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Runt of litter - what does this mean in reality?

(7 Posts)
DogTalk Mon 08-Dec-14 21:01:17

What are the implications of having the runt of the litter? i.e. is it more likely dog will be very submissive etc? (it is catching its brothers and sisters up now).


LoathsomeDrab Mon 08-Dec-14 21:21:32

If the puppy is catching up with its siblings then chances are there'll be no lasting implications at all. 'Runt' is often used just to describe the smallest pup in a litter rather than one which is considerably smaller than the rest, quite often the "runt" is just a bit dinky.

DWhippet2 was the biggest of his litter and yet he's only just scraped into the breed standard height range. Now they're adults his siblings are bigger than he is, as is DWhippet3 who is only a year old and still growing.

DogTalk Mon 08-Dec-14 21:38:39

Thanks Loathsome smile

FATEdestiny Mon 08-Dec-14 21:44:22

When my Mum had a litter of cocker spaniels, we kept the smallest of the litter (runt) and my brother had the largest of the litter.

Granted mine is a bitch and my brothers a dog, but the difference in them is huge - my brothers dog is literally twice the size of my bitch and always has been. They are 11 years old now - he's always been chunky and mine always dainty.

Personality wise though they are no different. Both as confident and bonkers as each other - especially on the odd occasions when they are together!

Stylextrix Tue 09-Dec-14 00:17:01

I think the outcome of a pup being the smallest in the litter depends enormously on the input of the breeders and their interaction with the nesting bitch and her pups.
We had a runt who we took on out of pity as she was being bitten by siblings and parents, sadly her emotional development never recovered and she became anxious every moment of the day... and aggressive, biting anyone she thought might usurp her position in the pack. I couldn't even cuddle my husband on the sofa she was so desperately insecure and she would spend the whole evening (every evening) growling and scratching. I adored her but had to admit that she was too much of a liability to keep and we took her to be put down when she was just 16 months old. It broke my heart.
So, runt may be perfectly grounded and secure if with the right breeders but be careful of taking one on out of the kindness of your heart, dogs are pack animals and unless well socialized and nutritionally and emotionally supported there are potential concerns.

fjalladis Tue 09-Dec-14 00:21:11

With my pups litter the breeders left the two smallest ones on mum a bit longer. Most of them were weaned at six weeks (though stayed at breeders till almost 8 weeks) cos mum was loosing weight quickly (she had a big litter) but the two smallest stayed on. The 'runt' is at the moment the biggest but they have only just turned one so that may not be the case long term as they are all pretty similar in size.

EvenBetter Tue 09-Dec-14 01:19:33

shock 'pack' theory has been disproven for years now

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