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Border Collie Litter Sizes: (All Questions Answered)

How many puppies do border collies usually have in a litter? It’s a popular question asked by both current and future owners. This FAQ guide has everything you need to know.

Border collies have 4-8 puppies in a litter with 6 being the average. Young border collies typically have small first litters compared to older collies having their second or third litter.

Why Do Some Border Collies Have Small Litters?

If you ask breeders or search online forums, it seems many think that border collies have small litters when considering their medium physical size.

➡️ The truth is that 4-8 is actually very normal for the size of border collies.

The younger the border collie the smaller the litter is a general rule of thumb. In addition to this, first litters are usually smaller than second or third litters.

It’s also important to know that border collies can have bigger litters. Depending on factors I’ll explain below, a border collie could have 8-10 in a litter (in rare circumstances).

Factors Affecting Litter Sizes In Border Collies

So what changes how big the litter will be? Let’s run through the main factors.

1. Age 🔢

As mentioned earlier, age affects how big or small a litter will be.

Young border collies (those that are bred on their first heat cycle) will more than likely produce a small litter of 4 or less.

This is completely normal as they themselves have not matured physically.

Older border collies (3-4 years old) will likely have a larger litter as their body is at their full size. Second or third litters tend to be larger too.

2. Health 🏥

Although having a small litter is NOT a sign of bad health, it goes without saying that a healthy border collie has a higher chance of a bigger litter.

We also shouldn’t be breeding collies that are not in full health. This is why it’s crucial to have thorough health checks before considering breeding.

3. Genetics 🧬

Genetics also plays an underlying role in litter sizes.

If your female border collie comes from a bloodline that has a history of producing large litters then the chances of your BC producing a large litter is higher.

And of course, this happens the other way around too.

➡️ Related Info: Border Collie Heat Cycle Explained

Is It Normal For a Border Collie To Have Only 2 Puppies

If your border collie is bred very young (like in her first heat cycle) then yes, it’s more common to have very small litters.

While having a small litter doesn’t suggest health issues, it would be very uncommon for an elder border collie to produce only 2 in the litter.

4-8 puppies in a litter is still the average.

How Many Puppies Will a Border Collie Have The Second Time

Border collies will usually have larger litters the second time around. 6-8 puppies is more likely for second litters.

First litters will usually be 2-4 puppies.

As explained before, age will also be a factor…

A collie having her second litter at four years old is likely to have a larger litter than a collie having her second litter at two years.

Trending: Can I Pick The RUNT of The Litter?

How Many Times a Year Can Border Collies Have Puppies

So how many litters can a border collie have in a year?

While it’s technically possible for a border collie to have up to 4 litters per year, it’s not recommended. 1-2 litters per year is preferable as it allows plenty of rest between each litter.

How Many Litters Can a Border Collie Have In Her Life?

Border collies are capable of producing 10-12 litters over their lifetime, but this may not result in the highest quality of puppies and isn’t generally recommended.

6-8 litters over the span of her lifetime is preferable to ensure that each litter is healthy and producing high quality puppies.

How Long Are Border Collies Pregnant

Border collies are pregnant for 60-70 days, with 63 days being the average duration.

This is also what the AKC states: The normal gestation period in dogs is approximately 63 days from conception, although this can vary by several days.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.