Careful planning goes into breeding future service animals. Not every puppy will make the cut to become a service dog. A large litter increases the odds of more trained pups placed with owners needing help.
With eyes wide and paws draped over the side of their pen, these sixteen cute puppies gleefully peered out at the world as they enjoyed celebrity status as the largest litter in Guide Dogs history.
The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix litter of puppies were sired by the charity’s most prolific stud, Trigger, a six-year-old Golden Retriever who now has fathered a whopping 239 dogs.
The average litter size for dogs across all breeds in the UK is five to six, while for a German Shepherd, it is eight.
Matthew Bottomley, head of breeding at Sight Loss Charity Guide Dogs UK, said:
“A litter of sixteen is incredibly unusual, but such a gift.
The pandemic has had a detrimental impact on our charity’s breeding program and how many litters we can have, so these puppies are even more treasured.
Our staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly to ensure all the puppies have thrived, and they are now ready to start their journeys to becoming life-changing guide dogs for people with sight loss.”
The charity said it hoped these crossbreed puppies would have the loyalty and drive of the German Shepherd, as well as the friendliness and confidence of the Golden Retriever.
Learn more about the German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix HERE.
Some puppies had dark fur, while some siblings had golden hints of their Golden Retriever ancestry.
While it was Trigger’s 28th litter, it was the first for the puppies’ mother. A three-year-old German Shepherd called Unity.
Sight Loss Charity Guide Dogs claims to run the “biggest, most ethical breeding program of working dogs in the world.”
The sight loss charity tests the health of its breeding dogs, which live with volunteers to give the puppies the best start in a home environment.
All puppies go to the Guide Dogs National Centre near Leamington Spa for one week before being individually placed with volunteer puppy raisers across the UK.
The charity helps millions with sight loss in Britain.
To learn more about Sight Loss charity Guide Dogs UK click HERE.
h/t Daily Mail UK