We’ve been busy! Busy taking care of puppies! Yep it’s a terrible job cuddling puppies all day, but someone’s got to do it. A couple weeks ago Raven, our Golden Retriever had her first litter of puppies. Several weeks before Raven had her puppies we were all curious about how many puppies Raven would have in her first litter.
So we did some research on Golden Retriever’s first litter size by first talking to our doggy friends at Guide Dogs of America, talking to friends and family members, drawing from personal experience, and of course a little bit of research on the internet to top it off.
And what did we learn? A Golden Retriever’s first litter size can vary greatly…
Golden Retriever’s First Litter Size
My Experience, Friends, And Family
Way back in the day, before we had puppies, before we had Linus, we were hoping to bring home a puppy of our own. We visited countless litters of Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, and Rescue Pups. Ten years later my memory of all those puppies is still vivid. Of course in the end we came home with our first puppy, Linus! 🙂
The largest litter was twelve adorable eight week old Golden Retriever puppies sprinting into the house from the outside patio. Back then the smallest litter we saw was two six week old black Labrador Retriever pups.
Our friends at Guide Dogs of America have experienced many, many more litters then I have or probably ever will in my lifetime. I would guess they have a litter of pups at the school nearly every week sometimes two litters a week! So what did I hear from my GDA friends?
The largest litter I heard about was 16 Golden Retriever puppies! Let me say that again: 16 puppies!!! The smallest litter size was 1 lonely puppy…although only children get all the attention…right, Ali?
After personal experience and talking to friends and family the consensus was Raven could have any where between 1 and 16 puppies.
And The Internet Says…
Time for a little bit of internet research. Just ask Google the following questions and find the answers in the featured snippet:
- What is the average first litter size for a Golden Retriever?
The average litter size for a golden retriever is eight puppies. Litter sizes vary from four to 12 puppies, and humans are not usually needed for help in the birthing process. – Reference.com. Other sites in the top 10 search have similar numbers for average litter size.
- What is the largest litter size for a Golden Retriever?
We came across this tidbit: The largest litter of puppies is 24, all of whom were born on 29 November 2004 to Tia, a Neopolitan mastiff, owned by Damian Ward (UK) and Anne Kellegher (Ireland) of Manea, Cambridgeshire, UK. – Guiness Book of World Records. So we can probably expect less than 24 puppies…lol. The largest litter for Golden Retrievers we found on the internet were 17 Golden pups. – Land of Pure Gold
- What is the smallest litter size for a Golden Retriever?
The Golden Retriever Forum and other sites mention Golden litters as small as one puppy.
After talking to friends, family, and doing my internet research the consensus was Raven would probably have between 4-12 puppies with the outside possibilities of only 1 pup or up to 17 (remote possibility of 24!) puppies.
Fostering Litters Of Puppies
Many moons ago I volunteered as a foster for one of our local rescues. We took care of litters of puppies, but the youngest pups we had were already 3 weeks old. If you’ve been following for a while then you will recall our litter of 7 German Shepherd mix puppies. We got those little cuties when they were about 3-4 weeks old and at that age they were a handful. I specifically remember one of the rescue leaders saying that 5 or fewer puppies are much easier to handle.
That number 5 has stuck in my head for over 10 years! After doing my due diligence on Golden Retriever’s first litter sizes my hope was for Raven to have a litter of 5 which falls on the low end of the parameters for an average litter. My fingers were crossed…
Finally…Our Golden Retriever’s First Litter Size
We haven’t talked too much about Raven here on the blog, but we’re fostering her for a breeder and in exchange we get to keep some of her puppies to raise as service dogs.
A few days before Raven’s due date we were told we could bring her in for an X-Ray to see how many puppies she would have in her first litter. However, the day we planned on bringing her in for an X-Ray her temperature dropped which was an indication she was close to giving birth. Rather than risk her giving birth in my car on the way to the vet we opted out of the X-Ray.
Raven went into labor on Wednesday November 9th, 2016 and at…
- 9:50am – Female
- 10:24am Male
- 10:49am Male
- 11:31am Male
- 11:51am Female
- 12:24pm Male
I waited with Raven and her puppies for 4 more hours monitoring and making sure everyone was okay. I heard there could sometimes be hours between puppies. When Ali came home from work she took over the watch, but no puppy #7.
So the answer to our question: What will be our Golden Retriever’s first litter size? SIX! At least that was the answer for Raven’s first litter.
What about you guys? Do you have experience with litters of puppies? Specifically a Golden Retrievers first litter? If so what was the size of your Golden’s first litter? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.