Sheepdog gives birth to record-breaking litter of 17 puppies
A proud mama dog in Northern California recently gave birth to what experts say could be the largest litter of puppies ever recorded in the state.
Stella, a Maremma sheepdog charged with watching over livestock for the Napa Grass Farmer in Fairfield, birthed 17 puppies about a month ago--but the congratulations are only just rolling in.
"We had an excellent vet deliver them because it was way more than we thought," John Costanzo from Napa Grass Farmer told NBC Bay Area. "They all made it and are healthy.
The doctor said it was five more than he has ever seen in his years of practice as the biggest litter he had ever delivered was 12."
According to Constanzo, 17 is the largest litter he's ever heard of for the Italian herding breed.
All of the puppies are going to farms, Costanzo said, because the Maremma is unsuitable as a pet. "Maremma's aren't bred for the home," he explained on Facebook.
See more Maremma sheepdogs doing their duties:
Costanzo has posted several photos of the adorable litter, as well as a video in which he demonstrates how he bottle feeds the puppies. He says he feeds the pups himself to take some of the strain off two-year-old Stella.
According to their website, Napa Grass Farmer is a "regenerative" farm, which they say means "putting more back into the land then you are taking out, making it better then it was before for future generations."