How much exercise does a German Shepherd need?

exercise a german shepherd

The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. You can find them everywhere and somehow there is a German Shepherd in almost every mixed breed. But before you get a German Shepherd, you should be aware of how much exercise a German Shepherd needs. This should not be underestimated.

The German Shepherd is made for work. He needs a lot of exercise and employment. With 2 hours of intensive training per day you have a good basis to exercise the German Shepherd dog reasonably. In addition to physical activity, it is important to keep the German Shepherd dog mentally stimulated. Obedience training is ideal for this.


  • Classification: herding dogs and cattle dogs.
  • Origin: Germany
  • Life expectancy: 8-10 years
  • Size: Males approx. 60-65 cm, bitches approx. 55-60 cm
  • Weight: Males 30-40 kg, bitches up to 22-32 kg.
  • Use: Utility, herding and service dog.
  • Coat length: Short
  • Coat colour: Black with reddish brown, brown, yellow to light yellow markings, solid black and grey.
  • Character: Willing to work, intelligent, self-confident, loyal, physically and mentally highly resilient.

Does a German Shepherd need a lot of exercise?

Before you get a German Shepherd it is always worth knowing the origin of the breed. What was the German Shepherd originally bred for and what was or is its task.

From this information you can quickly deduce whether the German Shepherd needs a lot of exercise and activity.

Basically, the German Shepherd Dog is one of the most successful dog breeds ever.

The aim in breeding was good herding qualities, ability to concentrate and they should be robust and obedient.

This breed can be found everywhere! Be it as a police dog, guide dog, herding dog, therapy dog or guard dog. The German Shepherd is also a popular family dog.

The range of use of the German Shepherd is therefore diverse. This suggests that the German Shepherd is very easy to train and wants and needs to be trained.

In short, the German Shepherd is bred for work and needs a lot of exercise and activity. It´s not enough to walk 2 times a day for 30 to 45 minutes each

You should plan about 2 to 3 hours a day to exercise your German Shepherd.

Activities with the German Shepherd

You can do everything with your German Shepherd. If you like to train and work with your dog, the German Shepherd is a good partner.


Extensive walks are also the foundation for the German Shepherd. It is important that your German Shepherd is allowed to sniff and explore the surroundings during the walk.

Keep your German Shepherd busy during the walk. Train commands or play search and retrieve games.


In addition to the daily walks, hiking or excursions are a welcome change for your dog.

Your dog will get bored if he has to walk the same route with you every day, see the same dogs and people, and smell the same things. So offer your dog a change every now and then.

Dog sports

The German Shepherd can also be enthusiastic about dog sports such as agility.


If you are an enthusiastic runner, you can take your German Shepherd with you on your runs.


You can also give your German Shepherd the exercise he needs by letting him run next to the bike

The possibilities to keep a German Shepherd busy and happy are endless. BUT you also have to exercise a german shepherd

Obedience training / Education

Basic obedience training is an ideal way to keep your German Shepherd mentally stimulsted. You don’t actually have to come up with complicated exercises and games.

The German Shepherd is easy to train or educate and has a pronounced “Will-TO-Please”. These dogs want to work and can be trained to do anything.

Classic training of basic commands such as sit, down, heel, recall and much more is perfect for exercising a German Shepherd.

how much exercise doea a german shepherd need

Signs of too little exercise

The worst thing you can do is not to exercise a German Shepherd enough.

If they are not exercised, they tend to misbehave quickly, such as excessive barking, or the German Shepherd may become aggressive and snap.

Is a German Shepherd suitable for you?

A German Shepherd is an intelligent and confident dog. It is loyal and affectionate towards its family.

The German Shepherd also gets along very well with children and for this reason is often found in families.

Depending on the type, the character can vary greatly. Dogs from performance breeding have a much more pronounced protective instinct and a lower irritation threshold.

The German Shepherd will suit you if you have the time and inclination to work intensively with your dog.

They need clear leadership. Therefore, the German Shepherd is not necessarily suitable for first time owners.

If you do not exercise the German Shepherd sufficiently, the whole thing can also end negatively, because he also tends to overreact. Therefore, it is important to train a German Shepherd consistently and to keep him sufficiently busy.

Consistent education does not have to be harsh. But the dog needs firm rules that must be followed.

So education is not particularly difficult if you know what you are doing. But you need clear guidance and clear lines or rules.

The subject of health

Unfortunately, the German Shepherd is not a healthy breed. They have a strong tendency to hip dysplasia (HD) due to breeding with a sloping back.

Therefore it is important to let them grow up slowly. So it is better to feed a little less, so that less weight is put on the joints, especially in the beginning.

The physical strain in general should not be too heavy, even at a young age. In addition, as with all dog breeds, there is the food.

A high-quality food with a high meat content and without artificial additives is the foundation for a healthy dog’s life. The following also applies to dogs: You are what you eat!

Coat care is not particularly complex. Of course, the long-haired representatives need to be brushed more often. All in all, the German Shepherd is a robust dog, if it were not for the badly hips.

Conclusion: Does a German Shepherd need a lot of exercise and activity?

Yes, a German Shepherd needs a lot of exercise and activity, for example in the form of daily walks and mental work such as basic obedience and education. They are dogs that are made for work and will quickly misbehave if they are not kept busy enough.

© Mikkel


I am Marco and I have the pleasure of living with 3 large Mastiff-type dog breeds. I would like to share my dog-related experiences on this blog

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