How Much Exercise Does A German Shepherd Need
Dog Care Tips · Dog Exercise

How Much Exercise Does A German Shepherd Need?

Last Updated/Info Checked on March 28, 2023 by Linda Michaels

German shepherds were bred as herding dogs. Due to careful breeding over time, they have evolved into a multi-talented breed, ready to take on any challenge when trained accordingly

To complete such tasks, anyone would need high energy. That’s where the dogs rule. 

According to Dogtime, german shepherds have high physical needs because they have high energy. They give them a whopping 5/5 rating in terms of energy level and intensity. 

But the question remains:

How much exercise does a german shepherd need? According to Pipat, german shepherds need around 90 minutes of exercise daily. If your dog is more active than a usual GSD, then PDSA recommends exercising it for at least 2 hours per day.

There are dog breeds that don’t require much exercise and prefer to sit around the house all day like English Bulldogs, Chow Chow, Shih Tzu, Pug Chihuahuas, and Grayhounds. While on the other hand, some dogs have the greatest need for a daily workout. They include Retrievers, Spaniels, Collies, Pointers, German Shepherds, and French Bulldogs.

So, generally speaking, exercise your GSD from an hour to two or anything in between.

What Happens if you over-exercise your German Shepherd?

Exercising your dog has its benefits, which I’ll discuss ahead, but over-exercising it will lead to the following nuances. 

1. Worn Out Paw Pads

It’s not hard to understand that the paws of your dog have their limits for taking all that weight down the road. Exceeding that will only lead to wear and tear. 

According to PetMD, it’s like walking on a blister under your feet when the dog walks on worn-out paw pads. 

So, you must keep exercising, especially, walking down to the recommended hours

What happens if you use dog shoes? The paw pads won’t wear off but wear and tear down there isn’t the only problem resulting from overexercising. 

2. Heat Strokes

Dogs don’t cool off as efficiently as we do. They have definite limits of body temperature ahead of which they have a hard time cooling down to the normal threshold.

PetMD says that above 106 degrees, dogs are said to be overheated. Exercising your german shepherd to that limit will not only lead to heat strokes but also dehydration from sweating profusely. 

3. Muscle Stiffness And Soreness

Stiffness in the dog’s muscles is nothing out of ordinary. When overworked, the muscle strands may become hardened because of a loss of water.

You may not notice your pooch exhibiting signs of muscle soreness or stiffness until they try to get up, PetMD says.

You’ll see it struggle to get up. In worst-case scenarios, it may develop a debilitating condition called rhabdomyolysis. Muscle tissue breaks down in that, leading to premature death. 

4. A Change In The Dog’s Behavior

Your German Shepherd may not want to go out with you in anticipation of the overexercise lying ahead. It’s not at fault as the body can only take as much as it’s designed to take.

It may also become aggressive or overly shy and timid, thus, showing you its apparent unwillingness to continue further.

5. Joint Trauma

Joints take most of our weight and that of canines. The front joints are especially prone to unnecessary trauma because they carry at least 60% of the dog’s weight.

Developing joint problems depend on the breed as well. German Shepherds may not be as susceptible to them as Dachshunds, for example, but they do have a certain degree of risk associated with overexercising.

What happens if you under-exercise your German Shepherd?

Pawtracks says that GSDs’ history makes them a hard-working breed not suitable for lounging around the house. In case they are left to do so, here are the signs or problems that may develop.

1. Destroying Things Around

One of the conditions in which GSDs are known to cause destruction around the house is separation-related problems such as separation anxiety

But that’s not the only problem to tackle if you don’t want destroyed sofas, chewed-up paper, and broken glass.

These dogs will release their energies on these things when they don’t get enough exercise. 

A tired dog is a quiet dog, you may have heard. Not tiring out the dog will only lead to an over-enthusiastic beast of destructive energy.

2. Gaining Weight

Weight gain is another problem associated with lethargy. Not burning off extra calories will cause fat deposition in the wrong places. You’ll end up owning a chubby german shepherd that may look cute but is equally prone to cardiac diseases, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and so on.

3. Incessant Barking

The GSD you own will become vocal to release all that energy building up. It may sit vigilantly on the gate, barking at any shadow crossing the road. 

These dogs are known to be a little suspicious of the lot walking past your house. Couple that with the kind of energy they have, and god save your ears.

The barking may also be a result of boredom as Pawtracks note. Not exercising the dog enough will lead to that one way or another.

4. Mental Problems

Vets say that poor physical health is a precursor to poor mental health. In terms of the GSDs, depression is the top most detected mental issue arising from lethargy. 

You may feel that the dog’s unwilling to do anything. It may lie around idle, unhappy as denoted by whimpering. There may be a change in its routine. You may note the dog’s poor eating and sleeping habits arising from nowhere. 

How long should a german shepherd be walked?

Exercises are many but walking should be the primary one. According to Barkercise, you should walk your GSD for about 30 to 45 minutes per day. 

Now that isn’t exclusive to the time you spend exercising the dog. For example, walking for 45 minutes should be a part of the one or two hours of exercise regime you’ve thought out for the dog.

Please do not expect the dog to go with you on walks for miles after tiring out from playing in the backyard for 1.5 hours. That’s where the major setbacks begin–the injuries.

How much exercise does a German Shepherd puppy need?

Adults and puppies have different needs altogether. You should exercise your puppy for at least 5 minutes per every month of their age. 

For example, a 4-month-old German Shepherd puppy needs to be exercised for at least 20 minutes per day.

Owning a 2-month-old German Shepherd puppy


German Shepherds need at least 1 to 2 hours of exercise daily. That exercise includes games played in your backyard such as tug of war, ball fetch, and so on, and walking for at least 30 minutes per day. Do not over-exercise or under-exercise the pooch because they both lead to problems that may be hazardous to its health.

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