Can My Dog Have a Lot of Litters? Is It Healthy?

Pet Care


June 20, 2022

Dog owners are often confused about breeding their dogs since there are too many factors to consider. To begin with, the dog owners need to consider the dog’s behavior and health to make sure they are fit for breeding because excessive breeding can stress out the female dog, which weakens the litter. This is why the breeding experts have a specific take on littering.

The Maximum Number of Litters for Your Female Dogs

The female dogs are fine with a maximum of three litters per year. Generally, the female dog goes into the heat cycle when they are six months to twelve months old and won’t go into the menopausal phase. On average, the dog lives for over eleven years, which means the female dog can have over thirty litters.

However, it’s challenging to achieve so many litters because senior dogs tend to have medical and stress issues. According to the United Kennel Club, one dog can have four to five litters. On the other hand, the American Kennel Club doesn’t have any legal restrictions on littering, but there are various ethical considerations.

The Right Age to Breed the Dogs

Female dogs go into their first heat cycle before they reach the age of one year old, but it also depends on the breed. Generally, the smaller breeds go into the heat cycle at around six months, but larger breeds like Cane Corso and Great Danes won’t get the heat until they are over two years old.

So, before you arrange a breeding session, make sure the female dog has had two to three heat cycles. This is because the young dog has ongoing growth, and early breeding will result in a negative impact on the dog’s health when they become mature.

In addition, it’s important for breeders to test the dogs for different medical conditions before they are bred, and these tests only come out accurately when dogs reach adulthood. Also, even if the younger female dog conceives, she won’t be able to raise the puppies, resulting in behavioral issues.

The Right Age to Stop Breeding

It is possible for older dogs to have litters. The responsible and ethical breeders state that breeding female dogs should be stopped when they are five years to seven years old. This is because after this age bracket, the female dog will have problems delivering the puppies, and this will lead to miscarriages. In addition, it can tire the female dog more than she can tolerate.

In addition, when the dog is too old or too young, you will have an issue registering the litter. For instance, the American Kennel Club won’t accept litters for registration if the dog is more than 12 years old or younger than eight months.

The Recommended Time Intervals For Breeding

It is possible to breed the dog with every heat cycle, but it can stress the female dog, which results in medical problems and a less healthy litter. For this reason, it is suggested to breed the dogs after every alternate heat cycle. The total litters should be three to four, which is why the litters should be spread out during the optimal breeding period to ensure the puppies and female dogs are healthy.

This is primarily because nursing and gestation can be extremely tiring for female dogs, even if mating is not a problem. With each delivery, the female dogs need to regrow different parts of their uterus and recover the decreased muscle tone. For this reason, they need time to recover to make sure her overall health isn’t risked.

Factors To Determine How Many Litters One Female Dog Can Produce

Generally, four to five litters are more than enough for a female dog over the course of her breeding age, but there are various other factors that impact the number of litters. This is because every dog is different, and so are her medical conditions. There are some factors to consider while determining how many litters a dog can have.

Overall Health

Before you breed your female dog, you must consider her overall health. First of all, you must get health certificates and other medical clearances before the dog is bred. Ideally, you should get the preliminary health clearances from The Kennel Club, but you can also take your dog to the vet to make sure the dog is healthy enough to breed.

Usually, the health checks include checking the vaccinations and weight. In addition, the vet will check the healthy history because some health conditions bar the dogs from breeding, such as heart diseases, immune system issues, and behavioral issues. In simpler words, the diseases that risk the dog’s life or puppies are checked.


The second important factor to consider is the age when the dog goes for her first litter. The right age ranges from six months to two years old, depending on the breed.

However, many breeders wait till the dog is over four years old to breed them, but it must be considered that fertility decreases with age. The older dog will be able to breed, but the litter will be smaller and will result in health complications.

AI or Natural Breeding

AI is known as artificial insemination, with which a small incision is made to inject semen into the female dog’s uterus. This process is challenging for the dogs and is expensive.

Otherwise, opening the incision multiple times can result in infections. For this reason, artificial insemination can be done only once or twice, while natural breeding can be done over four times.

C-Section or Natural Whelping

If your female dog whelps naturally and has no complications, she is allowed to have as many litters as possible according to her age and breed. On the other hand, if your dog always needs a C-section, the number of litter must be limited.

In the case of C-sections, you must consult with the vet to determine how many litters are safe for the dog.

Whelping-Related Complications

It is important to consider that not all complications lead to C-section, but it must be taken into account when you are finalizing the number of litters. First of all, you need to consider how difficult and long the deliveries are, and if she needs assistance in delivering.

In addition, you need to consider if she struggles with swelling, prolapsed uterus, and uterine inertia issues after or during delivery.

Puppy’s Health

If the female dog is breeding fine, but the puppies have health conditions or genetic diseases, it’s best to retire her from breeding. This is because raising puppies with health conditions can be extremely challenging and expensive.

If the first litter produced such puppies, you should consult with your vet if the dog should be bred again or not.