How Many Puppies do Chihuahuas Have?

how many puppies do Chihuahuas have

How many puppies do Chihuahuas have? On an average, Chihuahuas have smaller litters of 2 to 5 puppies. However, record litter sizes of 10 puppies are not unheard of!

If you are wondering what decides a dog’s litter size, then this guide is for you.

Here we will cover the main question of ‘how many puppies do Chihuahuas usually have’, factors that affect litter size, and also ways to prepare your Chi for whelping.

Before moving on to a typical Chihuahua litter size, let us go through some amazing facts about dog litter sizes and Chihuahuas and puppies in general.

Fun Facts about Dog Litter Sizes, Chihuahuas and Puppies in General

1. Largest Litter

The largest litter size record belongs to a Neapolitan Mastiff named Tia who gave birth to 24 puppies in 2004. Unfortunately, 3 of the puppies died in the first week.

Other record litter sizes:

  • In 2009, a Springer Spaniel had a litter of 14 pups!
  • A beautiful Irish Setter gave birth to 15 gorgeous puppies on Mother’s Day in 2017.
  • A Maremma sheepdog gave birth to a litter of about 17 puppies- which also happened to break the record of largest litter in the state of California.

2. Small Breeds-Small Litters

Larger the dog breed, more number of puppies while smaller the breed, smaller its litter size.

That is why, Chihuahuas are one of the small breeds with small litters of 2-5 pups on an average.

3. All Pups are Blind and Deaf at Birth

Puppies spend such little time in their mother’s wombs that they do not develop fully. Their development continues after they are out.

4. Chihuahua Puppies are Always Cold!

If you live in a cold climate, your will need to warm your Chihuahua puppies and their dam as well.

Provide your pet with a heating pad or use a central heater to keep your pets warm.

5. Take Care- Chis are often Victims of Birds of Prey

The lightweight newborn puppies of this breed can be easily carried away by large birds.

Therefore, you must never leave your Chi puppies unattended in an open yard.

6. Chihuahua Puppies’ Eye Colors Change as They Grow!

By day 70, your Chi puppies will develop their permanent eye color.

Most pups are born with blue eyes which can change to its permanent shade as the melanin content grows.

With this, we will return back to the main topic!

How Many Puppies do Chihuahuas Have?

Chihuahuas are small dogs weighing between 5 and 10 lb.

Teacup Chihuahuas are even smaller, about 2 to 6 lb.

Because of their small body weight, they give birth to just 2 to 4 puppies.

If your dog is even smaller than average, don’t be surprised to see just one puppy popping out!

The AKC or American Kennel Club also states this fact on record that the smaller a dog breed, the smaller would be its litter size.

Most small breed dogs, including a standard-sized Chihuahua, would only give birth to 2 to 5 puppies.

Teacups usually tend to give birth to even fewer number of pups.

However, there have been records of some Chihuahuas giving birth to 10 puppies.

Let us now study some factors that can affect the litter size apart from the mother’s body weight.

Factors Affecting Litter Sizes in Dogs

Normal litter sizes in most dog breeds varies between one and twelve puppies.

Here are the main factors affecting litter sizes:

A. Breeding Dogs’ Size

As stated before, larger the dog, larger is its litter size.

In general, you can expect a German shepherd to give birth to 5 to 9 puppies, Bull Mastiffs between 5 and 13 puppies, and American Cockers about 3 to 7 puppies.

Conversely, small dogs like Yorkies and Chihuahuas give birth to 2 to 5 puppies.

As always, there are no set rules here. Even breeds like Pekingese (which is a small dog) are known to have given birth to 10 puppies.

It is always important to remember that large litter sizes can be harmful to a dam’s health and many puppies end up being still-born because the mother gets exhausted while whelping.

b. Human Influences

Many unethical breeders try to artificially inseminate dogs so that they will give birth to larger litter sizes.

However, there is no guarantee that this technique will indeed give rise to larger litters as, many times, the sperm tends to die off during insemination.

c. Breeding Dogs’ Ages

The mother’s age also plays a crucial role in the litter size produced.

In general, older the dam, smaller her litter.

For larger litters, most breeders breed females aged between 2 and 5 years as this is the optimal age for pregnancy and birth.

However, there are no hard and fast rules here too and it all depends on the breed and overall health.

Many females produce smaller litters during their first pregnancy and larger litters during their 3rd and 4th pregnancies.

The male dog’s age is also crucial factor in determining the litter size. The optimal age for mating a male dog is between 2-5 years as well.

After 5 years, the sperm motility and quality tends to diminish which can result in fewer puppies.

d. Genes

The breeding dogs’ genetics and heredity can also determine the health of the puppies as well as the number of puppies born.

You can speak to your breeder to determine how many puppies their Chis usually give birth to.

This can give you an idea as to what to expect when time comes for your pet to give birth as well.

e. Diet

The breeding dogs’ diets can also play a role.

In general, dogs fed a nutritious and protein-rich diet tend to give birth to larger litters.

If you have a pregnant Chi on your hands, you might be wondering how many puppies do Chihuahuas have?

That way, you can buy the supplies and prep for whelping.

However, in the end, it is all up to Mother Nature – only She will have a final say in how many puppies your Chihuahua gives birth to.

Speak to your vet to get an X-ray taken to determine exactly how many puppies your Chi is carrying.

Also Read: How Long Does a Chihuahua Stay in Heat

How Many Litters per Year Can Chi Have?

Depending on the breeder, healthy dogs tend to have multiple litters a year.

It also depends on the number of heat cycles of the female dog in question.

Most Chihuahua females come in heat 2-3 times a year.

As a result, they could have 2-3 litters per year if they are allowed to mate. On an average, most dogs have 2 cycles per year and can produce two litters if allowed to.

However, ethical breeders frown upon having multiple litters per year.

After all, excess breeding is very harsh on a delicate dog breed like Chi. It can result in a decline in the dam’s health.

Therefore, it is best to not let your female Chi come near an intact male if she has just given birth and is fertile.

There are different opinions about this. Many dog breeders allow younger females to have multiple litters each year up until the time they are 5 years of age.

They believe that their bodies are healthiest during this period and capable of producing healthy puppies.

Many breeders also believe that fertility decreases after the age of 5 and that is why, it is best to have sizeable litters while the dam is still capable.

How Many Litters in a Lifetime Can Chi Have

A healthy Chihuahua can reproduce until she is about 8 years old.

If we assume that she gets 2 annual heat cycles by the time she is one year old, and she is allowed to breed during each of her heat cycles, she can easily produce 14-16 litters until she is about 8 years of age.

Since most Chihuahuas give birth, on an average, to 2-5 puppies per litter, and assuming your pet produces 5 pups per litter, she can easily give birth to 70-90 puppies in her lifetime!

Naturally, this is not recommended as it can be very detrimental to your Chi’s health and her tiny womb.

Unethical breeding of this type goes on blatantly in puppy mills and you certainly do not want to contribute to so many dogs.

Thankfully, Kennel Clubs are now taking strict actions against unethical breeding. Breeders are not allowed to register more than a certain number of litters per mother.

What is the Gestation Period of Chihuahua?

The gestation period in dogs is counted from the first day of estrus (heat cycle) when the eggs are released into the uterus to the day the puppies are born.

Like all dog breeds, for Chihuahuas this period is about 2 months or 63 days.

Vets count these 63 days as three trimesters of 21 days each.

What are the Signs your Chihuahua is Pregnant?

There will be no outward signs that your pet is pregnant, at least in the beginning.

If your Chi has come in contact with an intact male during her cycle, you can take her to the vet to get an ultrasound after 3 weeks post mating.

Here are some weekly changes that most Chihuahuas show when they are pregnant:

1. Early Signs

Like humans, your pet might be nauseated in the early days of pregnancy.

She will sleep a lot, more than usual, and may not show a willingness to walk.

Many pets also eat less in the early days of their pregnancy.

You can offer your pet smaller meals during this phase if she is throwing up.

It is a good idea to schedule weekly vet checkups to ensure all is well with your Chi and her puppies.

2. By Day 40

Your Chi will start showing a rounder belly and her teats will also change color and size.

You might see some milky fluid oozing out of her nipples.

Her appetite will return by this time and she might be ravenous.

Feed your pet a healthy diet based on your vet’s advice.

We recommend Doc’s Choice Premium Dog Food for Pregnant and Lactating Dogs . It is formulated by vets and nutritionally balanced with proteins, omegas, DHA, glucosamine, and antioxidants.

Doc's Choice Premium Chicken Puppy Food - Great for Puppies, Pregnant and. Nursing Dogs, Veterinarian Developed, No Fillers/Artificial Ingredients, Made in The USA

3. By Day 45

You can have your Chihuahua X-rayed at this point to see how many puppies are present inside.

By day 50, your dog’s belly will be considerably larger and she will be more tired. Her teats might even touch the ground and will sway as she walks.

Take your pet out several times to relieve herself as her growing stomach could put pressure on her bladder. Provide moderate exercise to your pet.

Allow your girl to dig a bit, especially as she approaches the end of pregnancy. This is normal nesting tendency as she gets ready to whelp.

Gather your whelping supplies – your vet can guide you. (We have also discussed some supplies to buy later in this guide).

4. By Day 60

Take your pet to the vet a couple of more times to ensure all is well.

You will see and feel the puppies moving in her belly.

 Your vet might X-ray your girl to ensure that the fetuses are not too big to pass through the birth canal. Else, she might need a C-section to get the pups out.

How to Prepare for your Chihuahua’s Whelping?

a. Prepare or buy a whelping box

A whelping area is where your pet will deliver.

It should have walls measuring at least 50-inches high, so the puppies cannot escape or fall out from it.

Most dogs prefer a cave like structure as it gives them a greater sense of security.

A whelping box also needs absorbable pee pads.

You can easily fashion a whelping box out of old cardboard boxes and cover the floor with blankets, peed pads, old newspapers, etc.

Alternatively, you can buy a whelping cover. We recommend JOEJOY washable pee pad whelping box .

JOEJOY Washable Pee Pads for Dogs, Puppy Pads Pet Potty Training 65"x48"/72"x72", Anti Slip Cat Pee Pad Mat Heavy Absorbent Heavy Large for Playpen Crate Kennel Whelping Box (65"x48")

Keep several newspapers and towels handy- you will also need many rags, towels, and old blankets or sheets to clean and wipe after your Chihuahua delivers.

b. Water – hot and cold

Ensure there is plenty of water near the whelping area – hot and cool.

(Often, people use a spare bathroom as the whelping room due to the supply of water and ease of cleaning and drainage.)

c. Place a source of heater/heating pad

Heating pads are handy for puppies to sleep upon after they come out of their mother’s womb.

Place an Puppy warming electric pad at one end of the box.

RIOGOO Pet Heating Pad, Electric Heating Pad for Dogs and Cats Indoor Warming Mat with Auto Power Off (M:18" x 18")

d. Miscellaneous items

You will also need the following:

  • Bottle feeders, sterilizing solution, and a milk replacement formula
  • Old bucket for discarding placentas
  • Gloves
  • Old, soft towels to wipe the puppies
  • Glucose mixed with water for the dam to drink

Speak to your vet about further guidance and supplies.

FAQs on How Many Puppies do Chihuahuas Have?

1. Is it dangerous for small breeds like Chihuahuas to give birth?

Since Chihuahuas are small dogs, their pregnancy is always a risk owing to the smaller birth canal.

That is also the reason why most Chis need C-section to aid delivery.

However, with proper care, there is no reason why your pet cannot give birth to healthy puppies.

2. Can my 9 year old Chihuahua have pups?

The right age for reproduction for most dog breeds, Chihuahuas included, is between 2 and 8 years of age.

As your Chi gets older, her fertility will decrease. If you have not had her spayed, she might still get her heat cycles and attract male dogs.

However, the chances of successful pregnancy could reduce considerably.

Pregnancy at an older age is also riskier.

3. Can Chihuahuas give birth on their own?

If your pet has small fetuses that can easily pass through the birthing canal, she could have a successful delivery on her own.

However, you would still need to help cut the umbilical cord – so, it is best to have a vet or a breeder assist the delivery.

4. Can my small Chihuahua mate with a larger dog?

It is possible that a sexually active female Chi would want to mate with a larger dog.

However, this is not recommended as the larger puppies in her womb can make pregnancy very difficult for her.

5. What to do after my Chi gives birth?

After your Chi delivers, clean her and the puppies up using old towels and warm water. Let the dam rest.

Place the pups on heating pads or blankets.

If the mother refuses to feed the pups (which happens a lot in the dog world!), you might have to feed them puppy nourishing formula using sterile feeding bottles.

DoubleWood Pet Nursing Bottle Kits Nursing Bottle Kits Replacement Nipple Cat Feeding Bottle for Newborn Kittens, Puppies, Rabbits, Small Animals

Contact your vet regarding the puppies’ vaccination and deworming schedule.

Conclusion – How Many Puppies do Chihuahuas Have?

How many puppies do Chihuahuas have? The answer is anywhere between 1 and 5 puppies.

On an average, Chihuahua litter size is between 2 and 5 pups and it usually depends on the mother’s age, diet, and genetic factors.

We hope this brief guide helps you prepare for your Chi’s delivery.

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