Chihuahuas are widely recognized as one of the most loved pocket canine breeds in the entire animal kingdom. Chihuahuas are highly appreciated for their ability to thrive as great indoor dogs due to their small stature and great attitude towards their owners.
Due to their petite build, they are considered brachycephalic dogs, simply meaning that they possess very small and oftentimes impaired airways due to the size of their snouts (especially for the apple head variations of Chihuahuas). But do brachycephalic little Chihuahuas have small litters due to their health and size limitations? If so, how many puppies can a chihuahua have in a litter?
Young Chihuahuas usually have a small litter compared to the older members of their breed. They primarily will have one to three pups in a litter. On the other hand, older Chihuahuas tend to have litters consisting of between five to six puppies. However, this higher number of puppies in a litter increases the likelihood of health problems for both the mother and her offspring.
Chihuahua Fact: When it comes to breeding, you can expect older Chihuahuas to have larger litters than younger ones.
Factors That Influence Chihuahua Litter Size
A Chihuahua will typically weigh between one to two kilos and can measure between 15 cm to 20 cm in height. They are also considered one of the world’s most popular tiny dogs. Regarding breeding these adorable dogs, a Chihuahua’s litter size can be affected by a number of different things, including the following:
- If your mother of your Chihuahua had a lot of puppies, it’s possible that your female Chihuahua will, too. The genetics of a dog’s parents can have an effect on the size of the litter.
- A Chihuahua’s physical state and the overall condition of their health will also have an impact on litter size. For instance, an overweight dog is more likely to have a litter with fewer puppies.
- Age also impacts a Chihuahua’s litter size. To be more specific, female Chihuahuas whose ages range from 2 to 5 years tend to have the largest litters.
- Whether it is the first time a Chihuahua has been pregnant is a determining factor in the litter size as well. In most cases, the first litter of a Chihuahua is usually the smallest. You should typically never expect to see more than three puppies born in a Chihuahua’s first litter.
- The size of your dog will also have an effect on the number of puppies she has. Because Chihuahuas are the tiniest of all dog breeds, their litters are also likely to be on the compact side, too.
- Your Chihuahua’s eating habits are another key factor in determining the number of puppies that may be in a litter. To ensure the greatest possible offspring count, proper nourishment is essential.
- The quality of the sperm of the fathering dog and any issues with interbreeding are also additional factors that influence the litter size.
What About Larger Chihuahua Litters?
If a Chihuahua has been bred previously, you may anticipate that the litter will have three to six puppies compared to the smaller amount of one to three puppies.
Breeders in the industry are certain that a Chihuahua female should not be bred more than four times since it is detrimental to her physical and emotional well-being.
When there are more offspring in a litter overall, it is typical for there to be a greater number of weak and underweight puppies. These underweight puppies require more support and may even need medical treatment to survive. This is also why physicians advocate the use of a Cesarean section when a Chihuahua is ready to birth its litter. Birthing the litter via a Cesarean section allows for better control over the delivery process, ensuring the best possible health of both the mother and the pups.
Why Are Chihuahuas Litter Sizes Generally Small?
To sum it up in a single word: brachycephaly. Over the course of thousands of years, Chihuahuas have been brought into captivity and improved through breeding. However, Chihuahuas have always had huge heads and small, short noses contributing to breathing difficulties.
The head shape of the Chihuahua can vary, which is why we have labels like “deer head Chihuahua” and “apple head Chihuahua” to differentiate between the two most common head shapes. Because of the small size of both their heads as well as their tiny bodies, Chihuahuas as a whole have smaller litters and more risky deliveries.
How Many Puppies Can You Expect a Chihuahua to Have in Their First Litter?
Chihuahuas often have small litters, but the size of the litter produced by a Chihuahua that is having its first whelping will be even smaller. There is no foolproof scientific approach to determining how many puppies a Chihuahua will have when she gives birth for the very first time. However，as mentioned before, more than three pups the very first time around is exceedingly unusual and unlikely to happen and it’s quite likely that a Chihuahua will only give birth to one or two puppies in its very first litter.
The age of the Chihuahua mother is plays a significant role in determining the size of the first litter that she will have, as discussed above. In general, the smaller the size of your Chihuahua, the greater the likelihood that they will only have one puppy when they first have a litter.
Like many other toy dog breeds, Chihuahuas reach puberty at an early age, often between the ages of 5 and 7 months. It is possible for a female Chihuahua to become pregnant once she has completed her first heat cycle, which occurs when she reaches puberty.
This also means that you are able to have a Chihuahua that is five months old, is basically still considered a puppy, yet she has become fertile and capable of becoming pregnant. She would be able to get pregnant and give birth to her first litter within just two months of reaching this age.
Aside from their small stature in general, Chihuahuas also have hips that are very narrow, which increases the danger of their puppies becoming caught in the delivery canal. Additionally, Chihuahua puppies have large heads. Combined with the narrow hips of the mother, the risks of a large-headed puppy trying to pass through the birth canal are greatly increased.
Why Is It Recommended to Skip a Chihuahua’s First Heat Cycle When Trying to Breed Them?
It is recommended that breeders wait until a Chihuahua’s second heat cycle and miss the first one intentionally when trying to breed the dog. This is due to the fact that Chihuahuas in this first cycle are prone to experiencing major birth complications.
So, if you possess a female Chihuahua that you are interested in breeding at some point in the future, you should postpone your plans until she is old enough (at least one year) to do so healthily, and you shouldn’t even remotely consider breeding her until her first heat cycle has passed.
You may also lower your Chihuahua’s risk of developing birth-related difficulties by choosing a partner for your dog that is compatible in its size and health and keeping track of each step of her pregnancy with the assistance of a calendar designed specifically for pregnant dogs.
If you want to find a good fit for your Chihuahua that you want to breed, you should search for male Chihuahuas that are on the smaller side just to be safe. Also, try to discover the average size of both dogs’ parents and whether or not they were bigger or smaller, as this will play a part in the safety of the mother dog’s gestation, too.
All puppies receive their genetic makeup from both of their parents, and the size of your puppies might vary depending on whether or not the male parent comes from a lineage of larger Chihuahuas. Finding out more about the lineage before breeding ensures that your Chihuahua will have the safest possible experience becoming a mother.
Can Chihuahuas Breed with Big Dogs?
When a Chihuahua becomes pregnant as a result of mating with a larger dog, the probability of serious health concerns occurring during delivery are increased even more. If this situation were to occur, a Chihuahua’s pregnancy may be made much more difficult since the pups might outgrow their mother’s womb before birth, which would put the Chihuahua’s health at serious risk.
Because of this, you shouldn’t let your Chihuahua wander around unsupervised when she’s having an estrus (heat cycle), and you should make it a point to steer clear of male dogs at all costs.
Do not fall into the trap of believing that merely having a backyard with a fence would provide a perfect form of protection and prevent dogs from approaching your Chihuahua. When hormones are running at full tilt, males will stake out and grasp any opportunity to catch a female who is in the heat of her sexuality.
Multiple-Sired Litters in Chihuahuas
It is possible for two differnt dogs to parent a Chihuahua’s litter. This type of litter is referred to as a multiple-sired litter. This is a possibility because female canines keep more than one ova (the egg generated by the ovaries) accessible for several days after they have been fertilized. In a hypothetical scenario, a female could be mounted on the first day, resulting in the fertilization of an egg. Then, a different male could mount her on the third or fourth day, resulting in the fertilization of another egg. Both of the fertilized eggs would result in a litter that has multiple father dogs.
False Pregnancy in Chihuahuas
This phenomenon isn’t something that only happens to Chihuahuas; it can happen to any female dog. There is a possibility that some dogs will experience a form of chemical imbalance that will result in pregnancy symptoms that are false. You’re Chihuahua’s physique may give the impression that she is pregnant, when in reality, she is not. All of the visual pregnancy signs will be there in spite of no real pregnancy having occured, including symptoms such as an enlarged stomach, the growth of breast tissue, and even the production of milk.
The good news is that after a month, everything should go back to how it was before the unusual changes occurred.
How Long Does a Chihuahua’s Pregnancy Typically Last?
It is important to plan the birth dates of your pets to be able to track the overall health of the mother and the developing pups, but it is even more necessary to do so with Chihuahuas because of their small size and increased risk of complications. If you choose to breed your female Chihuahua, you’ll need to schedule a C-section, too, meaning you’ll need to have a precise understanding of how long a Chihuahua pregnancy lasts.
The duration of gestation is typically the same across the board for canine species, clocking in at an average of 63 days. Keeping this figure in mind, the only thing you will primarily need to be concerned with is making an accurate diagnosis of the pregnancy as soon as it occurs so that the short timeframe doesn’t sneak up on you.
It is important to keep an eye out for pregnancy symptoms in this breed so that you can identify an unplanned pregnancy as quickly as possible and then proceed with your 63-day pregnancy preparations.
Signs That a Chihuahua is Going Into Heat
When a female Chihuahua enters the first heat cycle of her reproductive life, you will know that she is ready to start producing puppies.
There are a few telltale signs that your female dog has entered her mating season:
- A high amount of licking of the vaginal area
- A shift in the normal tail location
- Nervous, excited, and aggressive behavior
- More frequent urination
- Variations in personality
- Variations in your Chihuahua’s appetite
How Many Times Can a Chihuahua Give Birth to Puppies in Her Lifetime?
The majority of professional breeders won’t allow their Chihuahuas to have more than four litters in their lifetime if they can help it. Having puppies is hard work, especially for a dog as little as a Chihuahua, and it will eventually take its toll on the Chihuahua’s health.
When compared to pups of other dog breeds, Chihuahua puppies can weigh up to 25% of their mother’s weight, which is a much bigger percentage size than that of puppies of other dog breeds. Because of this, Chihuahua mothers have a difficult time during their pregnancies.
In addition to restricting the number of times they can have pups during their lifespan to a maximum of four, you should also leave a minimum of 12 to 18 months between each of their pregnancies to ensure maximum safety for your pooch.
Is a Cesarean Section Necessary for Every Chihuahua?
Although a C-section is not 100% required for all Chihuahua births because of the difficulties of the average delivery for this breed, it has been much more popular to utilize this birthing technique in recent years. It is very likely that certain conditions during labor and delivery will call for an emergency C-section to be performed, as failing to do so might result in the loss of the dog, especially in the case of a breed so small and at risk of serious problems.
When a Chihuahua gives birth, she will push the puppy out and then use her teeth to split the birthing sac apart so that the little one will be released. After she has finished doing this, she will often consume the sac as well. As this is a common activity for dogs after delivery, we recommend allowing your dog to do so to replenish a significant amount of nutrients.
You may want to check with a veterinarian in advance to see whether or not the mother Chihuahua has factors that will require a C-section be done. Many owners will immediately contact their veterinarian when a dog goes into labor, regardless. Doing this ensures that your dog’s doctor is on standby in case they might need to perform an emergency C-section as your dog attempts to deliver its babies.
Caring for Chihuahua Puppies
Chihuahua puppies should remain with their mothers for a minimum of two and a half to three months of age. These puppies absolutely require their mother’s milk in order to develop normally, not to mention the fact that it helps to strengthen their immune systems. You should be aware that a Chihuahua puppy will have trouble for the rest of its life if it does not receive the right care and nourishment while it is in its earliest stages.
Awful things can happen if you take a young puppy away from its mother when it is still young, and you should do everything in your power to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, a significant number of breeders engage in this practice of removing the puppy from its mother’s care far before the appropriate time to do so; hence, if you want to get a dog from one of these breeders, you need to be aware that your pet will never be healthy and will constantly struggle with significant health issues.
Fun Facts about Chihuahua Puppies
In light of the fact that Chihuahuas are one of the most well-liked breeds of toy dogs, here are some additional interesting facts about Chihuahua puppies and the breed itself:
- Chihuahuas are descended from the ancient Techichi canines who lived in Mexico.
- The name of the breed comes from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, which is where the dogs first appeared.
- In the 1960s, the United States saw an uptick in the number of households keeping Chihuahua pups as pets.
- The typical number of puppies produced by a mature Chihuahua mother is four.
- Chihuahuas with white coats are exceptionally hard to find and demand a premium price.
- Chihuahua pups have floppy ears at birth, but their ears stand straight up when they reach maturity.
- Chihuahua puppies have noses that range in color from pink to black to gray to brown. Some pups may have a two-toned appearance on their noses.
- The Aztecs believed that the Techichi dogs, the Chihuahua’s progenitors, could absorb illnesses from their human masters and use that ability to ward off disease in other people. Surprisingly, a sizable number of individuals still hold to this misconception in today’s world.
Buy Chihuahuas from a Reliable Breeder
Because Chihuahua pregnancies are so difficult, you should ask the breeder how many litters the dog has already delivered and when they had their most recent litter of puppies. Chihuahuas are notoriously difficult to whelp. If the breeder encourages the Chihuahua to have as many puppies as possible, this might be a red flag that something is going to be wrong.
Do not give your money to dog breeders that are simply in it for the money since this encourages unethical and brutal breeding techniques that place the breeder’s profits above the well-being of the dogs.
Getting a dog from a breeder with a good reputation means ensuring that you find a breeder that prioritizes the health and happiness of the animals before their own financial gain.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.