how many litters can a dog have

How Many Litters Can A Dog Have?

How many litters can a dog have is something many new pet parents and breeders may contemplate about.

Here is the truth: the popularity of castrating and sterilizing is increasing day by day.

Animal activists sponsor these techniques while emphasizing the overpopulation problem.

Despite the struggles of animal welfare institutions and animal activists, every year, hundreds of stray animals are killed due to a shortage of shelters and houses.

That’s why; the significance of responsible breeding has increased a lot.

As a responsible breeder, you should be aware of when to begin and when to discontinue breeding. Also, you have to provide shelter to all babies.

So, how many times can a dog give birth in a lifetime? A canine can have 10 litters in her lifetime, but the majority of bitches cannot give birth to ten healthy litters and stay healthy themselves.

Therefore, they should have 4 to 6 litters in their lifetime. You should stop breeding a dog when her litter size drops considerably.

Small litters or litters with health issues can happen among healthy and fit bitches, but they are also an indication that the bitch is older and needs to stop giving birth.

how many litters can a dog have
How Many Litters Can A Dog Have?

How Many Litters Can A Dog Have?

In some countries, a dog can produce 4 or 5 litters. However, in the United States, there is no limit on the number of litters a dog can create.

Responsible breeders consider many elements when it comes to dog breeding.

The primary factor to take into account is that there is no one size fits all methodology when it comes to the number of litters a canine can generate.

Just like in humans, the reproduction procedure can be intricate for pooches. Some of them have easy pregnancies and deliveries, while others may scuffle for numerous causes.

You should consider numerous factors and be prepared to retire a hound early if mandatory, whereas other mutts can have 5 consecutive pregnancies with no health complications.

A mongrel can have approximately 10 to 16 litters in her lifetime, but not all dogs can give birth to 10 to 16 litters and remain healthy and behaviorally sound. 

Most reliable breeders will retire even their young, healthy, and fit mothers at around 4 to 6 litters so that she can be neutered while she is perfectly healthy and fit.

They may stop breeding a doggie early due to difficult pregnancies, deliveries that may require C-sections or other problems such as uterine infections.

Nonetheless, dogs that are created well can have many litters with zero health issues. If a dog remains active, whelps, and maintains a healthy weight during nursing, it means she is doing well and can continue to produce litters.

A dog’s physical and emotional health is the biggest factor that you should be highly aware of. You should be in touch with your pooches and be concerned about their general health and wellbeing.

Some bitches love being moms and spend additional time with their babies and play with them, etc. However, some dogs may not seem to enjoy being mothers.

They don’t spend time with their pups and look upset during the whelping procedure. You should stop breeding a dog sooner if she simply does not enjoy being a mommy.

If you are in touch with your parent canines, you will retire them sooner than anticipated for such reasons.

Furthermore, you also have to consider when and how often your bitch should be bred based on her size and breed.

In the past, heats were skipped between pregnancies. But, the latest research has revealed that the more heat a bitch has in her whole life, the higher the threat of pyometra and other medical problems.

Another research suggests that a breeding bitch must not skip heat rounds until she stops giving birth.

Some breeders oppose the back-to-back breeding of bitches, while others claim that skipped heats permit their bitches to thoroughly get better physically between pregnancies.

That’s why; you should be able to answer why you breed your bitch as often as you do in a way that demonstrates apprehension for your doggy.

Moreover, you also have to consider your canine’s age before starting breeding her. The majority of breeders start breeding them on the 2nd or 3rd heat.

Young dogs recuperate quicker from pregnancy and delivery. So, if she is fully mature, you should start the breeding process as soon as possible.

If your furry fellow is too young, she may not be fully developed or mentally mature enough to have a healthy litter.  

Miniature mutts reach maturity at the age of 12 months, while large and giant pooches accomplish adulthood at the age of 24 months.

A bitch naturally has her primary heat at the age of 6 to 12 months and the rounds every six months after that.

Reliable breeders skip the first two heats for bigger hounds to ensure they are fully grown before becoming pregnant.

Last but not the least, there is a lot of contradictory investigation about when, how often, and how many times can a dog get pregnant in her lifetime.

Even reputable breeders give different answers to these queries. However, as a breeder or dog owner, you should answer these questions honestly and clearly.

Give considerate answers that exhibit worry for your dog’s health and wellbeing.  

Which Factors Influence The Litter Size?


A dog’s breed is the most imperative factor that influences litter size. Large dogs produce bigger litters.

Small dogs produce 1 to 4 pups, whereas larger ones produce 8 or more puppies.


Pooches can give birth throughout their lives; they are most productive during their maturity, usually between the age of 2 and 5 years.

However, their first litter will be smaller than consecutive litters. 


Diet is another significant factor that has an immense impact on litter size.

It is critical to feed them balanced and nutritious food so that they can produce more litters.

Providing them a poor-quality diet will most probably yield smaller litter sizes. 


All dogs are unique, who differ in various ways; occasionally, it includes their litter size. It is hard to predict how many litters a dog will have.

But, mongrels that produce more litters in the first time are likely to create more litters in the second and third times as well, assuming all other elements remain the same.

The majority of these characteristics relate to the female dog rather than the male mutt.

However, the male does have some impact on the litter size. His hereditary composition, age, and health determine the size of the litter.


Larger breeds (in terms of physique rather than weight) create large litters.

For instance, a 45-pound canine may give birth to 5 or 6 puppies, while a 95-pound hound may generate 10 or more puppies.

how many litters can a dog have

How Many Times And How Often Should You Breed A Male Hound?

The number of times you can breed a male dog is unlimited. In general, it depends on you how many times you want to breed him.

As long as he is completely healthy, he can create superior quality sperm throughout his life.

However, to breed responsibly, you should wait until he is fully grown and dismiss any health complications that might happen when he is fully mature.

Before breeding him, you will have to perform a fertility, sperm, and health check at the veterinarian. If he is healthy, you can start breeding.  

Besides, it is mandatory to plan the frequency of male breeding. Great quality sperm is guaranteed by sperm checks.

When it happens, the sperm has to be gathered for a few days to acquire correct outcomes.

The vet will educate you about the procedure based on your doggie’s age and type. The sperm quality influences the outcomes and the success rates of insemination.

Nevertheless, to confirm successful fertilization, good-quality sperm is not adequate. The quantity of time between excretions is also necessary to obtain good results and boost the success rates of production.

So, it is enough to breed them once a day for three days or every day until the breedings are accomplished. Don’t surpass 5 days consecutively because your canine might be tired and run out of sperm.

How Many Times And How Often Should You Breed A Bitch?

Females can produce 3 to 4 liters, depending on the litter size and number. It is also reliant on her health and recovery process in between the pregnancies.

How often you should breed them is affected by their heat cycles and the quantity of recovery time that has to pass between each mating.

A female should produce a maximum of 4 litters in her lifetime. If she produces more litters, it influences her health and even decreases her life.

Pregnancy and the nursing period consume a lot of her energy. With every whelping, they give birth to many puppies at the same time.

They have to return their body to a former condition. They have to regrow uterus parts and recover the muscle tone that shrunk during gestation.

After pregnancy comes nursing, which exhausts them the most, especially once the little ones grow.

So, if she goes into heat several months after giving birth, it would be unkind to assume that she is ready for another pregnancy. Therefore, you should breed a female dog every 18 months to 24 months.

How Long Do Bitches Carry Their Pups?

Dog pregnancy lasts for 58 to 68 days. It can vary based on their age, health, breed, and other factors. However, you can determine that your bitch will carry her puppies for about two months or a bit longer.

Signs Of Pregnancy In Dogs

There are numerous symptoms that will tell you if your dog is pregnant.

  • About one month after breeding, she may create a mucus vaginal discharge.
  • Her teats will start to swell and modify color around 30 days after mating, and they may eject a semitransparent liquid.  
  • During the 3rd or 4th week of pregnancy, she may experience morning sickness. The signs of morning sickness include lethargy, vomiting, lack of hunger, or behavioral alterations. If the morning sickness is severe, consult your vet.
  • Around the 4th week, she will start to gain weight. Bitches end up weighing 50% to 150% more than their normal-weight by the end of pregnancy.
  • Around the 40th day, you may start to observe her belly bulging a bit. However, new dogs with small litter will show a little transformation.  
  • She may show an increased or decreased appetite during the second half of her pregnancy. These symptoms can be a warning of problems. So if you are concerned, talk to your vet.
  • If you hope or doubt that your bitch is expecting, the perfect way to confirm is to take her to the vet. You should visit the vet about 2 to 3 weeks after mating.
  • In the 3rd week of pregnancy, the vet should be able to confirm that she is pregnant via canine pregnancy test, which measures hormone levels from the 3rd week of pregnancy onwards, or visualizing the pups via ultrasound from day 20 onwards.
  • From one month onwards, the vet will be able to do a physical checkup to discover how many puppies she is carrying.  

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Often Is It Harmless For A Bitch To Have Puppies?

Every pregnancy is stressful for a bitch’s body. Therefore, you should not breed her more than 3 times for the sake of her health. If she has health complications during pregnancy or delivery during the first litter, it is better to not breed her more than once. 

2. How Many Times Can A Bitch Get Pregnant?

Giant bitches may cycle once every 12 months, while small bitches may cycle three times every 12 months. When they first start to cycle, their cycle can be irregular. It may take up to 24 months for her to develop her regular cycles.

3. How Many Pups Are Typically In The First Litter?

An average dog can have anywhere from 1 to 12 puppies. However, large dogs can give birth to up to 15 pups. The assortment is extensive. It is reliant on the dog’s breed, age, size, health, and pregnancy history.

4. What Figures Out How Many Puppies A Bitch Has?

The number of eggs a dog releases figures out how many puppies she will have. Bitches can release 1 to 12 eggs in any one cycle. Once a bitch is in heat, you cannot affect how many eggs she releases.

5. When Should I Stop Breeding Parent Dogs?

You can stop breeding a male dog at the age of 7 to 8 years and a female dog at the age of 6.

how many litters can a dog have


Consequently, how many litters can a dog have? A bitch should have around 4 to 6 litters in her lifetime. However, make sure that you keep her healthy and behaviorally well and don’t force her to produce more litter than her body can handle.    

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