What is a Runt?

What is a Runt?

A runt is a puppy that is the smallest/ weakest out of all the others in a litter. In childhood they tend to not get all the food that they need and often seem to have more health issues compared to the other puppies. However, if they are taken care of with extra caution, they usually grow up healthy and live a regular life.

Do All Dog Litters Have a Runt?

Not all litters have runts, even if there is an odd small puppy. Even if a puppy is a lot smaller compared to the others, they might just be as healthy compared to all the rest.

What Are The Health Issues?

When a puppy is a runt, they usually do not get enough nourishment that they need to build up their immune system. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will have enough protection to protect themselves from different diseases.

So if you think that your puppy did not get enough nourishment when they were developing, it would be a good idea to seek advice from your veterinarian. Runts also are more likely to have weak, brittle bones which can lead into different health issues, so it is also a good idea to talk to the veterinarian about any supplements you can give the runt to develop strong and healthy bones.

Can a Runt Be Accepted?

Many mothers will reject their puppy if they are a runt or have any deformities. They will often ignore them and won’t feed them either. In addition, many of the other puppies will bully the runt and will make it difficult for a runt to feed on their mother. As a result, many runts pass away due to a lack of food.

However, runts can be given a chance with a little assistance from us. For example, if the runt gets rejected you can feed them a puppy milk replacer that has the same nutrition. You can also make sure the runt gets check-ups from the veterinarian often, until the runt has developed fully and is healthy.


When it comes to runts, they sometimes stay smaller in size compared to the rest of the litter, even when they are fully grown. As a result, they sometimes remain more delicate compared to the other puppies.

They often have a stronger and loving bond with their owner because the owner has usually spent more time with them during their development. However, they are usually more outgoing, dominant and headstrong, since runts have spent most of their childhood protecting themselves from the other puppies.

Before You Buy a Runt

If you are considering purchasing a runt there are a few things that you want to do and keep in mind. For instance, before purchasing a runt, you want to make sure that he or she is checked out by a veterinarian. This is because some of their health problems may not be as obvious as others.

In addition, if you do decide to go forward and purchase a runt, you need to make sure that you give them a little bit more extra care. This will include making sure that they get enough food and to visit the veterinarian often to make sure that he or she is developing healthily. Otherwise, runts usually make a great companion.


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