A Dalmatian has given birth to a staggering 18 puppies, double the average litter size for the breed.
Dalmatians typically give birth to around six to nine puppies, although their litters can reach up to 15 puppies.
Former nurse Louise Clement was therefore astounded when her dog Nellie gave birth to 18 offspring last month.
Download the new Independent Premium app
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
The first-time mother gave birth to 10 male puppies and eight female puppies on 14 April following a 14-hour labour.
Ms Clement, who lives near Preston, Lancashire, said they were expecting Nellie to give birth to a large litter as she was “quite big”, but they “had no idea she would have this many”.
“She had a great natural labour, but they just kept on coming,” the owner said.
“I thought she’d stopped after number 15, because it looked like she had lay down to go to sleep. But then along came another one, and two more after that.”
With the addition of the 18 puppies, registered Kennel Club breeder Ms Clement now has a total of 27 Dalmatians in her household.
These include Nellie’s mother, Penny, and her grandmother, Pebbles.
“Fortunately, we have a lot of outside space and the dogs have lots of things to play with – they’ve got their own Wendy House, and swings and slides that they love to play on,” she said.
“Some sleep in the kitchen, some sleep in the utility, and some sleep in the living room, a couple occasionally join me in bed.”
Ms Clement, who has had Dalmatians for 30 years, plans on keeping one of the puppies from the litter.
The former nurse explained that she slept on the sofa with Nellie during the final two weeks of the dog’s pregnancy so she “could keep an eye on her”.
“I was there for each one when they were born, and helped her with each of them,” she said.
“We weighed them and put a coloured collar on them to tell them apart,” a measure that bears similarities with the Disney classic 101 Dalmatians.
“Firstly I was worried, but then I was glad all 18 were alive, though I was quite concerned as the first few days of their life can be critical,” Ms Clement stated.
“Once it had all sunk in, it was a case of shock (that) she’d managed to do all that herself. I’m immensely proud of her, she’s been amazing.”
In October 2019, a dog gave birth to one of the largest ever Labrador litters.
The owner said puppies were “flying out” during the delivery, with Beau the Labrador giving birth to 13 puppies.
“But after seven were born in just 40 minutes, we were absolutely gobsmacked. They were just flying out,” they said.