The American Pitbull Terrier is a breed of love, affection, and intelligence. Their ease of grooming and high trainability make them one of the most highly demanded dogs for adoption. Hence leading to their excessive breeding.
A number of factors decide the litter size for a Pitbull dam. These include the health and age of the mating partners, their nutrition, breeding technique, inbreeding, etc.
How Many Puppies Do Pitbulls Have In A Litter?
On average, Pitbulls will have 5 pups per litter. This is an average seen with most breeders and you may see a number anywhere between 1 and 10.
This number lies at the center of breeds such as Toy Poodles with a litter size of about 2 and Dalmatians with a litter average of 8-9.
Discussed here are the various factors that decide the litter size for a Pitbull dam, some of which you can modify for your pooch to get a better litter size:
Also read: How many puppies can a dog have?
1. Medium-Sized Breed
One of the simplest ways to predict a breed’s litter size is to look at its size.
Larger breeds will have a bigger litter size on average as compared to smaller ones.
This is explained by the fact that the bigger the breed, the more volume it has in its womb to accommodate a bigger litter.
Also, their bigger pelvis will allow for the easy delivery of these pups as well, increasing their chances of survival and minimizing the need for any cesarean section.
Pitbulls are a medium-sized breed, so their average litter size also falls in the middle of the spectrum for dogs as mentioned earlier.
When the litter size increases for the dog’s size, the mother is less able to provide nutrition to these growing puppies inside the womb. This leads to competition for survival and some may become weak and may die, decreasing the number of viable puppies.
It is not unnatural for Pitbulls that are bigger than average to have bigger litter sizes too, reaching up to 10 pups in a single litter. On the other hand, many smaller dams in their first time may have only 1 pup which would be called a singleton.
2. Number Of The Pregnancy
Across the species, the earlier pregnancies are known to have the smallest litter, and the litter size increases in subsequent pregnancies until it stops as the mother reaches a certain age.
With subsequent pregnancies, the pelvis is already stretched and the body has experienced coping with the increased metabolic and energy demands of pregnancy.
Hence, it becomes easier for the body to deal with pregnancy and deliver the puppies through the reproductive tract naturally without complications.
3. Age Of The Dam And Stud – At What Age Can A Female Pitbull Breed?
Just as with humans, the age of the parents has a lot to do with the offspring, be it the size of the litter or the health of the individual puppies.
With an average lifespan of 12 years, a typical Pitbull dam will reach sexual maturity around the age of 1-2 years and start going through heat periods. The litter size would be the smallest at both extremes of ages that is when the dam is too young or too old.
This is because, with the former, the dam’s body will not have matured completely and may not be able to cope with the burden of pregnancy. This can lead to poor nutrition for the puppies in the womb and many die in the womb or during the birthing process.
Similarly in the latter case, an older dam’s body will not provide the nourishment that is required to rear a larger litter and the size of the viable pups will eventually decline with each subsequent pregnancy after the age of 7-8 years.
Most Pitbull studs become sexually mature after 12 months. The younger they are, the healthier their semen, both in terms of the quantity and quality of sperm. Hence, they can fertilize a larger number of eggs inside the womb.
Also, their ability to perform the natural act of mating is better when they are young and there is a gradual decline in their penetrating ability as they age. The quality and amount of healthy and motile sperm also go down with the increasing age of the stud.
4. Health And Nutrition Of The Dam And Stud
A dog’s nutrition directly affects the ability of the body to cope with any stressor, one of them being pregnancy.
For a dam to pass through the pregnancy effortlessly, its nutrition has to be adequate before, during, and even after the pregnancy period.
The growing fetuses inside the womb have energy and nutritional demands that can only be met through the mother. When the mother’s diet is deficient in calories or minerals, it can halt the growth of fetuses and may lead to their intrauterine demise.
After the birthing process, feeding the pups will require extra calories and minerals. Puppies can get malnourished and in severe cases, die after they are born, thus decreasing the total number of healthy pups in a litter.
When it comes to the stud, its nutrition directly affects the quality of the sperm as they require minerals and energy for their motility and to maintain their morphology.
Moreover, only a healthy stud can perform the act of copulation effectively, raising the chances of getting the dam pregnant.
5. Breeding Gap
The average pregnancy for a Pitbull lasts 63 days. Although a Pitbull dame can get pregnant more than once a year, it is detrimental to the health of both the mother and the pups.
Ideally, there should be at least a 2-year gap between pregnancies. This would give ample time to the dam to recover from a pregnancy, having positive effects on both the health and size of the litter in subsequent pregnancies.
6. Breeding Technique
Dogs that copulate through natural means tend to have a bigger litter as compared to artificial insemination. That is because a lot of sperm is lost during the collection, storage, and inculcation process.
Also, natural intercourse between the stud and the dam can be performed multiple times without much effort. Artificial methods on the other hand are costly and time-consuming, making them difficult to repeat when unsuccessful in initial attempts.
There is a lot of science involved that you don’t need to know but the result is that inbreeding leads to a smaller litter size as compared to breeding among dogs that are not related to each other.
Inbreed Pitbulls also have a higher chance of acquiring inherited illnesses as the genes responsible for these diseases become magnified in inbreeding because both parents may have defective genes.
Pitbulls are prone to the following inherited disorders:
- Hip Dysplasia- The hip bone does not grow properly leading to a misalignment of the femur into the hip bone.
- Hypothyroidism- The thyroid gland fails to secrete hormones, leading to the depressed metabolic status of the dog with lethargy and puffiness.
- Allergies- These can be due to a variety of external stimuli like metals, pollens, dust, or many drugs that need to be identified and any subsequent exposure prevented.
Here’s a video of a smaller than usual Pit Bull puppy to warm your heart:
How Many Puppies Can A Pitbull Have In Her Lifetime?
Theoretically speaking, a Pitbull can be impregnated 10 times on average in her lifetime giving you a total of 50 pups, considering 5 pups per litter as average.
However, as discussed before, breeding a dam every year poses a lot of threats to the health of both the mother and her offspring.
Any considerate breeder will have her dam take a break of one year between successive pregnancies.
In this way, the mother can recover from pregnancy and give time to her newborns before going into the next, without being made into a puppy-making machine.
A Pitbull bred this way would on average have about 25 healthy pups in her lifetime.
People also ask the following questions to understand pitbull litter size and pregnancy.
How long is a Pitbull pregnant?
The length of the pregnancy is more or less the same duration across the dog species. It ranges between 60-65 days with an average of 63 days.
How many puppies do Pitbulls have in the first litter?
The first litter is almost always the smallest one for any dog breed. For Pitbull, it is about 4-5 pups. It is not unnatural for the first litter size to be greater than this but is rare.
What’s the best time to breed a Pitbull?
A Pitbull dam will start having its first heat periods around the age of 12-20 months, you should skip the first couple of these heat periods and wait for the dog to mature enough in order to withstand the burden of pregnancy.
How Many Puppies Can A Pitbull Have? Conclusion
The number of pups delivered by a Pitbull dam is determined by the breed’s features and many factors related to individual dams and studs.
Factors related to the breed are its natural size and pelvis shape. Those relating to the individual mating partners include their health, nutrition, and age. The type of breeding technique used and the presence or absence of inbreeding also affect the litter size.
An average Pitbull dam will have 5 puppies in a single litter. A healthy dam is expected to live about 12 years and with a gap of one year in between the pregnancies, she can have about 25 pups in her lifetime, considering she starts mating at 2.
However, these figures are all based on the various factors discussed and any dam can have a number greatly different from these, and that is to be expected as well.
Related: how many puppies can a husky have?