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Hi,
I'm new to this and I'm looking for some advice. I have decided to get a GSD pup as a future running partner. I have had big dogs before (NZ Huntaway) and I'm well aware the pup wont be coming running till 18mths old. I just have this niggling thought in my head that the dog might not be able to cope with 10 mile runs when she's older because she is big boned and will have a longish coat. I'm going to make sure she stays well groomed and I only go on runs where the dogs have regular access to water and a river/stream to cool off in. Am I being daft or is this not the best choice for a running parter?
 

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I think a GSD would make an excellent running partner. Im sure you could work it up to running 10 miles but it may take a while. Just think how long it took you to train your body to run that far...I don't think I could even run 5 miles, much less 10. It's not like you are getting a Great Dane or Mastiff etc. You are getting a dog that is lean and lithe and made to run.
 

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My 3 year old male GSD is slightly larger than is standard at 28 inches tall (stock coat). He's about 85 pounds. He runs 8 miles a day, five days a week, and then a couple of those days he will do a second run of about 3 miles later in the day. Generally we run in temps of 75 degrees F or lower where we live. He does an average pace of 9 minute miles and handles this distance very well. His hips and elbows were x-rayed and deemed to be perfect otherwise I would not run him this much. I don't think I would push him much past the weekly mileage he is at right now, and we will no doubt have to taper back when he gets older.

But in my 23 years of running, he is the best running partner I have ever had.
 

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If you are looking for a running partner, I would get a pup with a workingline, shorter coat, smaller frame, and well built. I would avoid a showline, long coat, big bones, and over angulated dog. These would be fine in the short term for shorter runs, but not for the distances you are talking about doing long term.
 

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German Shepherds are great running partners. If you live in a warmer climate though, have you considered a Rhodesian Ridgeback? They were built to do long distances in the heat. They are also supposed to be great family dogs and protective. They were another breed that I considered. We had one in obedience class. He was very social, solid nerves, and obedient. Beautiful too.
 

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GSD'S make great running partners.Just make sure you eventually work up to the 10 miles just like you did with yourself.
 

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I don't run, but I bike my dog (Show/Working) four times per week and we usually do about 8-13 miles per session. He is always ready for more but I am not.. lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all your replies, we did consider a Rhodesian Ridgeback but I was too drawn to German Shepherds. I also tried to find a shorter haired dog but the breeder I have found takes such good care of her puppies and I've met other dogs she's bred and they all have brilliant temperaments. They're not show dogs and have been bred for obedience and as pets. her dogs are straight backed so the angles on their hind quarters are all normal. I'm pretty reassured and will definitely get the dogs hips checked before we start running. It's going to be hard waiting till she's 18mths but I'm confident it will be worth it.
 

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I agree with Elaine - get a dog that was bred to run, and you probably won't have a problem. I have two GSDs, one that is heavier in bone and fur (Minnie) and one that is lighter framed and has a tighter coat (Tanner). Minnie likes to play fetch, but running just isn't her thing. Tanner could out-run me any time, any day! So while Minnie can, and does run with me, she really doesn't like it all that much. Tanner would go forever, though. So the type of dog really matters.
 

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It's going to be hard waiting till she's 18mths but I'm confident it will be worth it.
You don't have to wait that long and shouldn't wait that long to at least start your pup.

You can start right away when you get your pup by getting him out and about as much as he wants to and you don't push him: right away he won't go far or fast. Increase speed and distance as he's able and willing. If he's well built, has the energy and willingness, he could be running a slow 2-3 miles by 6 months. Keep increasing speed and distance and you will have your dog in good shape for the distances you are wanting before you know it.

Be sure to watch your dog and slow things down if he seems to be breathing hard, appears too hot, or seems tired. Once he seems refreshed then you can pick things up again.
 

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I run with Miya on a regular basis (4x/week) with easy runs that are 5km (3.1mi) and a long run that is usually 10km (6.2mi). We previously had worked up to 16km (10mi) before I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, but we are slowly working our way back up as I am planning on running a half marathon next year.

I waited until Miya was 2 years old and had her OFA hips and elbows radiographs sent in before I started running with her. We both were starting from scratch so we gradually built up the mileage using something similar to a C25K (Pooch to 5k) program. For the first 2 years, I walked Miya daily for 4.8km (3 mi).
 

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I am with Elaine. I don't think you have to wait till they are 18 months to introduce running. I just wouldn't put too many miles on them. I started the pup I have now at 6 months. We did 2 miles, 3 times a week. We now do 3-4 miles (at 8 months old), 3 times a week and he still has plenty of energy left. We even did 6 miles the other day because it was gorgeous out and we were having such a good time. I do make sure to make him run off the path and in the grass for two reasons. 1) Not as hard on his joints 2) It is much cooler for him on the grass then the black asphalt path. I also run along a creek and around a lake. He jumps in 2 or 3 times, depending on the heat. I also carry lots of water with me and keep an eye on how heavily he is panting when it is hot out.

My other GSD is 5 now. I had her up to 25 miles a week and she was fine. She still has no joint issues, but doesn't enjoy running anymore so I cut her way back. She has always been very laid back and HATES the warm weather. She is very happy to run with me in the winter though.

I would rather run my dogs at a slow steady pace, then to let them get their energy out by constantly playing fetch. The sudden stopping at fast speeds makes me worry about their elbows.
 

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We previously had worked up to 16km (10mi) before I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, but we are slowly working our way back up as I am planning on running a half marathon next year.
Girl, your feet are such a mess that it's a miracle you can run at all. The dog's fine, but I feel for your poor feet. :wild:
 

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Girl, your feet are such a mess that it's a miracle you can run at all. The dog's fine, but I feel for your poor feet. :wild:
I am currently rolling my arches as I type this :D For the record, my right big toenail is now a dark purple.

I do think my current shoes are a smidgeon too narrow, but not many companies seem to make a good minimalist shoe with a wide forefoot for toe splay. I might have to go back to New Balance and buy more shoes to the chagrin of DH :eek:
 
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