How Many Puppies Can Dogs Have?
If you are expecting new puppies soon, you are probably anticipating how many you should plan for. This can be an extremely exciting time, yet full of apprehension. You want to make sure your pregnant dog has a safe and healthy delivery. You also want to know when she is done with her birthing process.
If you do not know when your dog is due, use our canine pregnancy calculator to get a general due date.
Find Out How Many Puppies in a Litter
The best thing you can do to prepare is to schedule an appointment with your vet. The perfect time for this is after the 45th day of her pregnancy. Your vet can take an x-ray of her belly and tell you how many puppies to look for during delivery.
During this appointment, your vet can also go over the birthing process. They can help prepare you for what to expect and how to help your dog. They will also tell you what not to do, as well as how to know if your dog may need professional help. Have a backup plan or know where your local emergency animal hospital is located. Know their phone number or have it saved in your phone.
They will also go over nutrition for your dog. At this stage in their pregnancy, they should be transitioned to a food high in calories and nutrients. A high performance food could work, but puppy food is perfectly fine as well! You will need it soon anyways, for when the puppies are weaned to dry food weeks later.
What Are Typical Puppy Litter Sizes?
The average dog litter size can have anywhere from 1 puppy up to 12. Some larger breeds can have up to 15 puppies! The range is very wide. It really depends on the breed, size, pregnancy history, and health of your dog.
- Breed – larger dog breeds usually have larger litter sizes. Smaller dog breeds have fewer pups per litter.
- Size – even within a particular breed, a smaller dog will produce fewer pups. A larger dog will produce more pups.
- Number of Pregnancies – first time pregnancies tend to produce fewer puppies. If this is your dog’s second or third litter, they will probably produce more pups than they did the first time.
- Health and Nutrition – the health of the pregnant dog is a huge factor in how many puppies they have. Good nutrition is paramount to being able to produce multiple puppies that can develop and survive the entire pregnancy process.
How Many Puppies Can a Pitbull or Other Dog Breeds Have?
Pitbulls can have anywhere from 1 to 10 puppies. Though, they will usually have 2-6. Here is a breakdown of litter size averages, based off dog breeds:
|Breed Size & Type||# Puppies/Litter|
|Miniature/Teacup (Teacup Chihuahua)||1-2|
|Small (Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Pomeranian)||1-4|
|Medium (Australian Shepherd, Cattle Dog)||3-6|
|Large (Pitbull, Doberman, Golden Retriever)||4-8|
|Giant (Cane Corso, Great Dane, Mastiff)||8-10+|
Even though some dogs can have many puppies, this does not always mean every single puppy will survive. It is not uncommon for a dog to produce 8 puppies, but only 5 of them survive. Some may be born stillborn, and others may not survive the first 24 hours of life.
How Many Puppies Should You Expect?
The number of puppies your dog can have varies widely. Smaller breed dogs usually only have 1-4 pups per litter. Medium and larger breed dogs can have upwards of 10-15 pups per litter. That being said, even some larger breed dogs may only have 1-2 puppies.
The best way to know for sure and prepare properly ahead of time is to have your vet do an x-ray on your pregnant dog’s belly. This can be done after the 45th day of their pregnancy. This is usually about 2 weeks before their estimated due date.
If you have questions your local vet will be able to answer your specific questions. They will need to examine your dog in order to give you specific answers.
Leslie Brooks graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. After graduation she moved to Indianapolis to do an intensive one-year internship at a specialty practice and then began working as a small animal general practitioner. She ran her own house call practice for three years, visiting pets in people’s homes. Currently, she works part time in clinical practice and volunteering her free time to serve pets of the homeless. Read more about us here.