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Different Age Littermates


Share below if you have ever had a litter wherein puppies advanced at a different rate during the first 30 days? We believe it may not be uncommon phenomenon.


June 8, 2021

Barbara J. Andrews, SAAB Member



Eggs may be fertilized on different days depending on the species, when the ovum are released from the ovaries and when the sperm reaches each egg. Here's an example.


I bred a maiden bitch four times over four days. According to both male and female, the second and third breeding was her “prime” time although she would have been receptive for a fifth breeding. I knew that multiple eggs/ovum may be fertilized on different days when multiple eggs are released from the ovaries and when the sperm reaches each egg.


This is true in in cats, dogs, goats, etc. In human beings, multiple fertilizations may occur (as in twins or triplets) but they will be born in the same 12 to 24 hour period.


My dog’s gestation was uneventful but by her 7th week it became apparent that she was not going to have a big litter. Otherwise she progressed normally and labor began on schedule. She was slow delivering the first puppy but finally he emerged. The attentive mother dog set to work cleaning him and all was as it should be. An hour passed uneventfully. Then another hour with no sign of contractions and I became concerned.


Finally, she went into labor late that night and delivered a much smaller female puppy. I watched the puppy wiggle, take her first breath and join to the nipple. I made sure she was getting milk and all was well but noted that she was about a third smaller than the other newborn puppy.


Over the next two weeks, I watched the little female carefully to make sure she was nursing strongly and thriving. The male was polite and with an abundance of milk, both puppies progressed normally. Except – it became increasingly apparent that she was not just smaller but YOUNGER!  She took in proportionately full servings of milk, wiggled, slept, woke, nursed. All was perfectly normal until the beginning of the second week. By then it was obvious by their size, development and mobility that he was more “advanced.”


When his eyes opened early one morning and hers did not open by that night, I suspected it was because the male was older. Sure enough two days later, in early evening, she “peeked” at me when I picked her up. He became mobile, tottering around in their bed. She still crawled.


At 18 days he sniffed and reacted to lean ground beef. She ignored it. At 19 days he pawed at my hand in eagerness for the meat. She ignored it but at 21 days she was nibbling at the raw beef and by the next day there was no apparent difference in their appetites nor their ability to eat solid food along with mother’s milk.


From that point on there was less and less difference in size and mental acuity. Both pups flourished and at 8 weeks they were in size, development and intelligence, average for the breed.


If you’ve had a similar experience which you feel indicates different days of conception, share your knowledge below!


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CRITICAL STAGES OF PUPPY DEVELOPMENT: New puppy owner or seasoned breeder, you will be enlightened and amazed by this short but scientifically insightful information and VIDEO from birth to teething.

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