A litter is simply a group of young animals born to the same mother at the same time. First of all, let's get an idea of what it means to be the smallest of the litter. The word dwarf means the smallest or weakest of the litter. The term litter dwarf is used to describe the smallest or weakest of all siblings in a dog's litter.
But, although dwarfs are often depicted as the smallest puppies in the litter, there is still no clear definition of what exactly a dwarf is. A litter dwarf is a puppy that seems to be weaker than its littermates. Once a dog goes through labor and gives birth to her puppies, there will be discrepancies in the colors, patterns, body shapes, temperaments and sizes of newborns. If they have siblings, they are not all born the same; the same goes for dogs.
A litter dwarf is not a veterinary term per se. It is a term that a layman uses to describe any offspring that is smaller than their siblings or that simply seems too small for their species or age. A puppy born in a litter of many puppies can be labeled as the dwarf simply because it is the smallest of several or more puppies. Obviously, in a litter of six large puppies, a smaller puppy will be easy to spot.
This small puppy labeled as a dwarf may be normal size for their age. Artificially inseminated prey produce smaller litters than naturally impregnated prey. This is probably due to more sperm dying during collection and insemination. Dwarves are known to be the smallest of the litter, or at least, the weakest and most defenseless.
A dwarf is simply a puppy that weighs less than normal. Not all litters have a dwarf, but it's more likely to be the younger sibling. There are a couple of reasons that littermates may look different. One relates to how dogs inherit genes.
The other has to do with the reproductive system and the mating habits of dogs. The result of this process, known as genetic recombination or genetic reorganization, is that the actual genetic makeup of puppies in the litter varies. A dwarf puppy that is as active as its siblings and has no signs of illness, such as lethargy or unusual stools, is as healthy a beak as any of the other puppies in the litter. Newborn puppies are highly susceptible to infection, especially if they were unable to receive immunity from the mother within the first 12 hours after birth.
Breeders should keep a daily weight of all puppies in a litter to track growth, paying special attention to the dwarf. With litters of more than one puppy, it is possible not to have a dwarf or to have two puppies that look like dwarfs. So, should you choose the smallest of the litter? Will a dwarf puppy grow to its normal size? Are there any health risks associated with dwarf dogs? Can they survive and thrive as well as other puppies? We have researched and answered all possible questions and concerns about the smallest puppies in the litter. In contrast, there are usually one or two puppies that seem a little smaller, weaker and less of a fighter, especially when it comes to mealtimes.
Just as human siblings have different physical characteristics, puppies from the same litter often have variations in coat color, coat length, head size, ear shape, and other physical characteristics. You can expect dwarf puppies to have the most common personality traits of their breeds, but the owner will determine your pup's overall personality development and its changes over time. Talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate weight gain you can expect for your dog's breed and monitor all puppies for signs of malnutrition. Since the average litter of puppies for all dogs is approximately six puppies, most litters will have one puppy that is smaller than the rest, and this puppy will generally be labeled the “dwarf”.
However, if the mother leaves her puppies alone or rejects them, they should be provided with an external source of heat, especially the dwarf. .