How Many Puppies Do Australian Shepherds Have In A Litter?

how many puppies do Australian shepherds have in a litter

Whether you are looking into breeding an Australian Shepherd or looking to get your first Aussie pup and just want to know how many you are going to choose from you have come to the right location to get the correct information.

So how many pups does an Australian Shepherd actually have in a litter? 

Australian Shepherds normally have 7 puppies but could be anywhere from 6-9 pups. This will depend mostly on if it is the female Aussies first litter or have they had multiple litters. Usually the first litter is on the lower side followed by that number going up then back down. 

How many puppies will your Australian Shepherd have does have many factors based on the health, age, size, etc. We will go over some of those factors and misconceptions below.


Australian Shepherd Litter Misconceptions

With female Australian Shepherds some people believe they can get pregnant at any point of time and this is simply not true. Another misconception is that they come into heat 3 to 4 times a year which isn’t true. This can range a bit but normally every 6 to 9 months.

And last but not least with litter sizes a lot of people think dogs have like 15-20 puppies at a time. There is no set range you can look back at the mother to get a better number of how many will be in the litter.

Size plays a major factor where the smaller the dog like a toy aussie the smaller the litter. Which explains why toy australian pups are so much more then regular size australian shepherds I guess.

Age also plays a factor where a female dogs first litter will produce usually less pups then their following litters until they get older. Then again that number will decrease.

Teacup Australian Shepherd you can expect to have between 3-5 pups at a time

Toy Australian Shepherds you can expect to have between 3-5 pups at a time

Miniature Australian Shepherds you can expect to have between 5-7 pups at a time

Australian Shepherds (regular size) you can expect 5-7 pups as well.

This is where it can get kind of funky if you have lets say a full size female Australian Shepherd and a smaller miniature Australian Shepherd male or smaller the female is likely to have more puppies in their litter. Smaller dog equals smaller embryos which means she can carry more of them.

So overall the bigger the male the less the puppies where the smaller the male the more puppies in a litter. This is why it isn’t a bad idea to have smaller males if the Aussie doesn’t have to be bigger to put work in. Usually for agility they don’t need to be big only for farm work they will need that additional size.

There are of course other factors that relate more to the health and nutrition of the dog and this is where your vet comes more into play.

How Many Litters Can An Australian Shepherd Have?

In their lifetime an Australian Shepherd can have up to 3 litters a year and can breed until they pass away as dogs don’t go through menopause like humans. Now this should never happen usually breeding takes place between 3-8 years of age for most professional breeders.

Females carrying and giving birth takes its toll on females just like it does on humans. Although have pups and babies is a beautiful think you need to be careful on the females health.

Also if you do the math a female and her babies can hypothetically produce 67,000+ offspring this is why if a dog is not being professionally bred or bred for a reason they should be fixed to keep population of strays down since it is normally the hardest on the dogs.

Australian Shepherds of course normally don’t have problems finding a home especially the smaller they get the harder they are to find.

We love our Aussies and could go back and forth on this all day. However we have gone out and gathered information from real dog owners on how many litters a dog should have in their lifetime.

We curated this info from sub reddits and dog forums and brought it all over here for you to review for yourself.

Real Dog Owner Answers

1. SilverLoka “Two Litters Year Is Too Much” – In my opinion two litters a year is too much. But say if you only have 3 litters total in a dogs life and then she’s spayed then maybe it can be healthier to have 3 litters close to each other than to drag it out over many years.

Isn’t it legal in the US for the bitch to be a 12 months at the time of her first litter?

In Sweden it’s 18 months which I also think is to early, 2 years is a more appropriate age I think, then both the mental and physical development is complete. At 12 months a dog is still a baby, I think having a litter that early has more health issues than having litters too close to each other.

In both cases I can’t help to think that it’s just for the money!

2. M&TDoodles “Depends On Health” – Just my opinion as a breeder of Labradoodles, it really depends on the “health” and quality of

nutrition the Dam is provided. Females that are considered for breeding in our program & many breeders that advertise here, have expensive

testing, such as hips,eyes,DNA profiles,regular Vet visits, Cardiac testing, blood panels,thyroid testing…this adds up for quality breeders, the

window of time to breed a dog is short. One should not breed before the 3rd heat, the dog is too immature to care for her pups. You wouldn’t

want to have a large litter of pups to have the mom refuse to feed them, or trample them,sit on them smother them, you also expect the

female to be mature to teach the pups the many things they need to be taught in the first 8 weeks of life.

There are many variables to consider when breeding. Just to say you shouldn’t breed twice a year is wrong. If you are providing really healthy

nutritious meals, there is no reason why you couldn’t breed twice in one year. The decision to not breed successively would be how she was

able to handle the last litter of pups, and maybe what size of litter she had, and or the health of the pups that were born.

We would stop if it took her more than 12 hours to deliver her pups, if her milk supply wasn’t adequate to supply her pups for the first 4

weeks, if there were congenital illness in any of the pups, if she had mastitis more than once with 2 separate litters , the list goes on…If she

had trouble with delivery then that would be a red flag to us to not continue using her for breeding.

There are so many variables to consider, there is no way to say you shouldn’t do this ,or you shouldn’t do that, it really depends on her

health, the quality of pups health also once delivered. There rate of growth, there temperaments , one has to take into consideration so many

variables when considering breeding and the timing.

We have bred back to back without health issues, but we treated her like a queen feeding her many home cooked meals, placing an effort into

our breeding practices with thought for her health as always been our primary consideration.

Breeding from age 2 – 5 is considered an average age for quality breeding. We do not start until close to age 2 and will stop breeding once age

6, but will stop if issues arise along the way.

Not all breeders have high standards of practice true, but to categorize or assume a breeder as being bad to have successive litters is wrong


3. Spellweaver “Quality over quantity” – My own personal opinion is that whether or not someone is puppy farming is a measure of

quality, rather than quantity.

For example, breeder no 1 has several females who are allowed only two or three litters during their breeding life. This breeder produces several litters per year, but does it ethically and safely, with the appropriate health checks in place, cares deeply for the females even when they have retired from breeding, ensures the pups go to good homes, and provides life-time support and aftercare to the buyers. I would not class this as puppy farming.

Breeder no 2 has one or two females not necessarily pedigree, and breeds indiscriminately, with no regard for health issues, sells the pups with no regard for anything other than the money they can get for them, breeds from the females every season and then gets rid of them as soon as they can no longer breed. I would say this is puppy farming.

And of course, there is the breeder no 3 who does the same as the second breeder but with several females – definitely a puppy farmer!

When Can Australian Shepherds Have Puppies?

Males reach sexual maturity at around a year to 16 months, but they do become fertile at the young age of 6 months so be very careful. A lot of vets are recommending to not get your male dog fixed until a year so they their bone and muscle structure can completely develop so watch them closely for those additional 6 months so there are no accidental inseminations.

Female Australian Shepherds become sexually mature and ready for breeding at the age of 2. Their bones are completely grown and they are at their strongest at this point.

How Many Puppies Does An Australian Shepherd Have In Their First Litter?

Although full size Aussies have up to 7 puppies this will depend on a lot of things for their first litter. If it is a smaller male she will probably still have around 7 puppies. If it is a big male you are probably looking at closer to around 5 puppies or even less since it is the first litter.

Australian Shepherd Puppies

Aussie puppies are amazing, but they need to have their shots and good genes to live a long life just like with any pure breeds. So make sure to look into the history of the sires (mother and father) before purchasing right away. With facebook these days the research can be quite easy to complete.

Look for local breeder if you can that is the best route to normally go then if you have any issues you can deal with them locally as well. With our toy Aussies we had to travel quite a ways to get them around 10 hours but we took our time and did our research and back then there wasn’t very many people breeding toy Aussies.

That is another issue make sure you take your time I know you want a puppy right away, but there will always be more Australian Shepherd pups.

Pictures Of Australian Shepherd Puppies

litters of puppies

Final Thoughts

So Australian Shepherds will have around 7 pups in their litter except if it is their first litter or they are older and in that case probably shouldn’t be having any pups anyway.

If it is a toy or mini Aussie they will also likely have lesser pups. If you are looking into getting into breeding Australian Shepherds possible look at getting a smaller male and you can then have more pups in a litter usually.

This is mainly a great idea for show and agility dogs since they don’t have to be as big as an Aussie that is going to be working on a farm. Toy and mini Australian shepherds the same thing go with a smaller male if possible to breed with a bigger sized female you will have great results overtime.

Always check your local adoption companies for getting a Australian Shepherd for free and picking up a dog that really needs a home. Even Aussie mixes are amazing and will usually live longer. We had a border collie – heeler mix that lived to be 20 she was an amazing animal still miss her to this day.

If you are dead set on purchasing one make sure you go through all the colors and male vs female before purchasing.

Tab Winner

Hello my name is Tab Winner. My wife and I have been around Australian shepherds for 20+ years and we definitely love them. We currently have a pair of Toy Aussies one is a Tri-color and the other is a blue merle that are both 10 and 11 years old.

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