How can you tell how many puppies you have? The Ultimate Guide

Can you tell how many puppies a dog will have by their nipples?

Dog Nipples Do Not Predict Litter Size

Telling a dog’s litter size by the number of nipples she has is an old belief. This simply isn’t true. Typically, large or small, male or female, dogs have eight to 10 nipples. This number can vary, but this is the average count.

If youre serious about knowing how many puppies your dog may have, your safest bet is to have a veterinarian conduct an ultrasound on the expectant mother. These scans can generally offer reliable numbers. Her bulging belly cant reveal too much from the outside, after all. A vet can feel for babies after a certain point in gestation, but dont try it yourself.

If you take all types of dogs into consideration, litters average between 6 and 10 tiny puppies, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay reports. This range is an average: Many mother dogs indeed bear fewer than six or more than 10 offspring in a single litter.

Pregnancy can be physically taxing on bitches physiques, using up minerals, proteins, energy and the like — especially in cases of big litters. If a female dog previously gave birth to a sizable litter, her next might be a small one. If her previous litter was tiny, she might instead have a big bunch this time around.

When guessing how many puppies a dog may have, look at her size. If shes a massive Bernese mountain dog, her litter may include up to 20 youngsters, the Humane Society of Utah says. If shes a diminutive Lhasa apso, however, the number is likely to be drastically lower — anywhere from three to eight pups at once. A midsize pooch may be somewhere in between. But your dog may be exceptional. A Bernese mountain dog may produce a smaller litter than usual, and a Lhasa may have a larger one. Pomeranians are an example of a breed that typically produces tiny litters; golden retrievers usually have big ones.

A mother dogs age is also a factor in litter size. If a bitch is barely past her puppy stage, she is more likely to have a tiny litter. This also applies to older female dogs — those over 5 years old. If a dog is on the older side with her first-ever pregnancy, say 4 years or older, she also may have fewer puppies than the more youthful mamas.

What’s the Largest Litter Ever Recorded?

In 2004, a Neapolitan mastiff named Tia became the mother of the largest litter ever documented, when she delivered 24 puppies via Caesarian section.

This is obviously quite the anomaly, as most dogs produce much smaller litters than this. In fact, Neapolitan mastiff litters typically number between 6 and 10 puppies.

A few other notable cases involving huge litters include:

  • A Springer Spaniel gave birth to 14 puppies in 2009.
  • An Irish setter gave birth to 15 puppies in 2017 (on Mother’s Day, no less).
  • A white German shepherd named Mosha gave birth to 17 puppies in 2015.
  • In 2016, a Maremma sheepdog gave birth to a litter of 17 – which set the California state record for litter size.
  • A bullmastiff produced a litter of 23 puppies in 2014.
  • In 2014, a 3-year-old Great Dane gave birth to a litter of 19 puppies.
  • There are a number of different things that can influence the size of a dog’s litter, and we’ve detailed some of the most important ones below. It is difficult to empirically determine how much these various factors influence litter size, and it is likely that the various factors influence each other to some degree.

    A dog’s breed is one of the most important factors influencing litter size. Simply put, larger breeds produce larger litters. That’s why Shih Tzus, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas have litters typically ranging from one to four puppies, while Cane Corsos, Great Danes, and other giant breeds often give birth to eight puppies or more.

    Within a given breed, individuals with larger body sizes (in terms of build, not weight) typically give birth to larger litters. For example, a 45-pound Labrador retriever may produce a litter of only five or six puppies, while an 85-pound Lab may produce a litter of 10 or more.

    While dogs typically remain fertile for their entire lives, they are most fecund during early adulthood – usually between 2 and 5 years of age. However, a dog’s first litter is generally smaller than subsequent litters.

    Dogs in good health are more likely to produce larger litters, and they’re also more likely to produce healthy puppies. In fact, it is imperative that any female slated for breeding trials be in perfect health to ensure she and the puppies will survive the birthing and whelping process.

    Diet likely has a strong influence on litter size. Feeding your dog a nutritious, well-balanced diet will likely yield larger litter sizes than feeding a homemade or poor-quality food.

    The smaller a dog’s gene pool is, the smaller her litters will tend to be; conversely, dogs who come from more diverse backgrounds tend to have larger litters. This means that dogs from lines that have been inbred extensively will slowly develop smaller and smaller litters.

    Dogs are all individuals, who vary in countless ways; sometimes, this can include litter size. This is very difficult to predict, but dogs who produce large first litters and likely to produce large second and third litters, assuming all other factors remain constant.

    Note that most of these traits relate to the dam (female) rather than the sire (male). However, the sire does have some influence on the litter size. His health, age, and individual genetic makeup will partially determine the size of the litter he sires.

    How can you tell how many puppies you have?

    How Many Puppies Will She Have?

    Determining the litter size of your dog can be helpful in many ways. For starters, its important for the mother dogs health. If the litter is determined to be too large, it may cause dystocia, the medical term used to depict birthing complications.

    Secondly, knowing in advance the number of the litter may help reputable breeders determine how many puppies will go out to their new homes. Responsible breeders should have a waiting list of potential future dog owners before the actual mating is scheduled.

    Last but not least, knowing the litter size may help estimate income for those breeders who breed more for the money.

    You may be planning a breeding and wondering how you can increase the size of the litter, or you may have bred already and wonder how you find out the size of the litter in advance. In this article, we will tackle both instances, starting with how you can up your chances for a larger litter.