The Japanese Chin is a healthy little dog with a life expectancy of 10 – 12 years, or longer. Each individual breed has specific health issues that they may be predisposed to and the Japanese Chin is not any different. Although the majority of Japanese Chin experience few significant health issues it is imperative that you research thoroughly and choose a breeder with care to ensure that you are getting a quality puppy from a reputable, ethical breeder who tests their breeding stock regularly against heritable disorders. Of course this is not a guarantee that these issues will be completely eliminated but careful health testing can help to minimize problems.
Of the genetic hereditary disorders that we currently know Japanese Chin to be prone to, these are the most common:
- Cataracts: Cataracts can develop at any age and can cause blindness or may grow slowly and never actually progress to blindness. Annual eye examinations are highly recommended for early detection and treatment.
- Heart disease: Heart disease may start at an early age or not appear for several more years. Symptoms may include lethargy, sudden weight loss, coughing, shortness of breath or fatigue. Early diagnosis is essential so treatment can begin as soon as possible.
- Patella Luxation: The patella , or kneecap, is part of the stifle joint (knee). In patella luxation, the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal position. This is a common condition in dogs, especially small breeds. Animals can be affected as early as 8 weeks but usually becomes evident between the ages of 4 to 6 months.
- Brachycephalic Syndrome: The term Brachycephalic Syndrome refers to the combination of elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, and everted laryngeal saccules, all of which are commonly seen in brachycephalic breeds.