Animals can be very successful at breeding. Dogs are definitely one of those.
According to the Statista and the American Pet Products Association, the number of dogs in the USA increased from 65 million in 2002, to around 90 million in 2020.
And no wonder people want more of those animals!
Dogs are cute, fluffy, honest, and lovable. If you live with a pet dog, you know that there isn’t a more beautiful sight than having a bad day and seeing your furry friend come to you all cuddly and being playful and goofy.
However, there is some confusion when it comes to the way dogs reproduce. Some say that dogs hatch, while others claim that they give birth. Which one is it then; do dogs lay eggs?
In this post, we’ll address some widespread misconceptions and explain if dogs really laid eggs.
Do Dogs Lay Eggs?
No, dogs do not lay eggs. Dogs are placental mammals that give birth to live young. Dogs can produce many offspring, giving birth from one to twelve babies per litter. These newborns are called puppies.
There are three types of mammals based on the way they reproduce: monotremes (mammals that lay eggs), marsupials (mammals that give birth to an underdeveloped fetus), and placentals (mammals that give birth to fully developed fetus).
Dogs are, just like sharks, cats, bears, deer, otters, and many other animals, placental animals and do not lay eggs.
Marsupials include animals like kangaroos, koalas, wombats, wallabies, possums, and others, while monotremes include platypuses and echidnas.
All of these styles of reproduction have some advantages, but also drawbacks.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Dogs Laying Eggs
The main advantage of a dog hatching would be freedom and mobility; the mother would not be slowed down by having to carry lots of eggs in her belly.
She could more easily escape danger and also hunt for food. If a dog was a reptile rather than a mammal, it could just bury the eggs in the sand or the mud and walk away, without having to worry about abandoning its young.
The biggest disadvantage of laying eggs would be the exposure of the dog’s eggs to predators, weather, and other environmental changes. Letting the baby develop inside the reproductive tract allows the dog mother to protect it until it’s ready to be born. The baby is, as a result, more mobile and not as helpless.
Why Don’t Dogs Lay Eggs?
Dogs don’t lay eggs because it is more beneficial to them to give birth to live offspring.
Millions of years ago, every animal laid eggs.
As time passed, some animals slowly evolved and started giving birth to live babies because that was what helped them survive and get their species to the next generation.
The switch didn’t happen at once, it took some time.
Before they stopped laying eggs, mammals had been producing milk for their young. A study on the loss of egg yolk genes in mammals discovered that as animals started producing milk for their babies, the developing offspring became less dependent on the egg as a source of nutrition.
That’s why many animals abandoned the egg completely in favor of the placenta.
This was what most likely happened with dogs. It was dangerous for dogs and their ancestors to have their shell-covered offspring sitting out in the environment, so they adapted to keeping their babies inside them for as long as possible, up to 68 days in some dog breeds.
How Do Dogs Reproduce And Give Birth?
Dogs reproduce sexually and a male dog and a female dog must be involved. Most male dogs can reproduce year-round and reach sexual maturity between 7 and 10 months of age. Birthing in dogs is called whelping or parturition.
Dogs have a strong urge to reproduce.
Male dogs usually do not have a cycle and will mate with females in heat at any time of the year. Female dogs get into heat (also known as estrus) twice per year, every 6 months. The first heat usually occurs between 6 and 15 months of age, but may happen later, in some larger breeds.
The signs that a dog is ready to reproduce include interest in male dogs, flirtation, bumping into them, and swelling of the vulva.
During copulation, the male dog will mount the female and release the sperm that will fertilize the eggs. This process lasts around 20 to 30 minutes.
The fertilized eggs will start to grow in the female’s body and after around 58-68 days, she will be ready to give birth. During pregnancy, a female might have an increased appetite. This is because she needs more food to provide to the developing puppies in their belly, but it can also be a sign of a false pregnancy. The best way to check that is to see a veterinarian.
As the dog prepares to give birth, her birth canal will relax and widen, she will become restless, eat less, pant, dig, pace, or circle around her whelping box.
Most puppies are born head first, but some might even come out with their tails. They are born in thin membranes that a dog mother will remove to allow her pups to breathe.
After each puppy, the dog will pass an afterbirth (placenta), which they often eat. This is completely normal.
Usually, a female dog will whelp from one to twelve babies, depending on the breed, health, and age of the female.
The largest dog litter ever had 24 puppies. It was set by a Neapolitan Mastiff in 2004.
The puppies will have a mixture of the genes they got from each parent and resemble them a bit.
They are born blind and deaf and won’t see or hear until they’re almost two weeks old – until then, they rely on their sense of smell to find their mom. That’s why they are completely dependent on their mother in the first few weeks.
Once the pups are old enough, their parents will show them how to find food, water, and shelter on their own. The weaning process should begin at 3-4 weeks of age, when the puppies’ teeth begin to erupt.
Dogs have an average lifespan between 10 and 13 years, with some breeds living even longer. According to some reports, dogs that weigh less than 20 pounds will have an average lifespan of 11 years, dogs over 90 pounds only 8 years, and those between 20 and 90 pounds will live around 11 years.
What Are Some Animals That Lay Eggs?
According to the University of Georgia, over 99% of the world’s animals reproduce by laying eggs. That’s because most of the animals in the world are insects, and most insects hatch from eggs.
Over 99% of mammals give live birth, including dogs. Out of around 6,500 known mammal species, only the platypus and the echidna lay eggs.
Most reptiles lay eggs. Out of approximately 11,000 known species of reptiles, over 80% lay eggs. The only exceptions are some snakes and lizards that give live birth.
Almost all fish lay eggs. Out of around 34,000 known species, less than 400 are livebearers. This includes guppies, mollies, platies, swordtails, and some sharks.
All species of birds lay eggs. This includes all of the 10,000 recognized species of birds. Some ornithologists claim there are twice as many bird species, around 20,000.
Almost all amphibians lay eggs. Out of around 8,000 amphibian species, most will lay eggs in freshwater habitats. There are only a few amphibian species that give live birth (several frog species).
Almost all insects reproduce by laying eggs. Out of around 1 million known species of insects, of which 350,000 are beetles, all lay eggs. The only exceptions are a beetle from Borneo, another from South America, and some aphids.
Scientists speculate that there are between 5 and 10 million species of insects in existence today.
Final Thoughts – Do Dogs Lay Eggs?
In conclusion, dogs do not lay eggs. Dogs are animals that belong to the family of placental mammals called Canidae.
These carnivorous mammals develop a placenta that nourishes (via umbilical cord) and protects the fetus while it grows inside the uterus.
The main reason why dogs do not lay eggs is evolution; giving birth to live young helped dogs and their ancestors procreate and survive to this day.
Animals that hatch will have eggs that come in different colors, shapes, and forms!
Some will have blue or white color, speckled patterns, and different textures, while others will be hard, soft, or even gooey. Animals may decide to lay them in the water, underground, or a nest. Dogs are not one of those animals.
If you were pondering on the question “do dogs lay eggs”, we hope this article removed all doubts.
And if you enjoyed it, here’s a recommendation on another popular read: do cats belong to the marsupial group of animals?