On the other side, some dogs will go into heat every year. Talk to the owner. Small-breed puppies are typically several inches smaller than large-breed puppies, regardless of the number of dogs in the litter. While several of the above factors may not be under the breeder’s control, several other are. The AKC recommends that females begin breeding during their second heat. While litter size can impact many aspects of whelping and raising puppies, it does not actually impact the size of the individual puppies. You have been warned. Not every litter will have a runt, but this puppy is the smallest one of the litter. According to veterinarian Kathleen Hefner, writing for the American Kennel Club, most puppies who die soon after birth were probably born from malnourished mothers. Puppies learn a whole lot from their littermates in the first couple of months of life, and if they don't have any littermates there's only so much their mom can teach them. Dog litter sizes vary from one puppy to more than a dozen newborns. Females also commonly produce increasingly larger litters with each pregnancy through their first four years of life. Laura Payne has been freelance writing for several online publications in her free time since 2006. According to the American Kennel Club, one of the biggest factors in litter size is breed. How do I choose a healthy pup? Usually, the size of a dog litter is mainly based on the dog’s body size — simply because biologically, bigger bodies are able to carry a larger litter size than smaller bodies. Ask about appetite and eliminations. Size – even within a particular breed, a smaller dog will produce fewer pups. Obviously, a dog that is going into heat once a year will usually have fewer litters than dogs who are going into heat every six months since there will be longer periods between each litter. When the dog is physically healthy and looks happy you can try to analyze their temperament as soon as you make contact. This can lead to a pretty big singleton. Even though litter size does not impact puppy size, large litters can cause problems for the mother dog and her new babies. Large-breed dogs, such as Great Danes, usually have larger litters, 10 to 12 puppies being common. She is saying that my dog is not being well taken care of because she is smaller than all the others from the same litter, and tells me that my dog was not a runt. American Kennel Club; The Care and Feeding of the Breeding Bitch Part One; Kathleen Hefner. Unusually small puppies are not a result of large litters. This is in part because of their very small size, which limits their capacity to carry large litters. Dog litter allows dogs, usually smaller breeds, to use the facilities indoors without a lot of hassle. Because the unborn puppies share the nutrition she takes in from her food, she needs an ample diet to properly nourish the puppies. not at all.. all dogs have different sizes of litters, usually small dogs have smaller litters, while as a large dog will have large litters. Another consideration for litter size is the method of fertilization. I have a very nosy neighbor who has a puppy from the same litter as I do. For instance, Normally, a litter of purebred pups will all look similar. However, her compatibility with the stud is an important consideration as well. Smaller dog breeds have fewer pups per litter. CONTENTS toggle all. Indeed, online dog forums are awash with anecdotes from owners who brought home the smallest puppy in the litter, then watched in disbelief as they reached the highest weight ranges for their breed. The first four to five litters of a female dog generally are larger than litters produced after the fifth breeding. Larger litters are more likely when the male dog is under the age of five years with the potential to produce quality sperm in greater quantities. The parents' genes, the puppy's breed, and the mother's health and nutrition determine the puppies' size at birth. Some dogs, especially in small and toy breeds, will go into heat every four or five months. Premature Puppies & Litters — Health, Care, Preterm Birthing & FAQ. Number of Pregnancies – first time pregnancies tend to produce fewer puppies. What kind of dog do you want: big or small, long haired or short haired, pure bred or sweetly mixed? These sperm are better able to reach and penetrate the female’s eggs. Of course, you shouldn't judge a dog's temperament on a day they're feeling a bit down. Choosing a litter bred from a relatively unknown sire may help. In general, smaller dog breeds have smaller litters because their body size does not allow them to carry large litters. Have you located a litter of available pups? Great Pyrenees breeder Catherine de la Cruz warns that large litters can trigger earlier-than-expected whelping, which can be a problem for the puppies' unprepared human grandparents. The female dog’s age also can influence her litter size. In Conclusion A pet parent or breeder can choose their breed, breed them at the optimum time, and feed them highly nutritious meals throughout the year. This puppy is often pushed out of the way and left out by the other puppies. The puppies will be most likely bigger at birth and might be fatter. Inbred dogs and their health problems. Average Puppy Litter Size There is no such thing as a normal puppy litter size. On the other hand, theoretically speaking, males can sire a limitless number of litters. A larger dog will produce more pups. This might not lead to much difficulty when it occurs in a large breed, like, say an English Mastiff or a Saint Bernard, but if it occurs in a small breed, there could be significant … Without sufficient food, the puppies will not reach appropriate size and may suffer health problems. Instead, their size can usually be traced back to the health and nutrition of the mother dog before and during her pregnancy. Most of the small breeds, notably the toys and terriers usually produce very small litters. Dogs have a peak litter size between the age of 3 and 7 years, after which the number of puppies in a litter decreases. In general, smaller dog breeds have smaller litters because their body size does not allow them to carry large litters. Dams with less than healthy diets, including those that are overweight, yield smaller litters. Do you know how to pick just the right pup from the litter to call your very own? With this in mind, if your furry friend came from a single-puppy litter, you'll need to put in a little extra work to … Unusually small puppies are not a result of large litters. There is one circumstance where it's good to buy from a bitch's third overall litter, though. When a bitch has a litter of more than around three pups (or sometimes even with very small litters too) there will often be a pup that is smaller, more fragile and slower to develop than the other pups, and that may also be more prone to being frailer or unhealthy-this is what we call the runt of the litter. Weigh your puppies twice a day and take them to the veterinarian if they are not gaining weight normally or are losing weight. A Norwegian Kennel Clu b study conducted in 2006 and 2007 bears this out. Instead, their size can usually be traced back to the health and nutrition of the mother dog before and during her pregnancy. If the mother's uterus attempts to carry more puppies than she can physically handle, her life and the puppies' lives can be threatened. I think I do need to go back and re-ask about your views in regard to large vs small litters and competition for food. But, all thing being equal, by the time they mature they will be the same as if the litter was the normal size for this breed; size the pups will be is decided by their genes. Dogs in good health are more likely to produce larger litters, and they’re also more likely to produce healthy puppies. She has also written more than 200 blog posts, articles, and ebooks on wedding and party planning on behalf of professionals in the field. A dam in her prime and at the peak of her breeding age will be a dam most likely to have a large litter of healthy pups, and like for like across any given dog breed, the litter of a dam under the age of two or one that is approaching the start of old age is likely to have a smaller litter. While 101 dalmatians may be quite a stretch, the size of some dog’s litters can be upwards of 18 puppies. VCA Animal Hospitals: Did You Bring Home the Runt of the Litter? No, just because the litter is small doesn't mean that the puppies won't be healthy. In fact, there is more variation in the potential litter size of large dog breeds than small dog breeds. Copyright 2021 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. About the Author Amy Jorgensen has ghostwritten more than 100 articles and books on raising and training animals. If she is unhealthy before or during pregnancy, the number of puppies in her litter tends to be smaller. Managing Females – A Dog's First Litter First time mommas are a handful, mostly because they can't call their mom and ask if this is normal! So a small but healthy puppy is by no means guaranteed to become a smaller than average dog. Research shows older mother dogs have smaller litters than younger canine moms. Also, dogs who had their first litter at an older age will have smaller litters. The mother's weight can be a factor. This puppy needs special care and attention to make sure it gets enough food. Depending on the breed, a healthy newborn puppy can weigh between 4.2 and 22 ounces (120 to 625 g). if a large dog has a small litter (say 3 or 4) it might be that the female dog was not well bred or not exactly healthy It depends on the size of your dog and how well she was bred. I have had litters of just 3 pups to litters of 13 pups, the larger litters start out with smaller sized pups, than what a small litter would consist of, but in the end, when everyone grows up, given the proper diet & exercise, they all catch up in size, and bone structure. Not every litter of puppies has a runt; Runts of litters are generally healthy but must monitor their weight and ensure proper nutrition; What accounts for runt puppies is not being fertilized later than the other eggs, it is their placement within the uterine horn; Clifford the Big Red Dog is a runt but thrives so much that he grows to be 25 feet tall Mothers health – The health condition of a female pup is important when it comes to litter size. It is best to feed a pregnant dog only a quality commercial dog food with no supplements. However, any pregnant mom can experience a large litter relative to normal within her breed. You can have unhealthy puppies in a large litter as well. The … Obese female dogs tend to have smaller litters than healthy-weight dogs. Health. She holds a Master of Arts in linguistics from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Oakland University. The runt is the smallest puppy of the litter, but that doesn’t mean it is the most submissive. She is also an amateur dog trainer. A breeder can boost the mom’s health with nutritious food, exercise, and prenatal care. Breeding dogs after the age of 7 years increases the chances of having a single puppy litter. But in the larger breeds there are wide variations in litter size ranging from 1 to 21 and in a some instances they have been larger. Single puppy pregnancy tends to occur more in small or miniature breeds. Assuming that the average litter size is 7 puppies, one female dog and her babies can have as many as 67.000 new puppies in just 6 years. With artificial insemination, not all of the harvested sperm survives and fewer sperm to fertilize the eggs can result in a smaller litter. Getting a puppy? Little dogs have small litters, medium-sized dogs have mid-size litters, and big dogs tend toward large litters. Additionally, nutritionist Russ Kelly found that adding extra protein supplements to a female dog’s diet during pregnancy actually decreases the odds that she will have a large litter. There are several factors that contribute to the size of a litter of puppies, not the least of which is the size of the breed of dog. Being common factors do contribute can do an ultrasound to estimate the size of large litters Great! 2007 bears this out the … Dams with less than healthy diets, including those that are overweight it good. Is breed, not all of the puppies will be most likely bigger at birth and might fatter. Terriers usually produce very small litters and competition for food between 4.2 and 22 (! No means guaranteed to become a smaller than average dog the fifth breeding linguistics from Wayne State and! A pregnant dog only a quality commercial dog food with no supplements a dog. Usually occurs between six and 18 months every year obese female dogs are likely... 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