How Long Can a German Shepherd Run at Full Speed?

German Shepherds were originally bred as herding dogs at the end of the 19th century. As most shepherding dogs, the German Shepherd was required to work long hours herding, usually cows or sheep, out in the grazing fields.

Exceptionally intelligent, this breed had to possess specific talents for herdings such as alertness, loyalty, defensive and protective abilities, and obedience. These are all qualities required in a shepherding dog that must protect a herd from predators.

Aside from obeying commands, a shepherding dog must have the physical ability to keep up with the herd it is protecting. This will require specific physical capabilities and resilience when out in the field. Its lean muscular build provides both.

How Long Can a German Shepherd Run at Full Speed

A medium-to-large dog breed, the German Shepherd is energetic and physically strong due to its ancestral herding past. Managing following, protecting, and rounding up a herd is a physically demanding job that is most assuredly tiring at the end of the day.

However, this type of work did not require long periods of running nor did it necessitate covering extreme distances. Distance and speed were required in the amount necessary to gather the herd.

Nonetheless, this breed is physically strong and athletic, so it is a breed adapted to exercise and the exceptionally difficult physical engagement necessary for the kinds of work this breed is involved in today.

From Shepherding the Flock to Law Enforcement

Nowadays, the German Shepherd is still a working dog, only the job has changed. Now they are employed as police dogs, fire dogs, service dogs, and military dogs to name the most prominent of their current professions.

For these types of work, they are required to have physical strength, endurance, and reliability. However, this type of employment will not require the dog to run at full speed for long distances.

These jobs may require a fast sprint when chasing a potential criminal or rushing to save a child but will not necessarily involve distance as a priority.

The German Shepherd’s Running Capability

The German Shepherd is an exceptionally fast dog breed. It can beat out a human in the 100-meters dash by over 2 seconds running at 7.4 seconds. This indicates a running speed of 30 MPH. 

The German Shepherd’s Running Capability

These dogs possess certain attributes that contribute to their high-speed abilities such as:

♦ Their leg muscles are strong and powerful

♦ The loin is longer on this breed contributing to a longer stride

♦ The spine is flexible

♦ They use a double suspension gallop. This gallop allows their hind legs to reach farther than their front legs propelling them forward at a greater speed.

♦ A higher metabolism aids in pumping blood faster

Even so, German Shepherds are usually indicated as endurance runners if, and only if they have been gradually trained for several hours daily to increase their tolerance and physical stamina.

You should not expect a German Shepherd to automatically run at a high seed for any length of time without proper training. This would be a disservice to the dog and place its health at risk.

Jogging with Your German Shepherd

German Shepherds are known to be exercise buddies, meaning that they can be trained to go out jogging with you with the correct preparation and practice. This type of running, again, will require above all endurance, and generally not speed as with sprinters.

Endurance running, as for humans, must be built up gradually over time to protect your dog from running injuries. And your German Shepherd will require the same water breaks and warming up and cooling down periods that you do.

Watch for These Signs When Running Your German Shepherd

Whether you are allowing your dog to accompany you on runs or just running your dog for its own exercise necessities, there are a few things to watch for to ensure your dog’s safety and well-being.

Watch for These Signs When Running Your German Shepherd

1.) Physical Overexertion

Overexertion is probably the most worrisome aspect of running a dog, particularly if at high speed for an extended distance. Heavy breathing and excessive panting can be an alert to overexertion.

Specific cues that your dog will give include a reluctance to continue running, lagging, not answering commands, and exaggerated thirst.

German Shepherds are also at risk for joint and muscle injuries, despite their strong build. By not insisting that your dog run at full speed for an extended period, you will aid in preventing serious injury.

2.) Hip Dysplasia

This is a common ailment in this breed. Symptoms of hip dysplasia can include limping, hesitation, or favoring a leg.

In more serious cases, your dog may have difficulty going up or downstairs, standing, or show signs of sensitivity in the hip area even becoming aggressive when touched there.

Hip dysplasia often develops while a dog is still a puppy but can appear during adulthood. Activities should be well-planned with any necessary breaks and considerations to avoid contributing to its development.

3.) Terrain Conditions

People wear sneakers to protect their feet when engaged in running, dogs do not. Paws can be injured on hot, hard pavements for extended periods, as well as when running in the snow, on ice, or when coming into contact with corrosive materials. Know the terrain where you will be running your dog.

4.) Weather and Heat Hazzard

While German Shepherds generally have a double fur coat that functions wonderfully in the winter, it may also expose them to overheating in warmer weather.

This means that running a German Shepherd in the fall, winter, and spring will most likely work out fine, but anything that surpasses 65° F, may place your dog at risk.

Heat and humidity together can complicate your dog’s endurance for physical exertion. If when adding the temperature and the humidity together, the total number exceeds 150, it’s too hot. In any case, it is better to allow your dog to run under 65°F to avoid the risk of heatstroke.

Symptoms of heatstroke include breathing difficulty, panting excessively, collapsing, diarrhea, vomiting, and an elevated heartbeat.

See also: Top 13 Snacks That German Shepherds Like 

So, How Long Can a German Shepherd Run at Full Speed?

Some German Shepherds have been known to run as fast as 30 miles per hour when running the 100-meter dash at 7.4 seconds. These dogs will not be able to maintain this speed for very long and should not be required to do so. 

The American Kennel Club keeps a database showing the fastest running times for recognized dog breeds that can be consulted here. The Fast CAT® or Coursing Ability Test is a timed dash over the length of 100 yards.

German Shepherds can run fairly quickly over a longer distance, especially with the correct training and care.

Keep in mind any risks during your German Shepherd’s practice and avoid overtraining. This is, after all, your best friend that we’re talking about.

Susan R Elliston
I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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