Home GSD FAQ How Fast Can a German Shepherd Run?

How Fast Can a German Shepherd Run?

by David W.
German Shepherd Speed

German Shepherds are very popular because of a set of skills and abilities no other breed has. These abilities make GSDs perfect for doing specific jobs like herding, guarding, and police assistance. They are very intelligent, obedient, energetic, and loyal. The question of running speed is also an important one. So, how fast is a German Shepherd?

Here, we provide more information about the running abilities of German Shepherds you may be interested to find out about.

How Fast Is a German Shepherd? – Top Speed and Amazing Facts

Despite a wide variety of perfect qualities a German Shepherd has and is appreciated for, it is not the fastest dog breed. A greyhound is an ultimate winner here with a top speed of 45 miles per hour. Though, the German Shepherd speed is 30 miles per hour, which is also not so bad. It is ranked among the ten fastest breeds in the world. The fastest 100-yard dash was run by a GS female Caradoc’s The Wicked truth. Its top speed was 32.89 miles per hour, and it was registered due to the AKC’s Fast CAT. The abbreviation stands for the Coursing Ability Test.

Even if they can run pretty fast, German Shepherds prefer a more moderate pace. That is why they are so comfortable to walk with. Or they can become the most loyal companions when you are riding a bike.

You may ask then whether a human can outrun a GS dog. Of course, not. In general, it is impossible. That’s why these doggies are so precious when it comes to chasing fleeing suspects by the police.

Why Can GSs Run Fast?

German Shepherds were bred as herders. These are working dogs that can do different kinds of jobs that require strength and energy. And high speed, of course. Protecting sheep on vast areas of pastures against predators, as well as catching criminals when a dog works for the police, demands these immense speeds or a dog will be useless.

That is why breeders followed specific criteria for raising such dogs. Due to them, the animals developed a flexible spine, long and strong legs, powerful muscles, and a stunning potential for speeding up.

In addition, a German Shepherd speed can be obtained by the double suspension gallop that developed naturally within the process of breeding and raising. It is quite similar to leaping. The dog uses its hind legs to leap and then, its front legs to propel forward. The body extends and suspends in the air. This running manner is also characteristic of greyhounds. 

When a GSD receives a lot of opportunities to practice and exercise, it develops its running skills and can reach extremely high speeds. That also adds a lot to its agility and endurance.

Basic Factors That Influence GS’s Running Speed

German Shepherd Running

Not all dogs belonging to this breed can demonstrate similar speeds. The German Shepherd top speed depends on many factors and conditions. Some dogs are much slower than others due to them. Let’s consider the most important ones.

  1. Age

Younger GSDs can run faster. They can demonstrate their top speeds at the age of between 2 and 6. Younger puppies under 2 cannot run so fast because their skeletal and muscle systems are not fully shaped and mature enough. The bones and joints of a dog over 6 years old begin to weaken, and their strength and agility decline.

  1. Athleticism

Like all other living beings, some dogs can be stronger and more athletic than others at the same age. Since a GSD is usually full of energy, there are no doggies of this breed who do not want to run at all. However, some of them can be more active than others. So, how fast can a German Shepherd dog run? As a rule, it is quite individual.

  1. Overall Physical Condition

German Shepherds whose health is poor cannot run fast. It is quite understandable. If a dog has joint and bone problems, it cannot become a running champion. The special concern is produced by hip and elbow dysplasia. That is why it is so important to have veterinary examinations regularly, especially an X-ray test, to detect the problem on time.

  1. Motivation

That can sound pretty understandable. A dog should know why it needs to run fast. If a German Shepherd is not excited or interested enough, it will not run fast. Another part of the motivation is a reward. If a dog knows that at the end of its run it will get a good treat, it will run faster. This principle is widely used to train German Shepherds for sheep herding or police work. That is also quite useful if you prepare your doggie for agility competitions.

  1. Training

To reach the German Shepherd top speed, you need to train your dog properly. If they practice a lot, they develop their lungs, heart, and muscles. It will allow them to reach high speeds. Even if a German Shepherd is a natural runner, a lack of physical conditioning can result in low speeds or an unwillingness to run faster.

Importance of Training for German Shepherd’s Life and Work

You will never receive an answer to the question ‘How fast is a German Shepherd’ if your dog does not get appropriate training from the very first months of its life. Young puppies need a lot of supervision because they are not very good at self-regulation.

Experts recommend the exercise duration of 5 minutes per every month of the puppy’s life. It is calculated for a single session. Two sessions per day will be good for your puppy. For example, a 2-month-old doggie should have a maximum of 10 minutes running, but when your puppy is 10 months old, it can exercise for 25 minutes. Running and exercising should keep your young GS dog happy and excited.

Adult dogs need more training regularly. The length of running sessions depends on their physical condition and energy level. Some dogs may need just a few rounds of ten minutes each, while others feel good with 30-minute sessions. Your responsibility is to carefully observe your pet and determine the length of running sessions individually.

Remember that your home GS dog is not necessarily a working dog that gets prepared for hard work. It does not matter much how fast it is. So, the question ‘How fast can a German Shepherd run 100 meters?’ is not so crucial for you and your fluffy companion. Though, it may be interesting to find out that a German Shepherd called Zinzan has been put into the Guinness World Record Book for its stunning result in running through 60 poles competition. It took 12.14 seconds to complete the distance.

All this means that in the case of Shepherds, their speed is a great benefit not only in the routine daily work but as a great characteristic of this magnificent animal.

Final Thoughts

Therefore, how fast does a German Shepherd run? These dogs are not at the top of the best runners’ list with an approximate speed of 30 miles per hour. Though, it is the part of the first ten dog breeds with the highest indices of speed.

The combination of speed with strength and agility makes up a truly perfect dog. It is great for working purposes. You can also use these canines as agility and other types of competitors. 

Nevertheless, speed is not the first place in the overall characteristics of German Shepherds. Potent intellect and indisputable loyalty are the two traits that make this breed really unique.

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