How many puppies can a dog have? Getting ready for the arrival of new family members could be fun, but this readiness requires proper calculations. You will have to think about all of the new litter’s necessities that allow them to live happily and healthily. These necessities will cost you, time, and often many other things. Knowing how many puppies your pooch is expecting allows you to better plan her future as well as that of her offspring.
Factors to Mind
A female dog can have as many as 12 puppies during a single delivery, but she can also be a singleton with only one puppy. How many puppies can a dog have? What is the average? Although 5 or 6 is the average litter size for dogs, there are several factors that more specifically determine the number of offspring a dog can produce at one birth. Understanding them allows you to predict more accurately how many puppies your dog will have.
Body size is generally a big factor determining the number of pups in a litter. The bigger the mother’s body is, the more pups can occupy their womb. How many puppies can a dog have depending on her body size? There are two ways body size plays a role in determining litter size: the size of the dog’s body relative to her breed and the one unrelated to her breed. Breeds with smaller body sizes, such as Pomeranian, Chihuahua, and Yorkie, generally have smaller litter than that of larger-bodied breeds like Labrador Retriever and Bullmastiff. Also, a female Bullmastiff with a bigger body generally has more puppies than the one with a smaller body.
We already mention breed as a factor determining body size and therefore litter size, but how many puppies can a dog have according to her breed? Let’s take a look at the average litter size of different dog breeds. Like everything about the body size, everything about the breed is also based on generalization, so don’t get disappointed if the size of your dog’s litter differs from the numbers mentioned below.
- Small Breeds (Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua)
Small breeds include all dogs that weigh between 2 and 22 pounds. In this category, you can find breeds with weight as low as 4 pounds or less, which are often called teacup dogs; slightly larger but still cute dogs called toy dogs; and miniature dogs with a weight that rarely goes beyond 12 pounds. How many puppies can a dog have if she has such a tiny body? Let’s look into some breed samples.
If you have a Pomeranian, she generally will produce between 1 and 4 pups in single labor. How many puppies can a dog have if she is a Yorkie or Chihuahua? She has quite the same average litter size, but you can expect her to produce between 2 and 5 puppies. Other small breeds, such as Shih Tzu, Maltese, and Chinese Crested, also share this average litter size.
- Medium Breeds (Bulldog, Dalmatian, Australian Shepherd)
Many people love medium breeds because they don’t look as intimidating as larger breeds but also aren’t as hyperactive as smaller breeds. Dogs of medium breeds generally weigh between 24 and 57 pounds. How many puppies can a dog have if she is of a medium breed? Again, let’s take a look at some breed samples to determine their average litter size.
Because medium breeds are on the sweet spot between small and large breeds, their average litter size may vary a lot depending on their specific breed. A bulldog, for instance, may only produce between 3 and 4 puppies, but a dalmatian can produce a much larger number of offspring. How many puppies can a dog have if she is a dalmatian? The litter size can reach a staggering number of 15 or even 18, but the average number remains between 6 and 9. Australian Shepherd, another medium-sized breed, has an average litter size of 6 to 7. Generally speaking, the range can be quite large, but we can safely pin an average number between 3 and 6.
- Large and Giant Breeds (German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, Mastiff)
How many puppies can a dog have if it has a relatively large body? Large and giant breeds generally produce a slightly bigger litter size compared with medium breeds. Dogs with a weight between 59 and 100 pounds have an average litter size between 5 and 9, but the real number varies depending on the dog’s specific size. Let’s figure out that number based on some breed samples below.
Unlike medium breeds, large and giant breeds generally have less varied average litter sizes. A German Shepherd, for instance, can produce between 5 and 9 puppies, which are similar in terms of litter size to Alaskan Malamute. Certain large breeds, such as Boxer, generally have 5 to 7 puppies, but they can also have as many as 13 puppies in single labor. So, how many puppies can a dog have if she is of a large breed, you can take 5 to 9 as a safe range.
Number of Pregnancies
Another important factor that determines a dog’s litter size is her number of pregnancies. How many puppies can a dog have during her first pregnancy? The number is generally lower than that of her second or third pregnancy. Generally, dogs tend to have more puppies the more they get pregnant.
Health and Nutrition
How many puppies can a dog have if you can maintain her health and provide her with a good diet? You have read about the average litter size based on the dog breed above. If you can make sure that your dog is healthy and well-fed, you can expect her to reach or even go beyond the ceiling of the average range. Besides, a healthy dog also tends to produce healthy puppies. Therefore, health and nutrition affect not only the quantity of the offspring but also their quality. Take good care of your dog and she will have a lot of healthy puppies.