Can a dog have 9 puppies? Expert Advice

Can Humans Affect a Dog’s Litter Size?

Reputable breeders want more puppies if they have a lineup of people wanting them. Dog owners may want more bundles of squirming puppy joy from their canine companion. Humans have control over certain aspects of when and how a female dog is bred that can affect litter size, but there are limits.

Artificially inseminated dams produce smaller litters than those impregnated naturally. This is likely due to more sperm dying during collection and insemination.

Another key factor that affects size is when a dam gives birth to a litter of puppies. According to the American Kennel Club, litters born in the spring are generally larger than litters born in other times of the year.

Does Breed Determine a Dog’s Litter Size?

The breed of dog is the biggest determinant of litter size. Generally, big dogs have larger litters because, biologically, they’re able to safely carry more puppies.

Here are a few breeds and their estimated litter sizes:

  • Bullmastiff – 5-13
  • Labrador Retriever – 5-10
  • German Shepherd – 5-9
  • American Cocker Spaniel – 3-7
  • Yorkie and Chihuahua – 2-5
  • While the norm is that larger dogs have larger litters, it’s not always the case. For instance, the Pekingese, weighing in at just 7-14 pounds, may give birth to as many as 10 puppies.

    Big litters can be dangerous to the mother dog (dam) due to delivery problems, especially in smaller dogs. Some of the puppies may be delivered stillborn, and the dam may become exhausted during delivery.

    Other Important Factors

    Consider that there are other important factors to keep into consideration. According to the American Kennel Club, mother dogs give birth to larger litters in the spring and smaller litters in the summer. For more on this, read “What Time of the Year Are Most Puppies Born?”

    The type of breeding may also have an impact. Generally, natural breeding appears to yield the greatest number of pups compared to dams that are artificially inseminated with fresh, chilled, or frozen semen. This is because during artificial insemination, sperm is most likely to die within the time frame of collection and insemination. The best outcome is by allowing the dam to be naturally bred two days after ovulation. Also, generally, the more inbred the dam, the smaller her litter size.

    How many pups should I expect?

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