So, can puppies in the same litter have different fathers?
Yes! Female dogs can be mated by more than one dog during their fertile period meaning a mixture of sperm is present and waiting to fertilise her eggs when she ovulates. The technical term for this is superfecundation. This can also happen in other species, including humans where fraternal twins could each have a different father.
How can I tell if puppies in the same litter have a different father?
In some cases, it will be very obvious if puppies are from a different litter. For example, if you were intentionally mating your purebred Labrador with another Labrador, and some of her puppies look like labs but the others come out looking like poodles, then a mismating could have occurred! Your female dog may have been accidentally being mated by a poodle as well as the intended labrador during her fertile window.
However, if your dog was mated by two different sires of the same breed then you may not actually realise that the litter contains a mixture of DNA unless you saw both of the matings take place or they were planned.
So some litters you may not be able to tell without DNA testing whereas others are a bit more obvious!
Most of the time matings are very controlled affairs with breeders being aware of their bitches fertile period and only allowing them to mate with the male stud dog of their choice. However, accidents can happen! If your female dog escapes and gets out of your garden or runs off on a walk then a mismating could occur. Female dogs give off very strong scent signals, so an entire male dog could very quickly find and mate her.
Accidents happen very commonly within households too. If you have a mixture of entire male and female dogs then a mismating is much more likely to happen, despite your best efforts to keep them apart.
The Kennel Club now allows registrations of pedigree litters where planned dual matings have occurred. Since DNA testing has become more readily available these puppies can be easily checked with a cheek swab and the relevant sire recorded in the details for their registration. In the past, permission had to be sought in advance for this type of mating. But it has now been considered acceptable practice.
It is possible to have puppies within the same litter that are sired by two different fathers. Sperm can survive for several days in the bitches reproductive tract. So a couple of matings could lead to the fertilisation of different eggs by different fathers. In some cases, this is obvious (usually when there has been an accidental mismating!). But other times it can be hard to know for sure without DNA testing the puppies.
Can Litters of Puppies Really Have More Than One Dad?
If youre wondering if your litter of puppies can have more than one dad, its probably because something seems a bit fishy. You may have a litter of all-white puppies, and then theres a one black one that has you wondering if Sophie was messing around with other dogs, too.
5 Reasons NOT To Get Littermates
I’m not sure when I first heard about a litter of puppies having more than one father, but I do recall hearing that it is a true statement…A litter of puppies can most definitely have more than one father.
Why was I thinking about this? Well, last Saturday at the pet adoption I saw two puppies at the Cuddly Canines booth that looked totally different, but were said to be siblings. Here’s a picture:
Now I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I think these two puppies may have had different fathers.
Here’s a picture of a litter of puppies we rescued from the Riverside Shelter a couple years ago:
These puppies were German Shepherd mix, but two of them looked more like Labrador Retriever then German Shepherd. Once again I think there were multiple fathers involved with this litter. DNA test anyone?
I read this on the Yahoo Answers site and also on many other sites across the internet:
Have you had or seen any litters of puppies with multiple fathers? If you have some stories or photographs please send them to me. I’d love to post them to my blog.