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How many puppies can a Dog have

If you have a pregnant dog, you may wonder how many puppies you are expecting. It is also a common question for all dog owners having the first experience of a dog litter. How many puppies can your dog have depends on several factors. Stay with this article to find out in details.

Factors Determining Litter size

There are several numbers of factors that can affect the litter size. The largest litter size ever found is 24 puppies by caesarean operation. Scientists found that the average litter size of dogs is 5.4. Let’s know some important factors to guess the litter size:


The most important factor to determine the litter size is your dog’s breed. Dogs of a larger breed, produce a larger litter. For example, Cane Corsos and Great Danes will give birth to more puppies comparing to the smaller breeds like Pomeranians and Chihuahuas.


Even in the larger breeds, a large dog has a large litter. In the same breed, a dog with 45 pounds will produce fewer puppies comparing to the dog having 80 to 100 pounds.

Mating Process

When your dog is bred for one time in her heat cycle, she is likely to have few puppies. For a larger litter size, your dog should breed more than once. Also, if your dog is bred exactly during the ovulating period, you can expect a large litter. Artificial insemination isn’t more effective than natural one. So, natural insemination is advised.

Physical Condition

Obese dogs, a weak physical condition during pregnancy will have smaller litters compared to others. Diet during a pregnancy is also a major factor. Don’t feed your dog too much commercial food products during pregnancy. High protein in the food supplied can result in smaller litter size. So, during the pregnancy period, don’t give your dog high protein foods.

Determining the Litter Size

Ultrasound test and radiograph can identify the number of puppies after the third week of pregnancy. Consult a vet nearby your area.

Dog with her PuppiesAverage Dog litter size by Breed

For your convenience, average litter size is given below for famous dog breeds:

  • The average of Labrador Retrievers is 7.6 puppies per litter.
  • German Shepherds have an average of 6.6 pups per litter
  • American Cocker Spaniels have an average litter of 5
  • Shetland Sheep dogs have an average of 4.3 pups per litter
  • Yorkshire Terriers have an average of 3.3 pups per litter
  • The famous Chihuahuas have an average of 3.3 pups per litter
  • The Pitbull gives 3 or 5  puppies in first litter. In average, it gives 6 pups per litter. We have also a Detail article on Pitbull litter size.

We hope that these statistics will help you to estimate the litter size when your dog is expecting. Even if you want to adopt a dog for breeding, this calculation can help you a lot. Remember that, inbreeding and mix breeding doesn’t guarantee you a sure prediction. In such cases, new genes are introduced and it becomes difficult to predict the outcome.

Final Verdict

We hope that now you have a clear idea about expecting a litter size. In short, if you plan a large litter, go for larger dog breeds. You also need to take good care of your dog during the pregnancy period. Not all puppies are going to survive in a large litter even if you take advice regularly from your vet. However, you need to be careful about the new born puppies.

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