How Many Puppies Can a Chihuahua Have? [Numbers Unveiled]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Have you ever wondered how many puppies can a Chihuahua have?

I know I have!

A Chihuahua will have on average 3 puppies per litter. The litter size is most typically between 1 and 3 puppies, but this can sometimes go up to 6. The main factors that impact the number are the dog’s health, age, and size.

I love my dogs, but I can’t help but wonder about the logistics of their breeding process.

How many times a year do they go into heat? How long does it take them to get pregnant? I could go on and on with the questions, and I’m here to answer some of them for you.

In this post, learn about the litter sizes of Chihuahuas, the factors that will influence the size, as well as a bunch of facts about breeding them!

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Some Facts and Trivia About Chihuahuas

I thought it would be interesting to share some facts and trivia about Chihuahuas so that we can all know this unique dog better!

It is thought that chihuahuas are related to the Techichi, an ancient breed. These puppies were kept as lap dogs by the Toltecs in Mexico as early as the ninth century CE.

Chis are little, but they make up for it with ferocity. According to a study, this small dog is among the breeds that are most hostile toward people and dogs of other breeds. Owners are advised to socialize them with other people and pets early in order to combat this.

Chihuahuas have especially lengthy life spans, averaging 13 to 15 years, and the same can be said of most small dogs.

Chihuahuas make excellent guard dogs because they are intelligent and devoted. Your Chi will let everyone know if someone approaches your home or attempts to intrude because they are a vocal breed and are wary of strangers.

How Many Puppies Can a Chihuahua Have in One Litter?

A Chihuahua can have anywhere from one to seven puppies, but in most cases, they will have two or three puppies in one litter.

There is no way of accurately predicting the exact number, but as a small dog breed, you can expect them to have a smaller litter than the average size of a large breed dog.

Fun fact: The largest size recorded is 11 puppies in one litter! That honor belongs to “Laugh Out Loud’, a Chihuahua from Kansas that achieved the feat in 2018.

Other factors also influence the number of puppies in a litter, which I will share more on in the sections below.

How Many Healthy Litters Can a Chihuahua Have in Their Lifetime?

Chihuahuas, in theory, do not go through menopause and continue to go into heat until they pass away.

They go through a heat cycle of around 6 to 9 months just like most other dogs, and thus, they typically have 2 heat cycles per year.

Though they can mate twice a year, that doesn’t mean it should.

Chihuahuas should only pair up once a year, and ethical and reputable breeders will never breed a single dam more than four to six times in her lifetime.

This is done in order to spay the dog while it is still relatively young as excessive breeding will negatively impact the dog’s health.

There are also countries that legally limit the number of times a dog can be bred, and that number is usually 4 to 6 times.

In the US, the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not accept registrations for dams that are bred over the age of 12 and under 8 months, and sires that are over the age of 12 and under 7 months.

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What Determines the Number of Chihuahua Puppies in a Litter?

In this section, we’ll discuss the key factors that determine the number of Chihuahua puppies in a litter.

1. Age of the dam

Generally speaking, the size of the litter gets smaller as the dam ages.

Interestingly, the first couple of litters are typically smaller than the following litters, so you can anticipate having more puppies after the second breeding of your Chi.

You should also not breed a dog over the age of 8 because that is too old to have puppies, even if your girl is fertile for the rest of her life.

Ideally, you should stop breeding your dog well before that and spay it, as it will bring about a number of benefits to its overall health.

2. Age of the sire

Although less so than the mother’s, the sire of your Chihuahua’s litter will also have an effect on the litter size.

The reason is that a dog’s sperm quality starts to decline at the age of 5 to 6, which means that there may be fewer puppies in each litter, even if the female is extremely prolific.

Breeders occasionally use artificial insemination to help in the breeding of older males.

3. Health of the mom

If you’re thinking of breeding your Chi, its health must come first.

The plain fact is: A weak baby will be born to a sick mother.

One of the most important things you need to do during pregnancy is to monitor the mother’s weight.

For instance, if the mother is overweight, she may experience joint issues and, similar to a human mother, may complicate labor and delivery.

Try not to overfeed your dog since this will result in obesity, which will bring about unnecessary issues.

It should also be noted that the intervals between litters must be long enough to provide the female Chihuahua sufficient time to recover (hence no breeding in consecutive heat cycles).

4. Size of dog

The size of the dam also has a significant role in determining the number of puppies in a litter.

Dogs of the same breed can vary in size, and when I say larger, I don’t just mean in terms of weight; rather, I mean larger in terms of build.

Chihuahuas with larger frames typically have larger litter sizes as a general rule, though this would be a rather small factor as they don’t usually differ much in size.

A typical-sized Chi will have an average litter size of 3 puppies, while there are some cases where this number can go up to 5 or six (though uncommon).

5. Litter in which mom was born

Your Chi’s level of fertility is frequently inherited from her mother.

She will probably have a sizable first litter if she was born into a sizable litter herself.

On the other hand, if your Chihuahua herself was born in a small litter, you can probably expect that she will have a small first litter.

6. Type of breeding

Given how quickly this topic may become complicated, this is actually a subject best left for another article.

In essence, though, the type of breeding can also have a significant impact on the size of its litter.

For instance, when inbreeding occurs at high levels, the quality of a litter might be ruined.

In this case, it will reduce the size of the litter and have an effect on the health of the puppies by shortening their life expectancy and raising their risk of contracting genetic disorders.

The closer in ties the dogs have, the higher the possibility that these issues may arise rises.

Linebreeding, on the other hand, aims to maintain sufficient genetic diversity while preserving the best genes from a bloodline, making it frequently a safer method of dog breeding.

7. Time of breeding

It is said that a dam is more likely to have a larger litter size the closer she is to ovulation.

This is defined as the period after the estrogen period when the Luteinizing hormone triggers ovulation.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any studies supporting this theory, so at this point, I would say this factor is not that significant.

At What Age Can You Breed a Chihuahua?

Chihuahuas can theoretically start breeding once they have their heat cycle, but that does not mean that this is good practice.

It is advised to hold off until at least the second heat cycle, giving your dog time to become more sexually mature and also grow bigger, preferably to at least 2 pounds.

They frequently get into the first heat cycle as young as 6 months of age, which is considered very young.

Most responsible breeders will wait till a dog reaches 2 years of age to breed them as they will have all their medical examinations done by then.

What Age Do Chihuahuas Go in Heat?

The majority of female Chihuahuas experience their first heat cycle between the ages of 6 months and one year old.

By the time your Chihuahua is 18 months old, if she hasn’t experienced her first heat cycle, consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

A quick examination by a qualified veterinarian can determine whether your Chihuahua is a late bloomer or has a medical problem.

The age when your Chi’s mother started going into heat is a good indication of when it will do so too.

How Do You Know if Your Chihuahua is in Heat?

What Determines the Number of Chihuahua Puppies in a Litter

Bloody discharge, receptivity to male dogs, agitated behavior, and many other symptoms can be signs of a dog in heat.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Swollen vulva
  • Discharge from the vulva
  • Receptive to male dogs
  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive licking of the genital area
  • Agitated, anxious, or aggressive behavior
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Holding its tail close to the body

How Often Do Chihuahuas Go Into Heat?

A Chihuahua will go into heat once every 6 to 9 months, but this can vary depending on each individual dog.

While some dogs’ cycles could be a little bit longer or shorter than others, you should be keeping track of when they happen.

Consult your veterinarian to determine whether there is anything that could be causing your dog’s variable seasons.

There is often more time between seasons as dogs get older (but can still get pregnant).

How Long Does a Chihuahua Stay in Heat?

When a dog is said to be in heat, we are referring to the estrus phase of the heat cycle.

The entire cycle is as follows, and it is during the estrus period when a dog will show all the signs discussed above:

  • Phase 1: Proestrus (~7 to 10 days)
  • Phase 2: Estrus (~5 to 14 days)
  • Phase 3: Diestrus (~10 to 140 days)
  • Phase 4: Anestrus (~6 months)

How to Tell if My Chihuahua is Pregnant?

Here are the most common signs that your Chihuahua is pregnant:

  • Nipples enlarged
  • Increased hunger
  • Irritability (may have a short temper)
  • Decrease in activity and energy levels
  • Behavioral changes
  • Weight gain
  • Starts nesting
  • Seeks more attention

When you notice all of these happening, and about 25 days have passed since mating, you should bring your Chi to the vet for an ultrasound or a blood test to determine if it’s pregnant.

How Long is a Chihuahua Pregnant for?

How Long is a Chihuahua Pregnant for?

Dogs, no matter the breed, are usually pregnant for 56-64 days, or about 2 months.

There won’t be many, if any, obvious indicators of pregnancy in the first two weeks in your dog as the changes are currently taking place internally within the uterus.

However, your Chi will soon start to lose hair around the breasts, develop larger, darker nipples, and develop darker nipples at around 3 weeks of pregnancy.

How Do I Know When My Chihuahua is About to Give Birth?

It is good to be aware that dogs usually give birth around 2 months after getting pregnant so that you can prepare for it.

As the time draws nearer, there will be a number of telltale signs that your dog might be whelping soon.

  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Not eating much
  • Digging and scratching
  • Lethargy
  • Start producing milk
  • Spending more time in her “nest”
  • Shivering
  • Panting
  • Straining
  • Drop in body temperature

Chihuahua Puppy Size/Growth Chart

The table below shows you the estimated weight at each life stage during a Chihuahua’s growing years.

When they go into adulthood (> 1 year old), they might put on a bit more weight but their weight gain will be much slower and you will see a consistent weight throughout this period.

Age in monthsChihuahua weight (oz)Chihuahua weight (kg)
2 months11 – 300.31 – 0.85
3 months15 – 450.43 – 1.28
4 months19 – 590.54 – 1.67
5 months23 – 700.65 – 1.98
6 months26 – 780.74 – 2.21
7 months30 – 800.85 – 2.27
8 months32 – 900.91 – 2.55
9 months32 – 960.91 – 2.72
10 months32 – 960.91 – 2.72
11 months32 – 960.91 – 2.72
12 months32 – 960.91 – 2.72
> 12 months 64 – 961.81 – 2.72

Care Tips for a Pregnant Chihuahua

It is important to keep your Chihuahua healthy and happy during pregnancy.

This will help them stay comfortable and make sure that they have a smooth delivery.

Here are some tips:

Regular checkups

You need to schedule regular checkups with your vet, especially in the last few weeks of pregnancy, and when you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior.

This will help make sure that everything is going as it should be during pregnancy and birth.

Balanced diet

During pregnancy, your Chihuahua really needs to have a balanced diet and you have to make it as palatable and easily digestible as possible.

This means that she should get plenty of protein (chicken is a good choice), and some fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals.

You can also supplement the diet with calcium tablets or other supplements if you want to be extra careful about making sure your dog gets everything she needs during this time.

Quiet environment

It’s important to keep your dog in a quiet environment during pregnancy, especially if she is pregnant with her first litter.

This will help make sure that she doesn’t get stressed out, which can lead to complications during birth and for the puppies themselves.

If you know that there are going to be loud noises, such as fireworks or other people in the house, then make sure to keep your Chihuahua inside and away for those times so she doesn’t get frightened by all of the commotions.


Pregnant dogs shouldn’t engage in strenuous exercise, but they can certainly benefit from attention, moderate playtime, and frequent brief walks.

A pregnant dog shouldn’t be overstimulated, but you also shouldn’t let her get lazy.

It’s crucial that a pregnant dog be kept apart from other dogs and animals during the final three weeks of pregnancy, so during this time, let her have some light exercise indoors rather than taking her outside.

One final note: Never play rough with them during this time!

Should You Breed Chihuahuas?

Breeding a Chihuahua by yourself is not advised unless you are confident that you are a skilled breeder and can carry out the breeding process without incident.

It requires a very skilled and experienced person; neglect will lead to unhealthy, unborn, or fewer puppies per litter.

Although it can make a great side income (or even full-time income) selling the puppies, you have a responsibility to uphold very high standards so that prospective owners are getting the best puppies they can have.

Alternatively, you might add more Chihuahuas to your family by adopting them from shelters.

You get to help out a dog and bring joy to your family at the same time!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it hard for a Chihuahua to give birth?

Due to their small size, Chihuahuas’ labor and delivery processes may sometimes become complicated. Chihuahua puppies are more likely to have their heads stuck in their mothers’ birth canals because of their abnormally huge heads and their mother having narrow hips.

How many puppies can a Chihuahua have in her first litter?

The first litter that a Chihuahua has is usually smaller, so you can expect to have one or two puppies during the first whelping.

How many puppies do Chihuahuas have second litter?

Similar to the first litter, a Chihuahua is likely to have only one to three puppies in their second litter. From the third litter onwards, three puppies will become more normal for most Chihuahuas.

How much do Chihuahuas cost?

An ordinary Chihuahua puppy can cost between $400 and $1,500 from reputable breeders. These prices vary according on the breeder, bloodline, and type of Chihuahua. Champion-line Chihuahuas are substantially more expensive and in high demand.

Do Chihuahuas need C-sections to give birth?

Due to the Chihuahua’s small frame and the puppy’s relatively large head, Chihuahuas are infamous for needing C-sections. If a Chihuahua accidentally mated with a larger dog, the likelihood of C-sections is also increased.

How many litters can a Chihuahua have in a year?

A Chihuahua can have up to 2 litters a year, but it is considered ethical to only breed them only once a year.

What is the biggest litter a Chihuahua can have?

The average litter size of Chihuahuas is 3 puppies, but it has been recorded in 2018 that a Chihuahua in Kansas gave birth to an astonishing 11 puppies in one go!

In Conclusion: How Many Puppies Can a Chihuahua Have?

I’ve covered a lot of ground here, and hopefully, you’re feeling more informed about how many puppies a Chihuahua can have and learned more about breeding them.

If you are unsure if you should breed them, consider adopting one from a shelter or rescue organization instead.

There are plenty of them out there who need homes and love!

Learn more about dogs and their litter sizes or go straight to each breed here.

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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