Are you considering breeding your female Pitbull? Asking how many puppies can a Pitbull have will be only one of the important questions you should get answers for.
While knowing more-or-less how many homes you’re going to have to find for pups will be a help, there are many other concerns you should keep in mind.
If you’re wondering about Pitbull litter size because you’re hoping to make money from breeding, be warned!
While puppies can fetch a good price, your investment in time, feed, and veterinary care will eat heavily into your profits.
Fail to provide these basics, and you’re likely to have fewer healthy pups.
Unless you’re willing to make your dogs your “life,” breeding for profit is not likely to be a successful venture.
If Your Dog Hasn’t Been Covered Yet, Ask: “Is She Ready?”
Veterinary research shows that the strain of bearing puppies reduces the expected lifespan of any female dog.
The same is true of Pitbulls. If you’ve decided to go ahead anyway, reduce risks by not allowing your Pitbull female to breed during her first heat.
Many breeders say that holding back even longer, until the third heat, is advisable.
However, this depends on the physical maturity of your dog. Your veterinarian can help you to make the necessary judgment call.
However, in all instances, a Pitbull female in her first heat is still a puppy herself.
The health risks for her if she were to become pregnant at this age are enormous.
Consider that a female dog in her first heat will be a little over six months old. She’s barely even a “teenager” at this point.
You should also consider age as an obstacle to breeding if your female Pitbull is beginning to grow old. After the age of seven, pregnancy becomes riskier.
Finally, you should not breed a female Pitbull too frequently. Three litters in a lifetime is the norm for the maintenance of the dam’s health.
Some very strong females can manage four litters without too much risk, but a “rest” between litters is always advisable.
Whatever route you choose, careful management of a female Pitbull in heat is called for.
More on this after addressing the “How many puppies can a Pitbull have?” question.
How Many Puppies For Pitbulls?
In dogs, the size of the breed and the size of the individual female in relation to her breed will have an influence on the number of puppies she has.
So will her health, her age, the number of litters she has already had, the time when she was covered, and the fertility of the male chosen to be the sire.
We will look more closely at these determining factors in the next section.
On average, female Pitbulls will have five to six puppies per litter. However, single puppies and litters of up to fourteen pups aren’t particularly unusual.
Using a fairly large female Pitbull as an example, you can expect up to ten pups in the first litter with as many as fourteen in the second with smaller numbers expected thereafter.
Nonetheless, it’s not impossible for these numbers to be lower, and we’ll look at the reasons why shortly.
When planning a litter of pups, having advance bookings from people who will offer them a good home will reduce your stress.
Pitbulls are still very popular, but many people shy away from them because of their reputation as high-maintenance dogs who can turn vicious if not properly trained and socialized.
While Pitbulls are not inherently dangerous, it does take a very dedicated pet owner to provide for the needs of this breed, and if those needs remain unmet, tragedy may ensue.
As a result, last-minute homings can be a mistake, both for the puppy and the home it goes to.
With up to fourteen pups needing good homes, vetting possible owners to ensure that they have both the physical space and the personal commitment needed to raise a contented Pitbull is time-consuming.
Start while you are preparing for your dog’s second (or third) heat. It’s better to have more potential homes than pups than the other way around.
10 Factors Determining Litter Size
1. The Age Of Your Pitbull
The largest litters usually occur in Pitbull females bred between the ages of two and five years.
No matter what age she is, your Pitbull female is likely to produce the largest number of puppies in her first two litters with numbers decreasing thereafter.
Having the biggest littler possible, however, is not necessarily good for either the pups or their dam.
Larger litters usually imply a greater chance of stillbirth as well as an increased chance of premature death in puppies born alive.
2. Time Of Year
Your female Pitbull is attuned to the seasons as her ancestors were.
Spring-born litters historically stood the best chance of a favorable environment, and her body has evolved to respect this pattern.
As a result, litters of puppies born in the spring are often bigger than those born at other times of the year.
3. Means Of Insemination
Artificial insemination has become popular owing to certainty about the identity of the sire as well as the logistics involved in arranging for a natural pairing.
While this practice allows veterinarians and dog breeders to determine peak fertility in the dam and time insemination accordingly, litters tend to be smaller.
The simple reason for this is that the viability of the sperm decreases following its collection and storage.
While the fertility of your Pitbull female’s dam could be an indicator of her fertility, that’s not necessarily true.
The recombination of genes means that she may be more inclined to have large litters because of her parent’s genetics – or not.
All the same, looking at her lineage may give you an indication of what to expect, so it’s worth exploring as a possible scenario.
Your Pitbull female’s diet in the year preceding conception can have an impact on her litter size.
A high protein diet is a definite advantage if you’re hoping for a big litter.
But if your Pitbull female is overweight, she’s less likely to fulfill her potential in terms of the number of puppies she bears.
If she’s underweight, her litters will also tend to be smaller. Optimum nutrition increases the chances of a large litter of healthy pups.
6. The Ages of the Dam and Sire
As we noted previously, the largest litters are possible between the ages of two and five years depending on how many times the dam has previously been bred.
In general, the more litters she has already had, the fewer puppies she will have in succeeding litters.
The age of the sire is also important. A male Pitbull’s sperm count begins to fall sharply after the age of five, and a pairing will result in fewer puppies.
7. Size of the Pitbull Momma
In general, larger Pitbull females tend to have bigger litters than their smaller sisters do.
With more room for puppies to develop, your bigger girl will be inclined to present you with a larger number of puppies per litter.
Of course, that’s not a rule – simply an indicator. Even bigger girls sometimes give birth to relatively small litters because of the interaction of all the factors involved in litter size.
8. The Time When She Was Covered
The sires’ sperm can survive for up to eleven days after coupling. However, its viability decreases during this time.
For larger litters, timing the coupling to match the time when the dam is at her most fertile can work.
Breeders observe their female Pitbulls carefully, following the heat cycle to get their best chance of successful impregnation.
Even so, they may have the dam covered more than once to ensure that the pregnancy “takes.”
9. Overall Health of the Dam
It’s almost a no-brainer: if your female Pitbull isn’t in the best of good health, don’t breed her!
Apart from achieving smaller litter sizes, the strain of pregnancy and raising puppies may be too much for her.
Always respect the health of the dam, and hold back on breeding her if she has health issues.
So-called “line breeding” is risky for the health of the pups and will result in smaller litter sizes.
In line breeding, closely-related dogs are paired. Both of them will share a common lineage.
Apart from a higher chance of genetic abnormalities and inbred weaknesses, the litter sizes will be smaller.
Blue Nose And Red Nose Pitbulls And Litter Size
When breeding for a rare trait like the blue or red nose, breeders will often use line-breeding or inbreeding to get the desired result.
If your dog’s nose color is merely a genetic accident, it probably won’t affect litter size.
If, however, it has been deliberately created through line breeding, your Pitbull may not be able to bear as many pups, even if you breed her with a sire with a more hybrid background.
The reason why this is sometimes a problem is that blue and red nose Pitbulls fetch higher prices.
Unethical breeders, or those with good intentions and little knowledge, may work to breed these unusual colors.
Sometimes, whether knowingly or unknowingly, this may affect the health of the resulting offspring.
Ethical breeders, on the other hand, strive to achieve this result without excessive inbreeding.
Managing Pitbull Heat: Know What You’re Letting Yourself In For
The business of managing heat is, perhaps, one of the big issues that explains why dog breeding is so costly and time consuming.
In the first place, you don’t want to allow your Pitbull female to become pregnant before she has reached maturity herself.
That means managing one to two heat cycles without fertilization.
Secondly, you want to be sure that the sire is another Pitbull and not some random passerby. So, you’re looking at close supervision.
Thirdly, you want to give your female Pitbull a rest between litters, and that means arranging matters so that she skips a possible pregnancy between litters.
Don’t expect any of this to be easy! Here’s what to expect.
It’s Going to Be Messy
There are good reasons why dog diapers for females in heat were developed. You will have to keep her indoors under supervision and she will have a messy vaginal discharge.
She Will Search For A Mate – If She Gets A Chance
Much has been made of the lengths male dogs will go to in order to access a mate, but your Pitbull female is just as keen!
A little unsupervised time, and she becomes an escape-artist, heading out in search of the doggy version of romance. Sounds cute? It could be extremely dangerous!
Male Dogs Will Congregate And Possibly Fight
Throughout her most fertile time, your Pitbull female will give off pheromones that male dogs will scent for miles.
Whether you’ve had her covered or not, she will continue to give off this scent marker for as long as she is fertile.
Whether they can get at her or not, males will fight for a chance to become her mate. Needless to say, this can be extremely unpleasant for their owners and for you.
Kennel Costs Are Likely Even if You Can Give 24/7 Supervision
Whether or not you’re planning to skip a pregnancy, caring for a female Pitbull in heat is intense!
For most people, this means placing their female dog in kennels until the fertile stage of her heat cycle ends.
Your Darling Pitbull Female Is Going To Get Cranky
Hormonal mood swings result in unpredictable behavior. Your female Pitbull may vary between being overly clingy and highly strung to wanting to be left strictly alone.
Ms Grumpy may not be the best companion, and you might struggle to recognize the dog you came to love once she’s in heat. It’s not her fault.
But it’s still likely to be hard for you.
Breeding Your Pitbull Female: Only for the Dedicated
As we noted in our introduction, don’t expect breeding your Pitbull to be a profitable exercise.
Yes, those pups can fetch a good price, but you’ll have your work cut out for you!
Apart from managing your female Pitbull when she’s in heat, there’s all the extra feeding, in-person attention, and veterinary care she’ll need during her pregnancy.
Also to be considered: monitoring her during the days leading up to birth and calling for emergency veterinary help if things start going wrong.
Bully dog breeds have big heads, and that increases their chance of needing a C-section.
While they’re by no means in the top ranking for dogs that can’t give birth naturally, it’s a real possibility. Are you prepared for it?
You Can Have A Well-Adjusted Female Pitbull Without Letting Her Have Puppies
There are many arguments against letting your dog have puppies, and far fewer in favor of it.
The number of unwanted dogs out there is just the beginning.
Add to that the fact that female dogs that have never had puppies have a longer life-expectancy and the very low profit margin you’ll realize from selling pups.
It’s traditional to say that one should give a female dog a chance to have at least one litter of puppies.
But does this make them happier, more fulfilled, and more even-tempered? Research shows an opposing result. Pets that are spayed or neutered before reaching sexual maturity are usually longer-lived, more predictable, more affectionate, and altogether easier to live with.
So, before you decide to breed your female Pitbull or start asking “How many puppies can a Pitbull have?” ask yourself why you are considering breeding in the first place.
It doesn’t help your Pitbull female’s physical or emotional health, isn’t likely to be profitable, and will cause you a great many headaches that spayed dogs’ owners never face.
If you’re still determined to breed, please remember to put your female Pitbull’s health first, provide the necessary supervision, and absorb the costs.
Ethical breeders work to improve dog breeds rather than make huge profits.
It’s a passion rather than a business. Breed your Pitbull if you believe her genes will improve a breed you love and admire, and for no other reason!