How Fast Can a German Shepherd Run?

German Shepherd is one of the most recognizable dogs. It’s either loved for its friendly and loyal character or its presence in police forces.

It’s originally a German herding breed that developed to be an all-purpose dog breed. As the German Shepherd dogs are known for their intelligence, they’re also known for their speed.

If you ever wondered how fast can a German Shepherd run, the answer is very fast.

So, How Fast Exactly Can a German Shepherd Run?

A well-bred and well-trained German Shepherd can run up to 30 mph (miles per hour). They’re among the fastest dog breeds, especially with such a muscled body.

Needless to say, the speed of each dog varies, but this is their maximum speed limit. Yet, they can’t maintain this speed over long distances unless they’re trained to do so gradually.

Still, a German Shepherd is a quick runner when trained for distance running. They can even be trained to run in marathons.

What Affects the Dog’s Speed?

Many factors can affect a dog’s speed. As dogs’ physical and mental state determines their performance.

The Dog’s Health

A dog’s overall health condition affects its speed and stamina. A healthy dog should be in its average range of weight by following a healthy and stable diet.

Any injuries will also affect the dog’s performance—especially common health issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia for German Shepherds.


The dog’s age affects their performance, whether by being too young or too old. Besides, puppies and seniors shouldn’t be under the strain of reaching their maximum speed, as they can be badly injured.

Exercise Routine

Your dog’s exercise routine hugely affects its performance and health. German Shepherds specifically need lots of daily and consistent exercises to grow in a healthy physical and mental state.

For German Shepherds, these exercises can include swimming, hiking, jogging, or Frisbee. It’s also known that under-exercised dogs develop troubling behavioral issues.


The training that your dog undergoes helps it reach its full potential. Competitive activities and professional training are the best ways to achieve that.

German Shepherds excel in many kinds of dog sports such as agility, tracking, herding, obedience, and rally. They also create a special bond between the dog and its caretaker.

The Environment

Where and when your dog runs will absolutely affect its performance. Rough surfaces and a hot climate aren’t the best running conditions for German Shepherds. Their thick fur also makes it hard for them to endure hot weather.

Cold weather is the most convenient for them, and it’s when they can strive. It’ll also save them from getting heat strokes.


Just like any other dog, German Shepherds work best when motivated. Therefore, the motivation and purpose they’re running to play a role in their speed.

A dog that is trained to obey is more likely to complete a task, such as running for a certain distance, than a non-trained one. It also gets less distracted by the surroundings.

What Makes German Shepherds Fast Runners?

The reasons behind German Shepherd’s speed and sturdiness go back to its original breeding as well as the dog’s shape and features.

German Shepherd dogs were originally bred in Germany as herding dogs for assisting shepherds, hence the name. That’s why they’re bred to be energetic and alert to herd and protect sheep.

The dogs are bred to have muscular bodies and long legs to endure running fast for long. Their shoulder blades and upper arms are well-muscled as well as their upper and lower thighs.

Benefits of German Shepherd’s Speed

There are lots of benefits that come from the German Shepherd’s running skills. The dog’s speed allows it to be versatile and dependable.


The main place where speed comes helpful is the dog’s original job, which is herding. People still use German Shepherds in herding, whether in real farms or just as an exercising program.

The dog’s speed and stamina allow him to herd a large number of sheep or cows for long times. Added to its alertness, it can easily chase off any possible threat.

Community and Guarding Services

In modern times, German Shepherds are known to be used in many communities and law-enforcement facilities.

They’re most famous as police and military force dogs. These dogs are also used as fire and sentinels dogs. However, not all their roles are that harsh. They serve greatly as search-and-rescue and service dogs for people with disabilities.

Their speed is one of the reasons why they’re trusted to do these jobs along with many other traits. German Shepherds are overall dependable and smart (Also see – Are Chihuahua’s Smart?). They’re also courageous and have a strong prey drive.


Being fast runners serves German Shepherds well in dog sport and competitions. The fact that they’re easy to train in also adds to their performance.

Different clubs and organizations host competitions such as agility, obedience, and rally to improve your dog’s overall performance.

Outdoor Companion

Your German Shepherd’s running skill can actually make it your best jogging and biking companion. This breed is known for being loyal to its owner and protective. Your German Shepherd is a family-oriented dog that will be so pleased to spend time with you outdoors.

Still, for long-distance running, your dog will need to be trained enough first. They need to be trained gradually to run for long while giving them enough water breaks and rest in the middle.

They also need professional obedience and socializing training to be able to run along with no leash. If not, you’ll be having much difficulty controlling it and keeping it out of trouble.

To Conclude

A German Shepherd is one of the fast-running breeds. Still, they need enough exercise and suitable conditions to reach their full potential.

Training your dog to be the best runner can need some work, but it’s worth it at the end of the day. A great running dog can be your next favorite exercising companion. They can even be the reason for improving your athletic life by trying to match their energetic lifestyle!