A British dog could have set a new world record after naturally giving birth to an astonishing 21 puppies.
Great Dane and American bulldog cross Mary Jane, known affectionately as MJ, caused her owner Jane Hine’s jaw to hit the floor in shock when she gave birth to the extraordinary brood.
Ms Hine, from the Isle of Man, had been told that the pooch would give birth to between six to eight puppies, although a scan close to the due date warned the actual total would be much higher.
The Guiness World Record currently stands at 24 puppies born to a Neapolitan mastiff called Tia in Cambridgeshire in 2004 but, as these were born by cesarean, MJ’s litter may be in with a chance.
Joanne said: ‘When the vets told me it would probably be more after they’d said she would have just six to eight I said ‘no way!’.
‘I’m so proud of her. MJ did it all on her own with Annie and Ruth of Jane Callow Veterinary Practice by her side the whole time.
‘MJ only has nine nipples and 14 pups so bottle feeding them every two hours is a team effort from us all.’
Twenty puppies from Tia’s record attempt survived. For MJ, six of her puppies were stillborn, while one died soon after it was born on November 20.
The remaining 14 pups have been named after chocolate bars according to their personalities.
Joanne sleeps in the kitchen next to a homemade crib, which is big enough for all 14 puppies and their mother, to keep an eye on them.
The majority of the dogs are yet to be re-homed, although two are soon being taken to a new family in Rotherham, Yorkshire.
The all seem to have inherited their mother’s black and white colouring and the face of their father – a bull mastiff crossed with a rottweiler.
The animals need to be fed every two hours so Joanne is being supported by her father Steve, brother Matt and friend Liam – who will soon become ‘fathers’ to the puppies.
She added that MJ will now be neutered – as she’s read that a second litter can be bigger than the first.