How Many Puppies Can a German Shepherd Have in One Litter
The German Shepherd is one of the most popular large dog breeds that we can find. It is a dog with a special character and it's very willing to be trained. It's also obedient, besides being an excellent guard and the best family companion.
If you have chosen a female and if you're determined to get her pregnant or you've already done so, one of the most frequent questions that arises, especially when it comes to the first pregnancy, is the number of puppies that she will have. It's important to properly prepare the environment and help your pet wherever and whenever possible. In this OneHowTo article we explain how many puppies a German Shepherd can have in one litter and how to help your dog to have them.
Factors that determine the number of pups that the dog will have
Although the body of most animals operates synchronously and wonderfully, dogs are not machines. Therefore they do not always have the same number of pups. In addition, some factors may interfere with the amount of puppies present in the litter, which may vary according to:
- The age of the dog - the most numerous births often occur from the fourth heat onwards.
- If the dog is properly nurtured and fed.
- The dog's general health.
- When the dog is bred. Female dogs have only two fertile days and breeding them at this stage will ensure greater litter numbers instead of doing it a few days earlier. Dog sperm can survive inside the female for two days, so if bred two days before the fertile time, the female can still get pregnant - but it is likely that only a few sperm are alive to fertilise those eggs, reducing the amount of the dog's litter.
It's the bitch who frees the number of eggs that will be exposed to fertilisation depending on factors such as size and heritage, thus the myth that a dog is a stud and that depends solely on the male for the amount of puppies is false. The number of puppies depends on the number of mature eggs that emerge from the ovaries, the day the sexual intercourse is done and then, of course, the fertility of the male dog.
Besides, German Shepherds with pedigree tend to have fewer puppies than those that do not have such a pure lineage or care.
How many puppies do German Shepherds usually have?
We must bear in mind that the German Shepherd is a large breed, so the ovaries have the capacity to produce more eggs and the uterus has more space to store the puppies, which means that they usually have large litters.
A German Shepherd which does not have a pedigree lineage usually has between 7 and 9 puppies, while those with pedigree lineage often pop out between 4 and 6 puppies. It is essential to note that this is not a standard because many factors interfere with the formula. There may be bitches that have more or even fewer puppies than indicated here.
Once your dog has had them
It is essential to respect the time of birth and the first hours in which both puppies and your dog are together. Remember that dogs are highly olfactory, so you should not bathe your dog after giving birth or you could remove its natural odour and thus confuse the puppies. However it is useful to carefully clean the dog basket and wipe it with a damp cloth that has been dipped in warm water. Then dry it with some towels and return it to those puppies.
During the first 12 hours, your bitch will not want to eat, but it is important to give her plenty of fresh water to keep her hydrated. When the animal regains its appetite, it must have at its disposal nutritious food.
German Shepherd puppies should not be separated from the mother before 8 weeks. This could affect their learning and development. The recommendation, in fact, is to wait until 10 weeks to give them a new home.
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