Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Six pups? Holy Chihuahua!

Sandy dog births a half-dozen doggies, a rare occurrence
by: contributed photo, The six Chihuahua puppies recently born into the Johnson family have definitely made things more exciting, Tracy Johnson said.

Sandy residents Jeremy and Tracie Johnson were pleasantly surprised last month when their purebred Chihuahua, Lacy, gave birth to six puppies.

The first three puppies were born naturally, and the other three required a C-section at the Sandy Animal Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 1, because one pup was larger than the rest.

'She had a really hard time,' Sandy Animal Clinic's Dr. Jennifer Betts said regarding Lacy's labor. 'We weren't able to get (the big puppy) out. She was exhausted.'

In cases where veterinarians have to perform C-section operations, it's almost assumed that at least one newborn dog will die, Betts said. But despite a grueling, at times dangerous, labor, all of the puppies - which weighed about 8 ounces each - survived and are healthy, and both Lacy and daddy Oliver, also a Chihuahua, are in good spirits.

Betts said it's uncommon for a Chihuahua to have so many puppies at once, noting that 5 to 7 percent of all of the breed's births would yield six like Lacy.

'For small dogs like that, they'll usually have three or four at a time,' Betts said. 'You don't see six that often.'

And two of the little Chihuahuas were twins, Betts said. 'Two of them were together in one (birthing) sac. They normally have their own, but the last two that were born were in one together.''

Life at the Johnson house has admittedly become a little crazier, Tracy Johnson said. Eight-year-old Wyatt Johnson now loves to hang out in the heated garage, where all eight dogs live.

'It's not bad, but you can't keep track of all of them,' Tracy said. 'And if you're not careful, you'll step on them.' She said the pups could fit in the palm of her hand.

The family doesn't plan to keep any of the purebred puppies; they're selling them, and the dogs will leave as soon as April 1.

So is there a chance Lacy could try to break her personal record with her next pregnancy?

'No,' Johnson said. 'This was her first time being pregnant, and unfortunately, her last, because once you have a C-section, you'll have to do one every time,' which is expensive.