A record litter of golden retriever crossed with German shepherd puppies are hoping to become the ultimate assistance dogs.
The charity Guide Dogs believed bringing the two popular breeds together would bring out the best behaviour traits of both.
What the charity did not anticipate though was a record-breaking litter of 16 adorable pups – fathered by the charity's most prolific stud.
Golden retriever stud Trigger has now sired 239 puppies across 28 litters as part of the world's biggest and most ethical breeding programme of working dogs.
It was three-year-old German shepherd Unity's very first litter and with it came a Guide Dogs record of 16 puppies.
Her brood is twice the size of the typical number for her breed and over three times the size of the average litter across all dog breeds.
It is hoped these crossbreed puppies will have the German shepherd famous loyalty and drive, as well as the friendliness and confidence of a golden retriever.
Matthew Bottomley, Head of Breeding Operations, 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.
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“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.”
All pups spend a week at the Guide Dogs National Centre near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, before being individually placed with volunteer Puppy Raisers around the UK.
The sight loss charity meticulously health tests all of its breeding dogs and they live year-round with volunteers, to give the puppies the best start in a loving home environment.
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According to K9ofmine, the average litter size for dogs across breeds in the UK is five to six.
A councillor has effectively called for the phasing out of medium and large dogs because of the damage they do to the environment.
Mark Howell claims the carbon paw print left by dogs like Labradors and German Shepherds is the same as an SUV car.
He also said animal lovers should consider sharing dogs as pets with friends and relatives in the future to reduce dog numbers.
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