How many puppies does a dog have? According to size and race

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When we discover that a dog is pregnant, one of the most common interests is knowing how many puppies she is going to bring into the world. And it is important to know this figure to anticipate possible complications.

The vet will be our best ally when it comes to finding out this information, through ultrasound and radiography. But we can meet other criteria to guide us on the number of puppies that our dog will have.

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Index of contents

  • 1 How many puppies are born in a litter?
    • 1.1 How many puppies do the small breeds have?
    • 1.2 How many puppies do large breeds have?
  • 2 Why is it important to know how many puppies a dog breeds?
    • 2.1 The problem of giving birth to a single puppy
    • 2.2 The problem of giving birth to a very large litter
  • 3 Ultrasonography and radiography during pregnancy
  • 4 Number of puppies and placentas

How many puppies are born in a litter?

The truth is that it is impossible to give an exact number of how many puppies a dog can have. It is possible to establish an average number of between 4-6 puppies per litter.

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This data is an approximation based on medium-sized dogs. The smaller and larger breeds will differ considerably from this average.

How many puppies do the small breeds have?

Generally speaking, small dogs will have litters of fewer puppies, between 2-4 puppies. But this figure may be even lower in races known as mini or toy. For example, a Chihuahua you will likely have as little as one baby in each delivery.

How many puppies do large breeds have?

Breeds of a larger size can be much more prolific than the average of the canine species. Thus, dogs like the Golden Retriever can bring the world an average of 8 puppies per litter. And it is even possible that, in some of these breeds, figures of 10, 12 or more puppies are reached.


Why is it important to know how many puppies a dog breeds?

Knowing how many puppies a dog is breeding allows us to plan aspects such as expenses, since all the little ones will have to be dewormed, vaccinated and fed when they are weaned. It also gives us an idea of ​​how many homes we will need to locate them once they can be separated from their mother and siblings.

But, in addition, to breed a single puppy or too many can cause complications in childbirth or lactation for which we must be prepared. Knowing in advance how many puppies we are waiting for allows us to control the evolution and the conclusion of the birth.

The problem of giving birth to a single puppy

Although the gestation of a single cub is very common in the smaller breeds, this situation can lead to problems in childbirth and delayed labor. This is because its size may become too large to pass through the bitch’s birth canal.

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We can also have large cubs when the male is much larger than the female or when one of the small ones has a pathology called hydrocephalus, than increases the size of the head.

In these situations we can see that the dog makes efforts of childbirth but no puppy has just been born. It is also possible that this is trapped without getting out. In both cases we are facing a veterinary emergency. The Caesarean section It is usually the treatment of choice.

The problem of giving birth to a very large litter

In general, large litters can be born without any complications, although it is common for some pups to die or all to be born prematurely. Problems can appear during breastfeeding.

Having more puppies than breasts, which are usually ten in the bitch, can cause not everyone to eat enough or the feeding that the mother receives is not enough to cover her new needs. A puppy that is smaller than the rest of the litter, that moans or is cold is a veterinary emergency.

If this is our case, the solution is to help lactation by offering bottles of milk specially formulated for dogs, always following the veterinaryn’s recommendations. In addition, we must be attentive to the dog because she will be more prone to eclampsia, which is a lack of calcium. Tremors or anxiety are warning signs.

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Ultrasonography and radiography during pregnancy

So while the size of the bitch can give us some guidance on the number of pups she can give birth to, the only safe method is to count fetuses directly. And this is only achieved by resorting to ultrasound or radiography.

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Both techniques allow us to visualize the inside of the uterus and, in it, the puppies. In this way they can count on a minimum error. Knowing this data allows us to prepare, hence the importance of veterinary monitoring during pregnancy.

Number of puppies and placentas

Finally, if our dog has given birth, the number of placentas must match that of puppies. In addition, if the veterinaryn has given us an estimate of their number, this must correspond to those born.

The placenta is delivered after the cub. We do not always see it because it is usual for the dog to eat it. But if we can count them and they don’t match the puppies, we should contact the vet. Retention of a placenta can lead to severe uterine infection, just like a puppy that has died before birth.