Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Dogs > How Many Puppies Do Golden Retrievers Have? Average & Maximum Litter Size

How Many Puppies Do Golden Retrievers Have? Average & Maximum Litter Size

golden retriever dog with puppies

Congratulations! We’re guessing you recently received confirmation from your veterinarian that your Golden Retriever is pregnant. Golden Retriever puppies are fluffy balls of joy, and you must be thrilled to welcome them into your home. But how many puppies should you be expecting from this upcoming litter?

On average, Golden Retrievers can have around eight puppies. Litter sizes can vary depending on the breed of dog, so there are a few factors that can determine the litter size of your Golden Retriever. This article goes over what kind of litter you could be expecting based on your Golden Retriever mother.


Litter Size: First-Time vs Experienced Mothers

If this is your Golden Retriever’s first litter, expect your dog to give birth to about eight puppies. This is the national average for first-time mothers, so it is normal for your dog to give birth to a few less or a few more. Even though this will be your female’s first litter, she will not need human assistance during the birth as her instincts will kick in.

However, it is always important for her to have check-ups with a vet to ensure everything is going well with her puppies. If this is not your pregnant dog’s first litter, expect her to have between 6–10 puppies. It is very rare that your Goldie will have a single puppy birth. Litter sizes of over a dozen puppies are also possible with Golden Retrievers but not as common.

mother dog nursing puppies, postnatal
Image Credit by stockphoto mania, Shutterstock

What Can Affect Litter Size?

If your Golden Retriever is pregnant, it is safe to assume that she will give birth to four to nine puppies. While we cannot breed dogs to give birth to a specific number of offspring, there are several factors that can affect your Golden Retriever’s litter size.

  • Diet: Your pregnant Golden Retriever’s diet is essential. While it is always important to feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet, pregnant dogs need high-quality vitamins and minerals and premium protein. Dog food that is filled with additives and fillers can affect the litter size. Diet will also be a factor in how healthy the puppies will be after birth and what their survival rate will be.
  • Health: If your Golden Retriever is obese or not given enough exercise, this can affect the litter. An unhealthy Goldie will more than likely produce a small litter. The puppies might also be born weak and have a smaller chance of survival.
  • Age of both parents. You do not want to breed your female Golden Retriever too young or too old. The age range for the female to be bred is 2 to 5 years old. However, if you wait to breed your Goldie for the first time after they are 5 years old, their litters will always be smaller in number. The age of the male is also a factor. The sperm count in males will decrease once they reach 5 years old.
  • Genetics: Dogs that have a more diverse gene pool are more likely to have larger litters than dogs that have been overly inbred. This is why if you go to a breeder, ask them about the parents and if they have been tested for defects. Reputable breeders will provide you with the parents’ history before buying a puppy.
Golden Retriever Pregnant
Image Credit: PorChonlawit, Shutterstock


Final Considerations

If you are a dog owner, you already know how important health, diet, and exercise are for raising a strong and happy dog. These factors must also be considered when deciding if you want to breed your Golden Retriever. Have her checked with the vet before she gets pregnant to make sure she is healthy and able to carry a litter safely. Ensure the potential mate is also healthy and at the right age. However, no matter the litter size, each puppy will be a bundle of pure joy!

Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets