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Do German Shepherds Breathe Fast? When Is It A Problem?

German Shepherds breathe fast normally, but this becomes a problem when it is excessive and persistent. Therefore, you must always make sure to pay more attention to their breathing rate whenever you notice that something feels wrong.

Knowing whether it is normal for a German Shepherd to breathe fast will help you understand if you should leave it or take it to see the vet. So, here’s where your question comes in. Do German Shepherds breathe fast? When should you be worried about their breathing rate? Keep reading to get answers.

Do German Shepherds Breathe Fast?

Yes, German Shepherds breathe fast, even more than many other dog breeds. This is usually because they are large dogs that require lots of activities and exercise to create a healthy balance.

Why Does My German Shepherd Breathe So Fast?

The reason why your German Shepherd breathes so fast can be one of the following;

  • It is an active and high-energy dog that requires more oxygen supply.
  • It hasn’t been getting adequate exercise.
  • It is suffering from cardiac difficulties or other health conditions 
  • It has just concluded an activity or exercise
  • It is feeling overwhelmed or excited.

Why is my German Shepherd Breathing So Fast While Laying Down?

Your German Shepherd breathing unusually fast while resting is called tachypnea and can result from just concluded activities and respiratory or other health conditions. They include;

  • Heart Disease 
  • Anemia
  • Heat stroke 
  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Onion poisoning 
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Respiratory infections and pneumonia
  • Lower airway disease
  • Pain and injuries 
  • Lung cancer 
  • Anxiety 
  • Tracheal collapse

Your German Shepherd breathing so fast or funny but not panting can also be a result of these factors.

What Is Normal Breathing For A German Shepherd?

Normal breathing for a German Shepherd is that which does not exceed 15 to 30 breaths per minute when it is resting.

How Many Breaths Should A German Shepherd Take per minute?

A German Shepherd should take around 15 to 30 breaths per minute while at rest and more if it is playing or exercising. 

Do All German Shepherds Breathe Heavily?

Yes, all German Shepherds breathe heavily, and it is normal, especially when they have just concluded a high-energy activity.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is In Breathing Distress?

If your dog is in breathing distress, it will exhibit some symptoms, which might include 

  • Panting
  • Slow or fast breathing 
  • Belly breathing 
  • Noisy breathing 
  • Blue or grey gums
  • Foamy discharge from the mouth while coughing 
  • Nostrils flared open
  • Blue or purple tongue

Is It Okay That My Dog Is Breathing Fast? 

Yes, your dog breathing fast is okay and normal if it is temporary and due to excitement or it just concluded high energy demanding activity or exercise.

Why Is My Dog Belly Breathing?

If your dog looks to be breathing from its belly, it might be suffering from a condition called dyspnea which indicates breathing distress.

When a dog finds it hard to breathe, instead of its chest rising and falling, as usual, its stomach will be expanding instead. Various factors can cause this condition, they include;

  • Blocked airway
  • Heart failure
  • Infection
  • Trauma
  • Abdominal disorders
  • Heatstroke

Blocked airway

If your dog inhales foreign objects like bones during sniffing or eating, its trachea can be blocked and cause difficulty in breathing. You should use the Heimlich Maneuver method to remove the stuck object.

Heart failure 

This condition is usually common among older dogs, and it is a situation whereby the heart is too weak to pump enough blood as it should. As a result, it usually causes shortness of breath.


Viral and bacterial respiratory tract infections can cause difficulty in breathing in dogs. Puppies and older dogs are more susceptible to these infections and can easily transmit them to other healthy dogs.

Trauma or Injuries

A dog that is experiencing trauma or has suffered injuries that affect its chest tends to breathe from its stomach. These injuries can be caused by accident and are usually very severe, such as broken ribs.

Abdominal disorders 

Bloating in dogs and an enlarged abdomen can be a reason why your dog is belly breathing. This is usually caused by excess gas and water in the stomach, liver disease, internal bleeding, or heart failure.


This is a very common condition that causes belly breathing. It is a result of the dog’s body overheating up to 105.8°F due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

Do Dogs Breathe Fast When They Sleep?

Yes, dogs breathe fast when they sleep but not all the time. Apart from having any medical issues, your dog might be breathing fast because it just concluded an activity before going to bed or it is having an exciting dream.

Is It Normal For German Shepherds To Always Pant?

It is normal for a German Shepherd to pant if it feels hot, excited, or just completed an energy-consuming activity. It is a method that it uses to cool itself down.

However, you should be concerned if your German Shepherd’s panting is excessive and prolonged, as that can indicate emotional distress or medical issues.

What Is Abnormal Dog Breathing?

An abnormal dog’s breathing is that which is more than 40 breaths per minute when the dog is at rest. Anything above 40 breaths per minute shows abnormal breathing and requires the attention of a veterinarian.

Why Does My German Shepherd Hyperventilate?

Hyperventilating, which simply means rapid or deep breathing in a German Shepherd, can be caused by 

  • Overheating
  • Exercising
  • Acidosis
  • Allergic reactions
  • Respiratory problems
  • Pain, stress, or anxiety

Are German Shepherds High Anxiety?

Yes, German Shepherds are high-anxiety breeds. They suffer from separation anxiety more than many other breeds because of the super strong bond they share with their owners. They also suffer from noise, car anxiety, or car sickness.

Do German Shepherds Breathe Fast? Conclusion 

Breathing fast is normal in German Shepherds and many other dog breeds. However, you should be able to differentiate between normal fast breathing which is caused by excitement or activity, and abnormal one, caused by anxiety, respiratory problems, or any other medical condition.

Abnormal fast breathing in German Shepherds is very easy to notice, so consult your veterinarian to provide treatments as soon as you notice to prevent further worsening of the condition, as it can be life-threatening.



  • Rob

    Hi! I welcome you to my blog, where I discuss German Shepherds. Cheers to your GSD's welfare. And I hope you have a good time surfing my posts.

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