What Does ‘Runt Of The Litter’ Mean? Should I Adopt The Runt Of The Litter?

Raising a runt puppy is not an easy task. The name runt puppy is often associated with the weakest and youngest pup in the litter.

So, should you choose a runt puppy? Will the runt puppy grow to a normal size? Are there any health risks associated with runt dogs? Can they survive and thrive with other puppies?

We investigated and answered all possible questions and concerns about the runt of the litter puppies. Let’s dive in!

What Is Runt?

Unlike the “Pick” of the litter, the healthiest and most powerful puppy, the smallest puppy puppy. The runt puppy is usually weak and has a low chance of survival.


But, why is there a runt? This means that the placenta cannot supply enough oxygen and nutrients to run from the mother’s bloodstream. This dysfunction of the placenta prevents the growth of runts and chances of fertilization.

One way to understand why runt puppies occur is natural selection. Liters compete for milk and good places near the dam, especially in dense garbage. Young puppies with this advantage grow stronger and grow faster than their littering counterparts.

Runts, on the other hand, are often the last to be eaten, leading to inadequate nutrition and growth. Does this mean that runt dogs cannot grow up to be happy, healthy, normal dogs? Not really. We explain below.


Depending on the body type, the runt of the litter puppy has a smaller body shape than its siblings or looks just below the size / weight of its breed or age. Another common characteristic of runts is their fragile bodies and weak bone formation.


Newborn runt pups can also have a weakened sense when a fingertip is placed in the mouth. Severe muscle weakness is also present. Talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate weight gain expected of your dog breed and check all puppies for signs of malnutrition.


Whether the problem is irritability and inflammation among respiratory diseases, a defect that exists from an early age due to genetic abnormalities, or one that begins in adulthood, a weak trachea limits the oxygen supply they need in dogs. As dogs sweat profusely, panting not only provides cool air but also provides heat relief, making the larynx especially useful during warmer seasons or during strenuous exercise.


Now, let’s examine those three reasons in detail


Runt dog personality is as closely linked to human personality as any other dog. There is no clear evidence that the runt of the litter will be prioritized to build a certain personality.


You can expect runt puppies to have the most common personality traits of their kind but the growth of your child’s personality and its changes over time will be shaped by the owner.


Researching the personality traits of a runt dog is probably a good indication of what kind of personality your runt will have. However, research suggests that, as humans, when dogs undergo major changes in life, their personality traits change.

Risks and Health Problems

It can be hard to be a runt puppy. There are several problems with runt dogs associated with runt puppies. Here is a list of the most common health problems.

1. Low birth weight: It is important to weigh each puppy at birth. Measuring each puppy in the trash will help you identify a runner puppy that is small in the trash. The puppy should get about 5% to 10% of daily birth weight. Weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness. If your puppy runt does not meet this mark, you can feed him by hand or place him on the udder and watch for milk discovery.


2. Shortage of Colostrum Milk: Colostrum is a special milk produced by the dam within the first 24 to 48 hours after birth. Colostrum has strong nutritional and growth factors that ensure the health and strength of the newborn puppy. If the runt fails to drink this milk, the immune system will become very weak, making the runt more susceptible to illness and disease.


Human intervention may be needed to help the runt find the right amount of Colostrum. You may need to buy alternatives to colostrum milk.

Pro Tip: Runts that always tend to suck after birth as they are weak. It’s a good idea to let another puppy nurse first. Once the milk has started to flow into the mammary glands, move the puppy and replace it with a runt so that it can suckle easily.

3. Fading Puppy Syndrome: It can be caused by a number of factors including, low birth weight, poor maternal growth, infection, environmental impact, or congenital malformations. “Faders” may seem normal at first, but they start to deteriorate a bit. Garbage runt is at high risk for this condition due to its maturation of the body and is weak.

Fader puppies simply fail to gain weight, vomit, lethargic, and often cry out loud. Sometimes they separate themselves from the corners away from their friends and trash. Neonatal mortality in puppies varies from 12% to 36%, which is why human intervention can keep a puppy dry if the condition is detected early.

4. Birth Defects: Birth defects or birth defects can be very serious. Why? Runt pups do not get the right nutrients while they are in the womb. This affects inadequate growth, leading to genetic defects or inadequacy than other puppies at birth.
Other disabilities include oral cavity, heart failure, and blurred vision. To avoid any other health problems, veterinary treatment should follow as soon as you notice any genetic disorder in the runts.

5. Infections and General Infections: Puppies are at high risk of parasites. Runts cannot withstand parasite load like hookworms and worm. These caterpillars use the puppy’s body as a host and can cause irreversible growth and weight loss which can be harmful to the runt.

6. Hypothermia and hyperthermia: Did you know that hypothermia is a major or contributing factor in the death of many newborns? Puppies are poikilothermic, meaning they cannot control their body temperature for a week or two after birth.
Garbage litter should always be kept close to the mother. 

Request a quote

And receive our mega deals