Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.

How Many Puppies Can A Dog Have In Their First Litter?

Rachel Poli Author
May 11 ·
how many puppies can a dog have

How many puppies can a dog have in its first litter? Believe it or not, there’s no solid answer to this question. The number will vary depending on a few different factors. So, we explain the answer as in-depth as we can here.

How Many Puppies Can A Dog Have?

The number of puppies that can occur in a litter is typically between one and 12. However, large dog breeds have been known to have up to 15 puppies in a litter.

The overall average number of puppies in a litter is usually five or six puppies.

This amount takes in a few factors. For example, giant dog breeds may have more puppies in a litter because they’re big. On the other hand, small dog breeds will have fewer puppies in a litter because they’re small. It all depends on what they’re body can hold.

In addition, if the mother dog isn’t as healthy as she can be (for instance, she doesn’t have a good nutritional diet), fewer puppies may develop in the womb. 

What About The First Litter?

Believe it or not, the first litter does play a role in how many puppies develop. No matter how many puppies your dog’s breed can typically have in a litter, you can expect them to have less during their first pregnancy.

For example, if your dog can have eight puppies, they may only have four puppies during their first pregnancy.

At this time, your dog’s breed and their health play a small role here. During their first litter, they have fewer puppies because your dog’s body is getting used to carrying. Therefore, it can only hold and carry for so many at a time. 

For every pregnancy after their first litter, you can expect your doggo to have more puppies each time.

What Are The Average Litter Sizes For Some Dog Breeds?

The dog breed’s size factors into how many puppies a female dog can carry during her pregnancy. So, let’s take a look at some of these breeds.

A toy or a small dog breed, such as a Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, or Pomeranian, can have anywhere between one to four puppies in a litter. So, you may only see one or two puppies for their first litter.

In addition, a medium dog breed, such as an Australian Shepherd, Australian Cattle Dog, or a Beagle, can have about three to six puppies. 

Large dog breeds, for example, a Golden Retriever, Doberman, or Pitbull, may have between four and eight puppies in their litter.

Finally, giant dog breeds such as a Mastiff, Cane Corso, or Great Dane can have between eight and ten puppies in a litter. In some cases, they might have more.

Remember, giant dog breeds may have up to 12 puppies and, in some cases, 15 puppies in a single litter.

What Other Factors Are Involved To Determine How Many Puppies A Dog Can Have In A Litter?

In addition to their breed and size, a few other factors can determine the number of puppies your doggo can have.

Timing Of Conception

First, if your dog gets pregnant naturally, they have a higher chance of conceiving more puppies in the same litter. On the other hand, if they’re artificially inseminated, they’ll most likely have fewer puppies.

In addition, if your doggo conceives within 48 hours of ovulating, that may also increase the number of puppies they have.

The Mother’s Age

The younger the mother is, the more puppies she might produce in her litter. They can be fertile for just about their whole lives. However, the older they get, the fewer puppies in a litter will reduce.

For a mother, her prime age to have a litter is between ages two to five. 

The Father

The father can also determine how many puppies can be in the litter, thanks to genetics. For example, if the father came from a large litter, then they may have a higher chance of producing more puppies in a litter.

If the father is in good health and the female’s body reacts well to him, they could have a large litter together. 

Other Factors Involved

Aside from the three mentioned above, there are many other factors involved. We’ve already talked about them lightly, so we’ll mention them again.

The overall health and diet of the mother will determine how many puppies she can carry at one time. For instance, if her body is as healthy as possible, it’ll be able to care for a certain number of puppies to term and then after birth. 

Finally, the number of pregnancies will determine the number of puppies. The first litter will always be special and the smallest because the mother has never done it before. She may have a lot of anxiety about it.

Then, every pregnancy after that, her confidence will grow, and she’ll be able to carry more puppies.

How Many Puppies Will Your Dog Have?

If you have a pregnant pup at home, there are a few ways to guess how many puppies she’ll have. You can also bring her to the vet to get an ultrasound and determine the number. It’s always good to know so that you can properly care for her and the puppies during and after birth. 

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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