subject to Renal Dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia is not limited to the larger breeds of dogs, Shih Tzu is also prone to that dreaded affliction. Of course there are many other lesser known genetic defects that the Shih Tzu can have. I have listed only a few.
Avoid obtaining your Shih Tzu puppy from a breeder that does not test their breeding stock for genetic problems. Ask to see their dam and sire’s certifications to see that they have passed genetic testing. Breeders who do not have their breeding stock tested are usually breeding dogs for mere profit, or should I say a quick buck and do not care about the future welfare of the puppy they have produced. They probably don’t care about the future of the breed either. Check the breeder out thoroughly before you buy that puppy. If you don’t then you could face a mountain of vet bills once the puppy is full grown.