Guide dog gives birth to record-breaking litter of 16 puppies

The three-year-old German Shepherd’s litter is over three times the size of an average litter.

Staff with the puppies at the Guide Dogs National Centre in Leamington Spa
Staff with the puppies at the Guide Dogs National Centre in Leamington Spa

A guide dog has given birth to a record-breaking litter of 16 puppies.

The “treasured” pups are the largest litter the sight-loss charity Guide Dogs has ever had during its 60-year-old breeding programme.

Guide dogs breed record litter of 16 puppies
The 16 golden retriever-German shepherd mix puppies are now eight weeks old (Guide Dogs/PA)

Three-year-old German Shepherd Unity delivered the record-breaking litter, who are now eight weeks old.

Despite it being Unity’s first pregnancy, her litter is over twice the size of the average for German Shepherd’s and over three times the size of the average litter across all breeds.

Guide dogs breed record litter of 16 puppies
Unity’s litter is over twice the size of the average for German Shepherds (Guide Dogs/PA)

Fathered by Trigger, a six-year-old Golden Retriever, it is hoped the pups will have the loyalty and drive of the German Shepherd and friendliness and confidence of the Golden Retriever.

While it may have been Unity’s first litter, it is Trigger’s 28th, making him the Guide Dogs’ most prolific stud dog after having fathered 239 puppies.

The current Guinness World Record for the largest litter is 24 puppies, who were born in Cambridgeshire in 2004.

Guide dogs breed record litter of 16 puppies
Such a large litter was described as ‘unusual'(Guide Dogs/PA)

Matthew Bottomley, head of breeding at Guide Dogs, said: “A litter of sixteen is incredibly unusual, but such a gift.

“The pandemic has had a detrimental impact on our charity’s breeding programme and how many litters we can have, so these puppies are even more treasured.”

Guide dogs breed record litter of 16 puppies
The record-breaking litter of pups is the largest of the Guide Dogs 60-year-old breeding programme (Guide Dogs/PA)

Guide dogs are working dogs and are specially trained to assist people living with sight loss.

The sight-loss charity runs the biggest breeding programme of working dogs in the world.

All puppies will spend a week at the Guide Dogs National Centre near Leamington Spa before being individually placed with volunteer puppy raisers around the UK.

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