Dachshunds make great pets and fiercely loyal companions. Anyone who has ever owned one knows how tempting it is to have as many of these adorable critters as possible.
Dachshunds generally have between 1 and 6 puppies in a single litter. The number of puppies a dachshund will have depends on several factors, including the size and age of the dog, as well as the insemination method. Miniature dachshunds will also have fewer puppies than the standard size.
In this article, we will look at the number of puppies found in the average dachshund litter and what might affect this number. We will go on to explore the details of pregnancy in dogs and how to test if your dachshund is ready to give birth.
Different types of Dachshunds
Over centuries of breeding, the dachshund has grown to encompass a range of different varieties. Not only are there two distinct sizes of dachshund, but there are also several coat types.
Regarding size, the two options are the standard dachshund and the miniature dachshund. The standard ranges from between 16 to 32 pounds, while the miniature is classified as less than 11 pounds (source).
For the coat types, there are the smooth, longhaired, and wirehaired variants. These have significantly less sway over the breeding results of the individual dog than the relative sizes of them.
Regardless of what type of dachshund you are looking to breed, it will take a lot of work and commitment to do so successfully.
Dachshund Litter Size
Whether you call them dachshunds, sausage dogs, or badger dogs, the reality is that this breed of dog is not particularly big. Even the standard version is a relatively small dog breed and, as such, has less capacity for birthing puppies.
For the standard variety of dachshund, the average litter size sits between four and eight puppies per birth (source). For the miniature, this is obviously lower, averaging closer to just four.
Influences on Litter Size
The elements that affect the litter size of dogs are broad, with a whole slew of different ones having a varying degree of influence. The main factors to consider are the age, the size, and the method of insemination (source).
Dog size is the most significant determinant in the number of puppies a dog can produce. As expected, the larger the breed of dog, the more space is physically available to gestate and deliver puppies.
On an individual basis, this also plays a role, with smaller-sized standard dachshunds likely to produce smaller-sized litters.
Age is another important determinant of the number of potential offspring a dog will produce. The dog should be older than at least a year and a half, preferably around three years.
This is to ensure they are properly developed to produce puppies. An upper age limit of around five years is also a factor , with older dogs naturally producing fewer puppies than younger ones.
Method of Insemination
The main factors affecting the number of puppies produced are the size and age of the dog. The method of insemination can, however, also play a significant role.
The primary options here are the natural mating process and artificial insemination. The latter is generally safer for the dogs, more likely to produce a larger litter size, and has a higher chance of successful pregnancy.
Particularly in smaller breeds, the mother’s body weight can also play an important role in the number of puppies produced in a single litter (source). At the same time, being overweight can be very detrimental to a dachshund and should be avoided.
Speak to your vet about this and how you can help your dachshund achieve the maximum number of puppies per litter.
Preparation for Breeding
When it comes to breeding dogs, especially purebreds, there are certain steps to follow to minimize the risks involved. This helps protect not just the puppies but the mother as well.
The first step is to ensure they are mature enough to handle pregnancy. Visit a vet and allow them to perform the necessary tests for this. It is a good idea to get a full health evaluation on your dachshund and check that they have all their vaccinations and are not dealing with any underlying illnesses.
The latter part is especially critical because dachshunds are prone to several different diseases, and you want to make sure you are not perpetuating these unwittingly. Making sure your dog is psychologically prepared for the breeding process is also important.
Identify the appropriate mate and follow the above procedures to check that they are also healthy. When breeding dachshunds, it is useful to know about their genetic predispositions as well, and how they will intermingle with and complement each other.
According to the American Kennel Club, you should ultimately want to help improve the breed in the process, instead of simply adding more dogs into the world. This is especially relevant when it comes to dealing with purebred dogs.
Testing for Pregnancy
It can take up to two weeks before your dog will become pregnant post insemination. After this period, it will take even more time before tests can be run to detect for the pregnancy.
Ultrasound works on dogs in much the same way as it does with humans. Around a month after ovulation, the ultrasound can reliably be performed to test for heartbeats (source).
This is the most dependable test for pregnancy and can also indicate how many puppies are gestating. The litter size indicated at this point is ultimately an estimation and should be treated as such.
Beyond this, you can manually test for pregnancies around the same time by checking for palpitation. Noticeably increased heart rate at this stage generally indicates that the dog is compensating for the increased blood in the system and is likely pregnant.
X-rays can also help identify pregnancy and the number of pups but takes a little longer than the others because the skeletons only form around a month and a half into the pregnancy.
The Pregnancy Process
The average pregnancy term for dogs is around 60 days (source). Understanding the important phases of this process can help navigate any of the potential pitfalls along the way.
The First Month
The first weeks of the pregnancy are simple enough, with most normal activities allowed. The focus should be on maintaining the bodyweight of your dog. Keep with the regular feeding patterns but, if the weight is noticeably changing, it is advisable to see a vet.
Carry on monitoring her until the fourth week after the insemination. Close to a month in, it is time for a visit to the vet. Get a check-up to see that things are progressing smoothly, and you can also use this time to get an ultrasound.
Maintain a healthy level of exercise throughout these stages, but after a month and confirmed pregnancy, you should actively try to be gentler with your dachshund.
The Second Month
After about 35 days, the puppies will begin to develop properly. At this point, your dachshund’s appetite might start to increase, which you can facilitate by slowly giving her a little more food.
After a month and a half, the skeletons of the puppies will begin to form properly. Check in with the vet for advice on how to adjust her diet during this stage.
Towards the end of the second month, it is time to find a suitable location for her to give birth. Ensure this a safe and warm place, as she and the pups will spend several weeks here.
The birthing process itself is inherently risky but, with careful observation and patience, you can help limit this. If complications occur, consult a vet immediately.
The Problems with Breeding
Everyone loves a newborn puppy. They are so cute at the early stages, and this is especially so with the dachshund breed. However, it is vitally important that you consider why you are planning on breeding to begin with.
Every year, thousands of pets are euthanized due to non-medical reasons (source). This is often from a lack of homes and limited space in shelters. Breeding additional puppies without specific intentions and plans to take care of them properly is only making this problem worse.
On top of this, a dachshund requires a lot of care to be raised properly. This includes a good diet, lots of exercise, and dedicated training. It is essential to make sure that any newborn puppies will be able to get this level of care.
Dachshunds may be small dogs, but they can still have a decent number of puppies. With litter sizes between four and eight pups, it is important to be prepared for any births and possible complications.
Understanding the process your dachshund is going through can really help make this a successful experience for everyone.