In fact, there is more variation in the potential litter size of large dog breeds than small dog breeds. On the other hand, while larger dog breeds are capable of carrying larger litters, and often do, size alone does not guarantee a large litter. Laura Payne has been freelance writing for several online publications in her free time since 2006. A breeder can boost the mom’s health with nutritious food, exercise, and prenatal care. The puppies will be most likely bigger at birth and might be fatter. Also, large litters tend to produce more stillborn puppies and runts. CONTENTS toggle all. In general, smaller dog breeds have smaller litters because their body size does not allow them to carry large litters. It depends on the size of your dog and how well she was bred. The dam’s health. Some dogs, especially in small and toy breeds, will go into heat every four or five months. Have you located a litter of available pups? On the other side, some dogs will go into heat every year. Obese female dogs tend to have smaller litters than healthy-weight dogs. Additionally, nutritionist Russ Kelly found that adding extra protein supplements to a female dog’s diet during pregnancy actually decreases the odds that she will have a large litter. This is in part because of their very small size, which limits their capacity to carry large litters. Talk to the owner. Since someone in the thread asked for clarification of what a small litter is and what a large litter is, for discussion purposes lets say a large litter consists of 8 puppies, and a small litter consists of 4 puppies. When a small population of animals becomes cut off from other animals of the same species, health issues begin to rise ... And for an individual litter of puppies with a low (for the breed) COI. Breeding dogs after the age of 7 years increases the chances of having a single puppy litter. I think I do need to go back and re-ask about your views in regard to large vs small litters and competition for food. If the mother's uterus attempts to carry more puppies than she can physically handle, her life and the puppies' lives can be threatened. Even though litter size does not impact puppy size, large litters can cause problems for the mother dog and her new babies. In Conclusion A pet parent or breeder can choose their breed, breed them at the optimum time, and feed them highly nutritious meals throughout the year. A veterinarian can do an ultrasound to estimate the size of the litter so the household can prepare adequately for the new arrivals. A Norwegian Kennel Clu b study conducted in 2006 and 2007 bears this out. On the other hand, theoretically speaking, males can sire a limitless number of litters. Larger litters are more likely when the male dog is under the age of five years with the potential to produce quality sperm in greater quantities. I have a very nosy neighbor who has a puppy from the same litter as I do. Of course, you shouldn't judge a dog's temperament on a day they're feeling a bit down. The first heat in a female usually occurs between six and 18 months. So a small but healthy puppy is by no means guaranteed to become a smaller than average dog. Dams with less than healthy diets, including those that are overweight, yield smaller litters. if a large dog has a small litter (say 3 or 4) it might be that the female dog was not well bred or not exactly healthy The recorded largest litter had 24. Assuming that the average litter size is 7 puppies, one female dog and her babies can have as many as 67.000 new puppies in just 6 years. Also, dogs who had their first litter at an older age will have smaller litters. Most of the small breeds, notably the toys and terriers usually produce very small litters. Obviously, a dog that is going into heat once a year will usually have fewer litters than dogs who are going into heat every six months since there will be longer periods between each litter. Average Puppy Litter Size There is no such thing as a normal puppy litter size. The … There are several factors that contribute to the size of a litter of puppies, not the least of which is the size of the breed of dog. Choosing a litter bred from a relatively unknown sire may help. The optimal number of litters a bitch can carry is around 3 to 4 litters, depending on the number and size of the litter, as well as her overall health and recovery process in between pregnancies. She is saying that my dog is not being well taken care of because she is smaller than all the others from the same litter, and tells me that my dog was not a runt. Another consideration for litter size is the method of fertilization. Usually, the size of a dog litter is mainly based on the dog’s body size — simply because biologically, bigger bodies are able to carry a larger litter size than smaller bodies. This might not lead to much difficulty when it occurs in a large breed, like, say an English Mastiff or a Saint Bernard, but if it occurs in a small breed, there could be significant … The first thing to consider is the health of the puppies in the litter, both in their physical form and their temperament. Ask about appetite and eliminations. How do I choose a healthy pup? Unusually small puppies are not a result of large litters. However, her compatibility with the stud is an important consideration as well. Managing Females – A Dog's First Litter First time mommas are a handful, mostly because they can't call their mom and ask if this is normal! Instead, their size can usually be traced back to the health and nutrition of the mother dog before and during her pregnancy. not at all.. all dogs have different sizes of litters, usually small dogs have smaller litters, while as a large dog will have large litters. You have been warned. No, just because the litter is small doesn't mean that the puppies won't be healthy. This can lead to a pretty big singleton. However, just because a dog can physiologically mate, does not mean it … On the other hand, while larger dog breeds are capable of carrying larger litters, and often do, size alone does not guarantee a large litter. Smaller dog breeds have fewer pups per litter. The mother's weight can be a factor. She holds a Master of Arts in linguistics from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Oakland University. There is one circumstance where it's good to buy from a bitch's third overall litter, though. As the male dog ages, the quality and count of his sperm decreases. According to veterinarian Kathleen Hefner, writing for the American Kennel Club, most puppies who die soon after birth were probably born from malnourished mothers. This puppy is often pushed out of the way and left out by the other puppies. VCA Animal Hospitals: Did You Bring Home the Runt of the Litter? Mothers health – The health condition of a female pup is important when it comes to litter size. According to the American Kennel Club, one of the biggest factors in litter size is breed. Not every litter will have a runt, but this puppy is the smallest one of the litter. Premature Puppies & Litters — Health, Care, Preterm Birthing & FAQ. Without sufficient food, the puppies will not reach appropriate size and may suffer health problems. With so many neonatal puppies vying for nutrition, those in the center of the womb often do not get sufficient nourishment, which can cause them to be born small or to die. By the time a bitch has had three litters, the breeder will know if her puppies tend to be healthy. Number of Pregnancies – first time pregnancies tend to produce fewer puppies. Research shows older mother dogs have smaller litters than younger canine moms. About the Author Amy Jorgensen has ghostwritten more than 100 articles and books on raising and training animals. Weigh your puppies twice a day and take them to the veterinarian if they are not gaining weight normally or are losing weight. Indeed, online dog forums are awash with anecdotes from owners who brought home the smallest puppy in the litter, then watched in disbelief as they reached the highest weight ranges for their breed. Females also commonly produce increasingly larger litters with each pregnancy through their first four years of life. Small-breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas, do not have room in their bodies for large litters, therefore they tend to produce only two to four puppies per pregnancy. But, all thing being equal, by the time they mature they will be the same as if the litter was the normal size for this breed; size the pups will be is decided by their genes. ReferencesAmerican Kennel Club; "Breeder's Handbook: Variables That Influence Litter Size; Bretaigne Jones'Litter Size and Singleton; Dr. Carmen L. BattagliaWhite Fire Great Pyrenees; Whelping the Litter; Catherine de la CruzGuinness World Records: Largest Litter - DogVCA Animal Hospitals: Did You Bring Home the Runt of the Litter?American Kennel Club; The Care and Feeding of the Breeding Bitch Part One; Kathleen Hefner. But in the larger breeds there are wide variations in litter size ranging from 1 to 21 and in a some instances they have been larger. While litter size can impact many aspects of whelping and raising puppies, it does not actually impact the size of the individual puppies. Dogs have a peak litter size between the age of 3 and 7 years, after which the number of puppies in a litter decreases. The parents' genes, the puppy's breed, and the mother's health and nutrition determine the puppies' size at birth. If she is unhealthy before or during pregnancy, the number of puppies in her litter tends to be smaller. While accurately predicting the size of an expectant mom's litter is difficult, some other factors do contribute. While 101 dalmatians may be quite a stretch, the size of some dog’s litters can be upwards of 18 puppies. Dog litter sizes vary from one puppy to more than a dozen newborns. She is also an amateur dog trainer. However, any pregnant mom can experience a large litter relative to normal within her breed. This puppy needs special care and attention to make sure it gets enough food. You can have unhealthy puppies in a large litter as well. 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