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How Many Puppies Do Chihuahuas Usually Have (In A Litter)?

How Many Puppies Do Chihuahuas Have

Have you tried to find out how many puppies Chihuahuas usually have in a litter? With their tiny bodies, it seems impossible to have many puppies.

It’s exciting and worrying at the same time to have a pregnant Chihuahua.

If you want answers, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will tell you:

  • How long a Chihuahua’s pregnancy lasts.
  • If your Chihuahua can get pregnant by 2 different males.
  • Why a whelping room has to be in a certain temperature for the puppies.
  • 7 danger signs to be aware of when your Chihuahua is pregnant or during labor.
  • And more… 

How many puppies do Chihuahuas have? 

Chihuahuas have an average of 4 puppies per litter. Sometimes a female Chihuahua only has one puppy. The largest litter of a Chihuahua ever recorded is 11 dogs. The age and health of a Chihuahua affects the number of litter.

How long is a Chihuahua pregnant for?

A Chihuahua is pregnant for 63 days, from conception to delivery. A pregnancy can be confirmed using hormone tests, palpation, ultrasound or x-ray. By day 60 and 65, a Chihuahua will begin labor. A complication might occur if your Chi is pregnant for more than 70 days.

Is it dangerous for Chihuahuas to have puppies?

In some cases, it is dangerous for Chihuahuas to have puppies. Because of their small size, a pregnancy can be risky for both the mama and her litter. However, some Chihuahuas in the past had no problem giving birth to their litter.

What happens if a Chihuahua gets pregnant by a bigger dog?

It could be dangerous if a Chihuahua gets pregnant by a bigger dog. Delivery of her puppies could be equally dangerous. That’s if the puppies take after the sire and are large in size. Thus, mama Chi may experience difficulty during labor.

Before your Chihuahua gets pregnant

Taking care of a pregnant dog is a challenge. Even more so when it’s a Chihuahua.

That’s because their small size can be a risk to both the mama and her litter.

That said, it’s important to make sure your Chi is at her healthiest before getting pregnant. She should have enough exercise.

Remember, a healthy mama Chi is equal to a healthy litter.

In addition, a Chihuahua’s pregnancy is better planned. More owners opt a C-section for their pooch.

It’s because Chihuahua puppies have large heads. 

Unplanned pregnancy

But what if your Chi got pregnant suddenly? It could happen in many ways.

For instance, she’s in heat for the first time in her 4th month. You did not notice the signs. 

Or a dog might have mounted her without your knowledge.

Interestingly, a male can smell a female dog in heat up to 3 miles away. And a female Chi might actively seek a male in her estrus phase. 

The estrus phase is when she’s receptive to a male dog.

Caution: If your female Chi is in heat, don’t let her out of your sight. Not only is she receptive to male dogs in her estrus phase. It can be any dog, including dogs bigger than her. There could be complications in the mating or pregnancy itself.

Is your Chihuahua pregnant?


Don’t you wish there were instant pregnancy tests for dogs?

It’s important to determine if your Chi is pregnant so you can give the appropriate gestation care. You can look out for the following signs of pregnancy:

  • Weight gain.
  • Her nipples may increase in size.
  • Her stomach will grow large quickly.
  • She cleans herself more often than usual.
  • She’s not as energetic as before. She may act tired or lethargic.
  • She will experience the equivalent of human morning sickness. Meaning loss of appetite. In some cases, a Chi may show an increase in appetite.

Note: Some of these symptoms appear in certain diseases. To rule out these diseases, have your Chi undergo a prenatal checkup.

At the vet clinic, your vet can perform methods of determining your Chi’s pregnancy.

Hormone tests

A hormone test is accurate if your Chi is at least 30 days pregnant. Your vet will do this test to see if your dog produces relaxin.

This is a hormone released only during pregnancy.

Note: A hormone test may have a false negative if taken before this period. 


Palpation can be done within 3 to 4 weeks of gestation (pregnancy). 

By this time, the membrane around the fetus forms a fluid-filled sac. The sac can be felt around this time.


Ultrasounds are best done between days 25 and 35 of pregnancy.

It can determine whether your Chi is pregnant. In addition, it can detect fetal heartbeats.

With ultrasound, you’ll know the age of the fetus.


X-ray determines how many puppies a Chi will have. This is best done later in pregnancy. Preferably when your Chi is in days 42 through 45 of pregnancy.

This is because, at this time, the skull and spine are visible to be seen on x-ray. 

But you can wait until day 55. By then the x-ray can show the accurate number of puppies.

In addition, your vet can determine the best time for a selective c-section.

3 Chihuahua pregnancy facts

#1: A Chihuahua can get pregnant on her first heat

For a small breed such as a Chihuahua, her first heat can be during her 4th to 7th month.

A heat cycle usually lasts about 3 weeks and has 3 stages:

  • Proestrus.
  • Estrus.
  • Diestrus.

It’s during the estrus stage that she’s fertile and ready to breed. 

#2: A Chihuahua can get pregnant by 2 dogs

How is this possible?

Blame it on a female dog having more than one egg that’s available for several days. 

Let’s say she is mounted on day 1 and an egg is fertilized. Then she is mounted again on day 3 by another dog. And another egg is fertilized.

You’d call it a multi-sired litter.

#3: A Chihuahua has an average litter of 4 puppies

Sometimes there’s only one puppy.

In this study, the mean number of litter is 3.2 from 269 Chihuahuas.

But did you know that the largest litter of a Chihuahua is 11? The proud mama was named Laugh Out Loud (LOL) who gave birth in 2018.

Here she is:

Before that, the Guinness World Records holder was Coco. She had a litter of 10 puppies in 2011.

3 Stages of pregnancy

The thought of having small versions of your Chi is exciting! 

You’ve probably thought far ahead and already decided what names to give. 🙂

The good thing is, the gestation period in dogs is shorter compared to humans. It means puppies grow rapidly within 2 months.

Month 1

This is the first stage of pregnancy.

Day 7 – Embryos travel to the uterine horns.

Day 16 – Embryos embedded in the uterine lining.

Day 22 – A fetus takes shape.

Days 28-30 – Fetal heartbeats can be detected through ultrasound.

Your Chi may show some symptoms during the first month, which I have discussed earlier. Aside from those symptoms, your Chi may show some behavioral changes. 

For instance, she becomes more affectionate.

She may also have clear vaginal discharge.

Note: No changes are needed to be done during this stage. Continue to feed and play with her. But limit rough play. Also, she may have an increase in appetite. But don’t change her diet.

Month 2

This is the stage of rapid fetal development.

Day 32 – Eyelids form.

Day 35 – Toes are visible.

Day 40 – Claws form.

Day 42 – Skeleton starts to become solid. Weight gain increases.

Day 45 – Coat forms.

Day 50 – Skeletons are solidified.

By week 6, adjust your Chi’s diet. She needs more protein at this point.

You can also give her smaller meals instead of the 2 to 3 main ones. 

If the vet approves, give your Chi a multivitamin. Folic acid can also do wonders for your Chi. 

According to this study, folic acid reduces incidence of cleft palate in Chihuahuas.

By week 7, bring your Chi to the vet for a checkup. The vet will check to make sure there are no worms to infect the puppies at birth.

Month 3

The last stage is the whelping (giving birth) stage.

By day 58, puppy development is almost complete. In the last days of your Chi’s pregnancy, the puppies will move into a whelping position.

Any day in week 9, your Chi will give birth to puppies.

Preparations before labor

Your Chi will be pregnant for 63 days. However, this can vary for several days.

She will begin labor between day 60 and 65.

Labor can be a stressful time for your Chi and yourself. So it helps to get everything prepared before she begins giving birth.

Whelping area

Prepare your Chi’s whelping area by week 7 of gestation. 

This way, you’ll have plenty of time to make sure everything is ready for the puppies.

The whelping area should be somewhere quiet. 

If you have a room that’s rarely used, it should do fine. The room must be easy to clean, safe and warm.

Whelping box

You don’t need to buy a fancy whelping box for your Chihuahua. You can make one by using materials you can find at home. 

Here’s a Chi owner who made a DIY whelping box for his female Chihuahua and her litter:

You can set up a whelping box in a corner of the room, though this is optional. A whelping box can just be a clean cardboard box.

Layer it with newspapers, then cover these with clean blankets or towels. These must be changed frequently once they’re soiled.

Room temperature

Keep the room about 86℉ (30℃) for the first 24 hours after birth. 

This is the ideal temperature to keep the puppies warm. Puppies cannot regulate their temperature yet.

Afterward, maintain the temperature to 77℉ (25℃). 

Other materials

Keep pee pads, diapers, extra towels etc in an accessible area.

Preparing your Chihuahua

By weight 8, have your Chi groomed.

It doesn’t have to be a full groom. Just trim the hair around the vulva and teats.

This is also the perfect time to double check that everything is in order.

3 Stages of labor

After the gestation period, labor begins.

Stage 1

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether labor has begun. That’s because there’s no visible contractions.

But there are ways to know if labor is near or underway. 

First, know her internal temperature. If it drops below normal, that’s an indication.

Use a rectal thermometer for this. Lubricate it first and insert about half an inch. Leave it for 3 minutes.

A Chi’s normal temperature should be between 101 and 102.5℉ (38.3 to 39.17℃). If the temperature is below 100℉ (37.77℃), your Chi should deliver her litter within 24 hours.

Other signs of labor in dogs include the following:

  • Panting.
  • Vomiting.
  • Restlessness.
  • Refusal to eat.
  • Clear vaginal discharge.

Note: Your Chi may cry and vomit while at this stage. While dogs usually do not need assistance from humans, help in any way you can.

Starting with giving words of encouragement. It may be heart-breaking to see them going through pain and discomfort. But you need to be strong for her.

Stage 2

This stage marks the birth of the puppies. It can be over in several minutes for some Chihuahuas, but hours for some.

With the birth of a puppy, your Chihuahua should tear open the fetal sac. If not, you can do it wearing clean gloves.

You can help mama Chi by using a clean towel to dry each puppy. Then place them near a teat.

Note: It’s important to have your Chi x-rayed beforehand to know the number of the litter. That way you’ll know if she’s done delivering all her puppies.

Stage 3

This stage marks the delivery of the placentas.

The Chihuahua will usually eat the placenta. If she doesn’t, you can dispose of it like you would any organic waste.

7 danger signs

#1: She has not given birth yet

Your Chihuahua’s temperature has dropped 24 hours ago but she has not given birth. Yet she is vomiting and crying.

#2: Two hours passed since the last puppy

A puppy has come out already. 

Your Chi has not given birth to another puppy in more than 2 hours. But you’re sure she has more in her belly.

#3: Contractions last more than 45 minutes

Your Chi experiences heavy contractions in 45 minutes. Yet no puppy has come out.

#4: Your Chi is in pain

Though labor is uncomfortable, your Chi shouldn’t be in significant pain.

#5: Your Chi is trembling and/or collapsing

Trembling and collapsing are bad signs of complications. These could put the mama Chi and her puppies at risk.

#6: Your Chi delivers a dark green or bloody fluid

It’s normal if it happens after the birth of the first puppy. It’s not normal if it takes place before.

#7: Your Chi shows no sign of giving birth

It’s not good if your Chi shows no sign of whelping 70 days after the mating.
Warning: If your Chihuahua experiences any of these dangers, call your vet asap.