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What Will Be Our Golden Retriever’s First Litter Size?

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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 of weeks ago, Raven, our Golden Retriever had her first litter of puppies.

Several weeks before she had her puppies we were all curious about how many puppies Raven would have in her first litter.

Pile up of Golden Retriever puppies.
How many puppies will be in our Golden Retriever’s 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…

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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, and Australian Shepherd.

When we went to the OC Pet Expo we checked out all the adoptable pups especially the Golden Retriever Rescue and the Lab Rescue.

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 than 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 (Ali is my wife…an only child :)?

After personal experience and talking to friends and family the consensus was Raven could have anywhere between 1 and 16 puppies.

QUICK TIP: If you’re preparing for a litter of puppies you might want to take a quick look at the whelping checklist we put together for Raven and her puppies.

Our Golden Retriever puppies in a basket.
Our Golden Retriever 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:

  1. 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.  Other sites in the top 10 search have similar numbers for average litter size.
  2. 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 of Golden Retrievers we found on the internet were 17 Golden pups. – Land of Pure Gold
  3. 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, and 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…

3 Golden Retriever puppies less than a week old.
Puppies from our our Golden litter!

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…

  1. 9:50am – Female
  2. 10:24am Male
  3. 10:49am Male
  4. 11:31am Male
  5. 11:51am Female
  6. 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 Retriever’s first litter?

If so what was the size of your Golden’s first litter?

If you’re expecting a litter of puppies you might want to check out our whelping supplies checklist to make sure you have everything your need before your puppies arrive.

Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

Guess what? Raven had her second litter of puppies.

Can you guess how many puppies were in her second litter?

On the other hand, if you’re looking for “cute pics of Golden Retriever puppies” because you’re about to bring your first puppy home then check out Puppies for Dummies. This book is a good starting point for learning the basics of raising and training a puppy.

Golden Retriever puppies piling on top of each other.
What will be our Golden Retriever first litter size?

Top Picks For Our Puppies

    We Like: Beef Collagen Sticks - All of our pups love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Collagen Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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  1. Wowzers! Those are some big litters! We just finished our fourth and final litter with Raven. Here’s what we ended up having:

    1. Veterans Litter – 6 puppies – 4 boys, 2 girls
    2. Bird Litter – 8 puppies – 5 boys, 3 girls
    3. Avengers Litter – 10 puppies – 4 boys, 6 girls
    4. Trolls Litter – 8 puppies – 5 boys, 3 girls

    Raven is done having puppies. We may continue to raise litters for service dog groups or possibly rescue groups, but at the moment we don’t have plans for future litters.

  2. Our Golden Retrievers: Two females, four litters between them, every litter had 10 puppies!!!! Three litters contained five females and five males.
    One litter had seven females and three males.
    Everyone was healthy and all lived.

  3. Our Golden Zelda had 7 beautiful pups in May 2019. She had 6 males and only one female who we ended up keeping. Her name is Peggy. We are planning to breed her (Zelda) again this coming May 2021. It will be fun to see how many she has. It was so much fun helping raise all those adorable golden nuggets. We are so excited to do it again.

  4. My golden had 11 puppies! We all thought 8 at the most but nope she had 11 beautiful puppies.

  5. I’m sorry to hear about puppy number 8. We’ve been lucky so far out of 3 litters we’ve had all our puppies survive. We did have to make two visits to the emergency vet and Raven did get mastitis, but overall we’ve been very fortunate.

  6. My Roxy was almost 7 years old when she had her puppies. 10 living. Number 8 was the largest and she did not survive. At 10 days old mom developed mastitis and I had to bottle feed all of them. Needless to say it will be her only litter.

  7. We don’t breed our dogs until they are at least 2 years old so they can be screened for any genetic health conditions. I would not recommend breeding a dog until they are at least 2 years old.

  8. My golden retriever 12 month female give 1 female puppy only . I don’t know what is problem .

  9. My girl Marley is due 1st April unsound shows 2 pups they are going to exray o 27 March could there be more puppy’s

  10. Well Desi had her 2nd litter this morning and she had 12. 9 boys and 3 girls. Pups and mom seem to be doing fine!!

  11. Congratulations! Raven’s first litter was 6 and her second one was 8. I’m not sure I could handle 11! I’m hoping for smaller litters so I can give each pup more attention.

  12. Our Golden Retriever Daisy girl just had her first litter- 3.5 years old, 11 puppies! 6 boys, 5 girls 🙂 Her mother had large litters as well, so par for the course with our line!

  13. WOW! Our first litter was 6 and the second litter was 8. I can’t imagine raising 13 puppies! Keep us updated on the second litter.

  14. Our girls first litter was 13!! And they all survived! We had 7 girls and 6 boys!! Now we waiting on 2nd litter which is due in 2 wks!!

  15. Congratulations on the first litter! Wow! 10 puppies and a nice even split between boys and girls. Raven had 6 puppies in her first litter and 8 puppies in her second litter. 8 puppies were exponentially more difficult then 6 puppies. 10 pups has to be crazy!

    Let us know how the X-ray goes and how many puppies you’re expecting.

  16. Ava’s first litter was 10 beautiful, healthy puppies- 5 girls, 5 boys. We kept one! 🤗 She is due next month with her next litter and we’ll take her for an X-ray next week.

  17. My Golden Retriever Amber had 10 puppies 5 girls and 5 boys her first litter March 20, 2016. Her Daughter Rose had 6 -4 girls, 2 boys June 3, 2017.

    Amber gave birth today February 23, 2018 and had 7 puppies but one was stillborn, so 6.

    Ambers first litter we used a different stud dog who was hit by a car soon after the birth.

    I used a different stud dog for Rose and Amber that had been known for having smaller litters like 6.

    Rose is expecting next week around March 2.

  18. Congratulations! Our first litter was 6 pups: 4 boys 2 girls. This time we had 8 puppies: 5 boys, 3 girls.

  19. Our golden retriever Sadie just had a litter of eight puppies we are taking them to the vet today for there first round of shots we had the perfect number 4boys &4girls

  20. Our Sweet Dixie Sunrise had her first litter of 9 (8 handsome boys and precious 1 little girl) on 5/17/17 and she’s due to have her 2nd litter on Christmas Eve. Yep! Santa Paws is bringing puppies! With just 2 weeks to go, she’s happy, extra affectionate, glowing and growing! She looks much bigger on this 46th day then she did the first time around. She could be carrying differently, baking more pups (gulp!) or have big ol fatty youngsters on the way! We have an appointment set up on 12/21 for an X-ray.
    She delivered her first litter in May via
    c-section because one of her pups was huge and obstructing it’s siblings. Since her previous litter was only 7 months ago, our vet has encouraged us to play it safe and deliver the same way on 12/24 (Day 61)
    I do love whelping our pups at home! Under normal circumstances, it’s the safest route for sure. But, I have heard several horror stories about uterine ruptures after previous c-sections resulting in the loss of mom. Has anyone else heard the same? Congratulations to all, Merry Christmas and thank you so much

  21. Congratulations! We didn’t get x-rays for Raven so we were waiting for a while after number 6 and nothing came. Good luck to you the rest of the way with your Golden babies!

  22. Im in the middle of it all ?? On my own and four so far ?? 5.30 no1 6 .00 No 2 6.20 No 3 and 6 .45 No 4 . nothing since still waiting ??? all suckling so I have left her on her own with them in the Whelping box. Maybe long night ahead in the West of Ireland. Holly is our beautiful Golden Retrivers name. .

  23. I’m sorry to hear about puppies #6 and #7. I hope the others are all doing well. We didn’t get an x-ray. How close to the due date did you get your x-ray?

  24. We are having pups today…Golden Retrievers. First pup about 6 am….pup # 8 at 5:00 on….vet said xray shows 9-12. We lost #6 & #7…breach and unable to revive.

  25. I’m sorry to hear about the one puppy that didn’t make it through the night. Raven was bred last week and if she takes will be due again right before the New Year. Good luck with Sophie’s next litter!

  26. Our Golden Retriever Sophie had a first litter of 10 puppiess last year, unfortunately, one of the puppies didn’t survive through the night, so we ended up with 9 beautiful pups! Sophie is expecting once again here anytime and we are anxious to see how many puppies come from her second litter! It can be a lot of work but they are sure cute and so much fun!

  27. Our Golden named River had her first litter 6/17/2017. Happy to report 7 healthy puppies birth times as follows.
    1. 12:53am
    2. 1:32 am
    3. 1:42 am
    4. 1:55 am
    5. 2:51 am
    6. 3:51 am
    7. 5:30 am.
    Yes it was a very long night. Thank goodness it was a Saturday!

  28. We’ll see how it goes with 6 puppies. When we had 7 Shepherd mix puppies it got progressively more difficult each week. Right now Raven is doing an awesome job as a mommy taking care of her pups.

  29. I can’t even imagine a litter of 10 let alone a litter of 17 or 24. Crazy! Cute pictures! Can’t wait to see pictures of them grown up!

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