A soldier was shocked when his pregnant Rottweiler gave birth to one of the largest ever litters in the UK.

As their pet Roxy's pregnancy continued Mark Marshall and his wife Laura were excited to welcome what they thought would be about six puppies.

The couple were therefore shocked when the pregnant pooch kept popping out babies.

Mark, 32, ended up counting 16 puppies.

The pups, which have been sold for between £650 and £750, will join their new owners within the next few days.

The soldier, a corporal with the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment at Weeton Barracks, near Blackpool, Lancashire, said: “It came as a real surprise to us, we were only expecting six.

“Roxy’s doing well but because there are so many pups she’s struggling to feed them all, so we have been helping her out by feeding them with some special milk from the vets.”

Mark has had the litter on a military-style feeding regiment at their four-bed house.

The puppies were born in March and now, at eight weeks old, all but one are on the verge of moving in with their new owners dotted around the country.

The couple, who have five human children of their own, are keeping one of the cute canines, named Bella, for themselves.

Mark continued: "The scan showed six puppies and I thought 'great, I'm happy with that'.

"So we had six in our head the whole time, the scans are usually pretty accurate apparently.

"But no – there was another ten hiding somewhere.

"I was so shocked at how many we ended up with. Obviously we hadn't prepared ourselves for that but in the end, it's been a nice surprise.

"It's definitely been a lot to handle and it has been really tiring.

"I was feeding them in groups of eight for eight days straight and going to work in between."

Mum Roxy went into labour at 5.45am on March 12, although to begin with her owners, who have never bred puppies before, didn't know what was happening.

Mark said: "We heard a noise downstairs so went down to check and Roxy was hiding behind the sofa.

"We got her back into bed then went back upstairs. She kept on crying so we went to check again and saw a puppy lying on the floor.

"Then we saw one in the kitchen. She delivered another four within the next half hour and by 12pm she had delivered 13.

"I went out to get a few things for them and got a call to say another three had come along. I couldn't believe it."

The puppies are older than Mark and Laura's youngest, Arlo, who was born about a month later.

Their other children are 12-year-old Tyler, Kelsey, seven, Amelia, two, and Jaxson, nine months.

In 2017 a litter of 16, the same size as Mark's, arrived in Telford, Shropshire.

According to Guinness World Records the largest litter of puppies recorded in the UK is 24, born to a Neopolitan mastiff in Cambridgeshire in 2004.

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