How Many Puppies Can a Rottweiler Have?

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.

Are you a prospective Rottweiler puppy breeder? Or maybe you’re a dog owner who has been thinking about breeding your Rottie, but aren’t sure if it’s the right time.

Either way, one of the first things you’ll want to know before taking on the responsibility of breeding is how many puppies can a Rottweiler have.

A Rottweiler has on average 6 to 12 puppies in a litter, and it is not uncommon for this number to go up to 14 at times. While the first litter will be smaller, sometimes only 2 puppies, subsequent births will see a larger litter. Factors such as age and health will have a big impact.

In this post, we shall look into the numbers a bit more in detail, talk about the factors that can influence litter size, and handling a Rottie pregnancy.

Medical Questions? Talk to a Veterinarian 24/7.
Connect one-on-one with a licensed vet who will answer your questions in minutes.

Ask a Vet Now or Schedule a home visit

*Article may contain affiliate links to retailers like Amazon and Chewy. Learn more on our disclosure page.

how many puppies can a Rottweiler have in a single litter

Some Facts and Trivia About Rottweiler

  • Rottweilers nearly went extinct thanks to industrialization. They were heavily used to herd cattle, but when jobs went to the factories, their services were less and less used. Luckily, a group of lovers continued to fight for them, and today, they are still thriving.
  • Rotties have a habit of bumping things, thanks to their roots. Breeders do not advise Rottweilers for homes with young children or the elderly, despite the fact that trained Rottweilers are gentle.
  • Rottweilers are super smart. They are intelligent and will think carefully before acting. Because of this, almost every website and book about them will say something along the lines of “Rottweilers are not for everyone” or “Rottweilers are not for first-time dog owners.” Since they frequently outsmart and outlearn their owners, it can be challenging to keep up with them, even trainers too!
  • The Roman Rottweiler, German Rottweiler (Rottweiler Metzgerhund), and American Rottweiler are only a few of the different varieties of this breed. Roman Rottweilers are bred to be bigger and more like mastiffs. On the other hand, there are few differences between German and American Rottweilers other than their respective countries of origin.

How Many Puppies Can a Rottweiler Dog Have in One Litter?

A Rottweiler will have on average 9 puppies in a litter, and the range is usually between 6 and 12 puppies.

Litter sizes do go outside of this range from time to time, but should be considered quite uncommon.

On a rare occasion, a Rottie in England gave birth to 18 puppies in one go, making this most likely the largest Rottweiler litter ever.

The size of a litter can be influenced by the breeding lines; some lines tend to have larger litters than others.

Rottie owners who are considering breeding their dogs should talk to a veterinarian or breeder about the size of the anticipated litter.

Many other variables, which I go into more detail about in the sections below, will also affect how many puppies there are in a litter.

image of a rottweiler puppy
Image of a rottweiler puppy

How Big Is a Rottweiler Puppy at Birth?

At birth, a Rottweiler puppy weighs around 1 pound only, a far cry from the huge adults we always see!

At this stage, the puppies are incredibly vulnerable to infections and other health problems, so it’s important to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible for their first round of vaccinations and other treatments.

The breed standard for Rottweilers is between 80 to 135 pounds (females tend to be smaller) and the weight can vary slightly depending on genetics, diet, and activity level.

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

All dogs, including Rotties, do not go through menopause and can give birth to offspring until they pass away.

On average, their heat cycle lasts six to eight months or nearly twice a year.

However, just because they are able to doesn’t imply they ought to.

In their lifetimes, Rottweilers shouldn’t reproduce more than four to six times, and they shouldn’t mate more than once every year.

Your dog will be under a lot of stress from overbreeding, which could cause heart disease, arthritis, and infertility, among other health issues.

Needless to say, a puppy born this way will likely not be in the pink of health too.

Also, stopping early is necessary in order for it to be spayed and to enjoy a happy life even after retirement.

Add to the fact that there are nations where it is illegal to breed a dog more than four to six times in its lifespan, and you should understand the importance of not overbreeding.

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.

dog essentials banner in content

What Determines the Number of Rottweiler Puppies in a Litter?

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

1. Age of the dam

Not surprisingly, as the dam ages, the size of the litter decreases.

Oddly enough though, the first 2 litters are often smaller than the following ones, so once your Rottweiler breeds again after the first two litters, you should likely see your dam having a few extra puppies.

It’s also crucial to remember that breeding a dog after the age of seven or eight is not advised because it’s too late to have puppies and could result in health problems for both the mother and the puppies.

You should aim to have your dog spayed long before then to improve its overall health.

2. Age of the sire

The father of your Rottweiler’s litter will also have an impact on the size of the litter, albeit less so than the mother.

Even if the female is extremely productive, there may be fewer puppies in each litter as the quality of a dog’s sperm begins to drop between the ages of 5 and 6.

It is best to only breed older dogs when they are younger because breeders frequently need to use artificial insemination to help with breeding older males.

3. Health of the mom

Here’s a fact: healthy puppies can only be born if their mother is also healthy.

Prior to becoming pregnant, it’s crucial to keep an eye on a dog’s emotional and physical well-being and to make sure it receives plenty of affection, care, exercise, and mental stimulation.

Additionally, nutrition has a big impact on how many puppies are born in a litter.

To increase the likelihood of having a larger litter, a high-quality, protein-rich food should be provided year-round.

Mothers who have poor diets, especially those who are overweight, tend to have smaller litters more frequently.

4. Size of dog

Bigger litter sizes within a particular breed are frequently correlated with larger body proportions (in terms of structure, not weight).

Despite being the same breed, Rotties’ sizes can vary quite a bit, which may have an impact on how many puppies they can produce.

Larger dams typically have a higher likelihood of having a larger litter.

5. Litter in which mom was born

The level of fertility of your Rottweiler has a thing or two to do with the litter it was born in.

If she was born into a large litter herself, she will likely have a larger first litter.

On the other side, you may generally anticipate that your girl will have a small first litter if she was born in a small litter herself.

6. Type of breeding

Actually, it could be wise to save this topic for a later article given how easily it might become convoluted.

Just be aware that for the time being, the method of reproduction can significantly affect both the quantity and quality of puppies.

For instance, excessive inbreeding may lower the quality of a litter.

The puppies’ health will be compromised, which could lead to shorter lifespans and a higher likelihood of hereditary diseases (such as Von Willebrand’s disease) in addition to decreased litter sizes.

As the relationship between the dogs gets closer, these issues are more likely to arise.

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 probably not that significant.

At What Age Can You Breed a Rottweiler?

Although Rottweilers can begin reproducing once they reach their first heat cycle, it is not a good idea at all and must be avoided.

A Rottie’s first heat cycle typically occurs between 6 and 12 months old, which is way too early for them to start reproducing.

Wait until your dog is at least in her second or third heat cycle to give her enough time to develop sexually and gain weight and size.

Most ethical and responsible breeders will wait till a Rottweiler is at least 2 years old before breeding them. This would give them sufficient time to complete all the necessary medical checks which can identify the potential for inherited diseases or conditions.

What Age Do Rottweilers Go in Heat?

Most female Rottweilers go through their first heat cycle between the ages of 6 and 12 months.

If your girl hasn’t gone through her first heat cycle by the time she is 18 months old, speak with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

A useful rule of thumb is that it will go into heat at about the same age that its mother did.

How Do You Know if Your Rottweiler is in Heat?

Numerous symptoms, including bloody discharge, receptivity to male dogs, restless behavior, and others, can indicate that a dog is in heat.

Here’s a breakdown:

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

How Often Do Rottweilers Go Into Heat?

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

Once your dog has experienced its first two 2 heat cycles, the period between them will be more consistent in time to come.

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 Rottweiler Stay in Heat?

When we refer to a dog as being in heat, we typically mean that it is in the estrus stage of the heat cycle, which is when they actually see “action” with a male dog.

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 Rottweiler is Pregnant?

Here are the most common signs that your Rottie 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 girl to the vet for an ultrasound or a blood test to determine if it’s pregnant.

Check out our dog pregnancy calculator to find out when your dog is due!

How Long is a Rottweiler Pregnant for?

How Long is a Rottweiler Pregnant for?

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

There won’t be many obvious signs of pregnancy during the first two weeks as the changes are currently taking place internally within the uterus.

However, your Rottie 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 Rottweiler is About to Give Birth?

It is important to be aware that dogs usually give birth around 2 months (56 to 64 days) 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.

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

Routine Care Tips for a Pregnant Rottweiler

There are a number of things you can do to ensure your dog has the best chance of giving birth to healthy puppies.

Maintaining your dog’s health and happiness throughout pregnancy will help them feel comfortable and ensure a pain-free delivery.

If you are a breeder, consider getting pet health insurance through the Kennel Club (American) (United Kingdom).

Here are a few tips:

Regular checkups

Regular checkups with your veterinarian are important throughout pregnancy for your pet’s health to be looked at closely.

They can help identify any issues as they arise, which will make it easier to treat them before they become more serious.

This is especially more critical in the last 3 weeks of pregnancy, or if you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior or have the slightest health concerns.

And don’t forget to also ensure that her teeth are well taken care of in order to prevent any dental diseases.

Balanced diet

During pregnancy, your Rottweiler really needs to have a balanced diet that is palatable and easily digestible.

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 supplements if you want to be extra careful about making sure your dog gets everything she needs during this time.

Never change your dog’s diet too abruptly though, as they may not adapt fast enough and lead to reluctance to eat.

If you are feeding raw food, extra care must be taken to ensure the food is clean and free of bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea, which should be regarded as an emergency.

Quiet environment

If exposed to excessive noise, pregnant dogs—especially those carrying their first litter—may become overly anxious and stressed.

Your Rottie needs a peaceful setting where she may unwind, so keep her away from crowded places (absolutely no dog parks! ), loud noises, and any potential animal companions.

Make sure your other dogs aren’t being too noisy or active around your pregnant dog if you have any in the house.


While pregnant dogs shouldn’t exercise vigorously, they can still benefit from regular brief walks, attention, and gentle play.

And although it’s true that they shouldn’t be overstimulated, you also shouldn’t allow her to become too inactive since this can quickly result in health issues.

I’d advise giving your dog no more than two walks a day, each no more than 15 minutes.

During the last three weeks of pregnancy, a pregnant dog must be kept away from other dogs and animals; therefore, allow her to get some light exercise inside during this time rather than taking her outside.

Should You Breed a Rottweiler?

The Rottweiler breed is fascinating, and the best way to decide whether you should breed one is to really examine the reasons why you want to do so in the first place and then weigh those against your own situation.

Breeding is a very serious undertaking that requires time and financial resources, not to mention emotional ones.

If you’re thinking of breeding a Rottweiler, you should know that it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.

It can be expensive to breed a litter of puppies, and the responsibility of caring for them afterward is considerable.

Is your dog mature and healthy enough to be bred? Do you have a good environment for it? Has it gone through all the necessary vaccinations and health checks? Do you know what potential problems might there be? (Rotties often need surgical correction for torn cranial cruciate ligaments, did you know that?)

These are but a few questions you need to ask yourself.

If you have any doubts, it would be wiser to leave it to a professional and reputable breeder or simply adopt one instead. You may also want to check out the American Rottweiler Club to learn more about this breed.

There are thousands of dogs in shelters and rescues that need our help!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What age can a male Rottweiler have puppies?

In most cases, male Rottweilers are able to breed when they reach 6 months old, but to reach full sexual maturity, you should wait till it is 12 to 15 months old. Compared to females, they are able to mate anytime rather than having to wait till they are in heat.

How often can you breed a Rottweiler?

Once a Rottweiler experiences its first heat cycle, it is ready to breed. Each cycle lasts about 6 months, which means that they can mate about 2 times per year. However, this practice is frowned upon and they should not be bred more than once a year in order for it to recover.

Can a Rottweiler get pregnant while not in heat?

No, a female Rottweiler will not be able to get pregnant when it is not in heat. Although the entire heat cycle is about 6 months, the actual period when it can get pregnant is during the estrus phase, which only lasts about 5 days to 2 weeks.

In Conclusion: How Many Puppies Can a Rottweiler Have?

Whether you’re a puppy breeder or just a dog owner, knowing how many puppies a Rottweiler can have will help you take the first step toward understanding your dog’s breeding habits.

Consider adopting one from a shelter or rescue group if you’re unsure whether you should breed them.

They are numerous and in desperate need of our support, shelter, and love.

Click here for information on other dog breeds’ litter sizes.

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.

Share this post!
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!

no more bad dog breaths banner