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How Many Puppies Can A Dog Have – Know the Litter Size of your Pet

If you have a pregnant dog, it is extremely important for you to consider the various circumstances you have to experience. For instance, how long are dogs pregnant, how you can be of help to your pregnant dog, how many pups it can have, and what are all things you’ll need to take care of once its pups are out. This can be a mentally exhausting phase for you and the pregnant dog as well. You have to look for the safe health of the mother and her babies. For everything to go smoothly, you need to be prepared and familiarize yourself with the whole process. Before anything, everyone’s common question might be, ‘how many puppies can a dog have?’. Well, if you, too, are one among them, you’ve landed at the perfect place.

On average, the dog litter size will be around 4 to 6 pups. But this number may change depending upon various factors like health, age, and breed of the mama dog. Moreover, many of our loyal buddies are popular for having puppies that fall out of this average litter range. Some may give birth to just 1, while some may give birth to around 20 puppies. A rough estimate of the number of puppies expected can be determined by an x-ray conducted by your trusted veterinarian doctor.

Factors Affecting the Dog Litter Size

There are many agents that are responsible for affecting litter size. But none of them is solely responsible for it, as it ranges from one doggie to another. Nonetheless, it’s good to go through all of those factors for better comprehension.

#1 Breed

A dog’s breed is one important determiner of litter size. Generally, the bigger dogs can carry more puppies as they have the strength and the size for it. Besides, large litters can be risky to a mother dog (the dam) owing to delivery issues, especially in smaller canines. Furthermore, some pooches may be stillborn, and the dam may get exhausted during delivery.

#2 Age

The dam’s age could also help an individual in determining the size of a litter. Younger dams usually undergo larger litter. Though in some studies, it’s been observed that usually, the 3rd or the 4th pregnancy sees a larger litter. Another important part is that a male dog’s (sire) age also plays a significant role in this case. Sire’s sperm, after 5 years, starts to lose its strength and ability to fuse with its partner’s eggs.

#3 Nutrition

Nutrition greatly influences the number of puppies your pet can give birth to. To increase the odds of having a larger litter, a high-protein dog food is necessary for a canine to consume throughout the year. Dams that eat poorly, particularly those that are overweight, have fewer whelps in their litter.

#4 Health

Dams in excellent health are more likely to have a bigger litter and also healthier puppies. In fact, every female set for breeding must be in great condition in order for her and the puppies to survive the childbirth and whelping procedure.

How Many Puppies Can A Dog Have?

An average dog litter will have 4 to 6 puppies, as already mentioned. It depends on your pet’s health, size, breed, and pregnancy history. However, large breeds can have up to 15 pups. Larger breeds tend to carry more puppies in comparison to smaller ones. Well, when it comes to ‘how many puppies can a small dog have?’, we can say that it simply may have lower pups compared to the larger ones. This is because pets with smaller sizes may not be able to carry more babies.

Furthermore, the dam will have a smaller litter when it is her first pregnancy. Its later pregnancies will see an increment in the litter size. So when it comes to ‘how many puppies can a dog have first time?’ we will say it may be less than average. One needs to take very good care of their pet, of what she eats or what her regular patterns are. Always remember that a healthy mother would give birth to a healthy litter. On average, different dog breeds may have a different number of puppies in a litter:

  • Labrador Retriever – 5 to 10
  • German Shepherd – 5 to 9
  • Bullmastiff – 5 to 13
  • American Cocker Spaniel – 3 to 7
  • Yorkie and Chihuahua – 2 to 5

How Many Litters Can A Dog Have In 1 Year?

Have any idea how many litters can a dog have In 1 year? Some female canines are able to produce multiple litters in a single year, though it entirely depends upon their breed, size, and health. Besides, some of our furry friends have their pregnancy cycle 3 or 4 times a year, while some only have 2 cycles. According to some breeders, breeding twice a year is unacceptable as it messes up with the overall health of a mother’s body. While canines can have several litters throughout their life, it’s vital to remember that each pregnancy impacts your loyal buddy’s health. As a result, many conscientious breeders will only allow a particular mom to have a few litters.

How Many Litters Can A Dog Have In Lifetime?

Many pet owners might have wondered ‘how many times can a dog have puppies in its lifetime?’. Well, here we go. According to basic calculations, a female canine is capable of breeding quite a few times in her lifetime. Its litter size, as we’ve talked about before, varies depending on various factors. But if we were to roughly estimate the number of puppies it can have, let’s consider this situation; If a pet breeds twice a year and each time she gives birth to at least 5 puppies, then in a lifetime of 8 years, she would be able to give birth to around 80 puppies.

However, this is a crazy number, and it would take a serious toll on the mother’s health. Compromising a dog’s health like this would be madness. When we consult a vet and ask him how many litters of puppies can a dog have, he would say it must be limited to ensure the mama’s health. Legally, a dog can have up to 5 litters in a lifetime. This ensures the fine health of both the dam and her puppies.

#1 Breeds With Large Litter Sizes

Because larger dogs have a larger litter, it stands to reason that breeds with greater average body sizes will have more pups than breeds with lower average body sizes. However, determining which breed’s female would typically produce the most puppies during its whole life is a bit more challenging. This is owing, in part, to the fact that little canines often have far longer lives than large ones. Furthermore, tiny ones have their first heat at a younger age than bigger animals (sometimes an entire year earlier). They also tend to cycle faster, making them more likely to have more litter than bigger breeds.

Average Litter Sizes

The average litter size can be 5 to 6 dogs, while a normal one may range from 1 to 12. However, just as every breed varies in terms of size, function, and personality, so do litter sizes. So here is the average litter size of the most popular breeds of dogs.

Dachshund Litter Size

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Dachshunds have 1 to 6 whelps in a litter, making 5 an average. But this number may depend upon their size. Largest litter size that is popular: 8+ 

Rottweiler Litter Size

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Litter of a Rottweiler ranges from 6 to 12 puppies, which makes 8 an average number. But if the dam gives birth to just 2 puppies in her first pregnancy, then it is absolutely normal. Largest litter size that is popular: 18

Poodle Litter Size

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Poodles’ litter size mostly depends upon their size. On average, she may have 7 puppies if it is a normal poodle, but if it is a mini poodle, then she may have 3 pooches. Largest litter size that is popular: 16

Labrador Retriever Litter Size

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Depending on the various factors like size, age, health, and diet of a mama, a Labrador Retriever’s litter size may range from 5 to 10 puppies. Litter size in the first pregnancy is expected to be small. Largest litter size that is popular: 15

German Shepherd Litter Size

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Since German Shepherds are big in size, they can have a larger litter size. Their average number of pooches in a normal litter could be anywhere between 1 to 15. Largest litter size that is popular: 17

Bulldog Litter Size

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Bulldogs are a bit tricky during pregnancies because some might require the full attention of a vet while some may even need a c-section. This is due to the size of the puppies, which is a bit too big for the birth canal of the dam. Regardless, their litter size is mostly 3 to 4 puppies. Largest litter size that is popular: 16

Golden Retriever Litter Size

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Like other female dogs, the first litter of a female golden retriever can be smaller than her later ones. Since golden retrievers are big dogs, their litter size ranges from 6 to 2 pups. Largest litter size that is popular: 17

French Bulldog Litter Size

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It’s quite rare for french bulldogs to be able to give birth to more than 5 puppies. Their litter size, on average, ranges from 3 to 4 puppies. They are usually birthed through c-section. Largest litter size that is popular: 7

How Long Does A Dog Carry Her Puppies?

Now, one great question which might have crossed our eager minds at once will be ‘how long do dogs stay pregnant?’. Well, pregnancy in dogs typically lasts 58 to 68 days. This fluctuates according to a number of factors, including the female’s age, health, and breed. It might also be difficult to predict when a baby will be born. However, it is assumed that your pet will be pregnant for at least 2 months, if not a bit longer. So, all those who are wondering, ‘how long is a dog pregnant?’ should understand that 2 months can be an average period.


Dogs and puppies are literally cute and make everyone awestruck. But these adorable creatures need some extra care from us. Whenever you suspect your loyal buddy of being pregnant, make it a point to take her to the vet. Only then can you be completely sure of the requirements she’ll need during and after the birthing process. Do not fret about the litter size, and make arrangements for every situation possible. Like a human needs love and warmth, canines need them too, especially during their pregnancy days. Moreover, individuals will be wanting to know the answer to ‘how to tell if a dog is pregnant?’. Well, a pet’s weight gain, increased appetite, and sensitivity toward certain things will be your cues. A female canine’s hunger and cravings may also increase during pregnancy, so one should provide proper nutrition, too!