After rigorously tending and caring for their furry friends, dog owners are often anxious to find out how many puppies they will be blessed with. The anxiety is even more intense when the dog is pregnant for the very first time. So, how many puppies can a dog have the first time? To answer this sufficiently, we will highlight some of the factors that affect fertility and also look at other frequent questions surrounding the topic.
Factors that affect litter size
The number of puppies that your dam can yield is anchored on a number of factors. Check them out below:
1. Age of the dam
Age definitely has an impact on a dog’s litter size. The older it gets the lesser the number of puppies it is likely to deliver. This is more predominant among large dogs. As they get past five years, their litter size begins to become smaller. Recent studies on the subject have linked the condition to abnormalities within the uterine walls of the mother as well as depreciation in the number of follicles. Other researchers associate it with premature embryotic death. Conversely, young mothers have proven to deliver fewer puppies especially during their first time. It is asserted that such dams might not be fully developed to accommodate or bear bigger litters. However, a gradual increase in the litter size is witnessed in the births that follow until they get older.
2. Breed of the dam
The dog’s breed determines how many puppies it is likely to have. Bigger dog breeds like German shepherds and Labrador retrievers are known to have bigger litters compared to smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas. While the smaller ones will only yield about two to five puppies, their counterparts can have up to 15 puppies in every birth. Nonetheless, this theory does not cut across all breeds as other smaller breeds like the Pekingese can manage ten babies per litter.
3. Mode of breeding
Another attribute that might affect the size of a litter is the mode of breeding. Natural breeding has proven to produce more puppies compared artificial insemination. This is owing to the fact that during artificial insemination, sperms are more prone to death. Similarly, the dam might be inseminated with dead sperms. The perfect mode of fertilization is to allow your dam to breed naturally. It would be ideal to have your dam breed two days after ovulation.
4. Health of the dam
It is vital to ensure that your dog is in good shape at all times before conception and during pregnancy if you expect a large litter. Additionally, it is vital to select a stud that is healthy during breeding as well. Looks might be deceiving. The only true way to ascertain if a dog will give to more puppies is to look into its reproductive history unless it is delivering for the first time. The aspects that matter in this case are milk production, mothering ability and the litter size. The last three weeks of pregnancy are very crucial. Top notch balanced nutrition during the gestation period is a must as it contributes to a dam’s wellbeing. Be on the lookout for its weight. It should be moderately sized; neither being too fat nor too skinny. Most importantly, always be in constant consultation with your vet whenever anything comes up.
5. Age of the Stud
As much as the size of the litter is mainly anchored on the dam, the age of the stud also plays a major role. The age of the stud affects sperm count and sperm quality. It happens such that the older it gets the lower the sperm count and vice versa. Thus, the sperms of dogs over five years will only be able to fertilize fewer eggs hence transforming into a smaller litter.
Frequent Questions about Dog Fertility
How many puppies can a German shepherd have?
German shepherds are large dogs. Thus, you should naturally expect them to be fertile. After a gestation period of 63 days, a healthy German shepherd mother can manage 8 babies per litter. This number will vary depending on heat or ovulation cycle, diet and care.
How many puppies can a dog have in their first litter?
Recent studies on the topic have linked the number of puppies born in a litter to the dog breed size. To add on that, first time mothers tend to have relatively smaller litters compared to their subsequent ones. It is estimated that large dog breeds like pitbulls can have up to 5 puppies in their first litter while smaller breeds like Chihuahuas can only manage 2 puppies per litter. Some dogs manage only one pup for their first litter. Nonetheless, through palpating and x-ray scans, it is possible to know the exact number of puppies in a mother’s belly even before birth.
How many puppies can a dog have in a lifetime?
On average, a dog will have two to three litters within a single year. Considering that the dog bears five to seven puppies per litter, this will transform into fifteen to twenty one puppies annually. With that in mind, we can conclude the mother and her babies will bear more than 67,000 puppies in a six year time frame.
Can a Pitbull have only one puppy?
Any dog breed can have one puppy and pitbulls are no different. Such scenarios are more predominant among smaller breeds. The chances of a pitbull having only one puppy at a time are very slim. In most cases, this will happen when the pitbull mother is very old or too young. Moreover, it can be alarming for a dog to bear only one puppy although it is normal at times. It is vital to get your dog examined as soon as possible. Premature death of embryos and difficulty while delivering can result in the birth of a single pup. Some puppies may be too huge or incorrectly positioned. A Caesarian section might be in order for such cases.
How many puppies can a pitbull have?
Just like German shepherds, pitbulls are large dogs which mean that they have sufficient space to accommodate more puppies. The first round of puppies for any breed is marred with uncertainty. For instance, some dogs may give birth to a single pup. However, pitbulls can deliver five to seven puppies in their first birth. Their subsequent litter might be bigger.
Therefore, how many puppies can a dog have the first time? As we have seen above, the number of puppies per litter depends on breed, age of the mother, overall health among other factors. It is possible to know the exact number of puppies that your dogs will yield through X-ray imaging and palpating.