How Many Puppies Can a Husky Have? + First & Second Time Litter Sizes

How many puppies can a husky have

My neighbor recently brought home a husky puppy. She’s keen to breed with her pup once she’s old enough to have her first litter. The husky puppy is only eight weeks old, but it didn’t stop my neighbor and I wondering how many puppies a husky can have in their first litter. I researched it for you, so you don’t have to, including how many puppies huskies can also have in a second litter.

How many puppies can a husky have? On average, a husky can give birth to a litter of six puppies. Of course, this number can vary, and a husky could have less or even more than six. The number of puppies in a litter is dependent on factors such as the health of the mother, her weight, and her age.

Now that we know how many puppies a husky can have, it also got us thinking about how many litters a husky can have first time, second time, in her lifetime. After some investigation and discussions with various people in the know, I discovered some interesting facts about huskies, puppies, and litters.

Read on to find out everything you need to know if you’re planning to breed with your husky and want to know how many puppies to expect.

How many puppies can a husky have?

A husky is a medium-sized dog breed. They’re known to be highly energetic working dogs and need to be kept occupied as much as possible to maintain their overall wellbeing.

A healthy husky can give birth to up to 6 puppies in their first litter and even more in subsequent litters. However, it’s not abnormal if they only give birth to 4 or less puppies. While it’s known for a husky to give birth to 1 or 2 puppies, this is more unusual.

A number of factors will play a role in how many puppies a husky can have with each litter.

how many puppies can huskies have in a litter
Here’s just one puppy a husky could have in a first time litter (Image via

What influences how many puppies a husky can have?

There are a number of factors that influence just how many puppies your husky can have first or second time. It’s essential to understand these factors if you’re planning to breed with your husky. This way, your dog can be well-cared for as a breeding dog.

The following factors play a big role in influencing how many puppies your husky can have:

  • Age: A husky between the age of 3 and 5 years old is likely to have litters ranging between 4 to 6 puppies. They may even have more than 6 but this is not the norm. When the husky is below 3 years old or older than 5 years old, you can expect her to have fewer puppies. This could mean only 1 or 2 pups in a litter.
  • Health: A healthy and fit husky is more likely to have more puppies than one that’s struggling with underlying medical conditions.
  • Diet: A well- balanced diet full of all the nutrients, vitamins, and other supplements that supports a growing female dog is more likely to help the bitch have a healthier, larger litter.
  • Weight: An overweight female husky is less likely to have as many puppies in a litter compared to a husky with a healthy weight.
  • Litter stage: A husky may have less puppies in their first litter compared to a second litter. But this also depends on how old the husky is when she gives birth and the time between each litter.

So, to get 4 to 6 puppies in a litter, your husky needs to be beyond her “adolescent” years, healthy, not obese, and be on a well-balanced diet. She shouldn’t be struggling with any underlying medical conditions. The size of the litter also depends on whether it’s the female dog’s first or second litter.

How old can a husky be to get pregnant?

Your husky can fall pregnant when they have their first heat cycle which is around 6 to 8 months old. However, it’s not advisable to let her fall pregnant at this stage of her life. She’s still a pup herself, growing and developing.

A husky will have a heat cycle on average every 6 months and each one lasts about 3 weeks. The best age for a husky to fall pregnant is between 2 to 3 years old. By the way, this applies to breeding males too. The best age for a stud to mate is from 2 years old.

A female husky can fall pregnant throughout her lifetime. But, once she reaches 7 years old, pregnancy can become risky for her.

How many litters can a husky have?

A husky dog can fall pregnant at every heat cycle. However, dog breeders advise you should only breed your husky every 18 months. This gives her time to recover between litters. This means your female husky could have 4 to 5 litters in her lifetime.

Once they’re past their prime breeding age of 5 years old, the litter size will start to decrease.

What are the risks associated with too many litters?

Repetitive pregnancy with little recovery time in between puts strain on the female dog and the husky will start to present with health problems. Having too many litters will also influence the number of puppies at each birth, often being fewer than usual.

But it’s not only the pregnancy itself that puts physical strain on the husky. She also has to nurse her puppies and if the litters are too close together, she’ll battle to successfully nurse all her puppies. This will influence the puppies’ health and condition, at times leading to serious illnesses or even death.

husky sleeps after having puppies in first litter
Your husky will need a lot of sleep and recovery after having puppies for the first time (Image via

Huskies bred between 2 to 5 years old, every 18 months are more likely to have 6 puppies in each litter than a husky who is bred younger and often.

A healthy husky at the right age can have between 4 to 6 puppies in their first litter, with subsequent litters having even more if they’re in good condition.

How can I tell how many puppies my pregnant husky is carrying?

You can’t take it for granted your husky is going to produce 6 puppies by simply looking at her! Counting how many nipples your husky has is also not the right way to calculate how many puppies she’s carrying!

Knowing beforehand how many puppies she’s carrying prepares you in many ways such as:

  • Planning new homes for the puppies.
  • Making sure the litter is not too big for her to handle during birth.
  • Being prepared to handle any complications.

You can use the following methods to find out how many puppies are going to be arriving soon into your home:

  • At 25 to 28 days into her pregnancy, you could try feeling her uterus and counting the little “lumps”. This is not the most accurate way of getting a precise number. This is also a job for the vet as you could accidentally damage a puppy while prodding around.
  • At 25 days, you could book for an ultrasound. This method allows the vet to get a clearer picture of how many puppies are in her uterus.
  • At 55 days, you could take your dog for an X-ray. The puppies’ skulls and spinal cords can be seen more clearly and make it easier for your vet to get a more accurate headcount.

While the last two methods are more accurate, there’s still the possibility of missing 1 or 2 pups so don’t be surprised if more than you expected are born on the day.

Husky litter sizes compared to other breeds

Now you know how many puppies a husky can have, how does that compare to other popular dog breeds? I’ve done the research for you, with some average litter sizes shown below.

  • Basset Hound: 5 puppies
  • Beagle: 6 puppies
  • Bernese Mountain Dog: 8 puppies
  • Boston Terrier: 4 puppies
  • British Bulldog: 4 puppies
  • Chihuahua: 3 puppies
  • Corgi: 7 puppies
  • Dachshund: 3 puppies
  • French Bulldog: 3 puppies
  • German Shepherd Dog: 8 puppies
  • Golden Retriever: 8 puppies
  • Great Dane: 8 puppies
  • Labrador: 7 puppies
  • Miniature Schnauzer: 4 puppies
  • Poodle: 5 puppies
  • Pug: 5 puppies
  • Rottweiler: 8 puppies
  • Shih Tzu: 3 puppies
  • Springer Spaniel: 7 puppies
  • Yorkshire Terrier: 3 puppies

How long is a husky pregnancy?

How long your husky will be pregnant for is the same as any other dog breed; an average of 63 days. If you are unsure that yours is pregnant, here are some pregnancy signs to check for:

  • Does your husky have a decreased appetite?
  • Does your husky seem tired and less active?
  • Does your husky have swollen nipples?
  • Does your husky have a swollen belly (can happen after just 14 days)?

As early as the first 20 to 30 days, a vet could feel your dog’s belly and might be able to say whether she is pregnant or not. After that the most accurate way to know she is pregnant will be an ultrasound 25 days after mating and then a blood test 5 weeks after mating.


Thanks for reading my guide to how many puppies huskies can have. Now you have an idea on what the average husky litter size is, it should give you an idea on why they can be so expensive to buy.

Huskies are a wonderful breed, but their journey into the world is far from simple.

If you want to breed husky puppies, this is not a task that should be undertaken lightly. You need to research, consult your vet and have plenty of money for medical expenses.

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Image in header licensed via

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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