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How Many Nipples Do Dogs Have

By September 10, 2021Dogs

What is the total number of nipples on a dog’s body?  How many nipples do dogs have?  That’s a funny question, isn’t it? It’s a question that veterinarians are frequently asked. You may be hesitant to bring up the subject of your dog’s nipples with your local veterinarian; thus, this article is intended to explain some of the more frequently asked questions that veterinarians receive regarding this amusing canine issue.

What is the Purpose of Nipples?

Dogs, like humans, have nipples, which are used to produce milk for their puppies. When a puppy is born, the milk serves as its primary source of nutrition for the first 3 to 4 weeks of its life until the puppy is weaned off of its mother’s milk.

The milk provides the dogs with critical antibodies that keep them safe. Puppies spend the first few weeks of their lives sleeping and eating, sometimes as many as 20 times each day.

Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

Yes, nipples are present in both male and female dogs. Nipples are little lumps that extend from their groin area up their stomachs, and the amount of nipples can vary. In general, dogs have between 8 and 10 nipples, however some dogs have more nipples than others, and some dogs have less.

Why Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

Now that you’ve learned that male dogs do, in fact, have nipples, you are undoubtedly curious as to why. After all, they serve no purpose, so what is the point of males having them in the first place? Nipples are seen on many male mammals, including humans. Scientists believe that the explanation for this is the effect of natural genetic selection.

In utero, male and female animals seem remarkably identical to one another, down to the presence of nipples. Nipples are generally the default model for mammals, and despite the fact that they serve no functional purpose in males, they also cause very few problems in other mammals.

To put it another way, there was no compelling cause for natural selection to eliminate the nipples. Because a male dog without nipples had no inherent benefit over a male dog with nipples, and because they were more or less harmless, they were not selected against in the breeding population.

This is similar to the fragments of pelvic bones found in whales, which are similar in appearance. Whales no longer have legs, but because the remaining structures did not pose any issues, the whales kept them even though they were no longer needed.

Do Nipples Ever Cause Health Issues for Male Canines?

Nipples are generally considered to be harmless in male dogs, but they can occasionally cause health problems. It is possible for a male canine to develop mammary gland tumors on occasion. Tumors can be identified by the presence of lumps beneath the nipple as well as changes in the look of the nipple.

How Many Nipples do Female Dogs Have

Usually, a female dog have two rows of nipples, which means she will have six to ten nipples altogether.  Other dogs may have fewer nipples, and some dogs may have more. There is nothing to be concerned about just because your dog has odd number of teats.

Typically, these two rows are matched up evenly, with one row on the right side and one row on the left side. As a result, the majority of dogs will have 3-5 nipples on the left side and 3-5 nipples on the right side. Gender, breed, age, or health condition have no impact on the number of nipples.

Normal dog nipples vs pregnant nipples

The only time you will see a dog’s nipples changing is during pregnancy. In fact, nipple changes are one of the most visible indicators of pregnancy in dogs. Your dog’s nipples will grow larger and squishier. Lots of people compare it to the udder of a cow, which is an accurate comparison! However, because your dog is also smaller in stature, the difference is significant.

Nipples may become soft and longer rather than round and small. The nipples are often black in color and swollen in width and length. As her pregnancy proceeds, her weight growth will make these even more noticeable, and finally, her milk will begin to flow and they will begin to droop.

The most obvious example of this is a dog with thin fur, of course. If your dog’s fur is long and dark, you may not be able to see them unless she bears her tummy.

How Many Puppies Can a Dog Feed at Once?

Dogs have two to eight puppies every litter, on average. Smaller breeds have smaller litters, while giant breeds have more. However, a dog’s nipples may outnumber her puppies in some situations.
Puppies eat by sucking on a nipple. Their paws and snouts encourage lactation by pressing against mammary tissue.

A dog feeding her pups may lie on her side, back, or crouch over them. A large litter may cause a dog to struggle to feed her pups due to lack of nipples. A good mother will rotate her puppies to ensure they all feed, but this is not always the case.

It’s sometimes necessary to help the mother dog by bottle-feeding huge litters. In some situations, a surrogate mom can breastfeed some of the puppies. Smaller, weaker, or less competitive pups may perish in nature owing to lack of milk. But with human support, even a litter’s runt can grow up healthy and powerful.

Can You Predict Litter Size by Counting a Dog’s Nipples?

Unfortunately, this is not the case. The size of the litter is not determined by the number of nipples present. It is nothing more than an old wives’ tale with no scientific basis. Despite the fact that both small and large dogs have a comparable number of teats (8-10), smaller breeds produce smaller litters, whilst larger breeds have more puppies.

The mammary glands of a pregnant dog will begin to swell in preparation for the production of milk. It is advisable to have an ultrasound (at around 25 days) or an x-ray (at 45 days) to get the best estimate of the litter size .

If you know how many puppies your dog is having, you may plan ahead of time how many new owners you will need to find and what size whelping box will be required. If there are issues during the birth, you will know how many pups to expect and whether or not you should contact the veterinarian.

What are Dog Nipple Health Issues?

There are several typical health issues with the nipples that every pet parent should be aware of, just as there are with any other area of the body. The following are the most important things to be aware of:

Mammary cancer

Dogs can develop mammary cancer, sometimes known as “breast cancer,” in the same way as humans do. Male dogs are more likely than female dogs to get this condition, but it can happen to either. A lot of the time, this shows itself as lumps in your dog’s breast, particularly around the nipple.

Keeping an eye on your dog’s nipples can assist you in becoming aware of a change more quickly and easily than someone who does not pay attention to the form or size of their nipples.


This is a type of virus that affects both male and female dogs in equal measure. It is caused by bacteria and has the potential to be life-threatening in some cases. This occurs when your dog’s nipples become enlarged and bacteria enters them, resulting in an infection that can spread fast throughout the body.

In the event that you discover any unusual bumps on your dog’s breast and/or any form of pus that is oozing from a bump or even the nipple itself, it is always a good idea to have your vet take a look, since it might spread without warning and necessitate a lengthy vet visit.

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