How Fast Can A German Shepherd Run? German Shepherd Breed Explained

how fast can a german shepherd run

How fast can a German Shepherd run?  Is this one of the fastest dog breeds?  Are German Shepherd’s sprinters or long distance runners?  All of these questions have been asked about the German Shepherd breed before.  It may surprise you to know that these dogs do have reasonable speed for the size and shape of the breed to begin with.

Hi my name is Mike and I’ve been training one dog or another for years now.  A lot of the questions I get seem to be quite common so I decided to start this website to bring the answers to a wider audience.  Today we will be targeting the German Shepherd dog breed and answering the specific question, “How fast can a German Shepherd run?”.  Lets take a look into this ever popular breed and see.

>>New Dog?  Need A hand?<<

How Fast Can A German Shepherd Run?

So how fast can a German Shepherd Run?  The top speed of a fully grown German Shepherd is usually between 30 to 35 mph.  This can vary of course depending on the health and condition of the animal to begin with.  25-30 miles an hour would probably be a more accurate estimate with the outliers and true performers clocking in over 30mph.

How long can a German Shepherd maintain it’s top speed?  This can also vary wildly depending on the animal.  German Shepherds are not known to be distance runners but they can hold their own over a moderate distance.  A lot will also depend on the circumstances.  German Shepherds will originally bred to corral and herd other animals like sheep.  In this function, they would speed up and slow down frequently depending on the situation at hand.

Do German Shepherds Like To Run?

This is also going to depend on the personality and temperament of your dog.  A younger German Shepherd might love to be outside and doing things all the time.  From running to playing, they will keep themselves busy.  As they get older and more mature, this could change.  There could also be health factors that come into play as well.

German Shepherds are very durable dogs and capable of being outdoors in the heat and cold for extended periods of time.  Furthermore, they are task oriented dogs and fairly easy to train.  They work great as hunters and trackers.  These dogs are often still used out in farms and pastures to help their caretakers herd and corral other animals as well.

This breed is also very effective at providing protection when needed and can be innately territorial because of it.  German shepherds can make great family pets as well but will excel more with room to grow.  With that being said, I’ve trained many apartment bound and inside German Shepherds.  The key is to provide them with a good amount of activity so they don’t get into mischief on their own.

how do german shepherds run

How Do German Shepherds Run?

So now that we have answered the. “How fast can a German Shepherd run?” question, lets dive further into how they run.  Typically, most dogs will have a few different speeds.  They will commonly accelerate in speed from a basic walk to a full on gallop.  Lets look at some of the different speeds German shepherds can run at and why they will utilize each mode.


A walk is just what is sounds like.  A leisurely pace in which all four paws touch the ground at separate intervals.  This is one of the most common speeds that a German Shepherd will use.  When they are not active, German Shepherds will move around most areas at a walk unless their is some perceived threat or urgency implied.  The speed of a walk is between 2-4 mph.


This pace is a step above a walk.  Think of it like a brisk walk for humans.  Your dog will form a diagonal sync pattern between their front and back paws meaning that 2 paws will land in unison each time they move.  This pace can be used for a multitude of reasons but will mostly be seen when your dog has been alerted to something and is preparing to investigate.  They may also use this as a way to keep up with their owner if they are walking at a brisk pace.  The speed of a trot can range greatly from 7-18 mph.


A canter is often described as a fast run but not an all out sprint.  In this movement.  Your dog will lead with one paw shortly followed by the rest in a three beat motion.  The left and right paws will usually alternate in this pacing as well.  A good example would be your dog leading with their left paw followed shortly by their right paw.  Both back paws will then land simultaneously.  This will create a speed between 18-25 mph.


A gallop can also be referred to as an all out run.  This is where top speed for your dog will be achieved.  Interestingly enough, a gallop is most similar to the style of a walk.  Each paw will hit the ground at their own time but in a much faster pace.  Typically, you will see your German Shepherd at this speed if they are chasing something down or defending their herd.  Top speed here is between 25-35 mph.

Keep in mind that these four speeds can vary depending on your dog and the condition they are in.  Younger puppies won’t be able to get up to a top speed and may not even be able to reach a galloping gait at all.  Ideally, your younger pups shouldn’t put too much stress on their bones and growth plates to early either.

Dog’s with health conditions or advanced age adults may struggle with the faster speeds as well.  Don’t panic if your dog doesn’t run 30mph though.  Every animal will be different and things like health and hereditary traits can determine much.

German Shepherd Breed Explained

Now that we have addressed the overall speed of a German Shepherd,  Lets take a more generalized look at the breed as a whole.  Why are these dogs so popular?  How are they used around the world?  What can I expect from my new German Shepherd?

Why Are German Shepherds So Popular

There is no doubt that German Shepherds make up one of the most popular breeds out in the world today.  Why is this so?  There are many reasons but lets go into some of the main ones.

  1.  Great family dogs:  Even though German Shepherds were bred to be outside and helping in the fields, their personality and temperament also make them great family dogs as well.  They get along great with adults and children alike.  They will also guard your family like it was their own.  A great deterrent for any would be thief is the bark of a German Shepherd.
  2. Intelligent Breed:  These dogs are smart and are used around the world for various activities because of this.  They are often seen working in the fields or off hunting with their owners.  German Shepherds can also make good rescue and police dogs as well.
  3. Show Dogs:  German Shepherds have been well known show dogs for many years now.  Pure bred varieties have seen much success in dog shows across the globe.  This is one of the reasons they have become popular as their television exposure has brought them renown in many countries.

How Are German Shepherds Used Around The World?

The German Shepherd dog is used in various different types of roles around the world.  Lets look at some of the most common ones.

  1.  Family Dog:  As stated above, German Shepherds are good family dogs.  They make great protectors of field and family alike.  For someone who travels a lot like me, this is a great dog to leave home and watch over your family while you’re away.
  2. Hunter:  German Shepherds make good hunting dogs.  This is not their primary function of course but they have good speed and take direction well.  All of this is needed when going out on a prolonged hunt.  They can also fetch and corner animals if needed.
  3. Herder:  The original purpose this dog was bred for.  German Shepherds make excellent herders.  They have helped many a farmer protect and maintain their groups of livestock.  A lot of the traits of a good herding dog are instinctual and passed down through inheritance. That gives German Shepherds an extra edge when it comes to herding in general.

what can I expect from my new german shepherd

What Can I Expect From My New German Shepherd?

German shepherd puppies can be quite a handful and require a firm foundation in order to flourish.  If you let them, these dogs will walk all over you and assume control of your living situation.  There are some important steps you can take to make sure this doesn’t happen.  Lets take a look.

Establish A Foundation

The most important step when getting a new German Shepherd is to lay the ground work.  Establishing a clear set of rules or laying the foundation will go a long way towards keeping your dog in line.  The earlier this is implemented, the better.

For example,  If you bring home a German Shepherd pup, allow them to get used to their new surroundings for the first day.  On day two the training begins in earnest.  There are many different training methods you can take but whatever you do decide to do, make sure that you follow through with it and don’t falter.  New dogs don’t just become obedient overnight and the more intelligent ones usually take a bit more time to fall in line.  Expect to spend the first 6 months or so providing constant feed back for your new dog.  Once this is established, correction will be less and less of an issue. 6 Months of vigilance for years and years of companionship is not a bad trade off at all.


Making sure you have the right nutrition plan for your growing German Shepherd is paramount to maintaining their health and wellbeing as well.  The wrong kind of diet can cause serious health issues and have an impact on their ability and longevity as well.

A great way to plan good nutrition for your dog is by scheduling an appointment with your vet.  During this well visit, explain to the vet what you are trying to do with your new dog and they will be able to work with you to create a proper diet for your pup.  Alternatively, you can also work with a dog nutritionist who will specialize in canine optimization as far as diet goes.  These professionals can help you build a long term plan to keep your dog happy and properly fed for years to come.


Exercise is also a key factor when it comes to your new German Shepherd.  The right exercise routine will change over the course of your dog’s life.  Modifying this routine to match your dog’s current needs is important and will help to keep them in peak physical condition.  Even the family German shepherd dogs who may spend less energy each day need to be seen to.

An ideal exercise routine will vary between a growing dog and a mature adult.  Lets look at examples for both real quick.

German Shepherd Puppy Exercise

When your German Shepherd is growing they will need exercise but It can’t be super rigorous.  Ideally 2 or 3 short 10 minute walks a day combined with some dog training and light play activity (fetch, etc.) is ideal for your growing dog.  You want to avoid running them or having them walk or jump for extended periods of time.  This can actually mess with their growth plates and cause growth defects or back problems.  Keep the exercise light and varied for the greatest effect.

German Shepherd Adult Exercise

After a German Shepherd reaches adult hood, there is much more flexibility to their exercise routine.  A few 10 minute walks each day is fine for a family oriented dog as long as there is some additional training and play time worked in as well.

For dogs that are going to have to be more active by either herding or hunting, you should start taking them for longer and longer walks from about the 10 month mark and on.  I still would be careful about letting them run full out for long periods of time until they are at least 18 months old but your vet can also help guide you in this as well.  Some dogs take a little longer to finish growing than others.  They key here is not to stop or stunt the growth plates before they are locked into place permanently.  We don’t want to cause premature arthritis or dysplasia issues if they can be avoided.

Bottom line here is that adult dogs will be able to do more and will have more even energy whereas younger dogs will burn hot and bright before crashing in a few minutes.  Keep those pups from overdoing it too much and all should be well in the long term.

How Fast Can A German Shepherd Run Concluded

So there we have it.  We answered the “How fast can a German Shepherd run?” question and we also took a deeper look at the breed in general.  Remember that vets are a great resource whenever you get a dog and following up with them if you have any questions is a great idea.  I’ve worked with many vets over the years and they would rather answer questions before there’s an issue instead of dealing with the aftermath.

German Shepherds are one of the faster dogs out there topping their speeds at up to 35 mph.  Other dogs may be able to run faster but German Shepherds also have great intelligence and endurance which makes them a favorable breed for many pet owners across the world as well.  If you are looking for a good family dog that will be active and loving, a German Shepherd is a great choice!


New to dog ownership?  Need a hand with training? Check this out.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *