A French Bulldog in northern Kentucky did something incredible — she gave birth to 13 puppies.
Jamie Walker, the bulldog’s parent, noticed that his dog was a bit larger than most pregnant dogs. When the dog went into labor, however, he was in for a surprise.
Walker spoke to WXIX, saying, “We went to the vet, and he said, ‘She might have six or seven [puppies],’ and he came back out with a basket behind me full of 13 puppies.”
Large Litters Are Not Unheard Of
Surprisingly, giving birth to 13 puppies is not all that uncommon. Also, it isn’t the largest litter a dog has ever given birth to. Currently, the Guinness World Record for largest puppy litter belongs to a Neapolitan Mastiff. In 2004, she gave birth to 24 puppies.
According to the AKC, normally a litter of puppies can range from a single pup to about a dozen. However, the average litter size is around 5-6. As a rule of thumb, larger breeds will give birth to more puppies, while smaller breeds have smaller litters. Interestingly, a lot of factors play into litter size. Beyond the breed, the dog’s age and even the time of year they give birth have an effect.
In terms of age, younger dogs are more likely to give birth to large litters. Just like humans, fertility rates decrease with age for both male and female dogs.
For breeders, optimizing the conditions for large litters means more puppies to sell. Unfortunately, it seems that, as far as fertility goes, humans have minimal say in how many puppies a dog mom can have.
Not a Record — But Still a Big Deal
Regardless, birthing 13 puppies when you’re as small as a Frenchie is nothing to shake a stick at. Especially when you consider their average litter size is only three pups. Luckily, the mom and all her puppies ended labor healthy and happy. Eventually, Walker will start finding homes for the 13 pups when they’re old and healthy enough to leave the nest.