An Abbotsford boxer recently produced one of the biggest litters in Canadian history, giving birth to 14 puppies (five female and nine male) on May 23.
Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of activity for the Jacobse family who have bred dogs for a number of years in Abbotsford. However, this was the first time they ever had a litter this size.
Victoria Jacobse said she and her family were stunned at Athena the dog’s first litter.
“I was in complete shock,” she said, after learning of the size of the litter. “We had a litter of 10 before, which is really big for boxers. My mom called me at like 3 a.m. after the birth was done and I asked her like seven times - ‘14 are you sure? That is crazy.’”
Jacobse explained that Athena was taken to an emergency vet to assist with the birth and delivered two puppies naturally. A c-section was then performed for the remaining 12 as they were having difficult exiting the womb. She said it was a huge amount of work looking after 14 puppies at once.
“For the first week we had to feed them about once every two hours,” she said. “Then once they got to a size where we knew they would be good and healthy we just rotated off to mom. But all the daily things, like you have to wake up at 5 a.m. and there is just so much cleaning up after 14 puppies.”
She said Athena was exhausted for several days after giving birth, resting and snacking on her favourite foods in the days that followed. It was the three-year-old dog’s first-ever litter and she lives with her mother - six-year-old Farrah.
The puppies were numbered and given collars to more easily identify them. They will be sold off to interested buyers online.
The Jacobse family has been breeding boxers for nearly 20 years and prior to that bred chihuahuas. They decided to switch to boxers because they were a very athletic family - Victoria is a former basketball player with the UFV Cascades women’s team.
She said boxers have several great characteristics that make them great companions.
“They’re super energetic and they think they’re puppies until they’re 13,” she said. “They also love cuddling and just being around people. They are just good family dogs and that was the main aspect we wanted.”
The Guinness World Record for a dog litter is 24, which was set by a Neapolitan mastiff in the United Kingdom in 2004.
The first of the 14 took to its new home on Monday (July 11), and those interested can find the puppies on Kijiji.