A dog could have set a new world record after giving birth naturally to a staggering litter – of 21 puppies.Great Dane and American bulldog cross Mary Jane (MJ) did her owner Joanne Hine proud as she popped out the enormous brood. Joanne, who’s from the Isle of Man, had been told her beloved pet would give birth to six-eight puppies, but as the due date crept closer a fresh examination revealed that the number was going to be much higher.
Now that the ordeal of the birth is over with, questions are being asked as to whether MJ’s epic achievement is actually record-breaking.The Guinness World Record for the largest litter currently stands at 24, born to a Neapolitan mastiff called Tia in Cambridgeshire in 2004. But those puppies were born via caesarian section while MJ’s litter were all natural – which Joanne thinks could mean a new record has been broken. ‘When the vets told me it would probably be more after they’d said she would have just six to eight I said; “no way!”‘ Joanne recalls.
‘I’m so proud of her. MJ did it all on her own with Annie and Ruth of Jane Callow Veterinary Practice by her side the whole time. MJ only has nine nipples so bottle feeding them every two hours is a team effort from us all.’
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Sadly, six of Joanne’s puppies were stillborn and one died soon after the birth on November 20. So the new mum has 14 little ones to care for.
The remaining 14 pups have been named after chocolate bars that Joanne says suit their personalities.
Joanne loves these little dogs so much, she even sleeps in the kitchen next to a homemade crib, which is big enough for all 14 and their mother.The majority of the dogs are yet to be re-homed, although two are soon being taken to a new family in Rotherham.
All the pups seem to have inherited their mother’s black and white colouring and the face of their father – a bull mastiff crossed with a rottweiler. Which is an unbelievably adorable combination.The animals need to be fed every two hours, so Joanne is being supported by her dad Steve, brother Matt and friend Liam – who will soon all become ‘dads’ to the puppies.
Seeing spots? Or not… Dalmatian puppies are pure white when they are born and develop their spots as they grow older.
She added that MJ will now be neutered – as she’s read that a second litter can be even bigger than the first.