How fast can a German Shepherd Run?

How fast can a German Shepherd run?
Photo by Pedro Sanz on Unsplash

Whenever we think about dogs known for fast speeds, breeds like the Greyhound and Whippet come to mind, but you will be surprised to know that German Shepherd is also among the fastest dog breeds. They are capable of running very, very fast when compared to the majority of other dog breeds.

So, how fast can a German Shepherd run and what speeds can be expected from this breed?

German Shepherds can easily hit speeds of 28 to 30 miles per hour, and given their exceptional strength and aerodynamic build, some may run even faster, up to 34 miles per hour.

Miniature Friends
German Shepherds can easily hit speeds of 28 to 30 miles per hour, and given their exceptional strength and aerodynamic build, some may run even faster, up to 34 miles per hour
Infographic of How fast a German Shepherd can run by Miniature Friends

Video of a German Shepherd running super-duper fast!

Below is a video from YouTuber Jancy vlogs showing their German Shepherd running as fast as 55 km/h , which is roughly 34 miles per hour. Spectacular speed!

Video of a German Shepherd running 34 miles per hour

Let’s take a deep dive and go into the details of why German Shepherds are able to reach such impressive speeds.

Why can German Shepherds run so fast?

Just as with any other animal known for its speed, German Shepherds have a number of physical adaptations and attributes that help them achieve such impressive speeds.

Below are some of the reasons why German Shepherds are able to run so fast:

Long legs

German Shepherds are large dogs and therefore, you might think that there is nothing impressive about them having slightly longer legs than other dogs, but that’s not the reality at all. German Shepherds actually have long legs relative to their body size. This makes them quite tall as compared to most other dog breeds and gives them a good ground clearance.

All this comes extremely handy when it comes to running at 30 miles per hour as these long legs produce enough momentum and energy that helps German Shepherds propel themselves forward. (1).

Aerodynamic build

You might be surprised to know that under all the thick coats of the German Shepherd, there lies a thin body that is perfect for minimising air resistance and helps them achieve the top speeds for which it is known for.

Moreover, German Shepherds tend to have a long and narrow nose which further protects them from air resistance during their sprints. 

All of these adaptations significantly reduce the amount of air resistance faced by German Shepherds during their sprints and help them in their endurance. 

Muscular strength

It should shock no one that German Shepherds are tall, muscular dogs. In fact, German Shepherds are one of the most muscular dog breeds. And fortunately, German Shepherds know how to put all their muscles to good use. They use their muscular strength in all sorts of activities such as guarding, playing, walking, and during training.

Another area where a German Shepherd’s muscular strength comes in handy is sprinting. German Shepherds are easily able to accelerate quickly and gain enough momentum to achieve their top speeds due to their enormous muscular strength (2).

Flexible spine

Sprinting is no easy task and a dog is bound to feel many bumps and jolts during sprints. Now it’s the duty of the spine to absorb all these bumps and protect the body from any harm caused by these bumps. Fortunately, German Shepherds are highly blessed in this area as they have highly flexible spines. The more flexible a spine is, the better it will be able to absorb all the bumps and jolts. This is why German Shepherds are able to sprint on even the bumpiest of surfaces and maintain high speeds.

Are German Shepherds good to run with?

Yes, German Shepherds are great dogs to run with and they have lots of talents, including running at fast speeds. There are some dogs that we wouldn’t recommend running with, such as Dachshunds and Chihuahuas, however, this dog breed is exceptionally muscular and are designed to run long distances. 

German Shepherd running through forest with stick in mouth
Photo by Anna Dudkova on Unsplash

Their physical attributes, such as long legs, flexible spines and muscular strength make them the perfect running companions, however, you shouldn’t overestimate them and they will require regular breaks throughout their running session as any dog breed would.

They are also great around children and are usually very well trained, hence why you may see some owners run alongside their German Shepherd that isn’t on a lead, but you should always use your due diligence before trusting them off the lead.

Can a German Shepherd run 3 miles?

Absolutely, in fact, healthy German Shepherds can run up to 20 miles while jogging, but this is also assuming that they receive regular breaks and are well hydrated throughout the session. They are super athletic and very sporty, they love to be out and about in the open, but you should ensure that your dog is well trained before taking them on a long-distance run, as they can easily get distracted, especially if they see a fox, another dog or a deer – so they have to be good on recall if they are off a lead.

Picture of a German Shepherd
Photo by Ayelt van Veen on Unsplash

As a starting point, we suggest running alongside your German Shepherd while on a lead, until they demonstrate that they can be trusted.

How does a German Shepherd’s running speed compare to other dogs?

German Shepherds are incredibly fast and can run up to speeds of 30 mph, but how does this compare with some of the fastest dog breeds on the planet?

They are muscular, long-legged and have the right build to run at superior speeds, but when compared to other breeds, such as the Greyhound and Whippet, they may aren’t as impressive – so expect them to get beaten on your beach walks!

BreedFastest Speed
Greyhound45 mph
Saluki33-40 mph
Afghan Hound34-40 mph
Vizsla40 mph
Jack Russell Terrier38 mph
Dalmatian37 mph
Whippet35 mph
Doberman Pinscher31 mph
Poodle30 mph
German Shepherd30 mph
Siberian Husky28 mph
Rat Terrier28 mph
Chihuahua21 mph
The running speed of a German Shepherd vs some of the fastest dog breeds in the world.

You shouldn’t ever underestimate the speed of a German Shepherd, they are very quick. In fact, even Usain Bolt, who is the fastest runner on earth, would struggle to keep up with a German Shepherd – so don’t expect to keep up with your dog while running on the beach!

They would also be impossible to run after if they got up to no good!

In 2011 Belgian scientists used lasers to measure Bolt’s performance in the different stages of a 100-meter race held in September that year. They found that, 67.13 meters into the race, Bolt reached a top speed of 43.99 kilometers per hour (27.33 miles per hour).


It’s crucial to ensure your dog can be re-called, especially German Shepherds, given their high speeds, otherwise, you won’t ever catch them!

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