An amazing dog has given birth to an astonishing total of 21 puppies in one litter - and her owner believes that could be a record.
Joanne Hine couldn’t believe her eyes when she was given live video updates from the vets who helped her dog, Mary Jane (MJ), give birth naturally to the puppies overnight.
She had initially been told her pet would give birth to six to eight pups, but after a check up nearer to MJ’s due date, the vets said it was looking more likely to be over 20.
Joanne told the Examiner: ’I couldn’t get over the size of MJ!
’When the vets told me it would probably be more like 24 puppies after they’d said she would just have six to eight, I said "no way!".
’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, a Great Dane crossed with an American bulldog, went into labour in the early afternoon of November 20 with puppy number 21 arriving at about 9am the next day.
The Guinness World Record for the largest litter of puppies born is currently 24 by a Neopolitan mastiff in the UK.
Those puppies had been delivered via caesarean section in 2004 with three not surviving the first week.
Joanne, who lives in Julian Road, Douglas, believes MJ may have broken a record for largest litter delivered naturally. Sadly six puppies were stillborn and one died soon after birth.
’I’ve called them the Magnificent Seven and they are buried with my previous two dogs, Buster and Lady, who I’m sure will take great care of them,’ she said.
The remaining 14 pups were named after chocolate bars according to their individual personalities.
’There’s Bounty because she’s a bounty hunter trying to get her mother’s milk, Boost because he shuffles around quickly, Kit Kat because he’s so chilled out, and Buttons because she’s small and cute as a button.
’Then there’s Time Out because he stays with the crew but then goes away on his own, Galaxy because they’re off in their own galaxy, Aero is bubbly, Picnic is always on the munch and Caramac because he has his father Beefy Keith’s brown colouring coming through.
’Wispa because you never hear a sight nor sound off him, Milkyway because he lives on another planet, Twirl and the biggest pup we decided to call Ripple because of his little rolls on his legs.
’We did think of calling him Double Decker.’
The puppies seem to have inherited their mother’s black and white colouring and the face of their father - a bull mastiff crossed with a rottweiler.
’Beefy Keith is a very proud dad and MJ is being such an amazing first time mum to all 14 babies,’ Joanne said.
As the pups need to be fed every two hours, Joanne is supported by her dad Steve, brother Matt and close friend Liam, who will soon be ’dads’ to a puppy each.
’MJ only has nine nipples and 14 pups so bottle feeding pups every two hours is a team effort from us all,’ she said.
’My dad, brother and Liam have been an amazing support and I wouldn’t be able to do all the feeds without them.’
Joanne also sleeps in the kitchen next to the homemade crib, which is big enough for all of them to be snuggled by their mother, to keep an eye on them.
Some of the puppies have their future home waiting for them.
Two are being taken to a new family in Rotherham, Yorkshire.
Joanne said that MJ will be neutered as she’s read that a dog’s second litter tends to be larger than the first.