If you’re anything like me, you love a good world record. So, it got me thinking one day, just how many puppies can our favourite dog have?
Like humans, pregnant dogs go through the same sorts of changes that we do – hormonal, weight, hunger, and behavioural, among others. And yet, while humans are only having one baby, you almost always see dogs having multiple puppies.
The National Health Service indicate that twins or more is only predicted to happen in about 1 out of every 250 human births. So why is it more common in dogs? And how many can a corgi possibly have? It’s important to have a clear idea if you’ve got a pregnant corgi, so you can start planning.
While the average corgi litter is around five to six puppies, breeders often see up to eight per litter.
Why do dogs have litters of puppies
When preparing to be pregnant, female dogs produce multiple eggs. That’s why they give birth to full litters of puppies instead of just a single puppy.
The reason for this is due to genetic survival. When a dog has multiple puppies, there is a higher chance that some of them will live to adulthood. This is necessary for them to pass down their own genes.
Historical dogs that produced small litters (or only single puppies) were less likely to survive and pass on their genes.
Multiple babies are common in the animal kingdom. What humans have done however, is focus on the survival of the one they have. This is done through close nurturing (both individual and communal) rather than multiple births which can cause pressure on the mother.
It’s just a different survival mechanism to achieve the same outcome.
Can my corgi have puppies?
If you have a pet corgi, I strongly recommend that you get your corgi desexed.
Pets that have been desexed live longer and have healthier lives. They are also at lower risk of health problems, which are common in corgis.
It also helps stop corgis from being abandoned and your local shelters being filled with unwanted animals.
If your corgi does get pregnant, you should visit your local vet and find out the options available to you and your corgi. You should then be doing regular check-ins with your local vet.
How do I know how many puppies my corgi will have?
Your vet can count the number of puppies in your corgi’s stomach via x-ray. The closer she is to giving birth, the easier it is for them to scan your corgi.
While getting x-rayed, your corgi will need to stay still so the vet can do the scan. They will then count out the number of puppies that they can see in your corgi’s belly.
While this is a fairly accurate process, it is possible that one or more may be missed as there are a lot of puppies in a small confined space. Sometimes a leg will look like a head, and vice versa.
X-ray is the best scientific way of knowing how many puppies your mother corgi has in her belly. Once you know, you can plan for their arrival.
How many puppies does a corgi have on average?
On average, corgis have five to six puppies in each litter. However, this may be lower if the mother is older or in poor health.
There are a number of different factors that go into determining how many puppies your corgi is going to have. The ones that are the easiest to tell is the health of the mother and the age of the mother.
It is possible for corgis to have bigger litters than the above numbers. Many breeders report to me that they regularly see litters of up to eight corgi puppies. This is because corgis of reputable breeders are bred when they are at their peak – and most likely to produce offspring.
By knowing the average number of corgi puppies per parent, you have a little more understanding of what to expect for the birth. This can help keep your corgi mother healthy.
How many puppies do dogs have on average?
Let’s look at the number of puppies a corgi has compared the average number of puppies for all dogs.
A study published in 2011 found that the average litter size was 5.4 puppies. This was after sampling 10,810 litters of 224 breeds registered in the Norwegian Kennel Club.
The litter size was significantly influenced by the size of the breed, the method of mating, and the age of the mother.
The study found that the number of puppies increased with breed size, from 3.5 puppies in miniature breeds to 7.1 puppies in giant breeds. Simply put, the bigger the dog, the more puppies they have.
This means that the corgi is over-producing puppies when compared to other dogs of a similar size, and performing around the average for dogs overall.
What is the record for corgi puppies?
The largest corgi litter with any photographic evidence is 15 puppies.
However, this lacks independent verification, and until I see some birth certificates, that answer is tentative at best.
Reports of 10+ corgis in a litter are uncommon, but not unheard of by any stretch. Mother corgis with litters this size generally have to be supported by the owner, as they lack the resources (e.g. energy, milk) to properly care for them all.
If you are having a birth that expects more than eight corgis, you should be seeking the advice of a trained animal medical professional to ensure than your corgi and her puppies are looked after.
The larger the litter, the more likely you are to have puppies not survive. This is because it is different for the mother to take care of them all.
What is the most puppies a dog can have?
According to Guinness World Records: The largest litter of is 24 puppies. They were born on 29 November 2004 to Tia, a Neapolitan mastiff, owned by Damian Ward and Anne Kellegher in England.
Other impressive litter records include:
- Shadow, a Neapolitan mastiff, gave birth to a litter of 21 puppies in April 2020 via C-section in Australia. This breaks the former Australian record of 19 from a Dalmatian in Albury.
- Unity, a three-year-old German Shepherd guide dog, gave birth to 16 puppies, setting a new record in Guide Dogs’ 60-year-old breeding program.
- A Great Dane and American bulldog cross Mary Jane (MJ) may have set a new world record after giving natural birth to a staggering litter of 21 puppies.
- The caregivers of a Kansas chihuahua were shocked after she gave birth to 11 puppies, a record for such a small dog.
While the corgi records are not quite as extreme as some of these others, they are in their own right impressive achievements for the mother.
How many puppies will survive?
On average, dogs will have 4.97 puppies alive after eight days, and 4.92 puppies alive after eight weeks. This is contrasted with the total average of puppies, which is 5.4 puppies.
A follow up to the above 2011 study found that death was present 25% of the litters. These included stillborn deaths and deaths that occur in the early stages of the puppies development.
What it did find is that of all puppies born, only 1% died during the period from eight days to eight weeks after birth.
This means that if your corgi has puppies and they make it through the first week, there is a very strong chance of them surviving.
How many litters can a dog have each year?
That means they can produce two litters per year roughly six months apart. However, once is greatly preferred.
Corgis are pregnant for an average 63 days from conception to delivery with about 5 days variance either side. They usually have two windows (heat periods) for pregnancy each year.
I do not recommend that corgis are bred more than once a year. It can be very demanding on the mother and potentially reduce the number of puppies in each litter.
It can also cause ongoing health issues as the mother has to deal with the pressures of giving birth and carrying the puppies to term. Similarly, it is not good for the puppies, as the mother is not as able to care for them if she is in poorer health.
How many litters can a dog have in their lifetime?
Unlike humans, corgis can continue to give birth until they die i.e. there is no menopause moment for corgis.
However, it stops being feasible for corgis around the age of seven to keep up any sort of regular breeding schedule.
So, hypothetically, you could breed twice a year from age one to seven, giving you fourteen litters. With six per litter, that’s 72 dogs in a lifetime.
This is strongly discouraged (and may be outright impossible). As stated above, it is not good for the mother corgi’s health and not good for the corgi puppies either.
Most reputable and ethical breeders will only permit a mother corgi to have a small number of litters over their lifetime. It’s also likely that your registration bureau, e.g. The American Kennel Club or The Kennel Club (UK), will not let you register that many corgis, as they are well aware of the risks.
Final thoughts on corgi puppies
While the idea of a gaggle of baby corgis is tempting, getting your corgi pregnant should be the last thing on your mind. Breeding corgis should be left to the professionals, and I do not recommend you breed at home.
That said, if you corgi is pregnant, you should expect to welcome to welcome five brand new corgis into the world in the space of about two months.
Let me know how you go!