How Many Puppies Can a Chihuahua Have?
Whether you are eagerly anticipating the arrival of your pet chihuahua's pups, or you are unsure whether she is pregnant, we are here to help. Because this breed is the smallest in the world, their litter size usually does not exceed 1 to 3 puppies. However, there are exceptions. It can be dangerous if your chihuahua has become pregnant by a larger dog, as she may be too tiny to handle labor. We will elaborate on this and more in our oneHOWTO article: how many puppies can a chihuahua have?
Signs & symptoms that your Chihuahua is pregnant
If you think your dog may be pregnant but are not quite sure, look out for these signs and symptoms. It is vital you are there for your pregnant pooch during this time. Unlike humans, a chihuahua's gestation period will last an average of 63 days. The earliest they seem to go into labor is around 2 or 3 days early, and may go 2 to 3 days late. She will go through many similar changes just as a woman would.
- Reduced Appetite and some light vomiting
- Lethargic and not as energetic as normal
- She may have an upset stomach (like morning sickness)
- Her stomach will enlarge quickly. Faster than humans and most other dog breeds.
- Enlarged nipples and previously recessed teats will emerge.
- She will clean herself more thoroughly and appear to be "nesting".
Things to remember:-
- Her stomach will be visibly swollen around 15 to 30 days after conception.
- By day 45, x-rays will be able to show the puppies.
- Your bitch will go into labor between 60 and 65 days. 63 is the average length of a dog's pregnancy.
A female Chihuahua can also occasionally have a false pregnancy. Although it has not been determined why, she can have an imbalance of chemicals. This triggers her body into "thinking" she is pregnant with puppies. When this happens, the belly can swell, the dog will have an increase in breast tissue and the dog may even begin to produce milk! If this happens to your pup, these symptoms will fade in about a month or so. Always check with your vet if you are concerned or unsure.
Factors that influence litter size
The Chihuahua weighs one or two kilograms (2.3 to 4.6 pounds) and is between 15 and 20 centimeters (7.9 to 11.8 inches) tall. It's the smallest dog in the world and the most popular of all small dogs. A variety of factors determine the size of a chihuahua's litter:
- If your dog's mother had large litters, she may too. Litter size can be influenced by their parents health.
- Physical condition is more influential though. For example, an obese dog is more likely to have a small litter size.
- Age is an important factor too. Litters are smaller when females are younger and when they're older than when they're 3 to 5 years old range tend to have more puppies.
- The size of your dog will influence her litter size as well. Since the chihuahua is the smallest breed, her litter size will be small too.
- Her diet is also a major influence. Good nutrition is important to maximize the size of a litter.
Litter size is also determined by the time of breeding. It can also depend on how strong the male dog's sperm was or if your dog was in heat for the first time they conceived.
How many puppies do chihuahuas usually have?
Chihuahuas have small litters compared to most other dogs, which is unsurprising due to their size. Their average litter size is 1 to 3 pups. It is possible for them to have a larger-than-average litter though. In 2011 a chihuahua named Coco gave birth to a litter of 10 puppies in the UK. Impressive!
They can reach sexual maturity at the age of 6 months, but most are unable to have puppies until they are over 1 year of age. They usually have two estrous periods a year when they mate, so it is possible for them to deliver two litters a year.
Chihuahua pregnancies - what you need to know
Before allowing your dog to get pregnant, it is important that you consider every little detail properly. Of course, on occasion your dog will fall pregnant accidentally. Bear in mind the space, patience and financial resources needed. It is important to remember that puppies must stay with their mum for the first two months of their lives.
- A female chihuahua can become pregnant during the first heat cycle. As soon as a female enters puberty she is able to conceive. For toy breed dogs, this can be at a very young age; usually between the ages of 4 and 7 months old. During the estrus phase of the cycle, which lasts between 5 days and 3 weeks, the female is receptive to male dogs.
- A Chihuahua can become pregnant by two different dogs. This is known as a multi-sired litter. The reason that this is possible is because with female canines, more than one ova (the eggs produced by the ovaries) remain available for several days. Hypothetically, a female may be mounted on day 1, with an egg being fertilized and then if mounted on day 3 by a different male, another egg may become fertilized.
- A Chihuahua can become pregnant by a much larger dog. This would make for a very dangerous pregnancy and delivery. To prevent unwanted conception, it is extremely important to keep a very close eye on a Chihuahua in heat. With hormones in full swing, a female that is receptive to males may actively seek them out. Also, males will smell a female in heat for up to 3 miles away. Un- neutered male dogs that are allowed to roam, will sometimes "stake out" a home with a female dog in it, just waiting for an opportunity.
Puppies are hard work. Do not forget that you are responsible for these animals. Take care of them well and make sure you find them a good home if you decide not to keep them.
OneHOWTO does not support breeding. But we do encourage new puppies to be given to the right family if their previous owner is unfit to take care of them. If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in: How Many Puppies can a Husky Have, How Many Puppies can a Golden Retriever Have or When to Start Walking a Puppy.
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