Perhaps one of the cutest dog breeds, Chihuahuas, due to their size, make you wonder about the birth of puppies. Chihuahuas can have puppies, but birth complications can arise because of the small body of the mother and the large head of the puppy. With that in mind, how many puppies can a Chihuahua have?
Chihuahuas will give birth to anywhere from one to three puppies per litter. Having only one puppy in a single Chihuahua litter is not unheard of. Older Chihuahuas will often give birth to between five and six puppies, but it puts the puppies and the mother at risk of health complications.
Understanding the number of puppies that a Chihuahua can have will allow you to plan for your puppies better. Let’s have a look at the most essential information to your Chihuahua giving birth.
How Many Puppies Will a Chihuahua Mother Have for the First Time?
Many times, Chihuahua mothers will give birth to a much smaller litter the first time. The first time that they give birth, they will often only give birth to a single Chihuahua puppy. In some cases, they may have two or three, but I wouldn’t expect more than three. Especially a younger pregnant Chihuahua, they will usually have a smaller litter.
Most female Chihuahuas can give birth at around six months old, but this differs for each dog and when they hit puberty. Some may even hit it sooner than six months. like four months The age of sexual maturity ranges anywhere from four to seven months.
How to Tell When a Female Chihuahua Can Start Having Puppies
You can tell that a female Chihuahua can start having puppies when it reaches its first heat cycle.
Signs that your dog has gone into heat include:
- Excessive licking of the genital region
- Change of tail position
- Aggressive, nervous or agitated behavior
- More frequent urination
- Personality changes
- Changes in appetite
World Record for a Chihuahua Litter Size
All mothers deserve an award, but in Olathe, Kansas, one poor Chihuahua mother named Laugh out Loud, or LOL for short, took the plunge and had 11 Chihuahua babies at once. The birth took place on March 23, 2018, and oddly enough, the world record happened on National Puppy Day.
The name of the dog and birth on National Puppy Day make this an even funnier story.
Important to note that while this breaks the record for Chihuahua litters and it’s no small feat given the size of this dog breed, the world record for the largest dog litter ever was marked at 24 puppies—15 males and nine females—and took place from a Neapolitan Mastiff. You can learn more about that jaw-dropping record here.
As for the Kansas Chihuahua mother, she was a Kansas City rescue dog that the owner adopted from a shelter. We feel certain that this birth happened by C-section to avoid possible complications especially given the size. The biggest Chihuahua litter record before that was 10 puppies.
You can check out this cuteness overload in the video below and see the world record for yourself—11 puppies in all:
The Average Size of Litters Based on Dog Breed
We spoke about how big a litter can get with Chihuahuas, but how does the Chihuahua compare to some of the other popular dog breeds. Let’s have a look:
|Dog Breed||Average Litter Size|
|Bulldog||3 to 4 puppies|
|German Shepherd||8 puppies|
|Rottweiler||6 to 12 puppies|
|Dachshunds||1 to 6 puppies|
|Shih Tzu||3 to 4 puppies|
|Pomeranians||1 to 3 puppies|
|Greyhound||1 to 13 puppies|
|Great Dane||8 puppies|
|Pugs||4 to 6 puppies|
|French Bulldog||2 to 4 puppies|
|Australian Terrier||3 to 6 puppies|
We especially did our best with this list to show you some of the smaller dog breeds and how their litter sizes would compare to the Chihuahua. We found that the Chihuahua often had the least for puppies for average litter size. However, many of the smaller dog breeds would only have between one to four puppies. The only exception to this rule is the pugs, which average four to six puppies as a smaller dog breed.
How Many Times Per Year Can a Chihuahua Have Puppies?
Most reputable breeders won’t let their Chihuahuas birth puppies more than four times over their lifetime. Especially for such a small dog, having puppies will take its toll on the Chihuahua over time.
Chihuahua puppies weigh up to 25 percent of their mother’s weight, which makes them a much larger percentage size than for other dog breeds. This makes the pregnancy hard on Chihuahua mothers.
Along with only having puppies four times over their lifetime, you would want to space out their pregnancies by at least 12 to 18 months per pregnancy.
While Chihuahuas have the potential to produce puppy litters twice per year, we would strongly advise against this since birth becomes so difficult for the mother. The reason that we say this is because of how it gives the mother time to recover.
Buy Chihuahua Puppies from a Responsible Breeder
Because of the difficulty of pregnancy with Chihuahuas, you should ask the breeder how many litters the puppy has given birth to and when they had their last batch of puppies. This can spell out warning signs if the breeder lets the Chihuahua give birth as frequently as possible.
Don’t support breeders who only go into the business for the money because it leads to inhumane and cruel practices putting money over the welfare of the dogs.
Pay special attention to the premises. Do they keep them clean and inviting? You can tell about the owners by what conditions the dogs live in. Also, what does the puppy’s mother act like? Was she well socialized? How do the puppies behave?
Expert Tip: You want to socialize Chihuahua puppies as early as possible because of how most people agree that the Chihuahua is one of the most aggressive dog breeds if not socialized early on. In particular, they will act aggressively toward bigger dogs, but they have done the same toward humans as well.
Buying from a reputable dog breeder means that they put the welfare of the dogs above money.
Chihuahua Mother—Birth by Cesarean Section
Generally speaking, Chihuahuas give birth through C-section to make the birthing process less dangerous to the mother and the puppies. A regular visit to the vet clinic costs around $500, but you want to plan its birth in advance—an emergency visit for a C-section may cost you as much as $3,000, depending on where you live.
Chihuahua females have narrow hips and the large head of the puppy will occasionally get stuck. This danger especially becomes more common with larger litters since the puppy requires more room than what the mother’s uterus can offer. In cases with a litter of only one or two puppies, their bodies may grow larger, making the birth more difficult.
You’d think the opposite would be true, but in fact, even smaller litters can stir up problems.
Two other dangers to a Chihuahua mother giving birth naturally include premature birth or a burst uterus. Without quick action, the bacteria will spill over into the abdominal cavity and prove fatal.
Do All Chihuahuas Need a C-Section?
Not all Chihuahuas need a C-section, but it has become extraordinarily common due to the difficulty of the birth. In some cases, circumstances may require an emergency C-section or you risk losing the dog.
After the Chihuahua gives birth, she will push out the sac and break it open with her teeth to let the puppy go free. In many cases after doing this, she will eat the sac. This dog behavior is common, and we would advise letting her do it.
You might consult a vet ahead of time to see if the mother needs to have a C-section performed. Many dog owners will alert their vet as soon as it goes into labor. This keeps her on standby in case she would need to perform an emergency C-section.
How to Breed Your Female Chihuahua
Understanding how female Chihuahuas struggle with pregnancy, we have a few tips on how to breed your female Chihuahua for the best results. If possible, plan ahead of time for a C-section so that you don’t have to pay more for an emergency C-section.
You will want to look for a smaller male Chihuahua for breeding with the female. Like humans, puppies will inherit the genes of the two parents. A larger male Chihuahua will increase the chances that the puppies will birth at a larger size and make it more difficult for the female.
If possible, check to see the lineage of both parents for the mother and father to better understand if this Chihuahua would be a good fit.
Large Chihuahuas are more common, especially in the genes with a larger male. Many breeders choose to make the dogs mate two to three times total at an interval of every other day. This increases the chances of a pregnancy.
The Chihuahua female’s body will start to swell after a successful pregnancy. This pregnancy lasts for 63 days.
You can plan out her pregnancy more carefully with a dog pregnancy calendar.
How to Know How Many Puppies Your Chihuahua Will Give Birth To
You can pay between $300 to $350 for an ultrasound at a general veterinarian practitioner. Having a specialist perform it will cost from $400 to $500, but the biggest advantage of an ultrasound comes from how it will allow you to plan out your dog’s pregnancy and whether they would require a C-section. Keep in mind, an ultrasound on dogs isn’t always accurate.
Instead of an ultrasound, many pet owners opt for the x-ray, which averages from $150 to $250. Keep in mind, it can range anywhere from $75 to $500 depending on the region. Even this, however, isn’t always accurate because of how a puppy may be hiding behind another one in the x-ray.
To get the best results on an x-ray, you will need to wait between 42 to 45 days to receive an accurate count. In contrast with ultrasound, you only need to wait 25 to 35 days. Some say that right around the 18-day mark will give you the most accurate reading.
Are Chihuahuas in Danger When Having Puppies?
The birthing process for the Chihuahua mother and the puppies can pose a danger, which explains why many opt for the C-section. The potential dangers during a pregnancy include:
- Eclampsia (milk fever)
- Stuck in the birthing canal
- Death of puppy
- Developmental defects
- Uterine inertia
In cases with bigger Chihuahua litters, one or two of the puppies may be weaker. For cases like that, you will need to support them because in some cases, the other puppies won’t let them get the milk from the mother. We saw this with cats and the same problem exists with dogs. In many cases, you will nurse or bottle-feed the puppy to bring it up to full strength.
What About Older Dogs: Can a Nine-Year-Old Chihuahua Have Puppies?
Theoretically speaking, Chihuahuas as old as 12 years old could have puppies, but the risk of health complications goes up the older the dog.
Because of the size of this dog, they consider Chihuahuas as old after 10 years, which means that a nine-year-old Chihuahua wouldn’t make for a good candidate in a pregnancy. The dog already struggles in pregnancy and an elderly dog would only make matters worse.
In some cases, if an older dog becomes pregnant, the vet might look at the possibility of doing an abortion. Within the first 15 days of the dog’s pregnancy, the cost will range from $45 to $175. Later for drug-induced methods, an abortion will cost anywhere from $100 to $700. Your veterinarian will look at the least dangerous methods in this case if your Chihuahua becomes pregnant.
We wouldn’t advise that you go forward with a pregnancy on an older Chihuahua because they become weaker and more prone to health problems as they age. It could endanger the puppies or the mother. While we think breeding a younger Chihuahua would be fine, we would advise against it in all cases with an older dog.
Can a 3-Pound Chihuahua Have Puppies?
Typical Chihuahuas range in weight from 3 pounds to 6 pounds, but pregnancy will especially pose a risk to smaller dogs. They have a much higher risk of dying from it. Because of the complications from a 3-pound Chihuahua having puppies, we would advise against it altogether. Anesthesia on a smaller dog increases the risk that they would die in the process.
The pregnancy will also be harder on a smaller dog than one of the larger of the breed. It already poses a problem to Chihuahuas, in general, and even more when you take one of the smaller dogs.
Interesting Fact About Chihuahuas Having Puppies
Did you know that Chihuahuas can get pregnant from two separate fathers in a single litter? This happens because Mother Nature conspires to bring about the highest chances of the female dog getting pregnant. The sperm may stay in the female dog for up to seven days, and she doesn’t have to ovulate on the day that she becomes pregnant. This means that multiple dogs may prove the father from a single litter of puppies.
This has the highest chance of happening if two male dogs mate with the female on separate days spaced out. If they mate with the female on the same day, the chances of it happening drop much lower since it then depends on who gets there first.
Being pregnant by two dogs of a similar size won’t cause many problems, but if the dogs differ in size, it could make the puppies larger than what the female can handle carrying.
Signs of a Pregnant Chihuahua
You have several signs that a female Chihuahua may be carrying puppies. Some of the things to look for include:
- Nesting behavior
- Discolored or enlarged nipples
- Decreased activity
- Enlarged stomach area
- Strange behavior
- Upset stomach
- Teats closest to the back legs show signs of swelling
After between 15 to 30 days, the Chihuahua’s belly will show signs of swelling. At that point, it becomes more obvious that your Chihuahua was impregnated. Important to note how even a brief mounting can get your dog pregnant even if you thought that you broke it up in time.
If you’re curious about how to take care of a pregnant Chihuahua and what they look like, I would highly recommend checking out this video on pregnant Chihuahuas:
Can Diet Impact How Many Puppies Your Chihuahua Has?
Mothers with a less healthy diet may have fewer puppies, but their health may also prove questionable due to less quality nutrients. You want your Chihuahua to consume a diet of protein throughout the year to ensure the best health of the female and the puppies. Poor nutrition will impact the size of the litter, and it will lead to weaker puppies that don’t thrive as well once the mother gives birth to them.
Nutrition does play a role in the litter size to a small degree, but it won’t impact it too much. Just make sure that you don’t have an overweight Chihuahua female giving birth because of how it will make the pregnancy harder for an already difficult dog breed for giving birth.
We would recommend the VICTOR Super Premium Dog Food for a pregnant dog because of how it will lead to a healthier mother and puppies as a result. Some have also said it would work for puppies, but we would recommend buying actual puppy food for them because puppies require a specific diet different from adult dogs.
How to Influence the Litter Size
Diet gives you one example of how you can influence the litter size of your Chihuahua. A Chihuahua between the age of two to five years old and having had puppies before will have larger litters. This will depend on the individual dog as well.
If you want to influence the litter size, pay attention to the male that you will use to breed with the female. Older male Chihuahuas over five years old will decline in their sperm count, and they will have less quality leading to a higher chance of unhealthy puppies and a harder pregnancy with very few or too many puppies.
The ideal dog father will be between the ages of one and a half to five years old. It increases the chance that the sperm will grow with the mother in a more natural way, and it will give her a more normal litter size.
The third and fourth pregnancies of your Chihuahua will also usually yield the most puppies. In most cases, they won’t have more than six to a litter.
How Common is It for Chihuahuas to Only Have One Puppy?
First-time Chihuahua mothers will often have just one puppy in the whole litter. We would consider that reasonably common for a first-time mother, and we wouldn’t consider it totally uncommon even for second-time mothers.
Still, we think it uncommon overall even for Chihuahuas to only have one puppy per litter. When this happens, experts call it Single Puppy Syndrome. The dangers of it include the puppy growing much larger than it should and making the birthing process more difficult.
You may need to do a C-section with this size of litter to prevent issues. The use of frozen semen has especially proven one of the culprits of this condition, and it can prove fatal for the mother and the pup. Only 50 percent of single pups will survive. In some cases, one puppy in the female doesn’t produce enough hormones to cause the female to go into labor. This will kill the puppy and the mother.
After a Chihuahua Pregnancy
After your Chihuahua gives birth to puppies, we would recommend keeping the other dogs away if possible. New mothers will act protective of their pups and not want other dogs around. Chihuahuas are a known aggressive dog breed, and you will eventually want to socialize the puppies to avoid problems later, but you may want to wait a couple of weeks before doing this.
New mothers can act especially unpredictable after giving birth, and you want to stay aware of this.
How Many Puppies Can a Teacup Chihuahua Have?
Teacup Chihuahuas refer to Chihuahuas between the sizes of 2 to 4 pounds. They have received the name teacup because of their small size, and they will typically give birth to one to three puppies. We wouldn’t consider it as uncommon for teacups to only have one puppy due to their smaller size. The smaller size can, unfortunately, lead to health complications, however, and you want to stay aware of the possible dangers. Teacups have more health issues than regular Chihuahuas.
Especially for first-time Chihuahua mothers, you can expect from one to three puppies in a litter. It isn’t unheard of, however, for them to have from five to six puppies in a litter. Anything over that size, and it puts the mother at risk of health complications. Chihuahuas make for loyal, friendly and affectionate family pets.
Before you would set out to breed them, you want to understand the risks and sacrifices that you would have to make before you begin. If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about the hairless Chihuahua, check out the article that I wrote here.