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Three-year-old German Shepherd Unity has welcomed an astonishing 16 pups, the largest litter sight-loss charity Guide Dogs has ever seen throughout its 60-year-old breeding programme.
The amount of puppies may have come to a shock to poor Unity, who is a first-time mum with a now enormous brood.
She was bred with Trigger, a six-year-old Golden Retriever who is the Guide Dogs’ most prolific stud dog, having had 27 previous litters and fathered a jaw-dropping 239 puppies.
Unity’s litter is twice the size of an average German Shepherd’s litter, and three times the size of a dog’s litter generally.
Matthew Bottomley, head of breeding at Guide Dogs, said of the incredible news: “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.”
The cross-breed dogs are hoped to have the loyalty and drive of a German Shepherd and friendliness and confidence of a Golden Retriever.
Guide Dogs runs the biggest breeding programme of working dogs in the world, with more than 1,400 trained in the UK each year.
All 16 of the adorable little fur babies will spend a week at the Guide Dogs National Centre near Leamington Spa before being individually placed with volunteer puppy raisers around the UK.
While Unity may think she’s had the raw end of the deal here, there’s another dog mum who’s found themselves overran with pups.
The largest litter of puppies of all time belong to Neapolitan mastiff Tia, who welcomed an astonishing 24 babies in 2004.
Tia, whose full name was Abellatino Arabella, had nine females and 15 males after she was bred with Caesar in Cambridgeshire.
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