How Many Puppies Can Dogs Have?

If you have a pregnant pooch, you have most likely started questioning the number of pups will be popping out in a few months.

After all, you need to begin preparing yourself for all those cute puppies and buying supplies, so it is necessary to know whether to expect.

Towards completion of the pregnancy, your vet will likely be able to palpate the mama’s tummy or take an x-ray to figure out an “exact” number of young puppies in her tummy (although it can be simple to miss one of the pups, so you’ll never know for sure up until the little wigglers start coming out). But we’ll attempt to describe the essentials of litter size, so you can begin preparing.

A lovely exhaustive research study of the subject was published in 2011. The researchers evaluated over 10,000 litters representing 224 breeds and discovered that the mean (average) litter size in this group was 5.4.

Nevertheless, there’s a reasonable quantity of variation at play. Mini types generally produced litters of 3.5 puppies, while large breeds usually produced 7.1 young puppies per litter.

What’s the Largest Litter Ever Recorded?
In 2004, a Neapolitan mastiff called Tia ended up being the mom of the largest litter ever documented, when she delivered 24 puppies by means of Caesarian section.

This is clearly rather the abnormality, as the majority of dogs produce much smaller sized litters than this. In truth, Neapolitan mastiff litters typically number between 6 and 10 puppies.

A few other notable cases including substantial litters consist of:

– A Springer Spaniel brought to life 14 pups in 2009.
– An Irish setter gave birth to 15 pups in 2017 (on Mother’s Day, no less).
– A white German shepherd named Mosha gave birth to 17 young puppies in 2015.
– In 2016, a Maremma sheepdog brought to life 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 young puppies.

Do you Know How Long Are Dogs in Labor? Read here!

Elements Influencing Litter Size

There are a number of various things that can affect the size of a dog’s litter, and we’ve detailed some of the most crucial ones below. It is tough to empirically determine just how much these different factors affect litter size, and it is likely that the different aspects affect each other to some degree.


A dog’s type is one of the most essential aspects influencing litter size. Basically, bigger breeds produce bigger litters. That’s why Shih Tzus, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas have litters typically ranging from one to 4 young puppies, while Cane Corsos, Great Danes, and other giant breeds typically give birth to eight puppies or more.


Within an offered type, larger individuals typically bring to life larger litters. For instance, a 45-pound Labrador retriever might produce a litter of only five or six puppies, while an 85-pound Lab might produce a litter of 10 or more.


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


Dogs in good health are most likely to produce bigger litters, and they’re likewise most likely to produce healthy pups. In reality, it is necessary that any female slated for reproducing trials be in ideal health to ensure she and the young puppies will endure the birthing and whelping process.


Diet likely has a strong impact on litter size. Some breeders compete that dogs who are fed a high-quality commercial food that is supplemented with high-protein foods (such as meat and cheese) produce larger litters than dogs fed second-rate foods or those fed just high-quality industrial foods (with no additional proteins).

Gene Pool Diversity

The smaller sized 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 bigger litters. This means that dogs from lines that have actually been inbred thoroughly will gradually establish smaller and smaller litters.

Individual Genetic Factors

Dogs are all individuals, who differ in countless methods; sometimes, this can include litter size. This is very challenging to predict, but dogs who produce big first litters and likely to produce large 2nd and 3rd litters, presuming all other factors stay constant.

Keep in mind that the majority of these characteristics connect to the dam (female) rather than the sire (male). Nevertheless, the sire does have some impact on the litter size. His type, size, health, age and private hereditary makeup will partially figure out the size of the litter he sires.

The Number Of Litters Can a Dog Produce in a Year?

Some females can produce several litters within a 12-month period. It just depends upon the dog’s natural cycle, body condition and the desires of the breeder. A handful of canines will cycle rapidly enough to produce 3 or 4 litters in a year, but most dogs only have 2 cycles each year, spaced about six months apart.

But, breeding a female twice in the exact same year is discredited by many breeders. Doing so is very hard on the mother’s body, and numerous think that it will lead to a decline in the total variety of young puppies produced by a dog over her life time. Accordingly, lots of will enable their dog to produce a litter, and after that give her a breather during her next heat cycle. This essentially indicates that they’ll produce one litter per year, according to

However, other breeders see no factor to avoid reproducing dogs in heat, as long as they are healthy and in good physical condition.

In truth, breeders of this mindset typically argue that since fertility reduces with age and most dogs will be six months older with every heat cycle, you can produce more pups over the course of a female’s life by reproducing in back-to-back heat cycles during the prime reproductive years of a dog’s life.

The Number Of Litters or Puppies Can a Dog Produce in Her Lifetime?
Theoretically, a single female dog might produce quite a few litters in her life time. Presuming that a female produced two litters annually beginning at 1 year of age and continued doing so up until she was 8 years of age, she ‘d produce 14 litters over her lifetime.

As formerly pointed out, litter size varies based upon a variety of elements, but for argument’s sake, we’ll assume that she has about five pups in each litter. That indicates that– once again, in theory– a single dog may be physically efficient in producing upwards of 70 pups(!) over the course of her life.

However, this would be madness. Breeding a dog this sometimes would likely jeopardize her health, and this type of pedal-to-the-metal breeding is more particular of pup mills and dishonest breeders than diligent breeders who value the well-being of their puppies.

Furthermore, some of the registration companies will not allow you to sign up an unlimited number of litters. For example, the Kennel Club of the UK will only enable you to register up to six litters from a single mother.

What Breed Produces the Most Puppies?

As pointed out earlier, a dog’s size– and for that reason her type– is probably the most important single factor that affects litter size. Bigger dogs produce bigger litters, so it stands to reason that types with bigger average size will produce more pups than types with smaller sized average body size will.

Put simply, Great Danes will usually produce bigger litters than Chihuahuas will. We can’t find a dependable research study that has looked for to identify the most fertile type, but it is undoubtedly among the largest ones, such as one of the mastiffs, Irish wolfhounds, or Great Danes.

Nevertheless, it is a bit harder to figure out which type will usually produce the most young puppies over the female’s whole life time. This is partly due to the truth that small dogs consistently live much longer than big breeds do. A Pomeranian may, for instance, live to be 15 years of age, while Irish wolfhounds generally just live for about half as long.

So, while the Pomeranian’s litters are likely to be much smaller than those of a wolfhound, the Pomeranian will have the chance to produce many more litters throughout her life.

In addition, little breeds tend to experience their first heat at a younger age than bigger types do (sometimes a whole year earlier). They also tend to cycle faster, which also makes them more likely to produce more litters than bigger types.