German Shepherd Pregnancy – What Happens Next?

German Shepherds are very popular dogs today and they are often kept as service dogs, hunting dogs, police dogs and pets. Breeding a German Shepherd requires some special attention. Even for those who have experience in dog breeding in general, German Shepherd pregnancy may differ from other dogs in various ways.

1. How Long is a German Shepherd Pregnancy?

2. How Many Puppies do German Shepherds Have?

3. How to Know if a German Shepherd is Pregnant

4. What Happens Next?

Updated on 7/15/2019 by William Hill: Updated info, links, and formatting.

How Long is a German Shepherd Pregnancy?

From the time of conception, the average length of the pregnancy is about 63 days. Since German Shepherds are large dogs, their pregnancy term may be slightly longer than that of a tiny breed.

Since you will want to monitor your GSD (German Shepherd Dog) pregnancy very closely, ideally you should keep track of the GSD female’s heat period and note how many times she is bred and record the dates and times. That way you will have almost the exact data on the conception. You’ll be able to note the due date based on an approximate 63 day gestation period.

How Many Puppies do German Shepherds Have?

In general, an average GSD litter is about 8 puppies. Some large females can have up to 15 puppies while a smaller or less healthy GSD may have fewer than 8. The health of the pregnant female (also known as a female in whelp) can have an effect on the number of puppies. A German Shepherd is more likely to have a moderate to large litter if she has been given a very healthy diet, adequate exercise and care, veterinary checkups.

If the dog was bred on the first heat cycle, the litter is likely to be smaller. If your GSD female is bred at the exact time of ovulation (release of the egg) the litter may be larger. Of course, the father will have some impact as well. A male with a higher sperm count can produce more puppies. The health and history of the male matters as well.

How to Know if a German Shepherd is Pregnant

In the early stages you may not see much different, although some females will have less appetite in the first weeks of pregnancy. A lot is happening inside the pregnant GSD, it’s just not external yet. About 2-3 days after conception the eggs are fertilized and the dog’s reproductive system is preparing for pregnancy.

If the eggs stay healthy they will typically implant themselves into the lining of the uterus on around the 10th-12th day. By the 14th or 15th day you may be able to see some early changes that really give you notice. Look closely at the dog’s teats and see if there are signs of color and size changes. The nipples may darken or become pinker and will tend to get a bit larger. The fur may also begin to thin out around the teats.

Some dogs will experience morning sickness just like human’s do. Other dogs will show no signs of nausea or even lack of appetite. If your dog does begin to seem restless in the mornings by the third or fourth week, this could be an indicator of pregnancy. Females who begin to vomit regularly around the end of the first month are probably pregnant. This will usually pass very soon.

By the end of the first month, you may actual be able to hear puppy heartbeats if you have a good stethoscope. Even if you press the stethoscope against the abdomen you probably won’t be able to tell much about the number of puppies, but you may hear extra little beats that are clearly not the mother’s heart. At this point you know for sure that your female is pregnant and the puppies are viable (alive) and strong.

After the first month you can begin to feel around the abdomen of the mother and see if you can feel the puppies. It takes practice, so a veterinarian can show you have to search if you haven’t done this before.

If you can feel the puppies early enough they will be around the size of walnuts. If you have a practiced hand or are very patient, you may be able to actually count them and get some idea of how big the litter will be. If not, a veterinarian can tell either by feeling around the abdomen or doing a test to see the tiny puppies.

The next sign is typically a swelling abdomen as the puppies begin to grow. The female’s belly will become larger and heavier. At this point even an inexperienced person can probably tell that the female is likely to be pregnant. It is possible to confuse the abdomen of a female who has just given birth with one who is about to give birth, but if you’ve been around the dog every day you will be aware of the stage she is in.

You must to know – How Many Calories Does Your Dog Need Each Day?

What Happens Next?

The mother’s nipples will soon begin to swell in preparation for suckling puppies. The female will begin to perform what is called “nesting” behavior. This varies from dog to dog. Some will show only small signs and others will be quite forceful. Some of this depends on how familiar the female is with humans. The mother will become very restless at around the time.

She will typically begin to investigate spaces that might be suitable for privacy and safety. If you have provided her with a good box or another suitable space, she may begin to spend more time there. Be sure to provide towels or blankets and let her fuss with it to get her nest ready. This will also help you to know when the time is coming very near and it reduces the chances that your female will hide somewhere unknown at the time of birth.

At around 45-55 days the female’s stomach will begin to get firm as the puppies begin to crowd each other. This will continue to increase until the day of birth. Some females will be very guarded about their abdomen at this time and others will let you feel for the shape of the puppies. The abdomen will gradually get harder and appear distinctly stretched. Most females will show very little hunger when they get closer to labor.

Since a female can deliver early, watch very closely by the 50th day after conception. If nothing has happened by the 63rd day, this isn’t necessarily something to worry about. If she has continued to take a small amount of food (don’t forget about feeding your dog the right food) and especially water and seems to be fairly comfortable, she may just be the type to go a little overdue.

It isn’t very unusual for delivery to be delayed up to 70 days or so. If the GSD female does show signs of discomfort or pain or if she goes several days with food, get a veterinarian to check her. If she stops taking water at any point, definitely get a consultation.

Otherwise things should proceed very naturally. Her temperature will drop a little bit and be closer to a normal human temperature. There may be some vaginal discharge. When labor begins the female may look at her abdomen or even nip at it and she will seem very restless.

She may breathe harder or pant. As long as she settles down and begins to deliver puppies, this is all very normal. German Shepherd Dogs make excellent mothers and yours is likely to handle her labor and delivery very well as long as she is healthy and all goes normally.

Video: German Shepherd Dog Pregnancy and How to Prepare for Whelping Day

Click here to see video.

What do you think? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below!

14 Comments

saleem

do the days of pregnancy 70days also late proces in dogs

William Hill

There is nothing wrong with that. The term may be a little longer. Do you feel the movement of puppies in the pet’s belly?

Joanna Carrisal

Well, I bred my 4 year old(her first ever breeding) and it’s been 66 days. She didn’t get big, almost no change in weight. Now she’s humping her blanket like its going out of style. She’s plum making herself exhausted from humping that blanket across the living room floor. I’m at a loss! She has milk in her teats and it’s gotten where it comes out more in the past week, but no puppy/puppies yet. I’m thinking a phantom pregnancy. IDK!

randy

we have the same situation. our female gsd 4 yrs old is on her 49th day. we asked the vet for xray and the vet can’t find no puppies. she had all the sign of being pregnant. is there a way to find out if she did indeed got pregnant. we’re at lost.

Erica B.

My 14 month old gsd , on 2nd heat cycle. Had no intention of breeding until over 2yrs but unfortunately they found a way to tie. I of course will take her to the vet but does anyone think I should worry about her age and abort litter? I’ve read this is suggested, but I think she can handle it. Shes a tall, strong girl 68lbs , extremely healthy, well exercised. I don’t want her to die or experience still borns due to her age and I know much of what’s written can be cautionary tales -but is that really all they are or is it common that breed to young these situations are likely to happen? Please try to help vs beat me up with opinions what’s done is done and can’t be changed. The tie was once and my male is now at grandma house so no chance of 2nd tie, I also read no pregnancy may happen , except consider he is a healthy stud in his prime. Thanks for any guidance or experience in thr matter.

Ashley

You have probably already decided but she will be fine. Dogs have breed for thousands of years without human intervention. I say just take her to the very and have an X-ray done about the 40-50th day just to make sure she can pass the pups. Worst case is she will need a C-section which can be costly. 68 pounds is about average for a full grown female but age wise she may need a little assistance caring for them as she might not know what to do at first.

Ballmom

My girl got pregnant on her first heat(2 weeks shy of her 1st birthday!!), of course like you, we had no intention of breeding then and no idea she was even in heat, as she showed NO signs. She had 8 very healthy pups and they all survived, I would say let her be!!

Chris

Hi, This is my first time breeding dogs. My question is when do you know when conception takes place? I noticed Hazel spotting on March 15th. I bred her 10 days later on March 25th then again on the 27th, 29th, and 31st. So when do I consider conception?

Thanks,

Chris

Michael

Take it from frost mating date then you will be ok.

Michael

I’ve done my own bitch on one mating and she is 46 days now and I can tell she is pregnant. My bitch only goes 53days then goes in labour. Don’t for get to worm your bitch from 42 days then every day till two day after birth this will ensure your pups are worm free we only have only 7 days left then hopefully have another litter. She had eight last litter so hope all goes well.

Michael

My GSD is on 3rd litter she has gone from 53-56 days before going in to labour she is 56days today and we have no sign as yet.
She has gone very big in her stomach and walking is hard for her now. Can’t wait to have this litter out. No mor for her.

Debby Sibold

Our GSD just turned nine months and is in her first heat. Our ten month male just got to her and tied with her. This was not intentional! What do you recommend?

Lakshmi

How long does it take to deliver one after the other

Sharon Drumm

Can go every 15 mins to 1 1/2 hr – just be sure to watch for any discharge RIGHT b4 she delivers each puppy- if she has a discharge without a puppy being delivered within 15 mins – call vet.

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