The runt of the litter
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Thread: The runt of the litter

  1. #1
    Senior Member Inga's Avatar
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    The runt of the litter

    In speaking with a friend of mine about rescue we got on the subject of puppies within a litter. (we save full litters often and have to find homes) So often people want to chose the biggest puppy in the litter. Some folks want the runt, especially in small breed litters. I had one little of puppies many years ago where all the puppies were placed in homes that I knew where they were. They all had fairly good homes. Food, water, cover from elements etc... Oddly enough, the runt of the litter ended up being the largest adult dog and lived longer then the rest. While my friend and I were talking she said she knew of a few more litters where this happened. I also know of situations where the runt is sickly and does not do well. So my question is this... First What experience have any of you had with the runt of the litter? Have any of you had the experience where the runt of the litter gets bigger at adulthood and ends up healthier? Just found it interesting to hear others having this same experience. I am sure in the end it is up to the care the puppies receive as well.


    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi

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    Senior Member Darkmoon's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    My cat that I've had now for 13 years was a very sick runt of the litter. Had Feline Flu, and major fleas when we got her. I kept track of 4 of her litter mates, all have died but her.

    I never turn my back on a runt, usally they are the best pets of all.

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    Senior Member mastiffmama27's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    I agree to some extent that the runts do better. But I think it may have more to do with the kinds of people that pick the runt. I usually pick the runt BECAUSE it is the sickly one least likely to survive in it's situation.....then I nurse it back to health and spoil the heck out of it. (correct me if I'm wrong) but from what I've seen the people that go for the biggest of the litter are looking for a status symbol..not a lifelong companion.
    "Maybe you've been looking for love in all the wrong places. A dog will treat you better than anyone you'll meet at happy hour. Trust me. I've been to happy hour."

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    Senior Member Shaina's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    We had a runt-of-the-litter Siberian Husky when I was in high school...a friend of the family (Danny) knew a breeder and was visiting him about 6 weeks after the puppies were born...the breed was planning to cull the runt since it wasn't catching up the rest in terms of growth (looking back I'm pretty sure it was a BYB, though I never saw the place). Anyway, Danny took the pup and kept it for a year before he moved to Wisconsin, so we took care of her until he could find a house and some land up there...didn't want to keep her in an apartment.

    Cody was a perfectly healthy dog; she was 35lbs when full grown (bottom end of the breed standard). We had her about 2 years before she went back to Danny...he still has her, and she should be about 9 years old now.

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    Senior Member 007Dogs's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    The runt is the runt because when the eggs attach to the uterine wall, it attaches to a less than healthy part of the wall. Once the pups are born, if they are given equal and good care, the runt will normally be in the same size range of the rest of the litter. There are some that believe the runt is the smartest puppy. I have never found that to be a true fact.
    He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. - Anonymous

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    Junior Member Pip & Alfies Mum's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    I am very glad of the replies so far as I fell in love with the runt (Alfie the shih tzu), he was half the size of his brother but I had to have him......had him 2 weeks now and the whole family love him to bits He has learnt to sit, and today I took him out in the garden for the first time and he did a wee & poo .....he's gonna be a very clever boy....and very spoilt

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    Senior Member Inga's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    Pip & Alfies Mum sounds like Alfie has a lot of love. that is the way it should be. Any more stories about runts anyone???


    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi

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    Junior Member Bobglenn's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    New member, learning.

    All my dogs over the years were 1-2 years old before we took them in

    This is the first time had a pup (RUNT of the litter)

    He is going on 9 weeks old. Not that I am pregious but
    he is potty trained by me outside in one week.
    Learned the command to sit in same period.

    He is quick to learn.........going to be interesing who is right about Runts of the litter.

  10. #9
    Senior Member ACampbell's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    I don't remember having a runt puppy, however, we did have a runt kitten in a litter of barn cats (they tend to just show up at my grandparents barn and are usually wild so they get feed and water, unfortunately even though it's an enclosed barn most of them fall victim to coyotes out hunting at night) My mom still has "Runtica" (I named her as a VERY small child, probably no more than 5 years old) and though she looks rough, she's still pretty healthy. I will be 23 in January so that kind of gives you an idea on how old this ancient cat is. She is the ugliest cat I have ever seen in my life. She is obnoxious and a PITA...always has been.
    All of her siblings died years ago...they were all pretty good cats (I don't like cats to start with so thats saying a lot coming from me) I think it goes with the saying "Only the good die young" in her case.
    If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you ever tried.

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    Re: The runt of the litter

    One runt I did keep was my poor Peekaboo when I rescued her pregnant mother. All the medical problems, vet stating she won't make it, aggression mostly due to infection which effected her brain, and ending up with one eye before she was old enough for the eyes to open. I do have to say that dog has got to be one of the smartest dogs I have every come across in over 40yrs (been longer but don't want to show the age). First one to climb stairs, use sit command, stay, walk on a leash, start running when she heard a familiar voice, and Peek just about trained herself to ring a bell to go out. She also knew that ringing that bell got her out with me not knowing she had a reason because someone she liked left. I will miss her for sure and to add one more thing she only lived to 3yrs and had all of these things I mentioned down well by age 1yr most earlier while she was still with her litter mates.

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    Senior Member Inga's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    Rest in Peace Peekaboo. Not all runts are sickly. There has to be one puppy that is the smallest but does not have to be sickly. I have seen many litters where all of the puppies are very uniform but one is a little smaller. Still considered the runt? I think most of us picture a small sickly little pup that is just hanging on to life. Not always the case though. Poor Peekaboo's mother was neglected as well right?


    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi

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    Re: The runt of the litter

    Yes and I do have to add Peek was very strong that is why she did survive. Also all the pups in the litter with her had numerous problems she just happened to be the smallest with a little extra problem but not from being the runt. The stupid breeder who had 38 Abs in his house at once vetted them himself all their life and Peeks mother came here and couldn't walk in labor.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Inga's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    Jen, it is amazing that little Peekaboo lived as long as she did considering the rough start. Says a lot for the care she received from you.

    Anyone else have any experience with the runts of the litter? How about the smallest but healthy puppy in a litter?


    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi

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    Senior Member Ony'sMom's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    My Solomon (the boxer I got as a puppy but had to part with last year) was the Runt. Not sickly, but deffinitely much smaller than his littermates. He wasn't the smartest dog but certainly not the dumbest. Lovable, affectionate. He's still a little sickly at times (I have contact with his new owners all the time and see him occasionally), has a hard time keeping proper weight on, but other than that, he's a fantastic dog. I miss him terribly!! But he's a prime example of a runt who wasn't sickly or extremely underweight, but deffinitely a runt and has done well.
    "No matter how little money and how few possesions you own, having a dog makes you rich." - Louis Sabin




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    Re: The runt of the litter

    I suppose I'm not partial either way. My parents maintained a chain of black miniture dachshunds for years and we seemingly always kept the runt(s). Not a single one was ever cliche or sickly.

    As for Will, he was, in fact, the pick, but also the only male from a litter of five; furthermore, since I had prearranged for a male, I more or less aquired Willoway by default.

    Honestly, I can't claim to subscribe to any facet of belief that says a canine's size in infancy equates to quality of companionship.

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    Senior Member Dogstar's Avatar
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    Re: The runt of the litter

    Lizzie was the smallest pup in her litter by a fairly significant margin, HOWEVER, she was the only girl, and the English side of her pedigree seems to produce dogs with a fairly big difference in size betweent he sexes. (Can't account for all of it though, she's 1/4 English and 3/4 Australian bloodlines) It will be interesting to see how she matures. She's not at all unhealthy or unthrifty, just smaller. (Her weight is right in line for other pups from those bloodlines, though.)

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    Re: The runt of the litter

    Inga, how many litters have you had through your house? I have only had a few and that was a lot of work! peek always amazed me getting her little body in ther No matter what shape her body was in it she was
    having some

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