In the canine world, the size of upcoming litters can be tough to anticipate. Although female humans usually give birth to one or two babies at a time, a lot more guesswork is involved with expectant doggie mothers. Litters of puppies run the gamut -- some are small, some are large and some are in-between.
Twins in Dogs
Female dogs are indeed capable of bearing twins. Litters of a mere two puppies, however, are especially prevalent in canines of especially small breeds -- think Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Yorkshire terriers, papillons and Chinese crested dogs. Not only are litters of two a possibility, so are even smaller litters of single puppies. The chances of bigger dogs bearing twins are much slimmer. Big dogs sometimes can have upwards of 20 youngsters at once. When you consider the fact that dogs can get pregnant multiple times a year, the concept of doggie overpopulation becomes realistic and daunting.
Apart from size, age can also help to determine litter size. Not only are smaller breed dogs more likely to have twins, so are younger dogs. If a female dog is between 1 and 2 years old, her litter size may be significantly smaller than one of a dog between 3 and 4 years in age. Despite that, litter size also drops off for older canines -- think those past around 5 or 6 years. Remember, however, that exceptions are always a possibility.
Average Litter Size in General
If you consider litters across the board, with all breeds and types considered, the sizes generally range from between six and 10 little ones. For the most part, canine twins are not an especially common scenario.
Oddly enough, temperature may even affect a mother dog's chances of giving birth to twins or other similarly small litters, specifically in geographic locales that experience marked seasonal differences, indicates the American Kennel Club. In times of hot weather, dogs usually produce smaller litters. During the spring months, however, litters usually are on the bigger side.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images