A Rottweiler has broken the record for the UK’s largest ever litter of the breed after she gave birth to a whopping 16 babies.
Animals who give birth to big litters really are heroes. Can you imagine carrying around 16 little babies in your stomach? It makes the thought of carrying just one seem like a doddle.
Roxy the Rottweiler is owned by infantryman Mark Marshall and his wife Laura, and when they found out their pet had some buns in the oven, they had a scan to see how many they should expect.
But, as it turns out, the scan was really very misleading.
The scan showed six puppies and I thought ‘great, I’m happy with that’. So we had six in our head the whole time, the scans are usually pretty accurate apparently.
But no – there was another ten hiding somewhere! I was so shocked at how many we ended up with. Obviously we hadn’t prepared ourselves for that but in the end, it’s been a nice surprise.
The pups just kept on coming, until the family gained 16 new tiny members.
Mark and Laura, who have never bred puppies before, didn’t realise what was happening when Roxy started crying in the early hours of the morning on March 12, but it wasn’t long before they discovered she’d become a mum.
The infantryman continued:
We heard a noise downstairs so went down to check and Roxy was hiding behind the sofa.
We got her back into bed then went back upstairs. She kept on crying so we went to check again and saw a puppy lying on the floor.
Then we saw one in the kitchen. She delivered another four within the next half hour and by 12pm she had delivered 13.
I went out to get a few things for them and got a call to say another three had come along. I couldn’t believe it.
Obviously giving birth to, and nursing, 16 pups is a big job, so Mark and Laura took some of the strain off Roxy and have been feeding some of the babies with special milk from the vets.
The solider implemented a a military-style feeding regiment, with 40-minute spells with eight little dogs on at a time, and a one hour break for hard-working mum Roxy in between.
It’s definitely been a lot to handle and it has been really tiring.
I was feeding them in groups of eight for eight days straight and going to work in between.
Most of the little Rottweilers have now been sold to new owners, but Mark, Laura and their children are keeping one of Roxy’s babies, called Bella, for themselves.
In 2017 a litter of 16, the same size as Roxy’s, was born in Telford, Shropshire, meaning Mark and his family are the joint record holders – though the solider hasn’t decided whether to apply for the official record.
I think all the credit goes to Roxy here – she certainly did a great job bringing all of those babies into the world!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.