How Many Puppies Can a Chihuahua Have?

by Sonya | Last Updated:   March 21, 2021

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If you are a breeder, you will want to know how many puppies a chihuahua can have in a typical litter.

Not only is this helpful information for breeders, but it is also interesting information that may be useful to any dog lover or simply someone who is curious.

Or, perhaps, you somehow end up with a pregnant chihuahua and you want to know what to expect. Whatever your reason, you’ve come to the right place.

Here, we hope to assuage your worries and provide answers to your questions about chihuahua pregnancy.

Two Chihuahua puppies on white isolated background. Cute shorthaired brown dogs breed.

Chihuahua Pregnancy

Most often, chihuahuas have smaller litters of puppies than other breeds, averaging about four puppies per litter. Sometimes they will only have a single puppy and the largest litter on record is 11 puppies. That’s a lot of puppies!

The younger and healthier the chihuahua is, the more likely they are to have a successful pregnancy and a larger litter.

A chihuahua is pregnant for around 63 days. They tend to go into labor sometime between day 60-65. If the pregnancy lasts longer than 70 days, the risks of complications and problems rise dramatically.

Chihuahuas are smaller dogs and as such, are at a higher risk for pregnancy complications than other dogs. However, if the dog is healthy and young, they can typically have puppies without much issue, particularly when bred with another chihuahua.

Potential Issues

As we noted earlier, the age and health of the dog play a huge role in how likely they are to get pregnant and bring the litter to term without complications. It isn’t recommended that you breed older females as they are at a much higher risk of complications which can be fatal.

An unhealthy dog also should not be bred as it is likely to put too much stress on the dog which can lead to complications and make it difficult for them to conceive and carry their litter to term.

Issues can also arise if your chihuahua gets pregnant from a larger dog. If the puppies are larger than normal for a chihuahua due to the large size of the father, it can make delivering the puppies difficult and is more likely to lead to complications.

If your dog has gotten pregnant by a large dog, you will want to work closely with your vet during the pregnancy to ensure that she and the puppies are as safe during the process as possible.

Preparing Your Chihuahua for Pregnancy

If you know you plan on breeding your dog, you can start young with proper care to ensure that your female chihuahua is as healthy as possible, which will increase the chances of a smooth, safe, and complication-free pregnancy. First and foremost, you don’t want to try to breed the dog too young.

They tend to reach sexual maturity at between six months and a year. Many recommend waiting a few months beyond their reaching sexual maturity to start breeding the dog.

You will want to get a thorough health evaluation for any dog you might want to breed. This will give you a good indication of their health and thus how likely they are to be able to carry puppies to term. You only want to breed the healthiest females to help ensure healthy litters of puppies that are born without complication and are safe for the mother.

A chihuahua that you intend to breed should be fed the highest quality diet possible and her health should be of the utmost importance. She should have regular veterinary care and be given a diet specially formulated to her specific needs.

She will also need regular exercise to maintain optimal health. This means regular play and walking are part and parcel of raising a happy, healthy chihuahua that you will be able to breed.

Since they are so small, it is best, if possible, to plan any pregnancies. This will allow you to control the conditions and to work closely with a veterinary professional to help ensure the best possible results.

Some contingencies are better planned ahead of time as well. Chihuahua puppies have notoriously large heads, which can make it difficult to deliver and lead to complications. Many owners will choose a C-section for their dogs, as this reduces the chances of complications associated with delivery.

Chihuahua peeking out from under blankets and looking at camera

The Importance of Being Prepared

Since pregnancy is more difficult for chihuahuas than many other breeds of dogs, it is easy to see why planning is so important. One of the worst things for a chihuahua is an unplanned pregnancy. This can result in a difficult pregnancy, especially if she mated with a larger dog and thus is carrying larger puppies than her body is designed to carry.

If you aren’t a breeder and don’t want to have puppies, it is best to get your female spayed. If you do plan on breeding the dog at some point in the future, but don’t want an unplanned pregnancy, you will need to keep a close eye on her, especially when she is in heat. When the dog is in heat, she should never be left outside unattended.

Male dogs can smell a female in heat and they will come from quite a distance for the opportunity to mate.

Given their small bodies and propensity to having complications even with a normal pregnancy, making sure you and the dog are prepared for pregnancy before it happens is imperative. You want to make sure that any dog you plan on breeding is in the best possible health.

They should undergo a thorough health evaluation to ensure that they are healthy enough to be bred and that they have been tested for any possible issues. There are diagnostic tests that can be performed that will give you a better understanding of the dog’s overall health and any risk factors she may have.

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In Closing

Chihuahuas are sweet, adorable, small dogs that tend to have smaller litters of puppies than other breeds. Their litters tend to be about four or fewer puppies, though single litters and much larger ones are not unheard of. Due to their small size, pregnancy is a bit riskier for chihuahuas than it is for other breeds, so if you plan on breeding your dog, you will want to be well prepared for her pregnancy.

This will make it more likely that she has a safe and successful pregnancy and that the puppies are born safe and healthy.

If you don’t want puppies, you will want to get your dog spayed before or shortly after she reaches sexual maturity. If you plan on breeding your dog but not at the present moment, you will need to ensure that she is not left unattended where she can be reached by other dogs.

When you are approaching the time that you want to begin breeding your dog, you will need to ensure that she is healthy enough to carry the litter to term and that you have plans in place for the delivery. Always ensure that you feed her the highest quality food and that she gets regular exercise and has access to proper veterinary care.

Many people who breed chihuahuas opt to have the puppies delivered by C-section, which will require advanced planning to achieve.

Being as prepared as possible and ensuring that your dog is in the best possible health will help ensure that she carries her litter safely to term and is able to deliver them by C-section or without complications if you are opting for a natural birth.

Sonya is a software engineer by day and recently earned her MBA degree, but she also loves spending her free time writing about her favourite passion, dogs! Click here to read more.
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