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How Fast Can a German Shepherd Run?

Ever wondered how fast a German Shepherd can run? Whether you want to take your German Shepherd along when riding your bicycle or you are thinking of buying a German Shepherd as a guard dog, the answer may surprise you.

German Shepherds can run around 30 miles (48.28 km) per hour, on average. They can exceed that speed by a couple of miles per hour. However, a few factors can affect a German Shepherd’s speed, including health, age, joint issues, weight, diet, and training.

To learn more about the speeds German Shepherds can achieve and how you can train them properly to run faster, read on.

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Why A German Shepherd’s Speed Can Vary

Although German Shepherds can run 30 mph (48.28 km/h) on average, there are several factors that can affect how fast an individual German Shepherd might be able to run. Here are the main things that affect a German Shepherd’s speed.

Its Health

While a healthy German Shepherd can achieve speeds of around 30 mph (48.28 km/h) on average, your dog may have some health issues that can affect that.

For example, if your dog is experiencing joint issues, it may not be able to run quickly. Hip dysplasia, which is common among dogs and causes the hip joint to become dislocated, is one condition that can affect a dog’s speed.

Diabetes is another problem that can affect your dog’s energy levels. Weight loss, which may be tied to diabetes or maybe a result of improper eating, can also slow a dog down. If your dog is overweight, consider changing its diet, so it gets leaner and healthier.

Its Age

As your dog grows older, it will naturally have less energy. An older dog may not be able to run as fast as a younger dog. This is normal, so it is not something to be overly concerned about.

It’s Training

Finally, training plays an important role in your dog’s running capabilities as well. If your dog is used to an inactive lifestyle, it may not be able to achieve speeds of 30 mph (48.28 km/h) immediately.

When Should Your Dog Run?

It is important for your dog to get regular exercise. This will help keep it healthy and prevent it from gaining too much weight. In addition, getting enough exercise and outdoor time is important for your dog’s emotional health.

Here are some times you should let your dog run:

During Its Daily Walk

It is important to take your German Shepherd for a walk every day. Ideally, you should take it for a walk twice a day, in the morning and evening. Thirty minutes is a good amount of time to walk with your dog.

During those walks, let your German Shepherd run around for a little. This is healthy, both physically and emotionally, as it allows your dog to release pent-up energy that it can not release when stuck at home.

During Your Daily Jog

If you go for a daily jog or run, that is the perfect time to let your German Shepherd have its run too. You may not keep up with your dog, as it can run much faster than you! If you are not afraid to let it go loose, you can let it run free without a leash.

When You Are Biking

Do you love to go on a bicycle ride every day? Your dog will love running alongside you. Don’t worry; it will keep up with you, as you might not bike as fast as it can run!

There are a number of things to keep in mind when biking with your German Shepherd, however. The first thing is to stay away from major roads. It is dangerous and foolish to allow your dog to run alongside you while cars are driving past. It is best if you can bike on off-road trails or in parks for this reason.

Another thing to avoid is tying your dog’s leash to your handlebars while this might seem like a good idea to prevent your dog from running away it can cause you to fall down and get injured, especially if your dog runs to the side of the road to avoid a car.

This is something you probably didn’t think of, but if you own a motorcycle or scooter, your dog could probably keep up with you as long as you stick to under 30 mph (48.28 km/h). However, this is not always ideal, unless you can ride slowly on private roads where there are no passing vehicles.

When Playing Fetch

Dogs love to play fetch, and it is a perfect way to give your dog an opportunity to run around. Use a small ball, a stick, or its favorite toy.

By Giving It Enough Room

Since German Shepherds were used by shepherds to herd livestock, they love to run around by nature. As such, if you plan on getting a German Shepherd, it is important to give it room to run around.

Tips for Training Your Dog to Run Fast

We mentioned that an untrained German Shepherd who has not run often might not run at fast speeds. Here are some tips to keep in mind when training your German Shepherd to run quickly, whether you want to train it as a guard dog or for racing.

Start Off Slow

Just like humans who haven’t exercised in a while will start huffing and puffing after going on the treadmill for just five minutes, a dog who hasn’t had enough training will get tired from running at fast speeds quickly. Start off slow and slowly build up to higher speeds until you reach 30 mph (48.28 km/h) or higher.

Besides starting your dog off at slower speeds, don’t take it running too far in the beginning. You can’t expect your dog to run for miles on end at the beginning of its training, regardless of speed. Slowly build up to longer distances over time.

Look Out for Warning Signs

There are a number of warning signs that your dog might display while running that indicate that something might be wrong and that your dog needs a rest.

The main signs to look out for include overexertion and dehydration. Make sure your dog is getting enough to drink. Avoid going out for long runs on extremely hot days, because German Shepherds have thick coats that can cause them to heat up if they overexert themselves.

Avoid Rough Surfaces

Don’t force your dog to go running on rough surfaces. This includes concrete, especially when it is hot from the sun. Dogs are not naturally designed to run on concrete.

Give It a Lot of Room

Remember that due to being working dogs, German Shepherds are very active and need a lot of room to run around. By giving it room to be active, it will naturally be able to run at normal speeds. If it is cooped up in a small space and never gets to practice running, it will be harder to train.

Give It a Proper Diet

A malnourished dog won’t have the energy to run quickly. By keeping your dog fed and giving it the nutrients it needs, you will make its training easier. Here is a video with some tips on what to feed your German Shepherd:


If you are getting a German Shepherd to train as a guard dog, it needs to be able to run quickly to keep intruders and attackers away.

By giving your dog the proper diet, keeping it healthy, and training it properly, your dog will be able to run quickly and protect you.