How many puppies can dogs give birth?

Many people wonder how many puppies a dog could get. The size of a dog’s litter depends on various factors, including age and breed. In today’s article we will tell you everything there is to know about it.

The size of the dog and the number of puppies

One of the determining factors in knowing approximately how many puppies your dog can have will be her size. Although the average number of pups per birth is 6, this figure can change depending on whether the female is small, medium or large.

Some breeds manage to have only 1 or 2 puppies, while others can give birth to 15. The Guinness Record of the most “voluminous” litter was made by a female Neapolitan Mastiff, who in 2004 gave birth to 24 puppies.

In the case of small dogs or miniature breeds, the average is 3 to 4 puppies per pregnancy. Large or giant breeds give birth on average to 7 puppies, although it is not uncommon for them to have up to 12.

According to a study carried out in the United States, the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed is one of the most prolific (approximately 9 per litter). In contrast, the Toy Poodle or Pomeranian breed is characterized by giving birth on average only 2 puppies.

Here are some examples of breeds with their respective number of puppies:

  • Labradors: between 6 and 10 puppies
  • German Shepherd: between 7 and 9 puppies (without pedigree) or between 4 and 6 (with pedigree)
  • Maltese: between 3 and 8 puppies
  • Chihuahua: between 3 and 5 puppies
  • Dalmatian: between 6 and 8 puppies
  • Golden Retriever: between 8 and 14 puppies
  • Yorkshire Terrier : between 3 and 6 puppies
  • Dwarf Pinscher: between 2 and 3 puppies
  • English Bull Terrier: between 4 and 5 puppies
  • Shih Tzu: between 6 and 10 puppies

A great way to find out how many puppies your dog will give birth is to take her to the vet for an ultrasound. The answer will not be 100% sure but you can get an idea of ​​how large the litter will be.

Health, age and sire also affect the number of puppies

In addition to the breed of the animal, there are other factors that determine the number of puppies in a pregnancy. Among these, the age of the mother is not to be underestimated. A young dog has a better chance of giving birth to more puppies (especially if it is her first gestation). Conversely, a pregnancy in adulthood will drastically reduce the amount of the same.

The health  of the female is also fundamental. Taking stray dogs as an example, although they may have many puppies, often some of them are stillborn or die shortly after giving birth, as they did not receive the necessary nutrients during gestation. Furthermore, if the mother is ill or malnourished, the litter will likely be reduced.

Another factor to consider is the father. According to some vets, the quality of the male’s sperm can affect the quantity of puppies. It will also count its breed, size and age.

Finally, the process by which the bitch became pregnant should not be forgotten – if there has been a natural mating, there will probably be more puppies arriving than in artificial insemination cases.

Although there is a tendency to believe that a smaller litter is easier for the bitch to manage during delivery , in reality too few puppies may cause the birth canal to be insufficiently stimulated for labor to begin. In this case, the process may take longer than in larger litters. These, on the other hand, could make the female very tired, who could spend a whole day giving birth to her young.

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