Health Concerns When Breeding German Shepherds
Breeding German Shepherds means you must ensure your breeding dogs are cleared of any known health condition to date. Every dog breed has its own bunch of diseases particularly found in its specimens, and GSDs are no exception.
Below is a list of the most common health conditions in German Shepherds so you can DNA test your dogs for as many conditions as possible before breeding two GSDs.
Do Healthier Dams Have More Puppies
Needless to say, the health of the dam also has an impact on litter size. A healthier dam will certainly be better equipped to carry a greater number of puppies to term. These dogs also appear to naturally produce more puppies as well.
Nutrition and health are linked, which is why dams that have a better diet tend to have larger litters. It is important for female dogs to continuously have nutritious and well-balanced meals. In particular, they should have access to high-quality sources of protein.
Feeding Guidelines By Weight
German shepherds can be of different weight ranges. Thats why the feeding plan of your dog can be complicated. Fortunately, theres a calculation for the feeding amount of German shepherds according to weight.
- Inactive German Shepherds: For every 1 kilogram your dog weighs, theyll need 40 calories a day.An average weighted German shepherd will then need 1400 calories per day. This only applies to German shepherds that do not exercise or are inactive.
- Active German Shepherds: In the case of active German shepherds that exercise regularly, every 1 kilogram equals 55 calories per day.So an average weighted German shepherd will require 1925 calories per day to be able to function properly.
Take note, however, that this calculation may be affected if the German shepherd has a health disorder concerned with metabolism or digestion.
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How Many Litters Can A German Shepherd Have
It is possible for a female German shepherd to have two to three litters a year. They go into heat at about two years old, and unlike humans, they dont experience menopause. Assuming an average lifespan of a German shepherd is 10 years , they could have up to 24 litters in their lifetime.
Nonetheless, it is highly unlikely for your dog to reach anywhere near that number. Senior female dogs and dogs that are overbred are at greater risk of losing litters due to their mental and physical health conditions.
The older your female German shepherd gets, the more fragile her ovum and eggs become, and the more complications that could occur for both the dam and the puppies. This means your dogs chances of producing another litter become smaller with age, and the quality of puppies that they produce becomes lesser than before. For this reason, most breed clubs recommend retiring a female when they reach eight years of age.
What about male German shepherds?
While there is no age limit to how long a male dog can sire a litter, bear in mind that the quality of their sperm decreases too over time. Just like the female, it is recommended that you should stop breeding a male dog around seven to eight years of age to maintain the litters quality.
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What Determines How Many Puppies A German Shepherd Can Have
Several things will determine how many puppies a female German Shepherd dog can have. Typically, contributors for the number of puppies in your dogs litter should be no reason for concern. Most factors revolve around the general size of your dog, which is no reason for medical concern.
Contributors to your German Shepherds litter size include:
- Health and general care during the gestation period
- Her starting weight
- Starting age
Above all, the most vital factor is the health of your German Shepherd dog and the health of your puppies. When you learn that your German Shepherd is pregnant, visit your veterinarian for an immediate check-up and follow their advice for the remainder of the pregnancy.
To achieve the healthiest puppies, follow the advice of your veterinarian and give your GSD love.
Diet is an important consideration in the breeding process. According to the American Kennel Club, a female German Shepherds diet makes a major impact on how many puppies she will birth.
A healthy diet is critical during each stage of the female German Shepherds pregnancy. Giving your German Shepherd sufficient nutrients before, during, and after birth ensures you provide the best outcome possible.
Increase the amount of food you add to your dogs diet slowly through the pregnancy. Begin with a gradual increase and then slowly add more as the pregnancy continues until you have finally increased her additional feeding amount to around 25 percent.
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Age Of The Male Shepherd
The age of the stud plays a part when determining the number of puppies.
Did you know that?
A Stud at its prime has a high chance of producing many puppies compared to an old dog.
Reason being, the quality of sperms in a hound diminishes with age.
That said, the best siring age of German shepherd is when they are between 2 to 5 years.
Does The Age Of The Dam Matter
The age of the dam is important when it comes to fertility as well as litter size. Most female German Shepherds will enter their most fertile period at the age of two. This continues up until they are five years old.
Between the ages of two and five is when the largest litters are to be expected. After this, the size may drop dramatically. It is important to stop using a dam once she becomes too old, as this can compromise the health and size of the litter, not to mention put too much strain on the dog.
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Can You Touch A Newborn Puppy
Once the puppies are about three weeks old, they will begin to move around on their own. This is when you can begin to pet them and interact with them more. You should only touch or pick up a newborn puppy if you observe that it is sick, if the mother abandons it, or in the case of orphaned puppies.
Seven Week Old Baby German Shepherd
When we move into the seventh week of their life, a new significant phase of development starts to begin: the fear period.
While this sounds disconcerting, it merely means that this is the time that many puppies begin to show fear towards new things, rather than curiosity.
Things that the puppy may find scary or uncertain during this time can make for big changes in their personality throughout life.
For example, if a puppy has a bad experience with a human at this stage, it may lead them to becoming fearful and distrustful towards people for the rest of their life.
This is why gently exposing the puppies to humans and common sights and sounds beforehand is important. By preemptively socializing the puppies with humans, we can help this period run smoother.
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What To Know Before Getting A German Shepherd
Facts About German Shepherds You Should Know Before Adoption 1. They are smart 2. They can have high energy needs 3. They need mental stimulation 4. They welcome insects at home but alienate them in public 5. German Shepherds are natural watchdogs 6 They are great listeners 7. German Shepherds are actually made of Velcro.
Find Out How Many Puppies In A Litter
The best thing you can do to prepare is to schedule an appointment with your vet. The perfect time for this is after the 45th day of her pregnancy. Your vet can take an x-ray of her belly and tell you how many puppies to look for during delivery.
During this appointment, your vet can also go over the birthing process. They can help prepare you for what to expect and how to help your dog. They will also tell you what not to do, as well as how to know if your dog may need professional help. Have a backup plan or know where your local emergency animal hospital is located. Know their phone number or have it saved in your phone.
They will also go over nutrition for your dog. At this stage in their pregnancy, they should be transitioned to a food high in calories and nutrients. A high performance food could work, but puppy food is perfectly fine as well! You will need it soon anyways, for when the puppies are weaned to dry food weeks later.
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Cottage Cheese For Pregnant German Shepherd Dogs
Some dog breeders recommend giving pregnant German shepherds cottage cheese of all things. Youll sometimes see this advice extended to all larger dogs.
It might surprise you to learn that this is actually a bad idea in a lot of cases! One study at Mississippi State University found a link between this kind of feeding behavior and milk fever.
As you may have guessed, thats the same condition as eclampsia.
What Determinds How Many Puppies A Dog Will Have
There are many factors that determine the size of a dogs litter, with the most prominent ones listed below.
Size of the Female Dog
If your female German Shepherd happens to be on the smaller side, then she wont have the body capacity to handle a large litter. Look at the size of your soon-to-be pregnant German Shepherds. If the female dogs happen to be smaller, then there is a good chance there will only be around 5 German Shepherd puppies arriving.
Of course, your female dogs litter will like increase inside if she is also on the bigger side. German Shepherds on the smaller end of the scale will be around 50 to 60 pounds for females.
Keep in mind that we dont mean weight when we talk about the size of the female dog. An overweight German Shepherd does not qualify as a larger dog, its the frame that matters.
Age of the Female
You should also consider the age of the mother. Unfortunately, biology is unkind to many females within many species, humans included.
As females age, its less likely for them to get pregnant, have as many puppies, or ensure good health in their litters.
A dog reaches seniority at around age 7, so we advise against breeding close to that threshold or after. That being said, breeding your German Shepherd too early is also not good. The best range is between 2 to 5 years old with proper breaks in between if your dog has more than one litter, especially if its a large litter size.
Age of the Male
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How To Breed German Shepherds
If you are wondering how to breed German Shepherds of high quality, and especially if you are new to breeding GSDs, there are plenty questions you must have in mind. Were giving you GSD-specific knowledge below so you can be prepared for your next German Shepherd litter of puppies.
Remember that all dog breeds from Chihuahuas to Great Danes are all part of the same species and for 99% of things related to dog breeding, they are the same. This is why we recommend you to grab a copy of our bestselling ebook, The Dog Breeders Handbook.
How Do You Know When Your German Shepherd Is About To Give Birth
Knowing When Your Dog Is Ready to Give Birth You should begin to take your dogs rectal temperature once or twice a day as her due date approaches. Normal body temperature is about 100-102°F. When the rectal temperature drops below 100°F this is a good sign that labor will begin within about 24 hours.
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Age Of The Mother And Father
A mother dog will have the most puppies between two to five years old when she is fully mature. She is the fittest and healthiest at this time. Her first litter may have smaller numbers, and any subsequent litter after five years of age may be smaller as well. An older dog may have health issues that can complicate pregnancies.
The prime age for a male is generally around the same as for a female, but a male can reach maturity quicker than a female. A male dog in his prime will produce more sperm than an older dog, leading to more puppies.
Top Best Answers To The Question How Many Puppies Does A German Shepherd Have
- According to German Shepherd World , German shepherds can have anywhere from one to 15 pups, with eight being the average. The average life expectancy of a German shepherd is around 12 to 14 years. What determines litter size?
- German Shepherd Dogs can have anywhere from 1 to 15 puppies in anormal litter. While the average is 8 puppies per litter, larger litters are often expected. Largest known litter: 17 Golden Retriever Litter Size
Those who are looking for an answer to the question «How many puppies does a german shepherd have?» often ask the followingquestions:
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Arthritis Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a condition that is very common in GSDs. In this condition, the ball and socket joint of the hip are malformed. There can be slippage in the joint, and a grinding of the bones against each other leading to arthritis and degenerative joint disease.
The 2016 breed statistics from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals showed a rate of hip dysplasia in the German Shepherd Dog to be 20.5%. In other words, of the 118,891 dogs assessed for hip problems more than a fifth of GSDs had abnormal hips. The OFA ranks the German Shepherd dog has the 39th breed displaying this problematic health condition.
In 2014, a study of the genetics of hip dysplasia in the German Shepherd Dog was conducted at the Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany. These researchers were successful in identifying a genome that predisposed the dog to hip dysplasia. Dogs may show the condition may, indeed, be carriers of the trait. There is a genetic test available from the Hannover researchers for detecting the responsible trait.
In addition, the elbow joint can be malformed the connecting bones do not fit together causing trauma to the structure of the elbow. The OFA statistic for elbow problems was almost 20% of the 43,399 dogs had abnormal elbows. The German Shepherd Dog ranked in at the 15th spot for this problem.
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The Mothers Heat Cycles
A dogs first heat cycle usually happens between six months to one year old, and many breeders will wait until at least the second heat cycle to breed a female. Staying until the females body is fully mature will ensure that her body can handle pregnancy and is mentally mature enough to care for puppies. If the mothers body is too strained or too immature, there may be fewer puppies during a pregnancy.
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What Are The First Signs Of Pregnancy In A Dog
Unfortunately, there arent many early signs that will indicate that your dog is pregnant. In most cases, youll have to wait about three to four weeks before the signs of pregnancy become apparent.
Some of the most common signs that indicate pregnancy include:
- About one month after mating, your dog may produce a mucous-laden vaginal discharge.
- A pregnant dogs teats will begin to swell and change color a bit about one month after mating.
- Some dogs will begin exuding a semi-clear fluid from their nipples about one month after mating.
- During the third or fourth week of pregnancy, many dogs experience morning sickness. This may include vomiting, changes in appetite, lethargy or behavioral changes.
- Around week four, your dog will likely begin to gain weight. Most dogs end up weighing about 50% more than their original weight by the end of the pregnancy.
- Around the 40th day of the pregnancy, your dogs belly will likely begin to bulge a bit. However, this is not always obvious, particularly for dogs carrying small litters.
- Your dog will likely exhibit an increased appetite during the second half of the pregnancy.
Of course, if you suspect that your dog is pregnant, the best way to know for sure is to make a trip to the vet. Most breeders recommend visiting the vet about two to three weeks following mating anyway.
. It is also possible to start visualizing the puppies via ultrasound around this time .
Is The Age Of The Stud Important
It may not often be taken into consideration, but the age of the stud matters as well. This is because its fertility can decline with age, causing the stud to produce less sperm. Due to this, they will not be able to fertilize as many eggs, causing a smaller litter.
Most dogs reach sexual maturity when they are a year old, but most breeders wait until the dog is older to begin using them. As for how old is too old, most experts would agree that it is best not to use a dog that is more than eight years old for the best results.
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How Do You Know When Your Gsd Is About To Give Birth
Your German Shepherd will begin nesting behavior during the onset of labor, and her temperature will drop. She will become restless and may refuse food, pant, pace, shake, or vomit. But how do you know when the birth is imminent?
You will know when your German Shepherd is about to give birth as youll be able to see her contractions visibly. Her stomach will tense or ripple, and she will begin to strain as if shes trying to defecate. You will see clear fluid from her vulva before the first birth.
Once the contraction is over, youll notice her stomach relax. The first puppy should be delivered within 10-30 minutes of hard straining.