Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Dalmatian gives birth to 18 pups

Button's record-breaking litter

A Dalmatian dog in Leicestershire has given birth to a possible record-breaking litter of 18 puppies.

Button is the daughter of a dog who starred as Dipstick in the Disney sequel film 102 Dalmatians.

Owners Adam and Nicola Morley, of Melton Mowbray, are hand-feeding the puppies. The British Dalmatian Club believes the litter is a UK record.

The couple said the same dog gave birth to 15 puppies in 2007 and they were looking for homes for the pups.

'Hectic time'

"We feed all of the pups several times a day because Button can't feed them all constantly," said Mr Morley.

"We all take it in turns to feed them - my stint is usually 3am."

The Morleys said they are planning to keep one puppy and will probably call it Rudolph.

The puppies were delivered by Caesarean section by veterinarian Con Hassett on 23 December.

He said his team was "confronted by 18 pups in a nine or 10-minute period".

"They had to revive them, clamp the cords and check them for abnormalities," said Mr Morley. "It was a hectic time for them."

Leicestershire Dalmatian Club representative Paul Hoskins said: "It is the biggest (Dalmatian) litter I have ever heard of.

"I have heard of 14 or 15 puppies and that is reasonably common. A friend of mine had a litter of 14 not long ago."

Guinness World Book of Records said it did not have details for individual breeds, but the current record for a dog was 24 pups.

A Mastiff called Tia gave birth to the two dozen puppies in 2004.

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