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Dalmatian hits record spot with litter

MAYBE NOT quite a litter of 101, but for Dalmatian Maisy 15 healthy puppies is quite enough. The proud mother of one of the country’s biggest ever litters spent an exhausting 17-and-a-half hours in labour delivering her puppies.

Now the home of her owners Shaun and Marie Quirke, who have five sons, could easily be mistaken for a set from the Disney classic 101 Dalmatians.

Maisy gave birth to 19 puppies on the family's living room floor. Sadly four of the puppies were stillborn but eight bitches and seven dogs survived.

Mr Quirke told OUR DOGS: “Because Maisy has had so many puppies, she can’t feed them all at once so she suckles as many as she can and my wife Marie bottle feeds the rest. Maisy and the puppies’ dad, Schwarzer are both really good dogs. Both of the dogs are friendly and very placid - they would sit and let you stroke them for hours. They aren't typical Dalmatians because they're usually very lively.”

The North of England Dalmatian Club has hailed the litter as exceptional. “I’ve never heard of a Dalmatian having 19 puppies,” said Margaret Cuthbertson Secretary of the North of England Dalmatian Club, from Wilmslow, Cheshire. “The most I have ever heard of is 17 and they did not all survive, when they have that many it is rare that they all survive. I have been breeding Dalmatians for almost 30 years and that is definitely the most I have heard of in one litter. It sounds really exceptional, maybe a world record.”

The Guinness Book of Records does not have a category the largest litter of Dalmatian puppies but the record largest litter of puppies for a dog is 24, all of whom were born on November 29th, 2004 to Tia, a Neapolitan Mastiff, owned by Damian Ward and Anne Kellegher of Manea, Cambridgeshire.