How Many Puppies Can A German Shepherd Have (5 Determining Factors)

Female German Shepherd dogs (GSDs) typically have five to eight puppies per litter. The size of German Shepherd puppies will greatly influence the mother’s health, size, and overall care.

Several other factors can impact the number of puppies a female German Shepherd has and the health of the puppies she produces. Many factors are uncontrollable, like the size of your German Shepherd female before mating. With time, age may also influence the chances of conception.

Other factors are controllable and can be manipulated to your advantage to produce large litters of healthy pups. For instance, the food you feed your female GSD and the environment that you place her in while breeding.

How Many Puppies Can A German Shepherd Have?

The German Shepherd livebirths, on average, five to nine puppies per litter. Every female is different. It is common for smaller females to produce fewer puppies and larger females to produce more. In fact, larger German Shepherds have birthed litters of up to fifteen puppies.

Many factors can change the number of puppies she has considerably! For instance, the number of puppies a female GSD has can vary based on size, age, and even mating partner.

With the capability of going into heat every six months, German Shepherds can produce up to fourteen litters in their lifetime. With a minimum of five puppies per litter on average, your female German Shepherd can have over seventy puppies in her lifetime if she reproduces each mating season.

Happy family dogs in the park

What Determines How Many Puppies A German Shepherd Can Have?

Several things will determine how many puppies a female German Shepherd dog can have. Typically, contributors for the number of puppies in your dog’s litter should be no reason for concern. Most factors revolve around the general size of your dog, which is no reason for medical concern.

Contributors to your German Shepherd’s litter size include:

  • Health and general care during the gestation period
  • Her starting weight
  • Genetics
  • Male age
  • Healthy living conditions
  • Diet
  • Starting age (for breeding)

Above all, the most vital factor is the health of your German Shepherd dog and the health of your puppies. When you learn that your German Shepherd is pregnant, visit your veterinarian for an immediate check-up and follow their advice for the remainder of the pregnancy.

To achieve the healthiest puppies, follow the advice of your veterinarian and give your GSD love.


Diet is an important consideration in the breeding process. According to the American Kennel Club, a female German Shepherd’s diet makes a major impact on how many puppies she will birth.

A healthy diet is critical during each stage of the female German Shepherd’s pregnancy. Giving your German Shepherd sufficient nutrients before, during, and after birth ensures you provide the best outcome possible.

Puppies rely on their mothers for food even after birth. Provide her with enough protein and nutrients to support herself and her pups, or she will become underweight. An underweight mother can lead to small litters and malnourished pups. A lack of nutrients in your female German Shepherd’s diet may also increase the mortality rate of your puppies.

Increase the amount of food you add to your dog’s diet slowly through the pregnancy. Begin with a gradual increase and then slowly add more as the pregnancy continues until you have finally increased her additional feeding amount to around 25 percent.

Even after your female German Shepherd gives birth, you should maintain a healthy diet. While nursing her pups, the mother must produce healthy milk. If your female GSD is not healthy herself, she will be unable to produce the nutrients her puppies need.


The genetics of the female German Shepherd makes a major impact on litter size. The size of litter that the German Shepherd came from impacts what size litter a female will produce.

This genetic influence is also related to the male’s DNA. The genetics of German Shepherds have a direct effect on the number of puppies in their litter. Generally, two small German Shepherd adults will produce a small litter of similar-sized puppies.

Similarly, genetics may also influence the cut-off for the dog’s breeding capabilities-both, male and female. Depending on family history, the German Shepherd might be infertile, have early menopause, or have early sexual reproductive problems. In any case, genetics can alter the outcome of your litter size and health.

Living Conditions

Poor living conditions are a major influence on the number of puppies a German Shepherd will produce. Females who live in uncleanly and miserable environments will not have the motivation for a successful pregnancy. In other words, mothers who are not provided good living conditions during pregnancy may not produce healthy puppies.

German Shepherd’s good living conditions require a clean and healthy environment, nutritious food, and daily socialization. None of these living conditions are far-fetched. Every owner should meet these basic requirements in any dog’s daily life. However, during your German Shepherd’s pregnancy, these conditions are especially important.

One notably important condition is socialization during pregnancy. Still, it is one of the most important parts of your German Shepherd’s success. German Shepherd females who are not given proper attention during pregnancy may not have as much drive or consideration to motherhood. When a German Shepherd does not care about motherhood, the mortality rate can increase.


The older a male German Shepherd is in age, the fewer sperm he is capable of producing. After ten, German Shepherd studs can no longer reproduce.

Similarly, the female may have reproductive problems of her own after around eight years when she begins to go through a menopausal period. At around eight years, the female German Shepherd faces the end of her reproduction cycle and can no longer make puppies.


Larger females are physically capable of carrying more puppies. Producing large litters does not mean there is something wrong! Similarly, small litters do not mean there should be cause for alarm either.

The size of your German Shepherd is typically the most direct correlation to the number of puppies they will produce. Before breeding your German Shepherd, observe her size, and you will get a good picture of the number of puppies she can carry. The main reason that size is important is because of her carrying and birthing capabilities.

Large females are physically capable of carrying more puppies. Similarly, smaller German Shepherds can carry smaller litters. There are exceptions to this fact, but because of the discomfort it would cause the female GSD physically, the number of puppies she produces tends to center around her size. No matter what, there is no reason to be concerned if your female carries a smaller or larger number of puppies than average.

How Many Puppies Do German Shepherds Have in their First Litter?

Five is a common starting number for the number of puppies a female German Shepherd has, but this number can fluctuate. The number of puppies a dog may have fluctuates for several reasons, like the female’s starting weight and her mate’s age.

A more generic average of how many puppies German Shepherds have is around five to nine puppies. The size of each female GSD varies. Based on the size of the female (and other factors), the female German Shepherd may produce a different number of puppies.

How Many Times Can a German Shepherd Have Puppies?

Female German Shepherds can have two litters a year, with a lifetime total of 14 litters.

Like most adult dogs, German Shepherd dogs can become pregnant when they go into heat every six months. The heat cycle of a German Shepherd lasts between two and six weeks, with a total lifespan of roughly seven years.

The German Shepherd must be at least one before they can begin reproducing. If they begin mating immediately -and continue doing so- a female may give birth to fourteen litters throughout their lifetime.

Want To Train Your Dog With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your dog properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your dog completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


How many Puppies Can a German Shepherd Have in One Year?

At most, German Shepherds can have two litters of puppies per year. If they have the maximum amount of puppies in each litter (15 puppies), they can birth a total of at least 30 puppies each year.


The average number of puppies that female GSDs produce is five puppies or more. At most, German Shepherds can have puppies twice a year, which means that your female German Shepherd can reproduce roughly ten puppies each year. In their lifetime, German Shepherd females can produce over 70 puppies if they breed each season.

Many things influence the number of puppies that the female GSD can have. Some of these things are in the breeder’s control, like the starting weight of his GSD, which can be increased with extra feeding or the environment he puts her in.

On the other hand, some things cannot be manipulated. Among other uncontrollable factors influencing the number of puppies a female German Shepherds has, are size, age, and genetics.

The female German Shepherd’s diet impacts her litter size astronomically. A dog fed a balanced diet full is more likely to produce a litter of healthy puppies. Processed dog food contains many unhealthy ingredients that can be bad for your companion. Although small dogs typically carry small litters, gaining weight may help your dog grow.