How Many Puppies Can A Chihuahua Have In A Single Litter?

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Chihuahuas can get pregnant like all other dogs, but their small size puts them at greater risk of birthing complications compared to larger breeds.

Knowing how many puppies a Chihuahua can have in a litter can help you come up with an appropriate birthing plan and minimize the risk of serious complications. 

Due to their tiny size, most Chis must give birth via a cesarean section to avoid risks associated with natural birth.

But before you start panicking, know that some Chihuahuas can give birth to completely healthy puppies without any help, in the comfort of their home.

3 Chihuahua puppies held on the grass

Since there is no way of predicting how your Chi will handle this delicate state, your vet should monitor your dog from the early days of the pregnancy to the very end.

Your vet can guide you through your Chi’s pregnancy stages and be there to help your dog deliver a healthy litter of puppies.

To help you get prepared for new puppies, I will tell you everything you need to know about the average Chihuahua litter size and more. Keep on reading to learn what to expect when your Chi is expecting!

What Is The Average Chihuahua Litter Size?

Besides being very small and weighing up to six pounds, Chihuahuas are also a brachycephalic breed. This means they have a short nose and a flat face that puts them at a greater risk of breathing problems.

When you put two and two together, it comes as no surprise that Chihuahuas have smaller litters than larger dog breeds. 

On average, a Chihuahua will give birth to three puppies in a single litter.

However, some Chihuahuas can give birth to only one puppy. So, when it comes to the average Chihuahua litter size, you can expect anything from one to three puppies per litter. 

After they have had their first litter, older Chihuahuas tend to give birth to larger litters of five to six puppies. Most Chis tend to have their largest litters the third or the fourth time they get pregnant, after which the litter size gets smaller again.

The biggest issue with a larger Chihuahua litter is that both the mom and the puppies can experience health complications.

This doesn’t always happen; however, with larger litters there is always a chance that one or several puppies will be underweight and weaker than the rest. 

These puppies need additional help and support from the mother and may sometimes have trouble getting enough milk and nutrition from the mom. In this case, you as an owner will have to bottle feed and nurse the puppy to its full strength to help it grow and develop properly.

Please note, while small litters are the norm when it comes to such a tiny breed as a Chihuahua, there have been cases of surprisingly large litters.

A Kansas Chihuahua gave birth to 11 healthy puppies, breaking the Guinness World Record for the number of puppies born in a Chihuahua litter.  

How Many Puppies Do Chihuahuas Have The First Time?

Chihuahuas generally have small litters, but the first time a Chihuahua gives birth the litter will be even smaller. Don’t expect to see more than three puppies the first time, and it’s far more likely that your Chi will give birth to just one puppy in the first litter. 

Guessing the number of puppies a Chihuahua will have the first time isn’t an exact science. But, anything more than three puppies the first time is highly unusual and very unlikely.

The age of your Chihuahua is one of the factors that affect the size of the first litter. Generally, the younger the Chi the more likely it is that they will give birth to just one puppy the first time around. 

Like other toy breeds, Chihuahuas reach puberty very young, usually between four and seven months of age. As soon as a female Chi enters puberty, which will be her first heat cycle, she can become pregnant. 

If by chance your Chihuahua gets mounted by a male dog during the estrus phase of the heat cycle, she can become pregnant.

This means that you can have a five-month-old Chihuahua, which is still technically a puppy, pregnant and ready to deliver her first litter in the next nine weeks. 

As mentioned earlier, Chihuahuas are at risk of developing complications during pregnancy and delivery, and many must give birth via cesarean section.

This is mainly because Chihuahuas have narrow hips and their puppies have large heads, which puts them at risk of being stuck in the birthing canal. 

This risk becomes even higher if a Chihuahua gets pregnant by mating with a larger dog. In this case, the pregnancy can become even more difficult since the puppies can become too large for Chi’s womb and put the mom’s health at great risk. 

That’s why you can’t let your Chihuahua out of your sight while she is in heat, and avoid male dogs at all costs!

Also, don’t assume that having a fenced yard will serve as any kind of foolproof protection and deter dogs from mounting your Chi.

When hormones are running wild, males will stake out your house and grab any opportunity to mount a female in heat. 

Since Chihuahuas may experience serious birthing complications, breeders are advised to wait until the second heat cycle to breed two Chis.

This means that the female Chihuahua will be fully grown and technically an adult, and more prepared to give birth to a healthy litter without experiencing any complications.

If you have a female Chihuahua that you want to breed at some point, please wait until she is old enough, and don’t plan to breed her during the first heat cycle.

You can also minimize the risk of complications by carefully choosing a mate and following all the stages of her pregnancy with a dog pregnancy calendar

Ideally, look for smaller male Chihuahuas to pair with your dog and check to see if their parents were smaller or larger in size.

All puppies inherit genes from both their parent,s and your pups may be larger if there is a history of larger Chis in the male’s lineage. 

How Many Times A Year Can A Chihuahua Have Puppies?

Pregnancy can take its toll on a dog’s body, especially on such a small dog as a Chihuahua. Any reputable breeder won’t allow their Chihuahuas to have more than four litters during their lifetime. 

Breeding Chihuahuas is a serious endeavor, even more so because most Chis must give birth via cesarean section. Being pregnant, delivering puppies, and later nursing them puts a lot of strain on the mother’s body and she needs time to completely heal and recover.

Therefore, most reputable breeders only breed female Chihuahuas every other year, allowing the dam plenty of time to regain its full strength and be ready for another pregnancy. Otherwise, there is a risk of complications and a huge chance that the puppies will be born with serious health problems. 

If you plan to purchase a Chihuahua puppy, you should ask the breeder how many litters the mother has already had.

Anything over three or four is a huge red flag and a sign that the breeder is in it for the money. In this case, walk away and look for a reputable breeder who won’t jeopardize the health of the Chi mom and the litter by breeding in excess for the sake of profit. 

If by any chance you want to breed your female Chihuahua, you should consult your vet first, to see if she is completely healthy and ready to get pregnant. Also, keep in mind that breeding Chihuahuas can be a very expensive hobby.

Your vet will have to be involved from conception and be there for all Chihuahua pregnancy stages and monitor your dog closely. Make sure that your Chihuahua is fully vaccinated before you attempt to breed her; otherwise, both the mom and the puppies can be at risk of infectious diseases like parvo. 

Maintaining a healthy pregnancy in Chihuahuas can be quite expensive, so be prepared for the costs of blood tests, ultrasound, x-ray, and cesarean section.

Ultimately, the size and number of puppies your pooch is going to deliver will determine whether your dog will need a cesarean or if natural delivery is a better option. 

How To Tell How Many Puppies Will A Chihuahua Have

Although Chihuahuas on average have three puppies in a litter, the surest way to confirm how many puppies a Chihuahua will have is with an x-ray. However, this is best done later in the pregnancy, ideally when your Chi is between 42 and 45 days pregnant. 

During this time, the puppies will develop their distinctive features and skeletal system and will be clearly visible on an x-ray. This means that your vet will be able to count the puppies and give you an accurate headcount. 

Depending on the size of the litter, at this time your vet may decide that the c-section is the safest way to deliver your Chi and you can book the appointment. 

If the suspension is killing you and you can’t wait six weeks to find out how many puppies your Chihuahua will have, you can opt to do an ultrasound from 25 to 35 day of the pregnancy. While x-ray is a more accurate way of predicting the size of the litter, your vet can detect fetal heartbeat with an ultrasound. 

This method can give you a good idea of what to expect when it comes to the actual size of the litter and the number of puppies in it. However, with an ultrasound it’s always possible to miss a puppy or two, so don’t hold the results at face value. 

At this time, an x-ray is the best and fastest way to learn for sure how many puppies your Chihuahua will have. When it comes to pregnancy in Chihuahuas, most vets recommend doing the x-ray since knowing the litter size can significantly minimize the risks associated with pregnancy

Furthermore, if your Chi’s pregnancy is unplanned and the result of mating with a larger dog, an x-ray is a must! Your vet will be able to see the size of the puppies and determine whether or not they pose a danger to the mother. 

Also, in these cases, most vets recommend a cesarean section as the safest way to deliver healthy puppies without putting the mother in danger of complications. 

FAQs About How Many Puppies Chihuahuas Can Have

How many puppies do chihuahuas have the first time?

Most Chihuahuas give birth to one to three puppies for the first time. However, the younger the Chihuahua, the greater the chance that she will have a smaller litter the first time. Generally, more than three puppies in the first Chihuahua litter is highly unlikely. 

It’s hard to guess the exact number of puppies a Chihuahua will have the first time, but your vet can help with that. Doing an x-ray is the best and fastest way to determine the exact size of your Chihuahua’s litter. 

Is it dangerous for chihuahuas to have puppies?

Pregnancy in Chihuahuas can be risky and sometimes dangerous for both the mother and the puppies. Most Chihuahuas will have a cesarean section rather than delivering puppies naturally. This is mainly because Chihuahuas have narrow hips and the puppies have large heads and can easily become lodged inside the birthing canal.

With that being said, not all Chihuahuas need a cesarean section and some give birth naturally to completely healthy puppies. However, due to possible complications, cesarean section is always an option and sometimes a must, especially if a Chi was impregnated by a larger dog. 

The average cost of a scheduled cesarean section is around $500 or more, but you may end up spending close to $3,000 or more for a specialized or emergency c-section. 

Can Chihuahuas give birth on their own?

Yes, some Chihuahuas can give birth on their own with little or no assistance from their owners. However, since they are at higher risk of developing birthing complications, you should consult your vet about whether or not your Chihuahua can deliver at home. 

If you and your vet decide that it is safe for your Chi to give birth at home, be prepared in advance and be there to offer your dog support and help if need be. Also, notify your vet that your pooch has gone into labor and have them stand by in case something goes wrong and your Chi needs medical assistance.  

Can a 9-year-old Chihuahua have puppies?

A 9-year-old Chihuahua can technically become pregnant and have puppies, but mating older dogs is highly discouraged. Due to their small size, Chihuahuas are considered seniors when they turn 10, so a 9-year-old Chi is almost an elderly dog.

Being pregnant and delivering puppies is hard for healthy young Chihuahuas and can be detrimental for an older dog. Senior Chihuahuas aren’t as healthy and full of strength as their younger counterparts and are even in more danger of high-risk pregnancies. 

In this case, both the mother and the puppies can develop health problems that can potentially be fatal. So, don’t try to breed your older Chihuahua, and keep a close eye on her whenever she is in heat. 

Can a 3-pound Chihuahua have puppies?

A three-pound Chihuahua can get pregnant and have puppies. However, reputable breeders will never breed such a tiny female dog since their pregnancies can be extremely dangerous.

Due to their tiny size, these Chihuahuas may have complications due to anesthesia and even die during the cesarean section. Additionally, it’s common for such tiny Chihuahuas to have only one or two puppies. In this case, the puppies can grow too big for a natural delivery and get stuck inside the birthing canal.

Ultimately, while they can get pregnant, you shouldn’t breed a three-pound Chihuahua on purpose. And if by any chance your Chi gets pregnant by accident, consult your vet and have them monitor your dog’s pregnancy from start to finish.

Conclusion

Whether your Chi is already pregnant or you plan to breed her in the foreseeable future, knowing how many puppies a Chihuahua can have can help you be prepared for delivery. As a toy breed, Chihuahuas can have complicated pregnancies and most give birth via cesarean section. To minimize the risk of complications, know that:

  • Chihuahuas on average have three puppies in a litter
  • Older Chis can deliver five or six puppies
  • The younger the Chihuahua, the smaller the litter will be

Whether your Chihuahua is pregnant by accident or by choice, knowing how many puppies your Chi have can help you get prepared to welcome them into the world safely.

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3 Chihuahua puppies

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