If you are just getting into dog breeding, you likely have plenty of questions, and the one we get most frequently is how many puppies a dog can have in a single litter. The average litter size for most breeds is five or six puppies.
However, keep reading while we look at how large some litters can get. We’ll even discuss the world record for the largest litter and what dog breed was responsible for it.
The 2023 Guinness World Record for Largest Litter Goes To…
The largest litter stands at 24 puppies. On November 29th of 2004, these two-dozen puppies were born to a Mastiff named Tia in the United Kingdom. The breeders were Damian Ward and Anne Kellegher of Manea, Cambridgeshire, UK. So far, no dogs have produced more puppies than a single litter, but a few have gotten close.
Close But Not Quite
In 2014, a Sheepdog named Stella gave birth to a whopping 17 pups at once. The dog delivered the puppies with the help of a veterinarian in California. The veterinarian on duty had never seen so many at once and was quite surprised when the puppies started arriving one after the other, and the number began to rise.
In March of 2018, a tiny mother Chihuahua named Laugh Out Loud gave birth to an amazing 11 puppies. Labor took place in the family’s home and lasted for 12 hours. We’re willing to bet the parents of this lucky dog stopped breeding for a while after this happy surprise.
In 2020, a Labrador, also named Stella—must be a lucky name—surprised her owners by giving birth to 14 puppies. Stella was 6 years old and gave birth to the most puppies ever by a Labrador. The owner said Stella gave birth several times, but those litters were all the standard number of five or six puppies before this small miracle occurred.
In 2019, a Dalmatian named Melody gave birth to 19 puppies at once in Australia. Melody’s owner states that her dog gained more than 30 pounds when she was preparing to deliver, and they had no idea so many puppies were about to arrive. Then in 2020, a breeder from Texas reported that her Dalmatian gave birth to 16 puppies at once, starting what could be a trend in this breed.
In 2015 the world’s largest Pit Bull gave birth to eight puppies. While the number of puppies in this litter may not be as impressive as others on this list, the cash value certainly is. These puppies are worth a combined total of $500,000, far exceeding the value of all 24 Mastiffs holding our top spot.
Great Dane and Bulldog Mix
A Great Dane and Bulldog mix named Mary Jane was responsible for a 21-puppy litter in 2020. The owner, Joanne, was proud of her dog for successfully delivering all the puppies naturally, though she was surprised because the vet first told her she would only be having six to eight puppies. As the due date approached, further examinations revealed that there would be many more puppies born.
A Small Dispute
Because Mary Jane delivered the puppies naturally while Tia, the current record holder, delivered them via C-section, there is some debate over who holds the world record for the most puppies born in a single litter. However, the current record reflects Tias 24 puppies as the world record.
While the world record currently stands at 24 puppies, you can see there are many instances where a dog can have more than the expected number of puppies, so it’s always best to prepare for the worst. Even a few extra puppies can mean a lot of work, and it can be difficult to rehome them, so we recommend frequent checkups while your dog is pregnant so you can find out about additional puppies as soon as possible.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this short guide, and it has helped answer your questions. If you are excited about your dog and hope it has more puppies than usual, please share this guide to the world record for most puppies in a single litter on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Renata Apanaviciene, Shutterstock