German Wonder Dog Gives Birth to 17 Puppies

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A Rhodesian Ridgeback from Germany is capturing headlines and hearts after giving birth to a litter of seventeen puppies. Given that the birthing took 26 hours, no cesarean section was required, and the fact that the typical Ridgeback litter is 6-8, it’s no wonder Etana and her puppies have become an overnight media sensation.

Owner Ramona Wegemann had to take a break from her job to care for the puppies. Her husband also maxed out his vacation time so the couple could stay home and bottle feed – necessary because no mother could adequately feed and nourish such a large litter. Wegemann said that for four weeks, she only grabbed a few minutes of sleep each night in order to keep up with caring for the puppies. She said when she was “finished feeding the last puppy, the first was hungry again.” Litters of this size almost always suffer attrition, but remarkably, all of Etana’s puppies are robust and healthy.

Wegemann admits that she struggles to recognize them: the females puppies are named Bahati, Binta, Bahya, Bashima, Batouuli, Binki, Bora, Bisa and the male ones are Baakir, Banjoku, Belay, Bruk, Bundu, Bayo, Bukekayo, Biton and Bulus. The names were selected as a nod to the lineage of Rhodesian Ridgebacks – bred to hunt Lions and other big game in South Africa.

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17 thoughts on “German Wonder Dog Gives Birth to 17 Puppies”

  1. I hope this was not a planned pregnancy, there are already tooooo many animals and encouraging this is plain out wrong. Spay that Mom of all these puppies plz (as cute as they are) there are not enough homes to go around, too many in animal shelter waiting for a Forever Home or waiting to die, plz discourage this .. Happy Holidays to all of the homeless doggies in the world ..

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  2. I hope this was very much a planned breeding, an accidental one could mean the parents had no health testing or were not carefully chosen for their complementary characteristics and adherence to breed standard — otherwise, the German RR club will not certify the litter and the owners could not register. Quite probably there were at least a dozen eager homes lined up for these puppies before the litter was even bred. The problem with shelters and overbreeding, overpopulation, etc is a US problem, not a European one — and they do not spay and neuter over there, they consider it mutilation (they also don’t crop ears, dock tails, or remove dew claws). They simply are responsible, and there is a very strong stigma against breeding on whimsy. In order for a litter to be certified in Germany the parents must have good ratings on all health tests, etc. There are no commercial breeders over there, no puppies in shops coming from puppy mills — these “hobby” breeders of purebred dogs are IT.

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  3. Thank you Mootsenji for writing this response. I have read so many ignorant and critical responses to this story on it’s original posting on AOL news that I am grateful for your posting. Americans seem to think that the whole world operates in the same irresponsible manor as they do. European breeders adhere to very strict breeding standards and they continue to pass even tougher legislation including new laws holding breeders responsible for the health of their pups for up two years old. We have much to learn from their standards. What people here don’t seem to get, is that European breeders raise pups out of dedication toward improving the health and function of their breed as a labor of love and not profit. I tire of the rantings of people who want to classify all breeders as the same as those who run puppy mills here in the U.S.! My advice to those people is “educate yourself on all types of breeders worldwide and then open your mouth.” I strongly support rescue groups in the U.S. but it is ignorant to assume all breeders are breeding recklessly for profit.

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    • It would be ignorant to think all breeders in the US are breeding recklessly for profit, too. I would bet less (far less) than 1% of dogs entered in AKC shows came from for-profit (licensed) operations or those that produce a large number of pups in a year. The so-called “hobby breeder” IS the dog fancy, worldwide. Unfortunately the American registries and breed clubs aren’t as restrictive or forceful about breeding to standard and health testing, as in other places, sorry to see breeders make gorgeous sick dogs or gorgeous ill-behaved dogs who are valued for their looks alone.

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  4. planned, non-planned, responsible, irresponsible……I’m still reeling from the thought of births that took 26 HOURS!!! Whew! Bless this Mama’s heart.

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  5. I agree with many of your thoughts on this. You are clearly saddened as am I, that so many dogs will not find a forever home. All dogs need a loving home and we need to fix what is wrong here in America. But most breeders are not the enemy of the mixed breed. We need to value all individuals for who they are. I believe in my heart there is room and need for all dogs, pure and mixed. After all, the foundation of all breeds came from a mixture of other canines (wolves). What we need to work on (those of us who love our dogs), is demanding humane treatment for all dogs and accepting nothing less!

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  6. The way these puppies are hand-fed, with love and patience, the respect towards the momma, just says it all. I don’t know anyone who would use up their vacation time or take time off from work, to care for their puppies like those folks did. Hats off to them!

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