How Much Does A German Shepherd Cost? Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

The German Shepherd is a confident and hard-working dog that has rightfully earned the reputation of being one of the bravest breeds in around.

These gorgeous and devoted pups are highly sought after and are the second most popular breed in the U.S.

Because of this they can often be a bit more expensive than your average pup.

The exact cost of a German Shepherd will vary depending on their pedigree and color.

In this article we will discuss all the costs you can expect to run into when adopting one and how to plan for the expenses that will pop up throughout their lifetime.

Want to learn more? Keep on reading…

How Much Does A German Shepherd Cost?

German Shepherd Puppy

German Shepherd Puppy Price

These puppies are highly sought after so breeders often place a big price tag to these precious pups.

So just how much do German Shepherds cost?

If you are buying a puppy from a breeder you can expect to pay anywhere from $600-$1500.

The average price of a German Shepherd puppy is $1000.

As a general rule reputable breeders tend to charge higher prices because they put more time, effort, and money into caring for their breeding dogs and puppies.

It will cost breeders around $8,000 to care for their litter, and show litters can cost breeders around $24,000 to raise for the first 8 weeks of their life.

This may seem like a huge amount of money but this budget covers lots – vet expenses, care for the pregnant mother, food, necessary genetic/medical testing, and all other necessary supplies.

When you are looking to purchase a puppy do not be tempted to go to a low-cost pet store or search for the cheapest puppies online to save money.

These puppies tend to suffer from health concerns and are often bred in very poor conditions.

They often come from puppy mills (or are produced by backyard breeders) who are more concerned with making a profit than providing you with a healthy and loving companion.

Whilst they might be cheaper to buy they will cost you a lot of money in the long run with medical and vet fees.

German Shepherd Dog Price

German Shepherd

Although many people crave the adorableness of a puppy they do not consider the amount of time these bundles of energy require.

Purchasing a puppy is very similar to welcoming a newborn into your home.

You will likely lose out on a lot of sleep and will have to diligently train them. You will have to put up with peeing in the house and chewing during their teething phase!

If you want to skip the loveable yet chaotic puppy years then adoption is an incredible option.

When you choose to rescue a dog from a shelter you are giving them a home and most importantly a second chance.

There are millions of dogs in need of homes so strongly consider adopting rather than purchasing a puppy.

Adult German Shepherds from shelters typically cost $50-$300 and these dogs are often spayed/neutered, vaccinated and sometimes even micro chipped so you will not have to worry about those extra expenses.

Adopting an adult dog is much cheaper than buying a puppy and there are also other benefits.

  1. Shelter workers can answer questions about the dog’s temperament and personality much more accurately than a breeder who cannot guarantee the personality of a young pup.
  2. They will likely be house trained.
  3. You also get the added benefit of saving a life.

German Shepherd Service Dog Price

Because of their hard-working demeanor they are a common choice for K9 police work or military work.

These dogs are focused and have an incredible amount of strength which makes them perfect for any job which they are trained for.

Dogs that are chosen for these positions are bred very carefully.

Breeders must carefully choose their parents for the perfect temperament and puppies begin training from a very early age.

There is an immense attention to detail that is required to raise a German Shepherd service dog.

This means you have to pay a lot for one of them.

Typically these dogs are sold for $10,000-$20,000 each.

A price like that guarantees you will have a diligent worker for their entire lifetime. In addition you will have to pay for on-going training throughout their life (more on this later).

Factors That Impact The Cost Of A German Shepherd

How Much Do German Shepherds Cost

Age

Age is one of the biggest factors in the cost of a German Shepherd.

Young puppies that are only 8-12 weeks old will cost the most. People want to get their puppy at this stage as they are most impressionable and can be trained to their owner’s preference.

As puppies age past 12 weeks old their price will decrease.

Adult dogs will be offered at much lower prices because people see them as less desirable.

It is true that welcoming an adult dog into your home will mean you have fewer years with them, but that time will be spent less focused on training and cleaning up accidents and more centered around cuddling and getting to know your new best friend.

Coat Color

Rare colors such as the white German Shepherd will cost more than the usual black and tan color.

This is because these rare coat colors are more difficult to breed for as they are caused by recessive traits.

Gender

You can expect male and females to cost roughly the same.

Both genders are highly desirable for different reasons.

Male GSDs have a lot of brute force and energy so they are perfect for working or active families.

Whereas female GSDs are gentler so they fit better into homes with children.

Price does not typically determine whether a person adopts a male or female – their lifestyle should be the deciding factor.

Lineage and Bloodlines

The lineage of a puppy will significantly increase their price.

If your puppy comes from show winning parents then you can expect to spend $6,000-$7,000 for your beautiful puppy.

Hopefully this large investment will pay off in prizes if you have a strong interest in showing your dog and entering them into various competitions.

As mentioned earlier a pedigree puppy will cost around $1000.

If this is outside of your budget then you should consider a mixed breed pup.

Although many people have their heart set on a purebred, mixed breed pups cost much less and have the potential to be healthier than many purebreds. It is common for breeders to mix German Shepherds with Huskies or Labrador Retrievers.

Location

An interesting point to consider is that the location where you purchase your German Shepherd can significantly affect how much you pay.

Smaller communities where there is less demand will typically charge lower prices than more populated cities. Certain states and cities also have more regulations on breeding which may increase the price of a puppy from a breeder.

Also remember that if you purchase or adopt from a distant city (or even country) then you will have to factor in the costs of driving or flying to pick up your new best friend.

Certification and Warranties

The first thing to note here is that some breeders will boast various certifications to justify their high prices.

Do not let these certifications fool you.

You should always do your own research into a breeder.

There are a few signs you should look out for to ensure that this breeder is not just concerned with making a profit.

  1. Reputable breeders will always have a lifetime warranty on their puppies so they want their pups to end up in the best homes possible. A good breeder will always guarantee that you can bring the puppy back if problems arise.
  2. Breeders should also prove their trustworthiness. They should let you meet the parents of the puppies and also provide adequate documentation of vaccinations, health screenings, and can prove that the puppies are at least 8 weeks of age before being adopted out.

Extensively researching to find a qualified breeder will save you money in the long run on medical expenses that poorly bred puppies may face later.

Remember that just because a breeder does not have certifications it does not mean they are not qualified.

Research the breeder and form your own opinions rather than basing your thoughts on certifications and titles.

Long Term Ownership Costs

Grooming Costs For A German Shepherd

Training

German Shepherds are fairly easy to train as long as you are willing to be a firm leader.

These intelligent dogs will quickly assume leadership if you do not show them who is boss.

If you are confident in your ability to train one of these masterminds, you will not have any expenses associated with training.

However if you choose to invest in training sessions, you can expect to pay about $50-$100 for basic training that lasts 4-8 weeks.

Group training classes are also a great way for your German Shepherd to socialize with other dogs. These dogs tend to be a little aloof with other dogs, so offering them an opportunity to make new furry friends when they are young is a great idea.

Grooming

Thankfully the beautiful locks of a German Shepherd do not need to be trimmed by a professional groomer so you will not have to worry about expensive grooming costs.

You will also need to purchase a sturdy brush ($20) in order to comb their fur every 2-3 days.

Their thick fur falls out frequently though so you will need to spend some money on lint rollers to keep your clothes clean.

Trimming their nails typically only cost $10 per visit so their grooming expenses will not break the bank.

Health Care and Veterinary Bills

Overall this is a healthy breed.

However there are several common health concerns to look out for.

The most common issue that these strong pups experience is elbow or hip dysplasia – 19% of German Shepherds will develop hip dysplasia during their lifetime. This painful condition can cost $1,500-$6,000 to treat.

These dogs may also develop bloat, eczema, epilepsy, allergies, and keratitis which may require expensive medical treatment.

Because of this, you will want to ensure that you have enough money set aside to cover any emergency medical expenses.

In addition to unexpected medical costs you should also budget out $100-$200 for annual checkups.

Immunizations will cost you about $50-$100 when you first get your pup, and if you are adopting from a breeder, you will also have to pay for a spay/neuter surgery which costs $50-$200.

Insurance

To cover these unanticipated medical expenses you could consider insurance.

Expect to pay $35-$50 per month to insure a German Shepherd.

Vet Bills For German Shepherd

Food and Treats

These dogs have huge appetites – they need lots of fuel to power their strong bodies all day long.

Typically they will each around 4 cups of food each day.

A high quality dog food costs $2-$3 per pound. So you can expect to pay $660 each year on dog food alone. If you are interested in treating them to some treats every once in a while, expect to pay about $5-$10 each month on a bag of treats.

Miscellaneous

The first year of owning a puppy or adult German Shepherd is going to be the most expensive.

Do not be surprised to spend around $3,500 in the first year alone.

This high price is the result of immunizations, micro chipping, vaccinations, training, and one-time expenses like bowls, leashes, harnesses, toys, beds and grooming supplies.

After the first year you will likely spend anywhere from $500-$1,500 annually.

If you work then you will also need to consider the cost of doggie daycare (typically $30-$40 each day).

Summary

It is estimated that most owners spend an average of $14,000-$15,000 on their dog throughout their lifetime.

So it is very important that you are aware of the costs you will encounter.

This was you can make an educated decision on whether you can afford this responsibility or not.

Adopting a German Shepherd is not a simple one-time purchase.

Welcoming one into your home is an investment that they will surely pay back with unconditional love.

Let us know your questions in the comments section below…

Thomas Woods Face Portrait
Thomas has been a dog lover since he was 6 years old when his parents got him a rescue Labrador. Since then his love for dogs has lead him to study Animal Behavior & Welfare. He now keeps a six year old English Bullmastiff and educates pet parents through his online publication Perfect Dog Breeds.

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