Larger breeds tend to have more puppies than smaller breeds, but the number of puppies will vary from dog to dog. The only precise way to know how many puppies your dog will have is through your veterinarian, who can estimate the size of the little one through palpation, ultrasound or x-rays. Radiography is the best way to assess litter size. This requires that the puppies' skeletons have been mineralized, so that they are visible on an X-ray.
This mineralization process begins around 45 days of gestation. However, this method is not 100 percent accurate, since skeletons may be sitting on top of each other, making it a bit difficult to count. However, this is the best method, since the skulls can be easily counted once prey approaches calving. The dog's breed is the biggest determinant of litter size.
In general, large dogs have larger litters because, biologically, they can safely carry more puppies. When all types of dogs are taken into account, an average litter ranges from six to ten puppies. When your dog has been pregnant for about 25 days, you will be asked to have an ultrasound that will allow the veterinarian to count the number of puppies. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs that give birth to litters in spring have larger litters than in other seasons, but this doesn't always have to be the case.
With smaller litters, the signal for the body to go and start giving birth to puppies depends on something produced by the puppies. You also need an idea of the number of puppies because it determines if your dog will be able to have a home birth or if a veterinarian needs to intervene. If you don't take care of your dog's health and diet, or try to raise it when it grows up, you should keep in mind that it may not produce as large a litter as you want it to be. If you simply need to know for sure what color of puppies your dogs are likely to produce, talk to your veterinarian about DNA testing.
Ultrasound is another test you can do before it that could tell you about the viability of the puppies and how vigorous they were. On average, a dog can have 3 litters per year, and its optimal breeding ages are 2 to 5 years. For example, dogs of breeds that normally produce litters of five puppies can only produce one or two for their first litter. As a general rule, you should expect smaller litters in smaller dog breeds and larger litters in larger dog breeds.
Usually, the size of a dog litter is mainly based on the size of the dog's body simply because biologically, larger bodies are capable of carrying a larger litter than smaller bodies. Make sure your dog is the right weight and eats the right food to increase your chances of having a larger litter. When my first dog was pregnant, I was confused and had no idea how many puppies would be in a litter. Around day 45 of gestation, puppies will begin to form a suitable bone structure, such as harder bones that have been mineralized to a greater extent.
A specific test will tell you if your light-colored parents carry the forms of genes, also known as alleles, that will give them black or brown puppies.