Everyone loves our dear goldens. These athletic yet adorable companions are very friendly with everybody they come in contact with; owners and strangers alike. In fact, they seem to be the biggest fan of kids.
If your golden retriever is pregnant, we can imagine how excited that makes you, and we know you cannot wait. You are probably wondering how many puppies to expect when she is finally due.
As with every other dog breed, there is no definite figure for this, but you can expect your retriever to give you between 4 and 12 puppies if she’s healthy.
That puts the average golden retriever litter size at 8. Nonetheless, there are some golden retrievers that have been able to produce an astonishing 14 to 15 puppies in a litter, while some birth just 4 puppies in a litter.
How Many Puppies Can We Expect From First Time Mothers And Experienced Mothers
First-time golden retriever mums can be expected to produce an average of 8 puppies in a litter. This can be a little more or less. With experienced golden retriever mums, we can expect between 6 to 10 puppies.
First-time retriever mums generally do not require assistance in giving birth, as they mostly do this by instincts. Yet, you will have to let your vet regularly check on the puppies to make sure they are okay.
Although not common, some golden retrievers can give you more than 12 puppies in a litter. For a retriever to give birth to just one puppy is not common.
At What Age Can My Golden Retriever Give Birth?
Although your female golden retriever becomes sexually active when she is 6 months old, most golden retrievers are usually ready to give birth during their second or third heat.
It is not advisable to breed your dog in her first heat, as their bodies are not well matured for pregnancy. This is why every experienced breeder only breeds their female retrievers in their second or third heat.
Among the USA kennel clubs, they ideally breed female retrievers who are at least between 18 and 24 months. They stop breeding if the dog is between 5 and 8 years. They do this to prevent the passing down of any genetic disorders to the puppies. This is done through rigorous testing.
What Factors Affect The Golden Retriever’s Litter Size?
There are several factors that can affect the size of your retriever’s litter size. Let’s look at them.
The health of your golden retriever can affect the size of her litter. You should make sure that during pregnancy, your dog is not overweight or obese as this can result in smaller litter sizes and might even give birth to weak puppies that might die.
A bit of exercising during pregnancy can curb this situation.
The age of your female retriever is another factor. You should breed your dog when they are between 2 and 5 years. Breeding your female retriever after 5 years will result in smaller litter size.
The male golden retriever mating with your female dog should also be checked, as one of the factors that can account for smaller litter size is low sperm count. Thus, the age of the male retriever should be considered. If the male is 5 years and older, his sperm count will be low.
You should also make sure the mating period is optimal to get an ideal litter size, as slip mating can result in a smaller litter size. If the sperm does not have enough time to reach the eggs or if all the eggs are not exposed to the eggs, you’re going to have lesser puppies.
As we have always maintained, a properly balanced diet for your pregnant retriever is very essential and can affect the size of her litter. Give your pregnant retriever high-quality vitamins, minerals and proteins.
Avoid additives and fillers. Note that not only is diet essential for your pregnant retriever, but it can also affect the health of the puppies and be the deciding factor in whether they’ll survive.
Another factor is if your dog was overly inbred. You’re likely to have a lesser number of puppies as compared to if she had a more diverse gene pool.
Thus, you should talk to your breeder to provide you with genetic information on your dog and ask if the parents of your dog have been tested for defects before you even buy in the first place.
You should also have your female tested for health risks such as Thyroid Hormone Issues because this can affect the overall pregnancy of your retriever even before birthing is due as she might not be able to maintain the pregnancy.
The average number of puppies your golden retriever can have is 8, although this could be more or less depending on several factors. Most importantly, do not breed your dog in her first heat cycle. You can do so in her second or third, which is ideal.
If you want a good number of puppies, breed your dog between ages 2-5. Always speak to your vet if you are unsure about anything.
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