Skip to Content

How To Build Muscle On A German Shepherd Dog? 4 Factors

How To Build Muscle On A German Shepherd Dog? 4 Factors

German Shepherd dogs (GSD) are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. There are a lot of questions that can be connected to this breed, and one of those questions is, ˝How to build muscle on a German Shepherd dog˝

These dogs have quite the appearance, and they can come off as intimidating and scary. This is one of the reasons why some people might think that German Shepherds are aggressive. This is far from the truth.

These dogs have a lot of energy, and they are known for being working dogs. You need to put a lot of effort in to making sure that they get the right amount of exercise.

We are here to help you with building muscles in this dog breed.

How To Build Muscle On A German Shepherd Dog

There are a couple of factors that need to be included when it comes to muscle building in German Shepherds. These dogs are naturally muscular, but you may not notice those muscles like you would in an American Staffordshire Terrier, a Pitbull, or a Rottweiler, for example.

This is because of the GSDs long coat. The adult dog is very big, and if you want to find out more about its size, you can always check out our German Shepherd growth chart.

Here are some of the things you need to keep an eye on if you want to give your GSD stronger muscles.

1. Proper Diet Is Very Important

german shepherd eating from a bowl

A large dog like this one needs to have a proper diet that can consist only of dog food, but it can also be mixed with human food. Whatever you have decided on, you need to make sure that it has all the right nutrients to keep your dog healthy.

High-protein dog food is a must. Vitamins are also important. If you are not sure what to give your dog, you can always ask the vet.

Since these dogs will spend a lot of energy, they need to regain it somehow. This is where the well-balanced food comes in.

If your dog is being extremely active, but you are not giving it the right amount, and properly-balanced food, then your dog will not be able to develop muscles. The bad thing that can occur is muscle loss, which is something you should avoid.

If you are giving your dog home-cooked food, you need to avoid things like spicy food. If you are not sure what they can or cannot eat, you can always ask the vet.

You can also include some supplements in their diet. If you are not sure which ones to use, contact the vet.

2. Beauty Sleep

Just like with we humans, dogs need to have enough rest so they can take on the day. You might be giving your dog the proper diet, and giving them enough exercise, but it still does not develop muscles.

This is where rest comes into play. Your dog will not be able to perform all the needed exercises, and will not be able to put on body weight and muscle mass.

When your dog has plenty of rest, it will be able to go through dog training easily and fiercely. Muscle development is almost like a mathematical equation that needs all the factors to be properly aligned.

RELATED: 12 Best Dog Beds For German Shepherds – The Comfiest Picks

3. Exercise

german shepherd jumping high catching flying disk

This is, of course, the most logical factor, and the factor that will pop in anybody’s mind as the answer when it comes to this question. Dog owners need to make sure that their German Shepherd dog is getting enough exercise, but is not being overly exercised.

The severity of the exercise will depend on the dog’s age, the dog’s health, the dog’s abilities, and the dog’s needs.

Since GSDs are working dogs, herding dogs, police dogs, etc., it is known that they have a lot of energy that they need to let out. This is especially important for dogs that do not have any of these titles, but are only considered as family members.

Here are some of the exercises that you can try in order to make your dog gain muscle:

Sprinting. Since German Shepherds are herding dogs, they have a naturally great ability to sprint. This is amazing for the dog’s muscles, and it also increases their overall performance. You can let them sprint on flat surfaces, but one of the best exercises for these dogs is sprints up a hill.

Jogging and running. This is something that you can make as a routine that you and your dog do. If you love to jog, you can always take your dog to be your jogging partner. You can also throw them a ball to chase. This way, they will be running relentlessly.

Long Walks. This is good exercise for older dogs. Young adults can also go for long walks, but it will not be enough for them. You will need to combine it with another exercise as well.

Dog Squats. This might sound complicated, but it really is not. The two commands that you will need to repeat are ‘sit’ and ‘get up’. Do this a couple of times and your dog will have some strong legs.

Tug-of-war. This is also one of the best types of exercise where your dog will gain muscle. It can be considered as strength training. You can join the game, but you can also attach something to a solid surface for them to pull.

Flirt pole. Usually, people associate this toy with cats, but as we can see, dogs can use them as well. In this case, this will not be considered a toy because the dog will not play with the actual toy. This is used by the dog owner to make the dog run by chasing the string of the toy. You can always attach something that will make the toy more interesting to chase.

Spring poles. This is similar to tug-of-war, but the toy will need to be attached to a higher surface, like, for example, a tree. It is mostly a rope that can have a ball on the end. The dog will pull on it. Don’t get scared if you see your dog hanging from a tree, and think that it will damage its teeth. This is completely normal, and these pooches have some strong teeth and bites, so they can handle it.

Obedience training. This is good for your dog’s mental and physical improvement.

Weight pulling. This is considered to be kind of a dog sport. You will have a special harness that you put on your dog. On the end of the harness, you will attach some sort of weight. When you are introducing your dog to this, start with a light weight.

You can see that some of these potential daily exercises will need some exercise equipment.

It is also important to note that different types of exercise will target certain muscle groups. The dog’s body will need to get used to some of these, but they will get there, and most likely will fall in love with any exercise that you give him or her.

4. Hydration Is Very Important

When we humans want to get fit, one of the pieces of advice we get is to drink a lot of water. This is no different with dogs.

German Shepherds need to be hydrated constantly, especially when they are being very active. A fun fact is that these dogs are made of 70% water.

Because of this, you always need to make sure that they are getting enough water. Their bowls always need to be filled with fresh water.

What You Need To Pay Attention To

german shepherd running in summer meadow

All the things that we listed are amazing for your German Shepherd to gain muscles, but there are some factors that you need to consider.

Yes, a high-quality and high-protein diet, sleep, and exercise will help your German Shepherd to become stronger, but this is not a ˝secret formula˝ for every GSD.

Here are some of the things that you need to take into consideration.

1. Dog’s Age

Older dogs will not be able to perform some of these intense exercises that we listed. To be completely honest, they shouldn’t perform them. It could cause them more damage than it will benefit them.

Older dogs should enjoy themselves, and you should not be concerned if they have muscles or not.

You should also be very careful with very young dogs. Some of the exercises can be good for them, but some might injure them and even mess with their growth.

2. Dog’s Overall Health

If your dog has some health issues, you should postpone the muscle gain. The main thing that you should focus on is getting your dog to feel better. Some health problems might take longer to pass, which can leave some consequences.

If your dog was an active dog that loved to be on the move, and all of a sudden, it refuses to exercise, it can mean that it has health issues.

Dogs that have hip dysplasia, for example, should never do any exercise unless the vet has prescribed it.

3. Dog’s Ability

It is a known fact that German Shepherd dogs are active and strong dogs. In most cases, they can go for hours and not get that tired. With these dogs, you will not have problems with developing their muscles.

There are also other examples that just don’t feel like being very active all the time. These dogs might not have the biggest muscles, but there is not much that you can do about it.

You should never let your dog just stay inactive throughout the day, but you should never force them to do more than they want to.

Try to find a balance with these types of dogs.

To Sum It All Up

There are a couple of things that you need to look out for when it comes to ˝How to build muscle on a German Shepherd dog.˝ We listed all of those things.

It is important to know that all of those things need to be fulfilled in order to have a muscular German Shepherd. One does not go without the other. If your dog is getting enough exercise and having an amazing diet, but not getting enough water and sleep, it will be a lot more difficult to keep up its muscles.

We are sure that you are a responsible and persistent dog owner, and that you will follow all of these, and have a German Shepherd with muscles in no time.