German Shepherds can be the most well-mannered and obedient dogs. However, much of how they behave…
If your German Shepherd is pregnant or you are planning on breeding you may be wondering how many puppies can a German Shepherd have. The amount of puppies each German Shepherd has will vary on many different factors.
This article will answer dive into the factors to help you better predict the number of puppies your GSD will have.
How Many Puppies Can A German Shepherd Have?
Generally, you can expect a German Shepherd to have between 5 and 8 puppies per litter. However, German Shepherds have had litters as large as 14 and as small as only 1. There are many factors that contribute to the size of the litter.
How Many Times A Year Can A German Shepherd Have Puppies?
A German Shepherd can have puppies twice a year. Large dogs like German Shepherds go into heat around every 6 months. During their heat is when they are capable of becoming pregnant.
A normal heat cycle lasts between two and four weeks long. Thus, if you breeders or individuals who are looking to breed their GSD track their heat timing and plan to have them mate during their heat.
How Long Is A German Shepherd Pregnant For?
German Shepherds are pregnant for nine weeks on average. In some circumstances, GSD’s can give birth a little before nine weeks at around eight weeks.
Factors That Affect German Shepherd Littler Size
Although it is normal for a German Shepherd to have between five and eight puppies a litter, there are many factors that can increase or decrease the litter size. The most common factors are below:
The size of the female dog
The size of the dog has a big impact of how many puppies they can carry. Although German Shepherds are considered to be a large dog breed some female German Shepherds are larger than others.
A female GSD that is larger will be able to carry more pups than a smaller one. So, if your German Shepherd weighs 70 pounds, they won’t be able to carry as many puppies as a 100-pound German Shepherd.
Another factor that can contribute to litter size is inbreeding. A pregnancy that is the result of inbreeding will generally produce less puppies than one that is not.
Accordingly, if you want to increase your GSD litter size make sure not to bred a female with a male that is related.
The age of female
The age of the female German Shepherds also plays a role in their potential litter size. Older German Shepherds will generally have smaller litters.
The prime age to breed a GSD is between 2 and 5 years of age. You should not breed an elderly GSD.
The age of male
The age of the male who is mating can also impact the litter size, but this isn’t as big of a factor as the female’s age. Just like with human males, the sperm count of male German Shepherds will decrease as they age.
This decrease can make it harder for them to get a female pregnant and can also impact the litter size if they do get a female GSD pregnant.
Health of the female
Another factor that is important is the overall health of the female German Shepherd. In order for any dog to produce a healthy plentiful litter of puppies the dog carrying the pups has to be in prime health.
Leading up to pregnancy your dog should be fed a high-quality diet, and during pregnancy a GSD will require a diet in that a certain amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates to ensure a health pregnancy.
Additionally, pregnant German Shepherds can sometimes need dietary supplements if they are not getting the appropriate nutrients through their diet.
There are many factors that impact how many puppies German Shepherds can have. Most commonly German Shepherds will have between five and eight puppies, but age, health, and inbreeding can cause a GSD to bear a smaller litter.
Breeders who are looking to increase litter size will need to make sure that all those controllable factors are in line and let nature do the rest.