How Many Puppies Do Chihuahuas Have?

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 03/24/22 •  6 min read
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Have you ever wondered how many puppies a Chihuahua can have? That’s a question you may be asking if you’re the pet parent of a pregnant Chihuahua for the first time! We understand this can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. So, we’ve put together some information about the number of puppies a Chi can have and more!

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Physical Issues with Chihuahuas

As the smallest dog breed in the world, Chihuahuas are noted for having a feisty temperament, being loyal to their pet parents, and being just plain cute! However, not many people realize that Chihuahuas are a brachycephalic dog breed.

Brachycephalic dog breeds have shorter muzzles than other dog breeds. These dogs breeds, including Chihuahuas, have a flatter face. The flat face comes from a smaller upper jaw, with inside tissues being too large for the small jaw. As a result, all the airways are overcrowded, which causes brachycephalic airways syndrome.

Brachycephalic airways syndrome may result in airway obstruction such as snoring, noisy breathing, tiring or fainting during exercise, and more. These dogs also suffer from heatstroke and are not able to do strenuous exercise.

In addition to being brachycephalic, Chihuahuas also have large heads compared to their body size. And their body is much smaller than other dogs.

What does all of this have to do with a Chihuahua pregnancy? These conditions in the Chihuahua mean that a dog isn’t able to have a large litter of puppies. It’s possible for a Chi to have a large litter, but that’s rare. These physical issues mean most Chis have a smaller litter than other dog breeds.

So, how many puppies can a Chihuahua have? We’ll get to that in the next section!

Chihuahua Litter Size

First, we need to say that a Chihuahua pregnancy can last between 58 and 68 days. A Chi’s first pregnancy usually is a small litter of 1-3 puppies. If she becomes pregnant a second time, it’s possible a Chihuahua could have up to 4 puppies. The third or fourth pregnancy usually has the largest number of puppies. After these litters, the number of puppies decreases.

That’s a vast difference from larger dog breeds. Larger dogs usually average about 8 puppies per litter. For example, German Shepherds can have up to 8 or more puppies, while Beagles average about 6 puppies per littler.

Chihuahuas simply don’t have space for more puppies. Their smaller bodies can’t support more than 4 puppies. However, there was a Chihuahua that had eleven puppies, which is a world record! However, this is an extremely rare situation! Most Chis will have, on average, between 1-3 puppies per litter.

Are There Dangers for Chihuahuas Having Puppies?

Most Chihuahuas must have a C-section to give birth, though that’s not always the case. The problem is that Chis have narrow hips that make it difficult for the mother to birth her large-headed puppies. It’s possible for the puppies to become lodged in the birth canal. This can lead to the death of the entire litter and the mother.

The cost of a C-section for a Chihuahua is usually about $500 if the procedure is planned. The cost goes up to about $2,000 if the C-section is an emergency and/or the birth has other problems.

Factors that Can Determine Litter Size

Litter sizes in Chihuahuas can vary slightly depending on various factors, including:

The Age of the Chihuahua

The age of the mother Chihuahua can have a large impact on the number of puppies she has in a litter. The first pregnancy is usually the smallest, with 1-3 puppies. Older Chis may have a larger litter if they have a later pregnancy. In that case, it’s possible the litter could be 5-6 puppies!

Number of Times Chihuahua Has Been Pregnant

Chihuahuas should not be bred over four times throughout their lives. Most breeders recommend only 2-3 times in a Chi’s life. These small dogs can get pregnant about every 18 months. However, the mother needs time to recover and regain her health before getting pregnant again.

The Health of the Mother Dog

Another factor that impacts litter size is the health and wellness of the Chihuahua mother. Health Chis may have more puppies, and the pregnancy is likely to be smoother and healthier. However, Chihuahuas that are not healthy or develop a health issue during their pregnancy may give birth to fewer puppies.

Mixed Breed Puppies

It is possible that a Chihuahua could become pregnant from another dog breed. There are also breeders that cross Chis with other dog breeds on purpose.

If the other parent dog was larger than the Chihuahua, this could present major issues with the number of puppies, the birth, and the health of the mother and litter. This is because Chihuahuas have smaller bodies and don’t have space for larger babies.

So, if a breeder wants a Chi-mix, then it’s best to breed a larger female dog with a male Chihuahua. This makes the pregnancy safer for both the mother and puppies.

How Many Litters Can a Chihuahua Have?

Responsible, reputable breeders only let their Chis have about four litters of puppies during the mother’s life. Breeding the mother more often could put too much strain on her body and lead to health problems or death.

How Many Litters Can a Chihuahua Have a Year?

As mentioned earlier, reputable breeders are careful with their mother dogs. No responsible breeder will allow the mother dog to breed more often than once a year. The reason is that each pregnancy and nursing of the litter cause a lot of stress and strain on the mother’s body. And remember the mother will probably need a C-section, which means her body also has to recover from surgery. So, the mother dog needs time to heal and recover before having another litter.

Allowing a mother Chihuahua to breed more often than once a year is not responsible.

Summing it Up

So, there you have it! Chihuahuas can have up to 1-3, or even 5-6 puppies; however, this depends on the number of pregnancies and the age of the mother dog.

The main thing is to remember that Chihuahuas and other dog breeds should be responsibly bred. For a Chi, this means the mother should not be pregnant more than 2-4 times in her life!


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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.

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