How Long are Labrador Retrievers Pregnant For? Complete Guide in 2024


Puppies! Everybody loves how cute, fluffy, and lively they are. For both trustworthy dog breeders and dog owners alike, waiting for the birth of a new pup can look like forever! Besides, a dog’s pregnancy is shorter compared to a human’s. Thus, how long are Labrador retrievers pregnant for? Usually, dogs are pregnant for approximately 63 days; however, this number can vary by some days depending upon numerous factors.

We will cover everything about a dog’s pregnancy in this article, so let’s talk about it.

Research shows that Progesterone exhibits a diurnal pattern in pregnant Labrador Retrievers, while relaxin, prolactin, and estradiol-17 beta show no diurnal pattern during pregnancy.

Stages of Dog Reproductive Cycle

You have to understand the dog reproductive cycle to know how long are dogs pregnant for. An unaltered canine will go into heat around every six months depending upon breed and a dog itself. A reproductive cycle of a female dog has four stages, they are:

1.     Proestrus

This first stage continues for nine days. Females will attract males although they aren’t ready to mate. Signs of proestrus are a swelling of vulva and bloody discharge.

2.     Estrus

This stage lasts from 3 to 7 days. A female dog will be friendly to mate during this stage. Signs of estrus include an inflamed and soft vulva, plus a light discharge color.

3.     Diestrus

Diestrus is the last stage and it takes place around the 14th day. Throughout this two-month long stage, a female dog is no longer open to males. Signs of diestrus include:

  • Not interested to males
  • Discharge gets redder as well as tapers off
  • Vulva becomes normal

4.     Anestrus

This stage occurs between diestrus as well as the next proestrus, and will continue for 4 months. But in some dog breeds, this can be longer. Throughout this time the uterus becomes ready for the next potential pregnancy.

When you know the heat cycle you can better decide the period of a Labrador’s pregnancy. You can determine conception dates via tracking the dog’s heat cycle as well as breeding period.

How to tell if my Labrador retriever is pregnant?


It’s difficult to tell if your Labrador is pregnant. Probably, you’ll have to depend on your vet to make the decision. You’ll need to have the best assessment of the time period of when your dog was bred. You should know this as the four approaches of testing for dog pregnancy are time sensitive.

1.      Hormone tests

Relaxin test is one technique to determine if your Labrador is pregnant. The relaxin hormone is released from the placenta during dog pregnancy. This test is fairly precise, but a female dog must be a minimum of 30 days into her pregnancy. Before that time, tests can give false negatives.

2.      Abdominal Palpation

Abdominal palpation is accomplished by feeling your dog’s abdomen to observe swellings in the female uterus. Each fetus contains a fluid-filled sac that you can felt between the 21st to 35th day of gestation period. After one month, the sacs shape disappears and the uterus gets a feel that can be misguided for fat or pyometra.

3.      X-rays

X-rays are very effective after day 55. Using an x-ray, the veterinarian can give the perfect count of pups can govern the best timing if an optional cesarean will be done.

4.      Ultrasounds

Early in gestation period, an ultrasound can be performed between days 25 to 35 to determine if your Labrador is pregnant. Correspondingly, ultrasounds can record fetal heartbeats in the pups developing inside the pregnant female.

How Long are Labrador Retrievers Pregnant For?: Gestation Period of Dogs

In dogs, a typical gestation period is around 63 days from the time of conception; however, it can differ by some days. Even if you recognize the day mating occurred, it can still be difficult to determine the conception day.

This is due to the act of a mating isn’t a particular measurement of gestation. A female’s eggs stay fertile for around 48 hours and sperm can live numerous days inside a female dog. Finally, this makes it difficult to conclude the exact day the pregnancy takes place.  Using hormone levels, gestation period is as follows:

  • 56 to 58 days from the start of diestrus
  • 64 to 66 days from first rise in progesterone
  • 58-72 days from primary breeding

What are the Stages of Dog Pregnancy?


The gestation phases are relatively short during a dog’s pregnancy and the puppies grow quickly over 2 to 3 months.

First Month

The embryos become close to the uterine horns about the 7th day and the embryos set in the uterine lining on the 16th day. In day 22, the fetuses start to take shape. Numerous dogs don’t show signs of pregnancy throughout the first 3 weeks. Some symptoms  of pregnancy in the initial month include:

  • Increased loving behavior
  • Clear vaginal discharge
  • Enhanced appetite
  • Reduced activity
  • Slightly enlarged nipples

Second Month

All through the second month, fetal development takes place rapidly. On the 50th day, x-rays will display the number of puppies in the litter and the bitch will start looking for an area to nest about day 58. Pregnancy signs during the 2nd month include:

  • Clear increase in hunger
  • A 20-50% weight gain
  • Enlarged, firm abdomen
  • Noticeable puppy movement
  • Enhanced urination
  • Behavioral variations
  • Reduction in appetite by 45th day
  • Clear vaginal discharge

Third Month

By the start of the third month, a female dog is ready to whelp. On the 58th day, growth of the pups is almost complete. The pups will start moving into the whelping place over the last days of pregnancy. Symptoms during this month include:

  • Waist trimming as puppies move into whelping place
  • Anxiety
  • Hunger loss
  • Decrease in body temperature 12-24 hours before labor


How many pups can a Labrador retriever have the first time?

Labradors generally have a smaller litter through their first time breeding, usually ranging from 5-8 puppies.

How many months is a Labrador retriever pregnant for?

Pregnancy in dogs, also known as the gestation period, usually ranges from 57 to 65 days. With a strategic breeding, you must record the precise date of mating. If there are 2 matings, write down the dates and imagine birth to take place between 63 to 65 days later.

Final Thoughts

A dog pregnancy is a sensational time for dog owners. Understanding the whole process can give you a good idea of once the new pups will come. And above, you’ll see what your dog should be undergoing at each phase.

With all of this info and preparation, you will become ready for the day when it lastly comes. Dog pregnancy can be a hectic time for both you as well as your dog; however, knowing your dog’s journey to maternity will make it stress-free when you realize all is well.

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