How many puppies can a Pitbull have? We’ve got all of the details on Pitbull pregnancy.
There are a number of factors that can influence the size of a Pitbull’s litter. You also need to consider why you want to breed as a pitbull owner, as well as whether or not you’re able to accommodate a large litter of up to 10 babies!
Ultimately, the priority should always be healthy puppies over a larger litter. It’s also important to note that the gestation period is typically around 58-69 days for a female pit bull dog.
Let us take a closer look at all the things that come into play during a Pit bull pregnancy, and how to best prepare for how many puppies they may have.
How Many Puppies Can a Pitbull Have in a Litter?
Generally, across the huge variety of breeds, a dog’s size is ultimately the main deciding factor as to how many puppies a dog will give birth to in a single litter. Any sort of litter can range from a single puppy to a whopping 12 or 13, with larger breeds generally giving birth to more puppies than ‘toy’ breeds and smaller dogs.
For a point of comparison, an average German Shepherd litter can be around 8-10 puppies. Conversely, a French Bulldog will only have 2-4 and oftentimes the babies will need to be delivered via C-section.
Breed of dog will always be the biggest determining factor when it comes to the size of a litter. Pitbulls have a tendency to land somewhere in the mid-range of this scale as their litters are around 4-6 puppies.
As a Pitbull parent, you do need to be prepared for the possibility of a larger litter. This can always pose a danger to the mother Pitbull due to delivery problems. There isn’t really a ‘normal litter size,’ but most will fall within the range of five puppies.
A guideline, if you have access to the information, is finding out how many puppies your Pit bull’s mom had. Females will often have the same litter size as their mothers.
The Risks of Birth for Dogs
As is this case with people, childbirth for dogs can also be a dangerous situation fraught with natural complications. Being able to recognize distress is crucial when it comes to addressing any problems that may need to be resolved in a veterinary setting or an animal hospital with an assisted birth or C-section.
While most dogs are capable of giving birth on their own, you should always keep an eye on your Pit bull during later pregnancy stages and during labor. ‘Dystocia‘ is the terminology used to describe any sort of abnormality during labor or difficulty in the process of giving birth.
The Signs and Symptoms of Dystocia
If your Pitbull is in labor for a prolonged period of time (more than 24 hours) or you notice distress and more than several hours between babies, the Pitbull and her unborn litter could be in danger. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Pitbull appears lethargic, depressed, and the temperature of the pet is above 103 degrees).
- The puppy arriving is in a ‘breech’ position, meaning that their tail/rear end is first.
- Excessive amounts of bleeding or discharge without any puppies.
- Pitbull is straining for more than 30 minutes with a puppy.
- Pitbull is having contractions for more than 30 minutes without giving birth to any puppies.
What Causes Dystocia and Is the Pitbull More Susceptible?
Generally, flat-faced or short-nosed breeds tend to be more susceptible, including French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Chows, Pugs, etc. The Pitbull is not any more susceptible to complications than any other breed of the same size.
There could be numerous ‘potential’ causes of dystocia in dogs. These can range from issues with the fetus itself and its position within the birth canal, as well as maternal problems with the mother like weak contractions, an issue with the pelvic canal, or an internal infection.
Dogs which experience a higher level of stress and trauma, are older in age, or are obese are also at an increased right of complications during labor. Any sort of reputable breeder should be able to notice the physical signs we’ve noted above to avoid placing female pit bull moms in danger.
What Other Factors Can Impact the Size of the Litter?
While we’ve offered a general guideline, countless other factors can ultimately determine the amount of puppies per litter.
Natural breeding, rather than artificial insemination is an important part in ensuring that a litter isn’t small. The method of birth for the litter (C-Section or natural/artificial insemination or natural breeding) are only two small aspects in the grand scheme of things.
First and foremost, you want to ensure the health and well-being of your mother pitbull.
Age and Size of the Mother (Dam)
Much like the size of the female Pitbull mom, the age of the mother can also have a noticeable impact. Typically younger mothers will have a larger litter of puppies, slightly above the average litter size. The first couple of litters also tend to be smaller compared to those that follow. Given how much of a toll birth takes on the mother’s body, it is important to not breed the same dam more than three or four times.
Regardless of their age, female pit bulls should also be exercised daily to ensure optimal health and physical strength.
The role of the father is critical as well, as his age will also impact his sperm count and sperm motility, potentially leading to less productive litters in older males above the age of 5. 2-5 are generally considered to be optimal years for breeding as this is when dams tend to have the largest litters.
How many puppies can a pitbull have? On average, the answer would be around five.
While weight gain is natural in pregnant pit bulls, female pit bulls should always be fed nutritious foods and cared for throughout the breeding process. If the mother is overweight at the time of pregnancy, she could have potential joint/muscular problems that may result in a more complicated pregnancy.
Ensuring your pit bull (be it a family pet or a dam for a professional breeder) is properly cared for is the most critical aspect of securing a healthy, large litter. Feeding the dam a high-protein, whole-food diet year round is one way to maximize the chances of both a larger litter and having a healthy, complication-free birth.