If you’re interesting in breeding your Australian shepherd you’ll want to know just how many puppies you can expect them to pop out.
This short, but detailed guide answers everything you need to know about Australian Shepherd litter sizes.
How Many Puppies Do Australian Shepherds Have Per Litter?
The average litter size for Australian Shepherds is 6 or 7 puppies. In some cases, the litter might be as few as 4 puppies or as many as 8 puppies.
Litter sizes can change depending on the following factors:
🐶 Whether or not this is the females first litter
🐶 The age and size of female Australian Shepherd
🐶 The age and size of the male Australian Shepherd
🐶 The health and nutrition of the female Australian Shepherd
🐶 The quality of the breeding program
A big factor determining litter size is whether or not this is the females first litter. First litters are usually always much smaller, while her subsequent litters will be larger.
Additionally, if the smaller the australian shepherd male, the more puppies that can potentially be in the litter. The larger the male, the fewer the puppies in the litter.
This is coupled with the size of the female Aussie, if she is big, then she will be capable of having a larger litter. If she herself is small in size, then her litter will more than likely be on the smaller size. This is a basic determining factor across all dogs and mammals.
Important & Related:
➡️ Australian Shepherd Heat Cycle Guide & Breeding
How Many Puppies In The First Litter
In most cases if this is the females first litter, it will be smaller in size at around 4-6 puppies.
Most females produce smaller litters on their first and even their second litter. While their 3rd and 4th litters are generally the largest. According to an article in the Royal Canine.
After this, litter sizes will eventually get smaller again.
In general females are capable of having their largest litters from the ages of 3-5 years of age (taking into consideration whether or not they’ve produced a litter already).
How Many Puppies Do Mini Aussies Have?
Mini Australian Shepherds generally have 2-5 puppies per litter. As you can see this is how their smaller size contributes to a smaller litter.
Again, the same rules also apply as above, so litter sizes also depend on the age, whether or not its her first litter, the age and size of the male and their general health.
Abnormally Small Litters In Australian Shepherds
There is a chance that you get an abnormally small litter size and this can happen for a few reasons such as health issues with the mother, when she’s bred, and health issues with the male.
According to the Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute:
“If an Aussie sometimes has normal size liters and sometimes small ones, and the mates with which it had the smaller ones are not the other parent on the normal size litters, you may want to test both parents for Pelger-Huet Anomaly (PHA.) PHA causes blood cell abnormalities and fetuses that inherit two copies of the gene usually die before birth and are reabsorbed, resulting in smaller litter size.”
How Many Times a Year Can Aussies Have Puppies
Australian shepherds should only have 1 or 2 litters per year. While it’s technically possible to have 3 or even 4 (depending on the timings of heat and her age) it is NOT recommended.
By only breeding once or twice per year, it gives the female plenty of time to rest and recover between each litter. And we must always take into consideration the health of the female.
How Many Litters Can Australian Shepherds Have?
In a lifetime, Australian shepherds could have upto 10-12 litters as they can keep reproducing until they pass away. Still, this is NOT a recommended number of litters to go for.
Australian shepherds should stick to a maxmimum of 6-8 litters over their lifespan to ensure they remain healthy and capable of producing healthy offspring. Quality over quantity, every time.
How Long Are Australian Shepherds Pregnant For?
Australian shepherds are pregnant for 60-70 days, as are most dogs of this size. 63 days is the most common duration.
According to the AKC the average gestation period is approximately 63 days from conception. Although this can vary by upto one week.