Scottish Labrador litter may be largest ever
When Annie became pregnant vets thought she would have a litter of three to six puppies, but once she went into labour small bundles of fur just kept arriving.
Owners Donald Kelly, 53, and his wife Rhona, 49, were left astonished when their pet produced 15 puppies.
Mr Kelly, from Drumlemble, near Campbeltown, said: “I have been unable to find a record of any other Labrador in Britain that has had 15 puppies. Even our local retired vet, with 50 years’ experience, has never heard of a Labrador having so many puppies.
“I have put a search out and all I can find is a Labrador in Auckland, New Zealand, that had 15 as well.
“Guinness World Records just have a record for the dog with the most pups and that was a mastiff with 24 and the person I spoke to thought it was probably a Scottish or British record for a Labrador.
“The Kennel Club have asked me to send them a photo of the 15 pups to keep on record.”
He added: “The vet thought Annie was only going to have three pups but then they scanned her and thought that it could be a maximum of six.
“Then, when it was getting closer to the date, I knew myself that it might be eight or nine, just by the size of her.”
He added: “She started into labour at 7:30pm at night and myself and my daughter, Jennifer, who is 20, waited with her until 3:30am. By that time she had had 14 pups, she had settled down and we thought that was it.
“Next morning Rhona went to see Annie about 6:30am and did a headcount and there were 15 pups.”
Since then, a military-style operation has ensured the puppies are fed by their mother on a rota basis.
Milk formula bottle feeds have been used as top-ups, as there were too many mouths for Annie to feed on her own.
The Kennel Club-registered pups, at just over a month old, are thriving. The Kellys are keeping two and have found good homes for eight more, leaving five still to rehome when they are ready to leave their mother next month.
Mr Kelly said: “I bought in the region of 400 cans of puppy food for Annie, so that the pups are getting that through Annie’s milk. She has a ferocious appetite, she is eating 12 cans of food a day, plus other food and supplements and full cream milk. The pups have got their own colour-coded collars so we know, for feeding purposes, and for weighing them for worming. They have all put on about one kilo and weigh 2.3-2.4kg each now.”
Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said: “It is certainly unusual for a Labrador retriever to have this many puppies in a litter.”
The Labrador retriever is the UK’s most popular dog, with the Kennel Club registering more than 35,000 puppies in the breed last year.