LITTLE LABS - Sleepy Labrador puppies open their eyes to investigate as newcomers enter their home at All Weather Labs of Silver Pawz.

LITTLE LABS - Sleepy Labrador puppies open their eyes to investigate as newcomers enter their home at All Weather Labs of Silver Pawz.

Local breeders break puppy world record

Many of the 17 little balls of fur born last month already have homes

A local dog breeder has her hands full with puppies after setting a world record.

Penny Yelland-Kewin started breeding dogs in 2008 as a way to earn money while still staying at home with her children.

She and her husband, Rick, bought two Silver Lab puppies, Rain and Thunder, and started up All Weather Labs of Silver Pawz.

Then, on June 16th of this year, Rain broke the Guinness World Record for the most Labrador puppies in a single leader when she gave birth to 17 adorable little balls of fur.

Penny said Rain has always produced large litters, each one bigger than the last, but even Penny and her family were not expecting quite so many puppies at once.

“She was big, we knew she was big,” said Penny. “But after the thirteenth (puppy) came out . . . we could still see the bulge in her (belly). It was crazy.”

Usually, a lab litter is between five and eight pups, said Penny. She added this was Rain’s fourth and final litter.

Rain was in labour for just under 20 hours delivering the 17 pups.

Penny said it was a tiring process for both the animals and humans involved.

Silver Pawz has a hands-on approach to breeding and delivery of puppies. Penny said that, as soon as a puppy is out, they are there to pull the sac off, give it to the mother to clean and get ready for the next puppy.

Then, once a pup is clean, they place it on a nipple to make sure it gets its first milk. This approach to delivery helps the process move along smoothly and helps to minimize the chance of injury to mother and puppies, said Penny.

Penny said she has never heard of any lab having such a large litter before.

In fact, when doing some Google research to see if Rain’s litter was a record, the only information she could find on a larger litter was a Mastiff who gave birth to 24 puppies, four of which did not survive.

When Rain’s litter turned out to be so large, Penny contacted Guinness World Records asking if they were aware of what the record for most lab puppies born in a single litter was.

She was then informed that Rain’s litter was the record.

“I didn’t expect them to come back with, ‘Yes, it was a world record’,” said Penny. She added that research is currently being done by Guinness to verify the record.

Penny said this was a fantastic breed, right through to delivery, for Rain’s final litter before retirement.

Silver Pawz retires its dogs, who of course are also pets of the Yelland-Kewin family, at six years old and Rain just turned six this month.

In addition to Rain, the Yelland-Kewin family has five other adult dogs – Thunder, Chinook, Breeze, Drizzle and Henry (the latter two are grown-up pups from Rain’s previous litters).

Penny said that she could not ask for better family pets than labs. She added this is what made her decide on the breed when starting up a breeding operation.

“They are the best family dog ever,” said Penny. “They’re smart, they’re loyal, you couldn’t ask for a better dog.”

Now a little more than month after the delivery, mom and babies are doing well, said Penny.

She said Rain gave the family a scare recently when she needed to undergo emergency surgery at the vet to be spayed, but she is now home and recovering well.

Penny added that the family planned to have Rain spayed anyway as she is now retiring from the breeding program.

“She’s going to be a happy dog.”

Currently, all but two females in the litter are spoken for. Penny said that the puppies will be ready to leave mom and go to their new

homes in the next two weeks. It is always difficult to see the puppies go, added Penny.

“I cry every time.”