A litter of 16 purebred black Lab puppies were born on Sunday on an Errington farm.
Alex Fras, owner of the puppies’ parents, said birthing continued all night long.
“It started at 10 p.m. and ended at like 4:45 a.m.,” he said.
Fras thought there were only going to be about four puppies, but they continued to come, each about 20 minutes apart.
Fras said he and his wife Kelly got the now three-year-old mother, Sophie, when she was a puppy – for their infant daughter Lily.
“I used to have a black lab cross that I had for 15 years. Everybody that knew me knew I was all about my dogs everyday,” Fras said. “When we had the child, she’s almost five now, when she was one we’re like let’s get a family dog again, so we found Sophie.”
The family, who live on a large farm in Errington, said they eventually decided to get another dog as a companion for Sophie. They decided on Louie, a male purebred black lab who is now a year-and-a-half old.
Neither Sophie or Louie were fixed, and the Frases, who aren’t breeders, decided to see what happened between the two and whether Sophie would get pregnant or not.
When she eventually did get pregnant, they took Sophie to the veterinarian who said she was most likely going to have a large litter, but they didn’t think it would be as many as 16.
Fras said he now plans to have both Sophie and Louie fixed.
“We don’t really want to do this again,” he said.
Since the birth, Sophie has been in good spirits, is healthy and still even gets out to play fetch when she isn’t feeding or cleaning her 16 newborns.
Of the 16, Fras said it’s pretty much 50/50 with half being male and half female. He says he’s already getting a lot of interest from potential new owners and that he wants to make sure the dogs go to good homes.
Many animals have been born on the family farm including cows, sheep, alpacas and even their daughter. He said Lily has had a helping hand in many of the animal’s births and that it’s all about a learning experience for her.
“These dogs (Sophie and Louie) have grown up with the cows, the alpacas, they run with them,” Fras said. “We have 10 acres, they run like crazy.”
Nanaimo Kennel Club president Sharon Medforth said she has been breeding for 40 years and has heard of a few dog litters this size but that it’s very uncommon.
According to the Guinness World Records, the largest number of puppies born in one litter was 24 in the United Kingdom in 2004 to a Neopolitan mastiff.