All three of our dogs are first and foremost, family pets and we have been breeding Labradors for a couple of years now and this is our fifth litter. Blossom, our Chocolate Labrador is quite experienced as this is her third litter and we know that she is a great mum and takes pregnancy and puppy rearing in her stride.
It is very important that dog breeders act responsibly and make the best decisions when breeding to ensure that every possible measure is taken to breed healthy puppies. As Kennel Club Accredited Breeders, Blossom has had a number of health screening tests including Hip Score where she achieved a hip score of 0 which is deemed to be perfect conformation.
Last year, Blossom was bred with a stud dog called “Dell” who also has 0 hip scores and is a field trials winner. We were really pleased with the litter of puppies and decided to keep one puppy from the litter who we called Fennel. Fennel is 14 months old now and we are really pleased with the way she has developed so we decided to repeat the same mating.
It is generally expected that fertility declines as a bitch gets older so we initially anticipated a slightly smaller litter than last year but as Blossom has continued to get larger and larger through her pregnancy, we started to question whether she was going to follow the rules.
Blossom’s behaviour changed on Monday night and she started being intent on nest building. We monitor body temperature as a drop in temperature is often an indication that welping is beginning and sure enough, her temperature dropped by a tell tale half a degree.
Slowly, one at a time the puppies were born. As we reached the seventh pup, her abdomen still looked large and eventually, puppy number 11 was born!!
11 is a big litter but all 11 puppies are doing well. There are 6 bitches and 5 dogs in total. Blossom is so proud of her brood and is cleaning them and feeding them well but it looks like we all have our hands full through till the New Year