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How Many Puppies Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Have? Vet Reviews Facts & Tips

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Berners are a popular dog breed among dog owners for their beautiful eyes, huge size, and kind nature. Due to their active and frisky nature, they get along with kids, making excellent family pets. This breed gives birth to approximately six puppies on average.

However, several factors affect the number of puppies the dog can give birth to, and in some instances, they can have up to 15 puppies in a single litter. Moreover, younger females may have larger litters compared to older females, and a healthy Bernese female can give birth to more puppies compared to an unhealthy female.

Read on to learn more about these dogs’ reproductive habits and the factors that influence their litter size.

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Factors Affecting the Bernese Mountain Dog Litter Size

The litter size of this unique dog breed depends on several factors.

They include:
  • The Parity Number: Females that are giving birth to their first litter (regardless of their age) are likely to produce fewer puppies than a female of the same age that has given birth to puppies before. For example, a 4 year old Bernese dog giving birth to her first litter is likely to produce fewer puppies than another 4 year old Bernese dog giving birth to her 2nd or 3rd litter of puppies.
  • Age and Health of Sire/Father: Research indicates that litter size isn’t entirely up to the female. Older or unhealthy males used for breeding produce fewer puppies than younger, healthy males.
  • The Age and Health of the Female: Female Bernese Mountain Dogs can have different litter sizes depending on their current age and health status at the point of conception. The dog gives birth between 2 and 8 years, but the litter size gradually decreases if the dog has underlying health issues or aging.
two bernese mountain dog puppies in a crate
Image By: Iglwch, Shutterstock

Gestation Period

On average, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a gestation period of approximately 63 days after conception.

Keep in mind that it can be quite difficult to determine the conception date of dogs because of their somewhat unique reproductive physiology. The day of mating may not be the day the female ends up pregnant, as semen can remain viable inside the female’s uterus for up to 8 days. Therefore, the pregnancy length can range between 56 days (for “late” mating) to 69 days (for “early” mating).

If your dog was in heat and was mated with a male (either intentionally or on accident), then you should consult with a veterinarian to confirm a pregnancy. The progression of pregnancy in dogs isn’t linear and most of the drastic body changes only happen at around day 40 of pregnancy and later. Therefore, relying on anecdotal cues of pregnancy may not be reliable or may only confirm a pregnancy when it has progressed far enough.

It is also incorrect to assume that a female dog gaining weight in her midsection is pregnant. Though she may indeed be pregnant, there are other ailments that may result in a swollen belly as well. It goes without saying that such ailments require veterinary care.

If your veterinarian confirms a pregnancy, they will advise you on how to best care for your dog throughout her pregnancy. Depending on the number of fetuses your pup is carrying, your veterinarian may advise assisted birthing, if needed. Ensure you follow through with your veterinarian’s advice and take your dog for any scheduled check ups throughout her pregnancy.

Responsible Breeding

Please be mindful that puppies require extensive commitment, work, and care, and are a major commitment. Loss of young puppies may also happen, which can be very devastating for both your pup and your emotional well-being.

It is not advised to breed your dog unless you are experienced or are fully informed and prepared for the process. Purebred dogs should be examined by a veterinarian prior to being mated. These tests assess their health status, and behavior profile, check their genetics and help find the best possible mate for them to ensure a healthy litter.

bernese mountain dog
Image Credit: Peakpx

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On average, Bernese Mountain Dogs can give birth to 6 puppies per litter. However, the number will depend on factors such as the female’s age and health status, the parity number, and the age and health of the male dog that is used in the mating process.

Pregnant dogs require veterinary care. Therefore, it is advised to work closely with your local veterinarian throughout your dog’s pregnancy. Your vet will ensure that your dog has the best possible pregnancy and will also help administer care for her puppies once they’re born.

Featured Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock

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Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

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