German Shepherd Pregnancy Stages & Signs

German Shepherd Pregnancy Stages & Signs

If you own a female German Shepherd then at some point you will need to understand the German Shepherd pr


Particularly you should understand the heat cycle as well as how long are German Shepherds pregnant. 

Due to their tall, athletic, and muscular build, German Shepherds are the 2nd most well-known breed of dog. They are frequently employed as pets, herding animals, guard dogs, hunting dogs, and police dogs.

German Shepherds require specific care when it comes to nutrition, exercise, and hygiene despite being robust canines that do not get sick.

German Shepherds often give birth after 9 weeks. Due to their size, German Shepherds’ pregnancies may last a little longer than those of other breeds.

You must keep a close eye on your dog and keep tabs on its heat cycle if you want to determine the precise gestational period of your German Shepherd.

From the moment of conception, a German Shepherd’s pregnancy lasts, on average, 63 days or 9 weeks.

The precise gestation time of a German Shepherd can be determined by an expert. This article will equip you with the knowledge of how you should care for a German Shepherd during pregnancy.

How Long Are German Shepherds Pregnant For?

German Shepherd Pregnancy

All dogs, including German Shepherds, have a gestation time of 63 days. It may, however, occasionally change by a few days.

Despite the fact that this may appear like a precise number, it is frequently difficult to predict when a dog is pregnant. If you don’t know when your dog came to be pregnant in the first place, having knowledge of the gestational period won’t help.

The majority of dogs do bring their puppies to term. In dogs, preterm delivery is incredibly uncommon. A dog usually goes into labor prematurely when the pups have indeed passed away and stopped developing in the womb.

Preterm birth is certainly a possibility; typically, it occurs when an infection or other comparable condition is present.

It’s typical to have several days off on either side. Usually, this results from incorrectly estimating the dog’s conception date. Even when the pups arrive a few days early, they may not necessarily be preterm.

German Shepherd Pregnancy Stages

German Shepherds Pregnancy Stages

Week 1

The eggs become fertilized, and also the reproductive organs are prepared for pregnancy during the initial week of pregnancy.

Right now, your German shepherd’s pregnancy cannot be verified by your veterinarian. You are not required to take action at this time either.

Week 2 & 3 

The healthy, fertilized eggs embed themselves into the uterine lining during the second week.

The size and color of the nipple will alter, along with morning sickness and an increase in hunger, in the 3rd week of pregnancy. Some dogs, though, may exhibit signs of malnutrition.

The eggs move toward the uterine horns, where they begin to expand after becoming embedded in the uterine lining. This relatively simple procedure often takes 16 days.

It’s essentially difficult to tell if your dog is impregnated at this point without taking her in for an ultrasound. The infants rarely appear.

She might also experience some behavioral adjustments. If she starts to get restless, play with her and make sure she gets the nourishment she needs.

Week 4

The female dogs start frequently puking in the morning at the conclusion of the first month. Pregnancy is clearly indicated by this.

Dogs aren’t considered to be “pregnant” until the puppies have fully integrated into the wall of the uterus. The female won’t have any symptoms during this time because her body isn’t receiving any pregnancy-related signals.

Around day 22, the fetus will begin to develop. Only one week later, between days 28 and 30, can an ultrasound show the presence of a heartbeat.

The best time to ask your veterinarian for advice on dietary supplements is right now. Additionally, you want to think about reducing your female GSD’s physical activity.

German Shepherd Pregnancy Signs

Week 5 & 6

When the second month starts, the fetal development quickens and a good stethoscope can pick up the puppies’ heartbeats.

In week six, the female German Shepherd’s appetite substantially grows. The dog’s weight increases by 20 to 50 percent, and urine increases as well.

The fetuses grow rapidly from week four through week eight. For instance, their claws begin to emerge around day 40 and their toes become evident around day 35.

By day 50, all of the skeletons in a litter should be visible, making it possible to identify the number of pups in the litter.

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People who have unintentional litters typically discover that the dog is expecting around this time. Many of the symptoms in pregnant dogs often appear at this time.

Of course, the majority of breeders will already be aware of their dog’s pregnancy thanks to hormone tests.

They must continue to maintain a close eye on the dog’s health and give it the necessary veterinary care during this time. The female dog should begin to put on weight.

You should start eating fewer portions while implementing a diet that supports growth and development.

You don’t need to do anything particularly important at this time. Just be careful to serve tiny portions because the developing puppies will reduce how much their mom can eat in one go.

Week 7

As the second month of the pregnancy draws to a close, some behavioral changes become apparent. The vaginal discharge will become clear and odorless, and the abdomen grows solid and huge.

When your female GSD begins to produce milk, whelping will occur. Therefore, ensure that there is a calm area designated for this purpose and ensure that your female dog becomes accustomed to sleeping there.

Your pet’s behavioral modifications intensify. The stomach enlarges and becomes hard.

Week 8

The dog’s appetite immediately starts to decline by the conclusion of the 2nd month. The abdominal motions of the puppies become more obvious.

For the nursing puppies, the nipples expand. Around day 58, the development of a puppy is finished. Therefore, it normally doesn’t cause any issues if the babies arrive a few days early.

Although most puppies go into a whelping position a few days after their growth is complete. Because of this, the actual birth normally happens just several days after the pups are finished developing.

Typically, as the puppies enter the birthing canal, the female’s waist will get smaller. Puppies that were closer to her ribs will descend in position.

She occasionally has noticeable variances in her body type. Most of the time, labor doesn’t start for more than a few days after the puppies begin to move.

There is still one week till your dog goes into labor. Make sure your female GSD is not subjected to any physical stress.

Week 9

The maturation of the puppies is finished when the final week of pregnancy starts, and the puppies begin to move toward the delivery canal. The female dog gets restless and begins hunting for a hidden location to build her nest.

The mother’s body undergoes rapid changes over the course of several days as it gets ready to give birth. The female eating less over the few days prior to giving birth is not unusual.

Mothers frequently experience some tension during this time. They can pant and seem agitated. Some make it seem as though they don’t have time to eat.

Breeders typically keep an eye on their dog’s temperature at this time. A dog’s temperature will typically decrease 12 to 24 hours prior to giving birth.

German Shepherd Pregnancy Signs

German Shepherd Pregnancy Stages

Behavioral Changes

A female dog can generally mark her territory more regularly while she is pregnant. They urinate in numerous locations to do this.

German shepherd females occasionally stain their urine, although you won’t often notice this. In addition, they don’t pick the spot to mark, whether it’s the couch, the TV, or the room’s corner.

Last but not least, the behavior of your female GSD may undergo substantial alterations.

They grow increasingly anxious and restless.  Nevertheless, a German shepherd’s increasing hostility is the most typical personality alteration. Their maternal instincts are mostly to blame for this.

Changes In Appetite

A female GSD will often consume much more food to meet the demands of her pups.

If you understand what I’m saying, make sure to get plenty of dog food for her. Also think about buying nutritious food as opposed to food that is only focused on flavor and not nutrients.

One of the typical indicators that a German Shepherd is expecting is a change in appetite. It’s likely that your pregnant GSD will consume more food than usual.

Enlarged Or Discolored Nipples

You will start to see physiological changes in the German Shepherd about the halfway point of the pregnancy. She will enlarge physically, her abdomen and nipples growing bigger than before. Additionally, the nipples will also be darker.

As your German Shepherd reaches the latter half of her pregnancy, you might also notice hair loss around her stomach.

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You shouldn’t be concerned about the hair loss, though, since it is a normal alteration that nearly every female GSD goes through throughout her pregnancy.

Weight Gain & Enlarged Abdomen

Your German Shepherd will thus put on a lot of weight, ideally between 20% and 50%. Despite the fact that this might appear to be lot of weight, your pet will lose the excess pounds once her gestation time is complete.

When Can German Shepherds Get Pregnant?

Only during the second phase of the heat cycle is fertilization possible, as dogs cannot get pregnant when not in heat.

A German shepherd may then become pregnant.  Having said that, the third phase of a German shepherd’s heat cycle might be thought of as the pregnant period. Usually, this happens six months later.

A German shepherd is able to get pregnant at any time, even as a young puppy of five months. Although the average age is typically thought to be around 24 months old, this is not a strict guideline that you must go by.

The German Shepherd is a huge breed dog, thus it takes a long time for it to mature. This is the most crucial thing for you to keep in mind if you desire your litter of puppies.

Before they are at least eighteen months old, and preferably two years old, they shouldn’t become pregnant or have puppies.

How To Confirm That Your German Shepherd Is Pregnant

How To Confirm That Your German Shepherd Is Pregnant


Requesting a German Shepherd ultrasound from your veterinarian is the quickest way to determine whether your German Shepherd is pregnant.

This scan can be performed for the first time three weeks after mating, but it won’t always be 100% accurate at this early stage; the greatest outcomes come from an ultrasound at least 25 days following conception.

While ultrasounds are painless, if your German Shepherd has a phobia of going to the vet because their belly fur will be removed, it may be a distressing experience.

It’s an expensive approach, so many people choose to wait till their German Shepherd begins to exhibit more overt signs of pregnancy before shelling out money for a scan.

The German Shepherd ultrasound is the most reliable test to determine whether your German Shepherd is expecting.

However, it shouldn’t be carried out until 25 days have passed since the mating because it could produce unreliable results.

Blood Sample

The second pregnancy test option is a blood test. This can be done 5 weeks after mating and will help your German Shepherd detect a pregnancy hormone.

Although it is less expensive than an ultrasound, when performed too early, it is not always accurate. For instance, even if your German Shepherd is pregnant, the test may come out negative if the pregnancy has lasted fewer than 35 days.

German Shepherd Stages Of Labor 

Stage 1

Around 24 hours prior to delivery, the first phase of labor begins. The dog exhibits acute restlessness as the contractions start during this stage, refusing to eat or drink, and begins to vomit or pant.

Stage 2

When the dog begins to give birth to the puppies, stage 2 begins. Up to 24 hours may pass at this period. A dog gives birth to puppies after an interval of 1.5 hours. This gap shouldn’t be longer than two hours because it can be problematic.

It is preferable to find out how many pups are inside the dog via an ultrasound or x-ray, so that you can be informed when stage 2 is finished.

Stage 3

Stages 2 and 3 begin virtually simultaneously. This phase begins with the placenta, the baby puppy, and ends with the delivery of the last placenta. When stage 2 is finished, stage 3 comes to a close.

Caring For A Pregnant German Shepherd

During pregnancy, your German shepherd requires a lot of care and attention. To make the gestation far less uncomfortable, there are various things you can do.

  • A pregnant dog needs high-quality dog food to be healthy.
  • The amount of dog food must be progressively raised along with the dog’s appetite.
  • More food should be given to it throughout the day in small amounts. Giving a female dog a lot of food might be harmful to both the dog and the offspring.
  • Bring your dog to the vet for routine examinations. During the 60 to 65 days of pregnancy, you must take it to the veterinarian at least three to four times.

How Do German Shepherds Give Birth?

Caring For Pregnant German Shepherd

Natural Birth

Watch out for the telltale indications that the German Shepherd is preparing to deliver her pups  if, after consulting with your veterinarian, you choose to let things unfold normally.

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Make sure your German Shepherd’s nest is properly prepared if it’s time for her to give birth. She will begin to return again to her nest, scratching the towels numerous times before ultimately lying down and breathing loudly like she has just done a lot of activity, as you will see.

You will see that she is not at all tranquil during this moment, and you will also observe that her heart rate is elevated. The earliest of the pups may not show up for up to 12 hours.

The German Shepherd mom will bite at the delivery sack after the puppy is delivered and lick any surplus off the puppy. This enables the infant to begin taking in oxygen. If the mother has trouble doing this, some owners might need to assist.

The mother German Shepherd may even be seen devouring the sack as well as umbilical cords. Be not worried; it is purely instinctive and they do include nutritional components.

You can assist by placing the German Shepherd puppies onto the mother’s nipples when they are out and moving so that they can begin nursing.


Only a few pregnancies involving German Shepherds employ this method.

By utilizing an X-ray to determine the size of the skulls and the anticipated number of puppies, your veterinarian can assist you in deciding whether this is the right course of action.

This procedure will be done under anesthesia, thus there are certain dangers involved.

How Old Can A German Shepherd Be To Get Pregnant?

A German shepherd can become pregnant at any stage in its life, even as early as 5 months old.

The average age however is usually considered to be around 2 years old, but this is not a hard and fast rule that you need to follow.

The most important thing for you to remember if you want your litter of puppies is that the German Shepherd is considered to be a large breed dog, and therefore needs quite a long time to reach full maturity.

They shouldn’t become pregnant or father puppies before they are eighteen months old at the very least, with 2 years of age being the preferred option.

Not only does this mean that their hips will always suffer less wear and tear, but also a german shepherd pregnant at this age will be less likely to suffer from the various complications that pregnancies, births, and lactation in dogs can cause.

How Many Puppies Do German Shepherds Have?

German Shepherds can give birth to one to fifteen puppies. The average litter size for dogs is eight puppies. Unless you wait until later in the pregnancy for an ultrasound, there isn’t any way to figure out how many pups your dog may have.

The amount puppies a dog has depends on a number of variables. Larger dogs, like German Shepherds, typically have more than little dogs.

Size also appears to be an important consideration. For instance, larger German Shepherds frequently produce more pups. There is a genetic component as well, however it is unclear how important genetics will be.

Sometimes dogs with more puppies give birth to them earlier. There appears to be a relationship between gestational period and litter size.

It’s possible that females give birth to their puppies earlier because it’s tougher for them to carry multiple puppies at once. Humans are likewise subject to this circumstance. People who are expecting twins or triplets frequently give birth early.

Final Words

It’s a big duty to take care of an expectant dog, and you need to be very aware of all of its movements. During pregnancy, you must tend to the dog more than a human being.

These measures will be worthwhile if you enjoy playing with pups and have a soft spot for them.

The female dog gets restless shortly after the eighth month, once the nipples expand to allow the puppies to suckle. It begins looking for a secret, secure location that allows it to bring forth the pups quickly.

If you give it a decent setup, it will begin to spend the majority of its time there so that it becomes accustomed to it. To make the box extra cozy for the restless dog, add some towels or blankets.

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