Dogs rarely give birth to a large litter of puppies. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the average litter size ranges from five to six puppies. So, when you hear about a dog giving birth to 10 puppies and more, you know that it’s a big deal.
Guide Dogs, a UK-based nonprofit that breeds and trains service dogs, has just welcomed a record-breaking litter. Just last year, a German Shepherd named Unity gave birth to 16 adorable and healthy puppies.
What made Unity’s record more fascinating was the fact that she was a first-time mom. She gave birth to a litter that was twice the average for her breed. According to the American Kennel Club, German Shepherds usually give birth to eight puppies. Unity’s litter was also the largest that Guide Dogs had throughout its 60-year history.
Matthew Bottomley, the organization’s chief manager of breeding operations, said that Unity’s litter was unusual, but the charity welcomed it as a gift. He said that they treasured the puppies more, knowing that the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the organization’s breeding program.
It must be noted, though, that Unity and her pups weren’t purebred German Shepherds. They were actually German Shepherd-Golden Retriever mixes. Guide Dogs hoped that the puppies would have the drive and loyalty of a German Shepherd and the confidence and friendliness of a Golden Retriever.
The pups have started undergoing training
The 16 pups are now more than eight weeks old. They have already left Unity’s side to start their training.
According to Matthew, the organization’s staff members and volunteers have been working nonstop to make sure that the pups will thrive and become life-changing guide dogs. All of the puppies have spent a week at the organization’s national center for some training. After that, they will be sent to puppy raisers for socialization.
Source: Guide Dogs UK via Facebook