Red setter day! Romy gives birth to huge litter of 15 puppies after eight hour labour
Almost double traditional litter of eight or nineBy Andy Dolan
When Romy the Irish setter went into labour, her excited owners expected to have their hands full with eight or nine puppies.
Then a tenth arrived. And an 11th, and a 12th, and a 13th, and a 14th...
After an exhausting ten hours, the litter stood at a staggering 15.
Feeding time: Irish setter Romy with her hungry litter of ten girls and five boys
So overwhelming is the boisterous brood that owners Natasha White and Alicia Copping, both 28, are working on a 24-hour shift pattern to help three-year-old Romy feed the ten girls and five boys.
Miss White, a qualified vet and dog breeder, said: ‘There is a particular greedy one. She wakes up in between feeds screaming for more milk.
‘We did a scan when Romy was just four weeks pregnant and we thought we saw eight or nine. So you can imagine our shock when she carried on giving birth to more.’
The average litter size for the breed is nine. The puppies’ father, six-year-old Ruben, is also owned by the housemates, from Allesley, Coventry, and they plan to keep one from the litter, which arrived 12 days ago.
The record in Britain is 24 pups which was set in 2004 in Cambridgeshire beating the previous record of 13.
Proud mum: Romy with her litter of 15 healthy Irish setter newborns born after eight hours of labour
Tough going: Romy spent eight hours in labour with just a few hours break before giving birth to the remaining five heaviest puppies
The squealing newborns, a healthy 10 girls and five boys, weighed between 275 and 339 grams.
Within just a week they have doubled in size.
Despite not being able to open their eyes they have been gulping milk every two hours of the day.
Ms White, who specialises in breeding guide dogs, said: 'We did a scan when Romy was just four weeks pregnant and we thought we saw eight or nine. So you can imagine our shock when she carried on giving birth to more.
'She was very tired by the end of it. We gave her a walk round the garden after her 10th one. Then after two hours the others came out.
'The last one to be born was the biggest. It took Romy more effort to get him out than the others.
New arrivals: Owner Natasha White with two of the 15 puppies. Despite not being able to open their eyes they have been gulping milk every two hours of the day