Raising 17 puppies is more than a full time occupation — just ask Graeme Jones and Bev Barnett.
The Thornlie couple have raised four children but believe the demands of 17 puppies outweigh that of a baby.
“In the first week it is worse than having a newborn baby,” Mr Jones said. “I needed to stay awake to make sure they stayed alive. They needed to be fed every two hours for the first three days — we could only feed them six at a time.”
The Jones’ prize doberman Sassy gave birth to 18 puppies on February 19, in what they believed was equalling an Australian record. One puppy died at about two weeks old. A dalmatian gave birth to 18 puppies in Ballarat last year.
When Mr Jones posted the litter on social media, a NSW doberman breeder was quick to say her dog had 20 puppies.
The biggest recorded puppy litter in the world is 24, born to a neapolitan mastiff in Britain in 2004.
“I wasn’t chasing a record — I just wanted some European puppies,” Mr Jones said.
The couple imported Serbian doberman Fort Bellatores Ildefonso, which they got last June, to breed European-style dobermans for their robustness.
Mr Jones said the dogs were bred to protect their owners and he had never seen one attack a human.
This was not the first time Sassy, 4, has had a big litter.
In September 2016 she was pregnant with 18 puppies but two died during birth.
“She’ll be spayed now, I think she’s done her duty to the breed — 34 puppies in two litters,” Mr Jones said.
The puppies will be sold when they are eight weeks old.
This article originally appeared on PerthNow.