When it comes to the numbers of puppies in a litter, size matters. Small breed dogs often have between one and four puppies in a litter, while larger breeds usually have far more pups. That makes sense, as the larger breed has more room to carry them.
According to the American Kennel Club, the Labrador retriever boasts the largest number of puppies in a litter, with an average of 7.6. Perhaps that's fortunate, as they are consistently America's favorite breed. Lab litter size can meet the demand. While an individual dog might give birth to twice as many puppies in a single litter, it's the overall average that indicates the breed with the most puppies.
World Record Holder
As of 2013, the Guinness world record for the most puppies ever delivered in one litter belongs to Tia, a Neapolitan mastiff living in England. On Nov. 24, 2009, she gave birth to 24 puppies. The pups were delivered by Cesarean section, but four puppies didn't make it. The litter consisted of 15 males and nine females.
Serious breeders might spend their lives trying to improve their breed of choice. However, it doesn't appear that dogs inherit the ability to produce more offspring per litter. Breeding two dogs that come from large litters doesn't mean their mating will produce an exceptional number of puppies.
The mother's health also influences litter size. Older and obese dogs usually have smaller litters than younger dogs at a trim weight.
About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.