A Litter Of 17 Puppies May Be The Largest In California’s History


Stella the Maremma Sheepdog lives on a California farm where she has the very important job of protecting the livestock. Her owner, John Costanzo of Napa Grass Farmer, produces organic meat, and Stella is an integral part of that. When she started to give birth, Costanzo took care to keep her as safe and comfortable as possible. Two healthy puppies came out first, but then nothing. Costanzo knew she had several puppies left, and the litter seemed bigger than expected. So he rushed her to Barney & Russum Animal Clinic.

The vet took over and helped Stella delivery another puppy, and another, and another. When it was all over, Stella had delivered a whopping 17 puppies. Each one survived in good health. The vet said it was the largest delivery he had ever participated in, the next closest being 12. After a bit of research, Costanzo couldn’t find any records of a larger delivery in the state of California. According to Guinness World Records, however, the world record is 24. 

Each of the puppies will grow up and go to farms throughout California. The Maremma Sheepdog is bred almost solely for livestock protection, though these pups weren’t bred intentionally. Costanzo hid Stella in a barn while she was in heat, but his male dog jumped a four and a half foot fence and squeezed his way through a hole in the barn to get to her.

Are you amazed that Stella gave birth to so many puppies? Are you glad they all survived? Let us know in the comments below!

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