Have you been wanting 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, intelligent, and courageous dogs, it’s no wonder that German Shepherds consistently make it to AKC’s list of popular breeds.
Because of this status, GSDs are highly demanded by many dog lovers, not just in the United States but all over the world.
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: How Much Does a German Shepherd Puppy Cost?
The average 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.
They are even more expensive when they are bred from a generation of high-quality German Shepherds or those who came from show lines.
A GSD 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.
German Shepherd breeders take a lot of time in producing GSDs from the working line and providing them with training at a very young age.
Coat color also determines a German Shepherd’s price. Aside from the standard black and tan coat, GSDs also come in solid colors like white, black, and blue. As expected, the rarer colors are more expensive than 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, it’s expected for puppies to be priced a lot higher.
Are German Shepherds Expensive? Factors Affecting the Cost of a German Shepherd Puppy
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 for 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 breeders that are recognized by various kennel clubs and organizations.
- Coat Color: As discussed earlier,GSDs with rarer 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.
- Age: An adult purebred German Shepherd is usually sold cheaper than puppies. For instance, the price of a 6-month-old dog is significantly lower than an 8-week-old puppy. When they reach 12 weeks old, their market value starts to decrease.
- Gender: The puppy’s gender can also affect its price. Female German Shepherds that will not be spayed and potentially be used for breeding will cost more than altered ones.
- 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.
- Medical Expenses and Health Tests: A reputable breeder will screen all of their puppies for congenital diseases and other health issues common to the breed. Aside from health screening, other medical services such as vaccination, deworming, and general vet consultation are also provided.
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 Shelter or Rescue?
If you are on a tight budget, you can choose to adopt a German Shepherd puppy or adult 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.
Initial Cost of German Shepherd Ownership
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:
- High-Quality Dog Food: German Shepherds are large dogs with a big appetite. You should prepare a hefty meal of high-quality dog food once your pup arrives. A bag of dry kibble can cost you around $80.
- Dog 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 in the future. A good dog bed costs around $50.
- Dog 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 $50 each.
- Feeding 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 for these bowls is $20.
- Chew Toys: While your GSD puppy is growing up, they will benefit greatly from chew toys as a way to develop their face muscles and prevent floppy ears. These toys usually cost around $20.
- Leash and Collar: Your pup will also need a good leash and collar for identification purposes. These are often priced at around $35 for both items. Most of them can be customized to have your dog’s name and your contact number in case they go missing.
- Dog Hairbrush: Whether you own a long-haired or short-haired German Shepherd, it’s important to have a hairbrush to remove tangles and shedding hair on a regular basis. You can have a good dog hairbrush for $15.
- Nail Clippers: Another essential grooming tool is a nail clipper. Trimming your German Shepherd’s nail will be a lot easier and you won’t need to go to a professional groomer. You can get this for only $15.
- Dog Shampoo: Although not so frequent as other breeds, GSDs also need to be bathed. Dog shampoos cost around $10 per bottle at your local pet store.
- Poop Scooper: Poop scoopers are every dog owner’s savior whenever they go out for a walk and their dog needs a quick potty break. Expect to pay $20 for this tool.
The table below summarizes all the things you need to initially purchase along with their price range.
You can use this as a checklist when you’re shopping for your German Shepherd puppy:
|Type of Expense||Average Cost|
|High-Quality Dog Food||$80|
|Leash and Collar||$35|
|Total Initial Cost||$315|
The estimated initial cost of owning a German Shepherd puppy is around $315 exclusive of the German Shepherd’s price.
If you are not a first-time dog owner, you can recycle your old dog’s items to cut down the expenses. Other money-saving tips will be discussed in a separate section, so keep on reading!
First-Year Expenses of Owning a German Shepherd Puppy
The first year of owning any dog will probably break your bank account but it’s totally worth it. There are items and services needed to ensure the quality of your German Shepherd’s well-being.
Thus, this section will give you all the details about each type of expense you need to prepare for.
Here is a list of all the first-year expenses aside from the German Shepherd price:
- Pet Insurance: Unexpected medical treatments and trips to the vet can occur in your first year of owning a GSD puppy and the succeeding years of companionship. 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 $300 per year but it can be lower or higher depending on your chosen policy.
- Vaccination: 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 another $100 at most.
- 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 $300 for this procedure.
- Deworming: Like vaccine shots, most breeders also include the cost of deworming in the price of their puppies. If they failed to do so, you could have them dewormed professionally for around $20.
- Flea and Tick Medication: In case your dog has fleas or ticks, you need to buy over-the-counter medication to treat them. These are typically worth around $55 but if you need to see a vet, you need to add at least $70 for the consultation fee.
- Vet Check-ups: Annual check-ups should be done on your GSD puppy to check their physical condition. This involves listening to the heart and checking the ears and eyes. This will normally cost around $150.
The table below summarizes the average price for each expense:
|Type of Expense||Average Cost|
|German Shepherd Puppy||$800 – $3,500|
|Dog Food and Treats||$1,000|
|Neutering or Spaying||$300|
|Flea and Tick Medication||$125|
|Total First-Year Expenses||$2,795 – $5,495|
For your first year of owning a German Shepherd puppy, you should expect to spend anywhere between $2,795 and $5,495. This sum of money might seem to be a lot but the price of the GSD puppy itself is included.
Before you get discouraged, just know that you can spend less if you find budget-friendly deals with a local vet.
Monthly Cost of Owning a German Shepherd
Looking at the annual expenses can be too overwhelming so I’ve also included a breakdown of the monthly costs of owning a German Shepherd puppy. These recurring expenses shouldn’t hurt your budget too much.
Your estimated monthly expenses as a GSD owner are shown in the table below:
|Type of Expense||Average Cost|
|Dog Food and Treats||$80|
|Flea and Tick Medication||$10|
|Total Monthly Expenses||$160|
From the calculated value in the table, you can see that the monthly expenses are not as immense as the estimated yearly expenses.
However, bear in mind that this amount is a rough estimate and can change according to your dog’s needs.
Lifetime Expenses of Owning a German Shepherd
The life expectancy of a German Shepherd is 9 to 13 years. Within this period, you will need to provide everything they need to live out their carefree lives.
From the data I discussed in the former section, we can compute the lifetime expenses of having a German Shepherd puppy companion.
The estimated expenses for the first year cost around $2,795 to $5,495, including the puppy.
Assuming that the average monthly cost for your dog is $160 for the succeeding years, we can estimate that the lifetime cost of tending a GSD is around $18,155 to $25,835.
However, this amount doesn’t include miscellaneous expenses that may arise. Emergencies can happen anytime and you need to financially prepare for these situations.
Other Potential Expenses
Owning a dog is already comparable to parenthood. You aren’t providing them 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.
- 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 per session.
- Grooming Services: For your dog 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 $35 per visit.
Here is a video of how they are handled by a professional groomer:
- Emergency Treatment: Dogs grow up so fast. As your German Shepherd puppy gets older, they are more prone to health issues. Sudden injuries can also happen that will require immediate medical attention and treatment. You should prepare at least $1,000 for emergency vet costs.
- Kennel Club Registration: You need to spend another $90 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 or Adoption
Once you plan everything out financially, you are ready to find places where you can buy your German Shepherd puppy. Buying from breeders or adopting from a rescue are the best options for obtaining your dream dog.
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.
If you weren’t able to find your German Shepherd puppy from this list, you could check out my article on the 10 best German Shepherd breeders for more options.
All the breeders we included in our article have their pups undergo temperament testing and they also produce high-quality pups from a distinct show line.
Are you considering adopting a rescue dog 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 is 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 10 best German Shepherd rescues. You can surely find one in your location!
Money-Saving Tips for German Shepherd Parents
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 that 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.
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.