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Newborn Puppy Facts That'll Make You Go Awwww
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Newborn Puppy Facts That'll Make You Go Awwww

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Dec 2, 2022

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Do we deserve puppies? They often seem heaven-sent, especially when they're just a month or so out of the womb, have delicious puppy breath, soft fuzzy fur, and truly look at us for the first time with their inimitable eyes.

Newborn puppies have very little in common with six-month-old pups. They're helpless, mewling bundles that sleep for most of the day and night.

Depending on the breed, newborns can have disproportionately large hobbit-like feet, among other characteristics you're bound to be interested in too.

1

They are blind and deaf

A Dalmatian mother is lying in her pet bed with 5 of her new born puppies. One is feeding, the rest are sleeping SolStock / Getty Images

Newborn puppies are born with closed eyes and ears that don't open for about two weeks.

Dogs are altricial, meaning they're undeveloped when born because of shorter pregnancy terms. The optical receptors still need time to mature, so after 14 days of shut-eye, your pup can detect motion, but that's pretty much it.

The world's a blur that steadily clears up over the next two months. Hearing improves steadily in the first five weeks after birth.

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2

They're toothless

Few hours newborn chihuahua puppy in human hand Photographs by Maria itina / Getty Images

When puppies are born, they are toothless, gummy cuties, just like newborn babies. But unlike human infants, baby dogs start developing their first set of teeth around the three-week mark. By six weeks, the full set of 28 deciduous teeth are in place, and you can begin gently brushing at this time.

By about four months, baby teeth fall out or are swallowed and are replaced by 42 permanent teeth. Sometimes, deciduous teeth don't get the memo and stick around too long, making extraction by a vet necessary. This condition is more common in brachycephalic breeds with flat faces.

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3

Some breeds are more likely to be born via C-section

1-week old Cavalier Puppies Photo by Sophia Kunkel on Unsplash

Dog breeds can look as different as a pineapple and a grape. Some breeds have big heads that make a normal birth difficult. For example, bulldogs, terriers, mastiffs, Pekingese, and Clumber spaniels have relatively large noggins. As a result, they are scheduled for caesareans more often than their slender-headed peers.

Emergency and elective c-sections are both possible, and your vet can advise you about what's best for the health of the mother and the pups.

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4

Some breeds have bigger litters

kid holding a puppy Os Tartarouchos / Getty Images

For the most part, the smaller the breed, the fewer pups are produced in a litter. Chihuahuas typically give birth to two to five puppies, but there are rare exceptions when ten tiny pups show up.

Can you guess the Guinness World Record for the number of puppies in a litter? It's two dozen! A Neapolitan mastiff named Tia set the record in 2004 after a C-section delivery. One puppy was stillborn, and three passed away within a week, and this degree of infant mortality is sad but not unusual.

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5

Puppy breath is wonderful

newborn puppy of beige color sweetly asleep mikhasik / Getty Images

Puppy breath smells like sweet innocence. It's distinctive, and you'll want to breathe it in rather than push your pup's mouth away.

The pleasant odor results from clean teeth, lactose in the mother's milk, and the oral microbiome, and the bacteria present at this stage of a dog's life don't produce stinkiness, so puppy mouths are a joy.

If you don't detect this addictive scent, it's not the end of the world, but it's best to consult with a healthcare practitioner in case of a health issue.

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6

Some newborn pups are grinch-like

Woman holds sleeping puppy Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Puppies can be born green and look a bit like the Grinch who stole Christmas. It's rare, but it happens with dogs with light fur.

Dog placentas contain a green pigment called biliverdin, which can stain a newborn's coat. It's temporary and lasts a few weeks, so if you were hoping for a green dog, you might have to wait for the metaverse.

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7

Puppies don't contagiously yawn

Cute two puppies siberian husky lying on a bed,vintage filter anurakpong / Getty Images

Puppies yawn a lot. They yawn when they're tired or unstimulated, and they yawn when they're stressed out. Do you know when they don't yawn? Research suggests it's when others yawn.

Grown dogs contagiously yawn, and so do preschoolers. That's because, by the time a dog is one and a human is four, they've developed empathy, leading to yawning in response to a yawn. But human and dog babies still need to build social skills and awareness.

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8

They like baby talk

newborn puppy warmed by their mother

Studies suggest that puppies do indeed like baby talk—you're not imagining it. They get excited when they hear the coochy coos, high register, and the odd cadence. You'll notice them bark and move toward the speaker. But it's something they outgrow just like humans.

Adult dogs are unmoved by baby talk, and adult humans (at least those without weird fetishes) are totally put off by another person talking to them in this infantilized manner.

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9

Newborn dalmatians are spotless

Dalmatian dog is looking at the camera whilst lying down with one of her newborn puppies. SolStock / Getty Images

Dalmatians are born white—it's a breed trait, and their famous spots only come in after three months. Bonus spots can pop up over many years.

It's not common, but some dalmatians don't ever go on to get their spots, and some are born with black patches that disqualify them from show competitions.

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10

An ode to puppies

BILBAO, SPAIN - JULY 17: A floral sculpture called Puppy by Jeff Koons stands guard at the doors of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao ahead of the arrival by King Felipe of Spain and Queen Letizia of Spain on July 17, 2020 in Bilbao, Spain. This trip is part of a royal tour that will take King Felipe and Queen Letizia through several Spanish Autonomous Communities with the objective of supporting economic, social and cultural activity after the Coronavirus outbreak. Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

Puppy lovers, assemble. If you're looking for pilgrimage ideas, there's no better location to put on your itinerary than Bilbao.

This Spanish city has had a 17-ton floral sculpture in the shape of a little West Highland terrier since 1997. It's 40 feet tall, adorned with 37,000 fresh flowers, and has become iconic for the Guggenheim museum and this part of the Basque Country.

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