Labrador Litter Size and How it Affects the number of Puppies Does Female Labrador will deliver?
One of the most challenging and nerve-racking parts of owning a pet dog is Canine Pregnancy. And if that’s now enough, determining how many puppies a single Labrador litter will contain is another track of confusion.
Though there’s an average litter size for every dog breed, there are several factors that can determine the same. Commonly Labrador Retrievers can have 5 to 10 puppies in one single litter. However, depending upon size, Age, health, diet, and genetic diversity, the exact number will differ from dog to dog. Labrador Retriever’s first litter is usually smaller, and the number of litters grows with multiple pregnancies. However, regardless of that, some litter may even consist of a lone puppy, and that is completely normal and healthy.
At What Age Do Labrador Retriever Starts Breeding?
A Female Labrador Retriever starts breeding from the Age of 8 months and can breed up to the Age of 8 months. However, according to breeding experts and Vets, one should avoid breeding female dogs, regardless of their Age, before the Age of 18 to 24 months. Instead, wait until your dog experiences her third heat cycle, whereas for male dogs, wait until they turn one year.
How Many Puppies Can Your Labrador Have In Her First Litter?
If your female Labrador is having puppies for the first time, the litter size will usually be small. While the dog is birthing for the first time, her uterus is very petite, and pregnancy, delivery, and nursing are pretty new experiences for her body.
Though it isn’t a definite number if your Labrador is birthing for the first time, expect 4 to 5 puppies in the first litter. The number will grow with the second pregnancy, and the third and fourth pregnancies will have the largest litter size. However, after the fourth and fifth pregnancy, the litter size tends to taper off.
How To Determine Your Labrador’s Litter Size?
Confirming pregnancy is a possible job but determining the exact litter size isn’t yet very much possible.
However, vets can take X-rays of the pregnant female and count the skeletons of puppies in her abdomen.
However, due to the presence of multiple puppies, it isn’t really possible to find out the correct number without missing one or some.
Ultrasound scans and abdominal palpation too help in determining litter size but again, getting the correct number is never promised.
Does The Size Of The Mother Influence The Litter Size?
No, the size of the mother dog cannot influence the size of her litter. Even the smallest dog breeds like Chihuahua can give birth to multiple puppies in one go. However, breed influence plays a major role in determining litter size.
What Factors Affect Labrador’s Litter Size?
Litter size, regardless of the dog breed, is neither fixed nor one can control the same. It’s only about certain factors, physical, external, environmental, and genetic, that may play a crucial role in deciding the number of puppies in one litter.
Here we have discussed a few of them.
- Labrador’s Age (both male and female) and the number of pregnancies can majorly influence the litter size. For example, a very young female Labrador, even in her second and third pregnancy, will give birth to a small size litter. In addition, though males’ Age doesn’t impact much, it does have some contribution. For instance, if the male Labrador is older than five years, his sperm count will be low, which will directly affect the size of the litter. That is why breeding experts recommend the Age of 3 to 5 years for both male and female Labradors.
- Secondly, if the male and female Labrador is in good health, their litter size will be bigger. However, if the parent dogs, especially the female, is unhealthy, expect a smaller litter size. If the female is obese, it too can influence her litter size to a great extent.
- In addition, poor dietary habit and especially malnutrition can influence the litter size of your Labrador, and her pregnancy can result in lesser puppies. A high-quality diet is needed all year round and not just during the breeding season. An appropriate amount of nutrition, plenty of physical activity, and proper exercise can aid in better pregnancy and healthy litter size for your dog.
- Not every breeder may agree, but genetics can influence fertility, litter size, puppies’ health, and type of pregnancy in many dogs.
- Some breeders also believe that summer breeding during summer results in smaller litter size, whereas spring results in more puppies.
- It is claimed that if the female dog has mated only once, the litter size will be small.
- In addition, the gap in the pregnancies results in better litter size. For instance, if your female Labrador is experiencing two back-to-back pregnancies in one year, the litter size of the latter will definitely be small.
- Lastly, Natural breeding results in bigger litter size, whereas artificial insemination decreases the litter size by 15%.
How Can I Increase Litter Size In My Female Labrador?
Though dog litter size is out of control for humans, you can definitely follow some tips in order to improve the same. For instance, feed your dog a healthy, nutritious diet throughout her life, and it will add to making her pregnancy and litter healthier.
It may even influence the litter size. Besides diet, make sure your female Labrador’s weight is under the controlled mark, and she is living an active lifestyle.
Determining the correct breeding time, breeding partner, and method too can help you increase your dog’s litter size. However, since litter size is nature’s gift, remember you can’t really hamper it to a major extent.
Breeding Labradors, or any other dog for that matter, isn’t an easy task. Expect your Labrador to give birth to around 3 to 5 puppies in her first pregnancy, and the number may increase till her 5th pregnancy. Thereafter consider stopping breeding since it isn’t very healthy for both the dog and her puppies.
Besides that, in terms of confusion, always consider consulting a Vet or a Breeding expert for precise guidance.