Huge congratulations go to Unity, a German Shepherd who recently gave birth to a litter of 16 healthy puppies. This big litter is actually the largest born through the Guide Dogs UK breeding program in its 60-year history.
According to the American Kennel Club, the average litter size for German Shepherds is eight puppies. That means Unity’s litter is over twice the average size!
Matthew Bottomley, Guide Dogs’ head of breeding operations said in a statement:
“A litter of sixteen is incredibly unusual, but such a gift. The pandemic has had a detrimental impact on our charity’s breeding program and how many litters we can have, so these puppies are even more treasured.”
Unity, the German Shepherd who birthed these beautiful pups, is 3-years-old and a first-time mom. The puppies’ father, a Golden Retriever named Trigger, however, is quite experienced. This litter was the 28th for Trigger, the organization’s most prolific stud.
Guide Dogs hopes that these puppies will exhibit both a German Shepherd’s loyalty and drive and a Golden Retriever’s friendliness and confidence. One thing is for sure: the combination is super cute!
Welcome to the world Konrad, Hugo, Clayton, Nash, Derek, Joel, Pax, Ranger, Denver, Evans, Ellie, Silvie, Mabel, Twiggy, Betty, and Daisy!
What’s Next For These 16 Pups
Now that the puppies are eight weeks old, they can leave their mama’s side and start preparing for the rest of their lives. The earlier they start training, the sooner these dogs will be able to help people.
In his statement, Bottomley shared:
“Our staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly to ensure all the puppies have thrived, and they are now ready to start their journeys to becoming life-changing guide dogs for people with sight loss.”
The puppies spent a week training at Guide Dogs National Centre near Leamington Spa, England. Then, each dog was placed with a volunteer puppy raiser, who will take care of them, train them, and socialize them for about a year.
When these pups get a little older, they’ll receive specialized training in order to become service animals for the visually impaired. This training usually takes around 20 months. With their good genes, these puppies are sure to make excellent guide dogs.
A guide dog is an invaluable resource for a visually impaired person, not to mention a lovable companion. Learn more about the Guide Dogs organization and what they do here.