Why Do German Shepherds Breathe So Fast? (8 Reasons)

Many times, when you adopt a certain dog, you notice peculiarities in its behavior.

When you adopt a German Shepherd, you will notice that they breathe so fast.

You cannot help but wonder, Why do german shepherds breathe so fast?

I will today share the answer to this question. I will reveal the various causes and what makes German Shepherds breathe so fast.


Why Do German Shepherds Breathe So Fast?

The causes behind why German Shepherd breathe so fast can be quite a few, like high levels of activity, lack of exercise, injury, symptoms of heatstroke, high temperature, allergy, medical reaction, and so on.

Not always there are multiple causes behind the same. Some reasons are precisely the opposite as well.

I will go into the details of these causes below. Once you know the details of these causes, it is easy to determine the problem, and then, you can take the corrective steps.

1. High Levels Of Activity

German shepherds are large dogs. They are highly active as well.

When they undertake activity, naturally, their body will need more oxygen. In that case, the breathing pace will increase as well.

The high levels of activity are one of the primary reasons why German shepherds breathe fast.

If that is the case, you shouldn’t do anything about it. You shouldn’t discourage your German shepherd from undertaking any activity.

2. Lack Of Exercise

The cause I am highlighting now is precisely the opposite of what I have highlighted above. That is why both of these causes cannot coexist.

German shepherds need a lot of exercises regularly.

If you do not provide them with enough exercise, they will develop behavioral and health problems.

In that case, as well, the breathing can become faster.

If that is the cause, you have to try and encourage physical activity for your German shepherd.

The best way to do so is to accompany your German shepherd during the same.

3. Injury

An injury is another cause as to why German shepherds can breathe faster.

An injury can result in cardiac problems or excessive pressure on the cardiac system.

When that happens, the breathing will become rapid as well.

If that is the cause, you will notice changes in the behavior of the German shepherd as well. There will be other symptoms of the injury or the illness as well.

If you notice the same, contacting the vet is the only solution that you have.

4. Symptom Of Heatstroke

Do you experience fierce summers in your area?

If that is the case, your German shepherd might suffer from heatstroke as well.

When you try to find out the symptoms of a heat stroke, you will realize that it includes:

  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Faster breathing

And so on..

In that case, you have to first and foremost limit the exposure of your dog to heat. After that, you have to consult your vet.

The vet will be able to prescribe the proper treatment for heatstroke.

Once you opt for that treatment, faster breathing will reduce as well.

5. High Temperature

Many times, German shepherds are also negatively impacted by the temperature outside.

They might not come in direct contact with the sun. However, if the temperature is on the higher side, their breathing might become fast as well.

The best way to tackle is to place them in a shaded area and provide them with plenty of water.

Even then, if the faster breathing of the German shepherd does not subside, it is a good idea to contact the vet.

6. Allergy

Another cause of the faster breathing of German Shepherd is an allergic reaction.

The allergic reaction can be to food, material, or other things.

That is why, if you have introduced anything new to your German shepherd, that is probably resulting in faster breathing in one way or the other.

If that is the cause, you have to revert to the earlier diet. Once you do so, the breathing will also come to normal.

7. Because of Medication

Side effects of medication is another reason why the breathing of your German shepherd might become faster.

Certain medications can increase the heart rate of your German shepherd. When that happens, breathing will also increase.

Since the cause is medicine, it is a good idea to contact your vet for a remedy.

8. Respiratory Problems

In some cases, the respiratory problem can also result in faster breathing.

In that case, until you treat the cause, it will become difficult for you to stop the faster breathing of your German shepherd.

I will go into the symptoms of respiratory problems below.

These are the most common causes why German shepherds have faster breathing.

In many cases, even when your dog is resting or sleeping, the breathing can become fast as well.

Wondering why does that happens?

I will highlight the same below.

Why Is My German Shepherd Breathing Fast While Resting?

If your German Shepherd is sleeping and still breathing faster, it is likely due to him/her dreaming.

It has been proven in animals and humans that dreams can result in physical reactions from your body.

In the dream, your dog might be chasing or playing around. In that case, the breathing of your dog will simulate that activity.

Since while running, breathing becomes faster, the German shepherd may be breathing faster is because of dreaming.

Unfortunately, in that case, you cannot do much.

It is not a good idea to wake up your German shepherd as well.

However, if that happens pretty often, you will have no other alternative but to contact your vet.

Before determining whether your German shepherd is breathing fast or normal, it is essential to know the normal level.

How Fast Should German Shepherds Breathe?

Ideally, a German Shepherd should breathe between 20 to 34 breaths per minute.

Only when the rate is above that can you conclude that the German shepherd is breathing fast.

As I have highlighted above, one of the causes of German Shepherd breathing fast is respiratory problems.

It is essential to know the symptoms of respiratory problems to determine the cause.

What are the signs of respiratory problems?

Besides faster breathing, the other signs of respiratory problems include:

1. Coughing

The number 1 sign is coughing.

If your German shepherd is coughing regularly, that is another sign that the dog has respiratory distress.

2. Nasal Congestion

Along with faster breathing, if your dog also suffers from nasal congestion, it is clear that the dog is suffering from respiratory problems.

During the nasal congestion, you will notice a stuffed nose, inflammation around the nose, and a change in the dog’s barking voice.

If all these symptoms persist, it is a clear-cut indication of a respiratory problem.

3. Intolerance To Exercise

German shepherds are quite active dogs. However, the older German dogs can become intolerant to exercise.

After becoming intolerant, they will suffer from respiratory problems and faster breathing if they indulge in exercise.

Then, the solution is to discourage them from exercise in that case.

Still, if the problem persists, you have to contact your vet. Only the vet can provide you with a treatment for the long-term solution to this problem.

4. Panting

Panting is another reason why a German Shepherd might end up breathing fast. It can result in various other respiratory problems as well.

These are the symptoms of respiratory problems, along with faster breathing.

If you notice any of them, you can directly point to a single cause of fast breathing.

What Can You Do When Your Dog Has Respiratory Problems?

In case your dog has respiratory problems, you have to contact your vet as soon as possible.

In many cases, medication might be needed. In certain cases, a doctor’s intervention surgically might be needed as well.

You have to keep in mind that respiratory problems will not go away with time or when you ignore them. You need to find a particular solution for them.

Only once you do so you can treat them.

Let me warn you; the solution is not instantaneous or easy. You might have to opt for longer-term treatment.

However, you cannot ignore the respiratory problems of your dog either.

That is why contacting the vet and starting the treatment as soon as possible is the only solution.


So, there are quite a few key reasons Why do german shepherds breathe so fast. Some of these reasons can be tackled on your own.

Some of them require a change in the schedule of your German shepherd. However, some reasons are quite serious.

In that case, the only option which you have is to contact your vet.

Once you go through my guide above, it will become easier for you to pinpoint the cause.

After pinpointing the cause, I have highlighted the action steps which you should take as well.

In a nutshell, after going through this guide, there should be no confusion regarding the faster breathing of your German shepherd or what you should do after that.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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