Can A Litter Of Puppies Have More Than One Father?

Can a litter of puppies have more than one father?

I’m not sure when I first heard about a litter of puppies having more than one father, but I do recall hearing that it is a true statement…A litter of puppies can most definitely have more than one father.

Why was I thinking about this? Well, last Saturday at the pet adoption I saw two puppies at the Cuddly Canines booth that looked totally different, but were said to be siblings. Here’s a picture:

Chow Chow Labrador Retriever Mix

Koa and Sequoia

Picture from Cuddly Canines Website

Here are some photos I took at the Orange County Super Pet Adoption:

These precious baby boys were born around June 1st to what appears to be a Chow-Lab combo. They are indeed brothers, although they look nothing alike. Koa looks like he just hopped out of the clothes dryer after a quick spin through the fluff cycle, and Sequoia has beautiful short flaming red hair! Both boys are sweet & cuddly.

By the way, I looked today and these two are still up for adoption. If you’d like to adopt one or both puppies go to the Cuddly Canines website and fill out an application.

Now I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I think these two puppies may have had different fathers.

Another Multiple Father Example

Here’s a picture of a litter of puppies we rescued from the Riverside Shelter a couple years ago:

These puppies were German Shepherd mix, but two of them looked more like Labrador Retriever then German Shepherd. Once again I think there were multiple fathers involved with this litter. DNA test anyone?

Answers From Yahoo Answers

I read this on the Yahoo Answers site and also on many other sites across the internet:

A female dog can have as many different fathers for her puppies that bred with her. Dogs can release multiple eggs and they can be fertilized by whichever dog’s semen is present. If more than one male bred her, that’s how many fathers the puppies can have. the main reason everyone gets a fair shot at the eggs is because the semen wait a day or two before fertilizing the eggs.

When a dog ovulates the eggs are not totally mature. They finish maturing as they enter into the uterine horns. Then whatever dog’s semen is present releases from the uterine lining and heads for the eggs.

Now one single puppy cannot have two different fathers. Each puppy will get half of it’s DNA makeup from Mom and one Father, but since often dogs have litters it’s possible for two puppies from the same litter to have 2 different sires.

Have you had or seen any litters of puppies with multiple fathers? If you have some stories or photographs please send them to me. I’d love to post them to my blog.


  1. Troy's mom says

    I have an even stranger question…bear with me…
    Background: I rescued a litter of puppies along with their mother from a junkyard. The mom was a cute medium-sized black & tan dog. The puppies (who are now 8) are all HUGE dogs, so I’m guessing their size probably came from the genes of the dad (or dads).
    Here’s the thing…Four of the five are brindle all over. The fifth looks exactly like a Rottweiler, but his paws are brindle. Even though it’s possible that both the Rottweiler and the Brindle traits came from the genes of one dog, is it possible that a single puppy can inherit traits from BOTH fathers that bred with the Mom?
    Sorry if that’s too complicated!

  2. Darius T says

    i have a pure bred pitbull and she got tied up with a chowchow and then with my pure bred pitbull can she have two different sets of puppies

    • says

      It’s definitely a possibility. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell the difference once she has her litter. By the way, if she does we’d love to see pics!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Tracey says

    Hi I have a female Chihuahua, I have 2 male Chihuahuas and they both got her on the same day. One is short haired and one is long haired, could she have different kinds of puppies or would the DNA take over just one?

  4. laura says

    my beagle/basenji something mix lol just had 8 puppies, 2 different dads we believe. our pure bred great pyrenees and pure border collie both mated with her in 24 hrs, and today they finally arrived. some of them are big and bulky, mostly white with some light brown, which im guessing have the pyrenees as daddy. and only one of them looks like a collie, very dark brown with some white. see, this dog had pups before with just the collie, and they all looked like dad. so these pups are definitely with 2 dads.

  5. Sarah says

    Hi! I have a dog that was supposedly a chow lab mix, but I’ve seen many full grown and NONE look like her. Also, when my parents went to get her they said all the other puppies were short haired and looked like blonde labs, and mine was separated because she didn’t want a bath. And she was really fluffy. As she got older she looks like a chow-wolf mix which I have just found out is called a Eurasier. She has identical health problems and personality traits as this dog, so I am pretty sure this is the case of different fathers. It just sucks because she is the most loyal dog in the world and its hard to pinpoint a good mix/breed that would be similar to her for when she passes (I’m totally dreading that day and I try not to think about it) but I just find this very interesting because I’ve never even heard or seen that breed before so I find it odd that it may be her father. Sorry this is long! I just felt like putting in my two cents! :)

    • says

      Thanks for leaving us a comment! No problem on the length of your comment. We love hearing back from our readers and all of their different stories. Hopefully you can find out what breeds your dog is mixed. Have you tried one of the breed tests from your local vet? I’m not too sure of the accuracy, but it might be worth a shot.

      Thanks again for sharing your story!

  6. april says

    I would like to send a couple pics of two pups I saved from the same litter. one looks like a pit bull and the other like a lab.. how can I send the photos?

  7. ja says

    Stumbled across this page and its associated comments. Yes, there can be more than one father for a litter of puppies, but this really isn’t required for most of the variation you are trying to explain!

    Just because a given animal does not express a specific trait doesn’t mean it doesn’t possess the relevant allele to pass that trait on to its offspring. A basic understanding of heritability would really help.

    A simple place to start might be:

  8. venkatesh says

    we have a lab, who is gentle and free to roam around in a big area. multiple dogs have mated with her last month, and now she’s pregnant. next month she will deliver. there is a strong suspicion that, this lab mother might have litters from more than one father. your blog was informative.. so, if something like that happens, will send you pics.

  9. leo says

    Hi I have ? I female got stuck 2 times with the male dog but 4 days later she was stuck but with another dog would she have puppies with both males

  10. ReiRei says

    It is also possible for the pups to look nothing alike and have the same father. I know this from experience of breeding my female german shepard/ red chow mix with my male samoyed. And know that no other male dog bred with the female. Mom looked like a red gold short haired german shepard with no saddleback (black along the spine) and the father was all white and long haired fluffy typical samoyed. I ended up with three litters of pups and all were as mixed as could be. We had all black fluffy (even though neither dog had black fur, only a black face on the shep/chow mix), all white fluffy, black and white fluffy, cream fluffy, german shepard looking short hairs, all white short hairs, cream and black short hairs, and one that came out looking like a cream colored sheep. So, depending on the breeds of the dogs, you might end up with all different looking pups.

  11. says

    I’m trying to think back to my genetics classes in college. Puppies could show traits from either parent and also show some traits that neither parent expresses. For instance two black Labrador Retrievers can produce a yellow Lab puppy (both black Lab parents would have to possess the recessive yellow gene). Hmmm…that’s about all I can remember from genetics class. Thanks for sharing your story!

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