Reading time: 7 minutes.
So, you’ve noticed a few changes in your Greyhounds behavior, the least of which is a huge increase in appetite. Congratulations – you’re about to have grand-pups! So, how long are Greyhounds pregnant for, anyway?
Greyhounds are going to be pregnant for a period of approximately 63 days. During this time, pups-to-be are developing at a lightning pace, and mom might get understandably moody. As she can have up to 13 pups in a litter, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for quite a few new additions to your family!
Today we’re going to answer some common questions about Greyhounds, pregnancy, puppy development, and more. It’s a fascinating subject, so fasten your seatbelts and read on to find out all about Greyhound pregnancy and the pups that follow. Let’s get started!
How can you tell if a Greyhound is pregnant?
One of the nice things about having an almost zero-fat dog is that you can tell pretty quickly when your Grey is pregnant. That said, aside from the obvious physical signs, there are certainly some things which you can watch for:
- Making a nest – Your dog is going to start planning a nesting spot, which will either be super-close to wherever you are, or in the quietest room of the house that they can access. You can help things along but cutting up a large box, lining the bottom with plastic, and putting newspapers on top. Leave the edges high enough to prevent puppy-wandering.
- Nipple changes – During pregnancy, nipples become larger and more pronounced, and the fur in that area will quickly start thinning out in preparation for feeding those hungry pups. When this happens, you’ve got about 2 weeks before you’ll be counting little Grey puppies, so be ready!
- Always hungry – Appetite changes are to be expected. After all, your Greyhound is now eating for ‘up to 13’. We aren’t kidding about that, either. Greys typically have 7 or 8 pups, but 13 can and does sometimes happen, so you’d better stock up on snacks to make sure mom is ready.
- Sweet and sour – Your Greyhound might start sticking to you like your shadow or they might even get a little grumpy – it all depends on the dog, really, though any litters that she has after this then her temperament will likely be the same. Just make your Greyhound comfy because she is super-stressed right now and could use the help!
As quirky as Greyhounds are, you’ll actually have a much easier time knowing when they are pregnant than you might with most other breeds. Watch for behavioral changes first and you’ll definitely notice them. Once you do, then you’d better start getting prepared because Greys can have a LOT of puppies!
How big are Greyhound litters?
Greyhound litters can be small, medium, or large – with a litter consisting of anywhere between 1 puppy to as many as 13! That’s a lot of potential pups and if your Grey isn’t pregnant yet then you might consider having her spayed if you aren’t prepared for a potentially big family.
Spaying your Grey will calm her a bit and you won’t have to worry about heat cycles every year. That’s not all, however, as spaying also comes with certain health benefits, such as a reduced likelihood of certain diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer.
That said, if your Grey is already pregnant, then just be prepared for a potentially large host. While the average amount of pups will be 7 or 8, there are no guarantees how many or how few pups your dog will have, so you need to be ready just in case.
Greyhound puppy development week by week
Greyhound pups develop quickly as the weeks go by and just in case you were curious, we’ve mapped out a basic developmental set that we’ll bullet-point for you below. Let’s see how those pups are changing week by week:
- The first 3 weeks – Starting off small, puppies-to-be will take this time to go from being 4-cell organisms to a 64-celled status, in preparation for building up a spine and a cute little puppy-head
- 4 weeks – At this stage, the pup is roughly hazelnut-sized, but that’s serious progress as it’s around 3 times what they were before. They’ll form a head and eyes and then the vertebrae will begin forming too. Organs are also now starting to develop as they push towards proper puppyhood.
- 5 to 6 weeks – By 5 to 6 weeks the little ones have their organs and they’ve got color to their skin, and they are now developing more detailed features like toes, toenails, and even little whiskers! They are also developing their sex organs at this time and assuming their genders.
- 7 to 8 weeks – At 7 to 8 weeks, these pups have fully developed skeletons (sans teeth) and even little bits of fur. On the ultrasound, they look just like what they are… tiny puppies that are just about ready to be born, floating Zen-like with their eyes tightly closed.
- Week number 9 – As soon as day 57, the pups may make an appearance, but they might wait until the 63rd day before they decide to make their entrance. Blind, deaf, and without even any teeth yet, nonetheless these puppies are ready to be born.
These pups can’t regulate their temperature, but if mommy keeps them warm and well fed, within 2 weeks they’ll open their eyes and almost double in weight. They develop so quickly that it’s really quite amazing. Congratulations on your new puppy grandkids – we hope that you’re prepared!
How many times can I breed my Greyhound?
Greyhound estrus cycles are a little different from other breeds. A Greyhound dame starts her estrus cycle at around 12 months, while most dogs have already done this at 9. Following cycles will be at every 9 months as well, while non-Greyhounds have their cycles every 6 months.
That means realistically you are looking at 1 litter per year and most breeders will only breed them 4 to 6 times in a lifetime.
That said, you need to remember that not all pregnancies are the same and they are fairly hard on these almost fat-free dogs. So, if you breed them, then 3 to 4 litters is a good maximum to consider for the health of mom and for those puppies.
How soon can Greyhound puppies be weaned?
Greyhound puppies normally spend a little more time with mom, but they can be weaned as early as 8 weeks of age with no ill effects. If you aren’t raising your dogs for racing, then this is perfectly fine, as the pups are old enough to leave and should do well in their new home.
While they could technically be weaned around 6 weeks of age, it’s really not recommended. When they are young, puppies learn important lessons, such as how to get along with their littermates and even how hard to bite!
If taken too early, your dog will still have to learn these things, but it’s going to take some extra training, and even then, it’s not as good as what they’ll learn from mom and the other pups.
It’s best to simply wait until they are a minimum of 8 weeks old before you wean the puppies away from their mother. That way they’ll be healthy, happy, and much more well-adjusted in preparation for their new homes.
Should I have my Greyhound spayed?
Spaying is definitely something that you should consider. Aside from calming your dog a little and mellowing-out some more territorial behaviors, you’ll also stop your dog’s heat cycle in its tracks and that can definitely be a relief.
Spaying also comes with some health benefits. A spayed dog is less likely to develop ovarian or breast cancers, for instance, so aside from putting a stop to ‘surprise litters’ of puppies that you’ll have to raise or find a home for, you will also be giving your Grey a chance at a longer, healthier life.
If you want your Grey to have puppies, you can certainly breed them, but you should definitely consider having your dog spayed after that first litter. That way you and your dog can get the best of both worlds. Cute little puppies and a long, happy life!
Some closing words
Greyhounds are thin dogs so you have an advantage when it comes to knowing if they are pregnant. You’ll want to be ready, as a litter could be anywhere from 1 to 13 pups and unless you are breeding them professionally, then you might want to consider spaying your dog after that first litter.
This will help to ensure that you can manage all the Greys in your household and it also has health benefits for mom, so it’s well-worth consideration. After the pups are born, don’t forget that you shouldn’t wean them any earlier than 8 weeks of age – they still have a lot to learn from their siblings and from mom.
Aside from this, just be sure to keep a close eye on those pups because before you know it, they’re gonna have a little lightning in their step!