How Long Does A German Shepherd Stay Pregnant?

Categorized as Buying and Breeding
how long does a german shepherd stay pregnant

German shepherds are a lovely breed of dog. They are loyal, fun, and enjoyable to be around. When your German shepherd gets pregnant, either on purpose or by accident, it is important to know just how long she is going to remain pregnant and what to expect from the process.

We want you to be prepared, and we have some helpful information to share.

About the German Shepherd Breed

German shepherds are a very loyal breed, and as a rule, they are rather high energy and are a very active dog. Female German Shepherds, on average, range from 49 lbs to 71 lbs. 

German shepherds are very intelligent, alert, loyal, confident in what they do, and are also obedient if they are trained well and if they love their owner. 

As a rule, German shepherds are good family dogs if you do have the time to devote to train them and to work with them to make sure they are going to be socialized and ready to live with your family.

How Long Does A German Shepherd Stay Pregnant?

The amount of time that your dog stays pregnant does not so much depend on the breed of dog, but more on the size of the dog and the size of the puppies. The average gestation period for a dog is 63 days from the time of conception (1). 

Unless you are specifically breeding your dog or paying close attention to the possibility that your dog is pregnant, you may not know when the exact day of conception is. This means that you can watch for other signs then look back and determine what day she may have gotten pregnant.

The amount of time that your dog remains pregnant can vary depending on a few different factors. The size of the dog, the number of puppies, and the overall nutrition and care that she receives while pregnant can all affect how long she remains pregnant. 

If a dog is of average size, has an average or a suitable amount of puppies, and is very healthy, she is likely to remain pregnant for the entire 63 days or thereabout. 

If she is malnourished, she experiences some trauma, or there is something wrong with the puppies, the pregnancy may terminate early.

How to Tell Your German Shepherd is Pregnant?

For the most part, unless you visit a veterinarian, you cannot give your dog a pregnancy test to see if she is pregnant. There are some signs you can watch for; however, that may help you determine if your dog is pregnant or not. 

The first thing you should do if you were not trying to get your dog pregnant is to determine if she was alone with a male dog or around a male dog that could have impregnated her. If your dog was not around a male dog, then it is not likely that she is pregnant.

If you are trying to breed your dog, you can watch for a few different signs to see if she is pregnant or not. The first is that pregnant dogs are more likely to be tired. A dog that might be energetic other times may be lethargic, she may nap often, or she may be moving around less than she would have in other instances. 

Your dog may also have a change in appetite. She may be hungrier to compensate for the fact that she is carrying puppies. She is likely to be hungrier in early pregnancy than she is in later pregnancy.

Another sign to look for is any unusual behavior. Is she more aggressive? Is she less affectionate? Does she avoid people or children more? 

Her behavior is likely to change to meet the needs that she has based on the fact that she is pregnant and wants to protect her unborn babies and herself. You may also notice that her nipples are enlarged or that they have changed colors. 

This is due to the fact that she is going to be producing milk eventually and that her nipples are hardening to be able to feed her babies.

You may also notice that your dog is gaining weight without any changes in her diet. If your dog is gaining weight, mainly around their midsection, she may very well be pregnant. 

The last thing you want to look for is nesting behavior in your dog. Is she making beds and acting like she is preparing for puppies? Is she acting more reserved? These are all signs that she may be pregnant and may be getting ready to have puppies.

Taking Care of Your Pregnant Dog

When you find out that your dog is indeed pregnant, it then becomes necessary to alter her diet and make sure that you are taking proper precautions to care for her and her unborn puppies. 

Diet is one of the most significant changes in caring for a pregnant dog, as is exercise. When a dog is pregnant, much like when a person is pregnant, they do need more calories to function and grow their offspring.

Unless you have a dog that requires a special diet or a dog that has a tendency to gain weight very easily, you should be increasing the amount of food that your dog gets and allowing her more food than she might normally eat. 

You want to make sure that the food you are feeding has the right balance of fats and protein and that your dog is going to be able to get the proper nutrition. A great rule of thumb is that all life stage puppy food is a great option if you are not sure what to feed your pregnant dog.

If you have made it to the vet, you can always ask what food they recommend and see if there is any special diet that they want your pet to be on while she is pregnant. 

They can often recommend brands, varieties, and overall amounts of food that are going to work for your dog and help her have a healthy pregnancy and deliver healthy pups. 

When it comes to exercise, avoid those activities that might cause her stomach to be pressed or touched, and you also want to make sure that she is not going to over-exert or tire herself out too much.

What are the Stages of Labor?

The first stage of labor is the first 12 to 24 hours. Your dog may be more tired than usual. She may not eat, she may not want to drink much, and she is likely to going to be trying to find a place to rest and to deliver her puppies. 

She may pant or seem restless, and she may be reclusive and seem like she wants to be alone and away from people and other animals. 

As she moves to stage two, she may start to deliver one puppy at a time. With larger dogs, they can have litters of ten or more. In most cases, the average size of a litter does depend on the breed of the dog and the size of the dog. 

The average size of a German shepherd litter is about 8 puppies. In most cases, a dog will deliver a puppy every 30 to 60 minutes. If your dog is taking longer, then the puppies or the mother may be in distress, and you should take the time to have a vet present.

It is helpful and essential to take your dog to the vet while she is pregnant so that an ultrasound can be performed and the total number of puppies can be discovered. 

This will help you and anyone assisting in delivery to know when the dog is done delivering and when the placenta is expected to pass. After the last puppy is delivered, the placenta will pass, and the do will begin her recovery.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and useful as you raise and train your German Shepherd.

Here are some of my favorite reviews for German Shepherd supplies that I personally use and recommend. If you do decide to purchase them, please remember that I’ll earn a small commission which helps me maintain this website.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.