Mother of 17 Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies to be neutered

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A Rhodesian Ridgeback bitch which bore 17 puppies in one litter is to be neutered for its own good, its German mistress has announced.

Ramona Wegemann said she did not want to endanger Etana's health with another pregnancy after the 26-hour labour it endured back in September.

With the heavy demand placed on Etana to feed the pups, Ms Wegemann has been bottle-feeding them.

It is a "full-time job", the animal psychiatrist told the Associated Press.

However, the litter has started to shrink with seven of the puppies already given away as gifts to friends or sold, and Ms Wegemann and her husband plan to give most of them away.

The eight female and nine male puppies were born on 28 September at Ms Wegemann's house in Ebereschenhof, near the German capital, Berlin.

Ms Wegemann said she had been feeding the dogs at least five times a day and when they are not hungry, they constantly want to be entertained inside their giant box in the family's living room.

"Now they sometimes also play with each other but we still play with them," she said.

"We also make them listen to CDs with noises from traffic, construction work or yelling kids to prepare them for real life."