How Fast Can A German Shepherd Run?

Want to know how fast a German Shepherd can run? 

You’ve come to the right place! 

There is little information about the speed of this canine athlete, however…

German shepherd running through a field

In this guide, you’ll discover:

  • Exactly how fast and how far a German Shepherd can run
  • Why not all German Shepherds run at their top speed
  • Whether or not the GSD is eligible to participate in a canine race

And much more!

What's In This Guide?

      How Fast Can A German Shepherd Run?

      You may be surprised to learn that the German Shepherd ranks among the top 10 fastest dog breeds in the world!

      The all-around jock can reach a top speed of 30 to 32 miles per hour, assuming the dog has built up endurance and the outside conditions are ideal. That said, the German Shepherd dog tops Usain Bolt by 2 mph as the fastest human alive maxes at 27 miles per hour.

      Take note: this range refers to a full sprint, not the average running speed of the breed. German Shepherds don’t shoot for their top speed of 30 mph whenever they run unless of course, they are pursuing an intruder or chasing a naughty critter.

      The relaxed running pace of the German Shepherd dog is between 15 to 20 miles per hour, which is still a lot faster compared to the majority of dogs.

      What Age Can You Run A German Shepherd?

      I know some of you are excited to take your furry sidekick running, but hold your horses!

      Wait until your German Shepherd dog is 15-months-old to ensure doggo’s bones and muscles have fully developed.

      Forcing a young pooch to engage in vigorous exercises may damage the growth plates of the long bones. While waiting, you will want to use this time to condition your pup and provide obedience training.

      Equally important, you want to get your pooch a clean bill of health before you take him out running.

      Why Don’t German Shepherds Race?

      We have established earlier that the German Shepherd is fleet of foot and possesses exceptional stamina to boot.

      But, if German Shepherds have good speed, why don’t they race?

      Trotting is the German Shepherd’s Best Gait

      As the name implies, the German Shepherd was developed not to chase but to herd. And as sheepdogs, these canines prefer sustained trotting as it makes them more efficient with their job.

      When trotting, a German Shepherd moves his diagonal pairs of legs in a synchronous manner.

      This two-beat gait allows the GSD to move swiftly from one direction to another as he establishes boundaries for sheep.

      The working dog monitors the perimeter of his herd to prevent any sheep from wandering away from its group and keep them from venturing onto forbidden or dangerous areas.

      Another advantage to trotting is that it requires little energy, thus enabling the diligent canine to continue working hard for hours.

      As a result, the GSD can perform periodic bursts of short sprints throughout the day and he can chase a threat away at 30 mph if need be.

      Inferior Spinal Flexibility

      The failure to perform a sustained double-suspension gallop is another reason the German Shepherd could never ace a race.

      Also known as the rotatory gallop, it is a four-time asymmetrical gait rarely seen in other breeds apart from sighthounds, such as the Greyhound and Saluki.

      These slender canines have highly flexible spines that act as a spring, which provide them with more propelling force as they run.

      While German Shepherds may also perform the double-suspension gallop at full speed, these stocky dogs don’t have the spinal flexibility that sighthounds have.

      Not to mention, the rotary gallop is the most fatiguing of all gaits. Heavy, muscular canines could not sustain this gait for an extended period.

      fun fact about german shepherd that they have a bite of a force of force of over 1,060 newtons or 238 lbf or pound-force

      What Factors Affect A German Shepherd’s Speed?

      Running at 30 mph does not apply to all German Shepherd dogs. Here’s why.

      Modern Breeding Practices

      Show German Shepherds look incredible in the show ring but it remains a moot point whether or not these doggos are capable of trotting the way a working GSD can.

      Show line breeders place their emphasis on a drastically sloping topline and a vertical croup.

      When these features combine with the over-angulated knees and hocks, it becomes even more difficult for a GSD to perform the trot and gallop.

      Age-Related Problems

      Like any pooch, the almighty performance of the German Shepherd will dwindle as the dog approaches old age.

      Poor eyesight and lack of energy are a few predictable symptoms of old age that contribute to a slower running pace.

      Poor eyesight

      Dogs don’t always become blind as a bat when they reach a ripe old age. Regardless, there is a high chance that our canine companions will have impaired vision as they get older.

      You can’t expect a German Shepherd’s eyesight to be as sharp as it used to, especially when the dog acquires cataracts as a result of various diseases, toxicity, or trauma.


      By the time a German Shepherd is nine or ten years old, he can be described as “geriatric.”

      Geriatric GSDs are not spry and energetic as they once were and therefore, they tend to be less interested in high-intensity activities.

      If you aren’t careful with your senior dog’s diet, he may become overweight.

      Hip Dysplasia

      Large canine breeds like the German Shepherd are prone to hip dysplasia. This orthopedic disease is genetic that can be worsened by external variables.

      Improper weight and poor nutrition are among these factors that magnify this genetic predisposition.

      There is no cure for hip dysplasia, but it can be corrected with surgery. There are also many ways to manage it and delay its onset.

      How does A German Shepherds Speed Compare to Other Breeds? 

      There is no denying that German Shepherds are fast at 30mph, but how does this speed compare to other dogs that run fast too? 



      Top speed

      1 Saluki 45 Mph
      2 Greyhound 45 Mph
      3 Vizsla 40 Mph
      4 Jack Russell Terrier 38 Mph
      5 Dalmatian 37 Mph
      6 Malamute 36 Mph
      7 Pharaoh Hound 35 Mph
      8 German Pinscher 33 Mph
      9 Doberman Pinscher 32 Mph
      10 Border Collie 30 Mph
      11 Australian Shepherd 30 Mph
      12 Great Dane 30 Mph
      13 Italian Greyhound 30 Mph
      14 German Shorthaired Pointers 30 Mph
      15 Siberian Huskies 30 Mph
      16 German Shepherd 30 Mph
      17 Poodle 30 Mph
      18 Weimaraner 30 Mph

      We compared the speed of 18 dogs that all run over 30 miles per hour resulting in the German Shepherd coming in 16th place in rank for top speed. 

      What is the speed of German Shepherd Dogs Good For?

      The German Shepherd is one of the most versatile canines. It would be a waste not to exercise the full potential of this extraordinary breed.

      Below is a list of domains in which the exceptional speed and nimble wits of the GSD are invaluable:

      • Agility competitions
      • Airport security
      • Biking, jogging, hiking, etc.
      • Dock diving
      • Fly ball and Frisbee competitions
      • Herding trials
      • Military and police work
      • Tracking and trailing

      German Shepherds are not meant to laze around all day.

      These canines need a purpose to fulfill their full potential and their speed can be utilized in many ways from simple games to crucial applications that can save lives.

      Final thoughts on the speed of a German shepherd

      The Greyhound may take the cake when it comes to canine racing, but it can’t be denied that the German Shepherd is still one of the fastest dogs on earth!

      A fit and well-trained GSD can run as fast as 30 mph, which makes doggo faster than the legendary Usain Bolt.

      But regardless of how fast our canine companions are, they will always slow down as they age.

      Picture of Lara Writes

      Lara Writes

      Lara, a.k.a Alpha Mama, is a great dancer and belter singer, although the world tells her otherwise. However, her greatest pleasure is working with animals. If the Alpha Mama is not being delusional, she manages to create informative articles and clear-cut buying guides. She also likes to share her personal experiences that may ignite your soul or possibly change your life!

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