The only thing more adorable than a puppy is a whole gaggle of pups. When you have a beautiful Dachshund pooch melting your heart and reminding you there’s good in the world, it’s natural you would consider breeding her.
But how many litters can a Dachshund have?
Technically speaking you can expect your Dachshund to come into heat once or twice a year, three at the most. Given your pup won’t be ready to breed for a year or more, and could live to 12-16 years, you can reasonably say they have ten years (maybe a little more) when they’ll be able to have puppies.
In theory, a Dachshund could have 10-20 litters or more in a lifetime. That is, however, purely based on maths and not a reflection of how many litters it is healthy for your Dachshund pup to have. In reality, your Dachshund can healthily have four to six litters in her lifetime.
That is a more complex question with several factors that should be considered in a bit more detail…
How Often Can Dachshunds Breed?
A female dog will reach sexual maturity at around six months of age. Being a smaller breed, Dachshunds often undergo their first heat cycle earlier than other dogs. That being said, it is not advisable to allow your Dachshund to get pregnant during her first cycle, as it is likely to result in much higher risks for your hound.
Waiting until your Dachshund has turned one before you start breeding is highly recommended. The advice used to be to wait until they are 2-3 years old, however, more recent research indicates that waiting can put your pup at risk, due to the elevated progesterone levels they experience following a cycle.
Similarly, the advice used to be to wait for a cycle between litters to allow time to recover. This was thought to prolong the breeding life of your dog and ensure her health. The problem is it also leaves them with raised progesterone levels during non-breeding cycles and extends the time before they can be neutered.
All of this adds up to higher risks of pyometra, mammary cancer, and endometriosis.
Current advice is to breed your dog in her second cycle, and then every subsequent cycle until she is has had all the litters she will have in her lifetime. This should be no later than around age four. At this point, you can seek advice on neutering to avoid later health issues.
How Long Will My Dachshund Be Pregnant?
For dogs, pregnancy is a much shorter affair than human gestations. The usual gestation period for pooches is around 63 days from conception. It can be tricky to determine exactly when conception took place, as the female’s eggs can remain fertile for 48 hours, while the male’s sperm can survive for several days inside the female.
In other words, you may know exactly when they mated, but you can’t be sure of the exact date conception took place.
A better measurement of pregnancy will be your pup’s hormone levels. These can be monitored throughout using blood tests and vaginal smears and will tell you the optimum time to breed as well as the length of gestation, and most likely due date.
In total your Dachshund will be pregnant for about nine weeks. Ensuring she is kept healthy and happy throughout that period is essential. You will need to monitor her nutrition and ongoing health with your vet carefully throughout.
How Many Litters Can Dachshunds Have In A Year?
Dachshunds are likely to have more frequent heats than other breeds. While other dogs will have a cycle every six months or so, resulting in one or two per year, Dachshunds can have three, or even four cycles per year.
As a result, your Dachshund could have 1-3 cycles a year, potentially as many as four. In theory, this means she can have 1-4 litters in a year.
How Many Litters Should Dachshunds Have In A Lifetime?
In an ideal world, you would start your Dachshund breeding in their second cycle, and finish breeding her by the age of about four. Due to the more frequent nature of the Dachshund cycle, your maths may be telling you that you will be able to breed your pup up to nine or even twelve times in those three years.
It’s vital to note, however, that your dog shouldn’t have more than three of four litters in her lifetime. It’s such a poor idea that Kennel Club will not allow you to register a Dachshund litter if the mother has had four or more litters previously.
How Many Litters Can A Dog Have Legally?
There is currently no legal limit on the number of individual litters a single dam can produce in the United States. That being said, the conscientious dog breeder will consider carefully what is healthy, both for the mother and her litters.
A female Dachshund can easily have ten, twelve, or even more litters in her lifetime. The likelihood of your pooch having this many healthy litters of pups, and still remaining healthy herself, is slim. Limiting the number she has to between four and six is generally considered to be best practice.
Are There Any Other Restrictions On Breeding Dachshunds?
As with most pedigrees, Dachshunds come with their own set of quirks you need to be mindful of when breeding. The breed is beautiful but prone to Back Disease (IVDD), cord1 PRA, and Lafora Disease.
It’s highly advisable to screen all varieties of Dachsund for IVDD before having a litter of pups. If your pooch is of the miniature variety you should also screen for cord1 PRA, while Miniature Wires need screening for Lafora Disease.
These three health conditions are extremely serious, and there is no need to risk a litter being born with any (or all of them). Screening checks will effectively ensure your Dachshund doesn’t have these issues, but the stud you use for your litter will also need to be screened. If they are Kennel Club registered they should already have health test results.
In addition to these illnesses, it’s also vitally important not to mate two Dapple dogs together. The combination of two Dapple Dachshunds results in ‘Double Dapples’, who have problems resulting from lethal genes that vary in severity from loss of hearing and vision to ‘micro eyes’ or even missing eyes.
Combining two Dapples can result in deafness, blindness, or both, and should be avoided at all costs.
Dachshunds are a beautiful breed and it’s only natural for you to look at increasing that perfection by having a litter of puppies. As long as you’re smart and sensible about it, having a litter – or two, or three! – is very healthy for your Dachshund.
Just remember that when it comes to the question of how many litters she can have, the better question is how many is it safe for her to have.