How Much Does a German Shepherd Cost? (2024 Price Guide)

German Shepherd puppy price and expenses how much does a German Shepherd cost

Have you wanted to own a German Shepherd Dog for the longest time? At this point, I assume you are already very well familiar with the breed and are ready to learn everything about the price and expenses of owning one.

As extremely loyal and intelligent working dogs, it’s no wonder that German Shepherds consistently make it to AKC’s list of popular breeds. This also makes them demanded by many dog lovers in the United States.

To help you settle your budget for your GSD puppy, I collected all of the important facts about GSD’s prices and maintenance costs. Hopefully, you will find this article useful as your financial guide when buying your future dog.

The Average Cost of a German Shepherd

German Shepherd puppy in the sun

The price of a purebred German Shepherd puppy from a reputable breeder is around $800 to $3,500. Show-quality German Shepherd puppies can cost anywhere between $6,500 and $10,000. Other factors, such as coat color, also affect the pricing of GSD puppies.

As you can see, the purebred German Shepherd puppy price range is quite high compared to other breeds due to increased demand.

The most expensive German Shepherds are bred from a generation of high-quality GSD parents or those that came from show lines. 

If you bought a puppy from the West German show line or the East DDR bloodline, you could expect a higher price tag.

Meanwhile, a German Shepherd Dog that is trained to become a working dog or service dog for the police or military is typically bought for $10,000 to $20,000.

GSDs bred to become working dogs often come from the West German working line, while those produced from the Czech working line are more suited to become police dogs.

German Shepherd breeders take a lot of time in producing purebred German Shepherd puppies and providing them with obedience training at a very young age.

Coat color also determines a German Shepherd’s price. Aside from the standard sable and black and tan coat, GSDs also come in solid colors like white, black, and blue. As expected, the rarer colors are more expensive than the common ones.

The table below shows a comparison of each German Shepherd price for the different GSD colors:

German Shepherd Color
Puppy Price
Standard German Shepherd (Black and Tan)$800 to $1,000
White German Shepherd$1,000 to $1,500
Black German Shepherd$1,500 to $2,500
Blue German Shepherd$2,500 to $3,500

The white German Shepherd’s price is a bit higher than the standard GSD color since it is less common. The appearance of white hair is a result of a recessive gene similar to black GSDs.

It’s also evident that the black German Shepherds are more pricey because of their rarity. It is estimated that only around 6.8% of GSD puppies will be black when born. This fact alone makes them truly sought after.

However, the blue German Shepherd’s cost is the highest out of all the other colors mentioned. They are the rarest GSDs produced from parents with the dilution gene.

Since the breeding process for these dogs is quite selective, puppies are expected to be priced much higher.

Factors Affecting the Cost of a German Shepherd Puppy

Purebred German Shepherds are one of the most expensive breeds out there, and you may be wondering why. I’ve mentioned earlier that pedigree and coat color affects their price, but they aren’t the only factors that come into play.

Breeders are not only responsible for producing GSD puppies, but they also need to ensure that these pups are healthy and in their best condition before their new owners take them home.

And of course, these medical expenses are not cheap, not to mention purchasing food and other basic needs.

Check out this comprehensive list of factors that affect the cost of a German Shepherd puppy:

  • Bloodline: German Shepherds with purebred show quality parents are naturally more expensive than ordinary companion dogs. Breeders invest more in these dogs to keep them in the best shape for competitions.
  • Breeder’s Reputation: If the breeder has been in the industry for quite a while and has received recognition for best breeding practices, you should expect their litters to be more expensive than others. You should always choose reputable breeders that are recognized by various kennel clubs and organizations.
  • Coat Color: As discussed earlier, GSDs with rare coat colors like white, black, and blue are priced higher than common colors. This is due to the selective breeding process that comes along with producing these unique puppies.
  • Size: GSDs are categorized as large dogs, but there are miniature German Shepherds and even giant German Shepherds being sold at a higher price. However, a dwarf or miniature German Shepherd is actually a GSD with dwarfism, while the giant variety is a mixed breed advertised as a purebred dog.
  • Training Received: Some breeders provide early socialization and potty training to their GSD puppies. This service is also added to their computed price. Those who wish to give them specialized training would need to pay more per session.
  • Registration Papers: German Shepherd puppies are often registered to the American Kennel Club (AKC) or United Kennel Club (UKC) in order to join shows or competitions. Breeders offer either limited or unlimited registration for a GSD puppy.

Other minor factors can also impact the German Shepherd puppy price. These include the breeder’s location and the cost of shipping or transport.

Knowing these factors can also help you choose a trustworthy breeder who can offer you a puppy worth its price.

How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a German Shepherd From a Rescue?

If you are on a tight budget, you can choose to adopt a German Shepherd puppy or adult German Shepherd from a shelter or rescue. The adoption fee typically ranges between $150 and $300.

This amount usually covers the cost of alteration, vaccination, deworming, and microchipping, so you don’t have to worry about the dog’s overall health.

To secure a German Shepherd from a shelter or rescue, check out this detailed guide for tips on how to get an easy application approval from any rescue organization.

READ NEXT: The Ultimate Guide to Dog Adoption: Process, What to Ask and Tips to Get Approved

Initial Cost of German Shepherd Ownership

German Shepherd puppy one-time expenses

Now that you know all about the German Shepherd price, you can think of the other necessary purchases that come after buying or adopting them.

We all know that the initial costs don’t come cheap, so I’ve also included a breakdown of these purchases.

In general, it’s a good idea to be prepared for these initial expenses before bringing your GSD puppy home:

  • Food and Treats: German Shepherds are large dogs with a big appetite. You should prepare a hefty meal of high-quality dog food and treats once your pup arrives. A bag of dry kibble and dog treats can cost you around $100 to $120.
  • Food and Water Bowls: To feed your dog the right portion of food and keep them hydrated after each meal, a good quality food and water bowl should be purchased. The average price range for these bowls is $15 to $35.
  • Bed: For a comfortable and uninterrupted sleep, your GSD should have a durable bed. This is one of the things you should invest in to prevent joint-related issues like hip dysplasia in the future. A good dog bed costs around $50 to $200.
  • Crate: When your GSD is still a puppy, it’s best to have a dog crate where they can be isolated during house training. This will also help prevent separation anxiety that often results in destructive behavior. A sturdy crate costs around $60 to $500 each.
  • Leashes and Collars: A good-quality leash and collar are needed for walking your purebred puppy. These are often priced at around $15 to $50. Collars can even be customized to have your dog’s name and your contact number in case they go missing.
  • Toys: While your GSD puppy is growing up, they will benefit greatly from chew toys as a way to develop their facial muscles and prevent floppy ears. These toys usually cost around $30 to $50.
  • Grooming Essentials: Whether you own a long-haired or short-haired German Shepherd, it’s important to have a hairbrush to remove tangled hair on a regular basis. Brushes, nail clippers, shampoo, and other grooming supplies can be bought for $40 to $180.
  • Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications: Most breeders also include the cost of deworming in the price of their puppies. If not, you can have them dewormed professionally. This, along with flea and tick medications, costs around $50 to $200.
  • Initial Vet Visits: When you get a German Shepherd puppy, you need to take it to a vet for an initial check-up. This will ensure that your pup grows up to be a healthy adult dog. You need to prepare a few hundred dollars for vet expenses, which often range from $100 to $300. 
  • Initial Vaccine Shots: Breeders often give the first required shots for your German Shepherd puppy, but after that, you need to shoulder the cost of the succeeding vaccine shots. This can cost you around $75 to $200.
  • Neutering or Spaying: Most breeders and rescue organizations cover the cost of dog sterilization. However, if they did not include this service, you will need to take your GSD to a vet for surgery. Expect to pay around $50 to $500 for this procedure.
  • Dog License: Like with other dog breeds, getting a dog license for your GSD is essential. Having this will increase the chances of your dog being returned to you safely in case it gets lost. Dog licensing organizations often charge around $10 to $20 for a dog license.
  • Microchip: Regardless if you purchase your GSD as a guard dog or family pet, it will greatly benefit from microchipping. A microchipped dog is more likely to be returned to its owner than a dog without one. Microchip implantation usually costs between $40 and $60.
  • Miscellaneous Supplies: When out for walks, German Shepherd dogs may unexpectedly do their dirty business. This is why owners should invest in cleaning tools like poop scoopers and urine cleaners. Expect to pay $15 to $30 for these items at a low-cost pet store.

The table below summarizes all the things you need to purchase initially, along with their price range.

You can use this as a puppy checklist when you’re shopping for your German Shepherd puppy:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$100 – $120
Food and Water Bowls$15 – $35
Bed$50 – $200
Crate$60 – $500
Leashes and Collars$15 – $50
Toys$30 – $50
Grooming Essentials$40 – $180
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$50 – $200
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $300
Initial Vaccine Shots$75 – $200
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Dog License$10 – $20
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$650 – $2,445

The estimated initial cost of owning a German Shepherd puppy is around $650 to $2,445, exclusive of the German Shepherd puppy cost.

If this is not your first dog, you can recycle your old dog’s items to cut down on the expenses. Other money-saving tips will be discussed in a separate section, so keep on reading!

Annual Cost of Owning a German Shepherd

German Shepherd lying on the grass

The long-term ownership costs of owning a German Shepherd will probably break your bank account, but it’s totally worth it. There are items and services needed to ensure that your German Shepherd is a happy and healthy pup.

Thus, this section will give you all the details about each type of expense you need to prepare for.

The table below summarizes the annual German Shepherd cost:

Type of ExpenseYearly Estimate
Food and Treats$900 – $1,200
Toys$30 – $150
Bed and Crate$240 – $500
Leashes and Collars$30 – $50
Grooming Essentials$200 – $500
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$150 – $250
Routine Veterinary Care$200 – $400
Pet Insurance$800 – $1,500
Vaccinations$80 – $250
Miscellaneous Supplies$30 – $50
Yearly Total$2,660 – $4,850
Average Monthly Cost$222 – $404

Aside from puppy prices and initial expenses, you should also consider planning the yearly budget for your GSD. 

Apart from recurring costs such as dog food, toys, and grooming essentials, a great chunk of your finances must go to routine veterinary care and pet insurance.

Annual check-ups should be done on adult German Shepherds to check their physical condition and ensure they are healthy dogs. 

This involves listening to the heart and checking the ears and eyes. This will normally cost around $200 to $400.

Unexpected medical costs and trips to the vet can occur throughout your dog’s life. The typical lifespan of a GSD is 7 to 10 years. 

It’s best to invest in a pet insurance policy that can cover these expenses aside from providing them with the best health care. Generally, this will cost you around $800 to $1,500 per year.

Other Potential Expenses

Owning a dog is already comparable to parenthood. You aren’t providing them with their basic needs in return for a service, but you are giving them unconditional love and companionship.

German Shepherds, much like any other dog breed, have other needs that go beyond food, water, and shelter.

Here is a list of the services and potential expenses that you should also consider including in your budget:

  • Daycare Services: If you are going to travel or run errands for the day, it’s a good idea to leave your German Shepherd puppy at a daycare center. Your dog will be watched over, fed, and socialized with other dogs. An overnight stay can cost around $40 to $80.
  • Dog Walking Services: As active dogs, your GSD needs a daily walk. If your schedule doesn’t permit this, expect to pay a dog walker for around $20 to $30 per session.
  • Grooming Services: For your GSD to have a well-maintained coat and appearance, you should take them to a professional grooming salon. They will be cleaned, trimmed, and pampered as they deserve. Grooming costs typically amount to $75 to $100 per visit.
  • Emergency Treatment: Dogs grow up so fast. As your German Shepherd puppy gets older, they are more prone to health issues like hip dysplasia. Sudden injuries can also happen that will require immediate medical attention and treatment. You should prepare at least $1,000 to $5,000 for emergency vet costs.
  • Kennel Club Registration: You need to spend another $90 to $150 to register your German Shepherd in kennel clubs like the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club. This will allow them to join various dog shows and other competitions.

Remember that these are optional expenses that you may or may not need depending on your dog’s needs and your financial capability.

Places to Find German Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption

German Shepherd money saving tips

Once you plan everything out financially, you are ready to find places where you can buy your German Shepherd puppy. Cheap German Shepherd dogs can be bought from puppy mills or a backyard breeder.

However, most German Shepherds from these sources are raised in very poor conditions, and you can’t be assured that they sell purebred dogs.

Buying from responsible breeders is the best option to get healthy puppies that will grow up to be strong adult dogs.

To help on your quest, here is a list of breeders certified by the American Kennel Club that offer high-quality German Shepherd puppies:

  • Vom Ragnar German Shepherds – This is a small kennel located in Illinois dedicated to breeding show-quality German Shepherds with sound temperament and the best condition because they have their puppies undergo health testing. This breeder strives to match their GSD pups to the most suited families.
  • Mittelwest German Shepherds – As a well-renowned breeder, the owner ensures that they only produce show-quality German Shepherd puppies that can serve as show dogs, guard dogs, K-9, and much more. They also import and ship their dogs worldwide.
  • West Coast German Shepherds – If you are located in California, this breeder can offer you a health-tested German Shepherd puppy coming from the best bloodlines. Like the previously mentioned breeders, West Coast GSDs are currently breeding dogs following the standards of the German SV.

Buying the cheapest puppies online seems tempting, especially if you are on a budget, but you might spend more in the future due to medical expenses. 

To easily distinguish a responsible breeder from a puppy mill or backyard breeder, check out our puppy buying guide.

If you weren’t able to find your German Shepherd puppy from this list, you could check out our article on the 10 best German Shepherd breeders for more options.

RELATED: 10 Best German Shepherd Breeders (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Are you considering adopting a German Shepherd instead of buying from a breeder? If you are, this list can help you find the perfect GSD pup for you:

  • German Shepherd Rescue and Adoptions – Based in North Carolina, this non-profit organization was established to protect and promote the German Shepherd breed. All of their rescued dogs are medically treated, spayed/neutered, and microchipped before adoption.
  • German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County – This volunteer organization is all about placing unwanted, neglected, and abused German Shepherds into permanent, loving homes. Applicants are encouraged to meet up with their chosen dog prior to adoption.
  • Garden State German Shepherd Rescue – This is a foster-based German Shepherd rescue that operates in New Jersey. Matching their rescue dogs to a suitable owner is their top priority, along with the restoration of their health.

For more chances of finding your lifelong companion, check out this list of the 10 best German Shepherd rescues. You can surely find one in your location!

Although the chances are slim, you might even get a GSD puppy for free. Just follow our tips on how to get free puppies in your area.

RELATED: 10 Best German Shepherd Rescues for Adoption (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Money-Saving Tips for German Shepherd Owners

When you have personal and household expenses to deal with, it’s hard to go full-on with your pet budget.

To make it more doable for you as a dog parent, I’ve come up with these tips to save money despite owning a German Shepherd Dog:

  • Consider adopting a GSD. Adoption is the cheapest alternative to getting a German Shepherd Dog, and this is more suggested than buying from backyard breeders. You can have a healthy, well-tempered dog for only $300 compared to a new puppy which can cost as high as $3,500.
  • Buy high-quality items. When shopping for your dog’s essentials for the first time, refrain from buying low-quality items that can easily break. You will spend more on replacing them rather than having good products that can last for a longer time.
  • Purchase supplies in bulk. When buying food or treats for your pup, make sure to stock up by buying them in bulk. This can save you a lot of money than buying small bags of kibble or cans of wet food.
  • Keep your dog in excellent shape. To avoid expensive veterinary bills, keep your German Shepherd puppy fit and healthy. Do this by feeding them high-quality dog food equipped with the right nutrients. Don’t forget to walk them daily and avoid giving fatty treats.
  • Groom your GSD at home. Instead of going to a professional groomer, learn to groom your German Shepherd puppy at home. All you need to do is buy the basic grooming tools and research how to groom your dog effectively.

While there are so many ways you can cut down on your dog expenses, make sure that you aren’t compromising their well-being when tightening your belt.

Plan your finances accordingly so no one will have to suffer in the long run. Many dog owners fail to do this; that’s why a lot of GSDs end up in animal shelters.

Final Thoughts

The German Shepherd’s cost might be expensive, but they make wonderful family pets. They are highly intelligent and loyal dogs that will protect you at all costs.

Buying one from a reputable breeder is worth the hefty purchase price than purchasing from backyard breeders or puppy mills.

On another note, you can adopt from a local rescue organization, but make sure to ask about any current health conditions that the dog may have. 

This can save you thousands of dollars while simultaneously supporting the rescue’s cause.

Aside from the financial aspect, make sure you are prepared for the full responsibility of being a German Shepherd puppy owner. 

Now you know how much German Shepherds cost, are you ready to own one? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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