What Is the World Record for the Largest Dog Litter?

by Naomi Millburn
    Dog litters may vary greatly in size.

    Dog litters may vary greatly in size.

    Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

    If your sweet dog is expecting a litter of bouncing puppies, you may anticipate welcoming a handful of the fluffy little ones -- say five or six -- into the world. However, in very rare instances, doggie litters can be overwhelmingly large, so be prepared for the possibility of breaking a world record.

    A Neapolitan mastiff by the name of Tia -- that's short for Abellatino Arabella -- gave birth to a staggering 24 puppies on Nov. 29, 2004. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she's the world record holder. Tia, from Cambridgeshire in Great Britain, belonged to Anne Kellegher and Damian Ward, native to Ireland and the United Kingdom, respectively. The canine father was named Caesar. The mother was just 2 years old at the time of birth.

    The massive litter entered the world via Caesarean section. The C-section was necessary due to the mother dog's extreme size. Not all of the pups survived birth, however. Out of the 24 puppies, three passed away within seven days, while one was stillborn. In terms of gender, the group consisted of 15 boy puppies and nine girls.

    Tia's litter was significantly larger than typical for the Neapolitan mastiff breed. Neopolitan mastiffs are very big dogs, and their litters usually include anywhere from six to twelve puppies, with seven being the average. With 24 puppies in one fell swoop, Tia's litter was literally twice the size of a "normal" large litter.

    With all separate dog breeds considered, the typical number of puppies in a canine litter is anywhere between six and ten youngsters, according to the Oxford Lafayette Humane Society. Doggie litters are usually quite a big bigger than feline litters, as the typical size for those is comparatively small -- generally between four and six kittens at once. The Humane Society of Moab Valley notes that dogs from bigger-sized breeds tend to have larger litters, and the Neapolitan mastiff breed is definitely big.

    Before Tia gave birth to her litter, the previous world record for the largest litter was 23 pups, just one less cutie. The record litter size was shared by three mother dogs -- one Great Dane, one Saint Bernard and an American foxhound.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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