Despite increasing professionalism in dog breeding, the physiological range of birth weight in this species remains unclear. Low birth weight can predispose to neonatal mortality and growth deficiencies in humans. To date, the influence of the morphotype on birth weight has never been studied in dogs. For this purpose, an Italian census of birth weight was collected from 3293 purebred pups based on maternal morphotype, size, body weight and breed, as well as on litter size and sex of pups. Multivariate analysis outcomes showed that birth weight (p < 0.001) and litter size (p < 0.05) increased with maternal size and body weight. Birth weight was also influenced by the maternal head and body shape, with brachycephalic and brachymorph dogs showing the heaviest and the lightest pups, respectively (p < 0.001). Birth weight decreased with litter size (p < 0.001), and male pups were heavier than females (p < 0.001). These results suggest that canine morphotype, not only maternal size and body weight, can affect birth weight and litter size with possible practical implications in neonatal assistance.
|Location of Publication||Basel, Switzerland|