The German Shepherd is a wonderfully athletic breed. Their unique build, with powerful hindquarters and muscular shoulders, allows them to reach remarkable speeds. And you will be surprised to hear that they are one of the fastest dogs in the world, always ready for a challenge. No wonder they are a top choice for law enforcement, search and rescue missions and certain sporting activities. Although German Shepherds run quite fast, they are not in the class of long-distance runners like Siberian Huskies and Labrador Retrievers. They are developed, from the beginning, to be environmental dogs (shepherds). So they usually trot to cover more ground while conserving energy. Be that as it may, how fast can a German Shepherd run? Let’s get into it.
What is the top speed of a German Shepherd?
As mentioned earlier, this dog breed is more of a sprinter than a long-distance runner. So the top speed of a German Shepherd is not something you randomly see every day. Except you happen to be in public and your pet is on a target. Of course, there are other factors and situations that prompt German Shepherds to sprint, such as retrieving.
In general, any German Shepherd should reach a top speed of 25-28 miles per hour (40-45 km/h). A healthy and well-trained specimen, on the other hand, can travel somewhere between 30 and 35 miles per hour (48 and 55 km/h), just slightly behind a racehorse.
How long can a German Shepherd maintain its top speed?
This is a tricky question because many factors influence how long German Shepherds maintain their top speed in a single burst. Sprinters generally don’t run for long, even when locked on prey, which is actually a major source of motivation for reaching top speeds. For example, cheetahs only run at a speed of about 70 miles per hour for about 15 to 20 seconds when hunting. Within this short time they can cover no less than 500 meters.
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A German Shepherd in top condition can effortlessly cover 5,000 meters. Whatever distance they cover next will be extra and a sign of their endurance. Although some can (rarely) go as far as 6,000 feet, it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s signals. Keep them hydrated and let them rest when necessary.
Factors that contribute to the driving speed of a GSD
Just like with humans, age plays an important role in determining how fast a GSD can run. It only makes sense not to expect Usain Bolt’s speed from a 7-year-old kid or a 70-year-old grandpa. Regardless, their current top speed cannot be compared to what they could achieve or had achieved in their prime.
- Training quality and training frequency
If you must have a high-performing dog, regular exercise is non-negotiable. In fact, a lack of exercise will only make them overweight, which will significantly affect their agility. While you may not need a fast dog, regular exercise is a good choice essential part of a German Shepherd’s health. It keeps them healthy and happy.
As previously mentioned, some motivation is all a German Shepherd needs to push his limits. As shepherds, they were trained to keep and protect sheep within a certain perimeter. When seeing a wandering predator, speed was necessary. To really experience and improve the speed of your GSD, often play Fetch in an open space or field.
- Health status
Overexerting your dog, exposure to an unhealthy environment or a poor diet can affect your pet’s health. Common health problems with GSD include: panosteitis, elbow and hip dysplasia and diabetes. All of these conditions reduce the speed of your GSD, so ensure regular vet checks and a good diet.
Tips to make your German Shepherd run faster
- Provide a good diet for your pet
- Avoid feeding highly processed foods
- Create time for quality exercise
- Keep the pet hydrated
- Train with agility courses
- Make sure your pet sleeps and rests well
- Provide regular health checks
In closing: safety considerations
- Help your dog maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is a function of a healthy lifestyle in terms of a balanced, well-planned diet and consistent exercise. German Shepherds are a large breed, so they are expected to grow large. However, a 1-year-old dog that weighs more than 100 pounds is definitely not good. In the same vein, a 1-year-old German Shepherd should not weigh less than 60 pounds (male or female). An easy way to be sure of your pet’s weight is to check it regularly using the scoring system for body and muscle condition. For more accurate numbers, use a scale or visit the vet.
- Beware of hip dysplasia
This is a skeletal disorder common in large breed dogs. It’s as simple as a misfit in the ball and socket joint of the hip due to poor development. This implies that the bones rub against each other, causing severe pain. Genetics plays an important role here, but other factors include an unbalanced diet, an overly strenuous exercise routine and obesity. Symptoms of hip dysplasia include enlarged shoulder muscles, inability to walk for long periods of time, limping, loss of muscle mass, etc. Although this can be controlled through weight reduction, reduced exercise, physiotherapy and joint and anti-inflammatory supplements, we strongly advise that you consult a veterinarian.
- Avoid overload
German Shepherds are enthusiastic and quite energetic. However, don’t confuse enthusiasm with unlimited energy or endurance. Long, intense exercise, especially in hot weather, can lead to dehydration, exhaustion and heatstroke. So pay close attention to their activity and breathing. As soon as you notice yourself panting heavily, falling behind, or having a reluctance to continue exercising, it’s time for a break. Offer your GSD small sips of water during exercise, plenty of rest periods, and less exercise in hot weather.