WARREN — If you like Old English Sheepdogs, imagine being in a house with 17 sheepdog puppies.
That's how it is this week at a farmhouse in Warren, Ont., where the Peloso family lives.
Amanda Peloso and her mom Claudia Peloso are in the business of breeding the popular animals at Creekside Old English Sheepdogs of Ontario.
On Tuesday, one of their female dogs, Ivy, gave birth to a litter of 17 fluffy little pups.
Amanda Peloso said she believes it could have tied the record. Even though the mother is a large animal, the size of the litter was indeed unexpected.
"This is our biggest litter to date," said Peloso.
She added that because Ivy is a larger and healthy dog, it might be expected she would have anywhere from 10 to 13 puppies.
"Her belly was measuring 48 inches, which is quite big. So we knew she was gonna have a big litter, but 17 of them kind of shocked us a little bit," she said. There are 10 female pups and seven male pups. The tiny animals weighed in at around 350 grams at birth.
She said other dog owners and breeders they know suggested it might be a record, so Peloso spent some time on the internet.
"We actually tried Googling to see what the biggest litter was amongst the sheepdog breed,” she said, and as far as she could find, Ivy’s litter of 17 ties the record.
“So we're excited,” Peloso said. “It's very rewarding. It's a lot of hard work, but it's very rewarding.”
The important part, she added, is that Ivy and her puppies are doing well.
"She is doing fantastic. Everybody is healthy and happy and eating and sleeping."
She added that they are helping to bottle-feed the pups to take the pressure off Ivy.
Peloso said on the business side of things when they knew Ivy was having pups, they only accepted deposits from eight prospective buyers.
That way she said everyone could be guaranteed getting a healthy young pup. But even though things have changed, Peloso said all prospective owners are screened to be sure they can be good owners who can look after a large and active breed such as sheepdogs.
Peloso added that her dogs are in demand because they have a good bloodline and are registered with the Canadian Kennel Club.
She added that the breed in general is known to be friendly and lovable and that helps to explain why they're popular.
"They're goofy,” Peloso said. “Their demeanour is so gentle. They're a great family dog. They call them a velcro dog. They will literally follow their master around like a little puppy dog. That's why their nicknames are velcro dogs."
The next matter to be looked after said Peloso is taking the pups to the veterinarian for vaccines and a full wellness check.
"So we bring them in at eight weeks of age for the first set of vaccinations, and at that point, that's when the vet will do a thorough exam,” she said. “You know, checking their eyes, their ears, listening for heart murmurs, listening to their lungs. But other than that they're all super healthy and Mama's doing good."