When Queeny the Dalmatian went into labor on Dec. 27, her owner, Isabelle Chouinard, was expecting half a dozen puppies — or maybe 10 at most.
But hours later, the puppies kept coming to the family’s home in Saint-Paul-d’Abbotsford, Que., 30 miles east of Montreal.
Even after giving birth to eight puppies, Queeny’s belly still looked huge.
Six hours later, a total of 16 wheezing pups had emerged, all healthy so far.
With Queeny thriving and recovering, the family has received attention across the county, with the litter being compared to the Disney classic 101 dalmatiers.
“I don’t know if we have the record at 16, but the average is really… seven against nine,” said Chouinard.
“So 10 or 12 could happen, but that’s a big litter… Usually the problem [is] 15 can be born, but a few die on the first day. But for us, all 16 are still alive.”
Family helps Queeny with the feedings
Chouinard says it was love at first sight when they met and adopted Queeny two years ago in the nearby town of Granby.
Avid Disney fans, the family loves their energetic and affectionate Dalmatian and decided to breed her – as they did another time with their previous dog.
“We wanted to do it once for the experience,” Chouinard said, adding that the family had estimated how many puppies to expect.
“Some people said six or eight. I said ten because I saw her and found she was very big,” said Chouinard.
Dr. Louise Dubois, veterinarian with 33 years of experience in a practice in Granby, has never seen such a large litter.
“You have to understand that there’s not even 16 teats on a bitch, so when it comes to feeding the puppies, it’s a little bit more complicated, a little bit more complicated,” said Dubois. for the past three weeks, Chouinard said, bottle-feeding the pups two or three times a day.
“We feed eight at a time. We have to change something every hour to get her to feed the puppies,” Chouinard said.
Not surprisingly, Queeny seems tired, Chouinard said, as the three-week-old vocal puppies get demanding and a little “belligerent.”
Chouinard notes that they have no intention of breeding Queeny again.
If she’s had one big litter, she’s more likely to have another one, “and that’s asking a lot of my dog. I love her so much I don’t want to work her too hard,” Chouinard said.
Find good homes for the puppies
Since news of the adorable litter broke, the number of applicants seeking to adopt the dogs has skyrocketed, Chouinard said.
Although the puppies will need to spend at least another month with their mothers before they can be adopted, she says the process of finding them the right homes is time consuming.
“This is my problem now,” said Chouinard. “I’m mostly trying to make sure people are willing to deal with a very active dog.”
“I want to make sure they find good homes so that everything goes well and the puppies aren’t taken to a shelter or back to my house afterwards,” said Chouinard.
The family has also considered the idea of keeping one for themselves – and for Queeny.
“It’s a big family discussion right now.”
Break away7:13The Granby family welcomed 16 little Dalmatians into their home during the holiday season