The German Shepherd is a beloved working dog that has reached worldwide popularity, and now is one of the most easily recognized dog breeds all across the U.S. and Europe.
However, just like any other pet, GSDs also come with certain expenses that future dog owners need to be mindful of. This doesn’t include just the initial purchase cost, but also paying for all the things that come with dog ownership.
These so-called bravest dogs in the world don’t come for free. So, how much do German Shepherds cost, and how much would you spend yearly on their care?
German Shepherds are a bit of a costly breed, with their average price being around $1000.
When it comes to other expenses that come with owning an adult German Shepherd dog, here are the most common ones you can expect:
|Supply Price||Average Cost|
|Food and water bowls||$20|
|Plastic poop bags||$55|
|House training pads||$25|
|Stain and odor removal spray||$10|
|Total supplies cost||$450|
Of course, things get cheaper after the first year of owning a German Shepherd, but it’s still something you need to be mindful of. And, this is without counting all the other expenses that come with being a GSD owner.
If you’re interested to know the details about how much German Shepherds cost, then keep on reading.
How Much Does A German Shepherd Cost?
Overall, German Shepherds cost anywhere between $450 and $1900, with the most common price being around $1000. While you can find them both cheaper and more expensive, these are the most common prices out there.
Of course, expensive purebreeds with all the paperwork and documents can cost as high as $10,000, but we’ll discuss all the factors that can make the price skyrocket a bit later on.
It would be wise to avoid people trying to sell you a puppy that is way below the price range. This usually means you have business with a Backyard Breeder (BYB).
Backyard Breeders don’t necessarily breed dogs in their back yard. Their name references breeding practices that are often unethical. If anything else, they aren’t controlled by any kennel society, and these people don’t conduct necessary health testing on their dogs.
Although buying from a BYB might sound appealing due to the low price, you may end up paying much more in medical bills later on.
Other than getting your pup from a reputable breeder, you could also get a GSD from an animal shelter, a German Shepherd Rescue, or the humane society. There are plenty of abandoned GSDs looking for a new home.
The adoption fees are much lower than if you were to purchase a puppy as they go around $50 to $500 for a dog such as a German Shepherd.
Another option you have is to get your GSD puppy from a pet store or a puppy mill. This is also a cheap, but not very smart way of getting your new puppy.
Puppy mills don’t conduct health testing on their puppies. Not to mention that they mostly don’t care about the socialization of their pups, so the dogs they breed are prone to many health and behavioral problems.
With pet shops, the story is almost exactly the same since they usually get their dogs from unreliable sources such as puppy mills.
Of course, exceptions can always happen, and just because a dog is from a puppy mill doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with it – but the risk is there.
Keep in mind that there are many German Shepherd crossbreeds out there, such as:
• Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix
• German Shepherd Corgi mix
Don’t expect them to cost the same as purebred GSDs.
How Much Do German Shepherd Puppies Cost?
The cost of a German Shepherd tends to rise the younger the puppy is. This is because the younger the pup is, the more chances that the future owner has to mold the dog according to its preferences.
Around 80% of puppies no older than six months can be found at the price range we’ve listed, which is between $450 and $1900. However, puppies as young as six to eight weeks tend to be on the higher end of the scale.
Buying From A Reputable Breeder Vs. Buying Online
As someone looking to find out how much German Shepherds cost, you have probably run across several search site ads that let you know you can buy a quality pup from them.
Some high-quality reputable breeders have online ads. There is nothing wrong with that. Online advertising is a very successful means of marketing. However, their ads are much different than those “We sell German Shepherds!” pop-ups you might see on sale websites.
These people are usually Backyard Breeders or other types of unregistered GSD sellers that don’t follow the strict rules and regulations when it comes to breeding practices. This is why they are so affordable.
From a price perspective, you’ll certainly pay way less if you work with someone who made a listing on a sale site than if you were to go to an ethical, reputable breeder.
For example, while the average sale price for a GSD at a breeder’s is $1000, you might get one for as low as $130 on sites such as PuppyFind. Sometimes, these dogs are even sold on sites such as Craigslist!
It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong with a pup you buy online. However, you also have no way of knowing the bloodline of that dog as well as whether he’s predisposed for some severe genetic illnesses.
Buying A Pet-Quality Dog Vs. Buying A Show-Quality Dog
All German Shepherds make amazing family pets. However, there is still a difference between dogs bred to be just pets and dogs coming from champion bloodlines.
The prices we’ve listed apply to a pet-quality dog since these are the pups that breeders are mostly selling. However, while searching for how much German Shepherds cost, you have probably noticed that some dogs can be sold for as high as $12,000.
These expensive GSDs are almost always coming from a champion bloodline. Their parents or even some further ancestors have participated in one or more dog shows and won prestigious awards.
For example, the Vom Berk Haus German Shepherds that are meant to be kept as family pets cost anywhere between $5,000 and $12,000. However, they also sell protection dogs, and their prices are even higher – some dogs are as expensive as $75,000!
This is because these pups are bred from imported champion German Shepherds. The bloodlines of these pups are very sought after – and believe it or not, they sell out very fast.
However, these prices are out of the discussion for most dog owners – and rightfully so. If you’re looking for a beautiful house pet, then there is no need to chase after expensive bloodlines. The only thing that matters is that you find a healthy, well-behaved pup.
Buying From The UK Vs. The U.S.
Whether you decide to purchase your dog in the UK or in the U.S. is also important price-wise.
For example, you’re likely to pay a little bit less for a GSD in the UK compared to one in the U.S. In the UK, the average price for a GSD is around $800, which is a bit less compared to the U.S.
This is because German Shepherds are more popular in the U.S. compared to the UK.
Of course, if you’re from the U.S., this price difference alone isn’t enough for you to want to import a GSD. There are plenty of importing costs and taxes, and this can end up being anywhere between $150 and $1000, with most prices being in the $300 to $500 range.
Buying A Puppy Vs. Adopting An Adult Dog
As we’ve already mentioned, most of the time, puppies are more expensive compared to adult dogs. For example, adult GSDs can be found at a price of $500, even from reputable breeders, while puppies can cost up to $2000!
This is due to the belief that it’s easier to train a puppy than an adult dog. While there is a lot of truth to this claim, it’s important to note that it’s never too late to train an intelligent dog such as a German Shepherd.
However, the price can be somewhat higher for adults if they are trained and socialized by the breeder.
Also, if the dog has participated in certain dog shows or if he shows success at some fields, his price can skyrocket and he can be sold for much more. This is reasonable since you’d be purchasing a developed, high-quality dog that you don’t need a lot of work with.
Buying From A Professional Breeder Vs. Buying From A Hobby Breeder
If the breeder has professional knowledge and qualifications, then his dogs will usually be more expensive. Hobby breeders, on the other hand, sell their pups at a lower price.
Once again, it doesn’t necessarily mean that hobby breeders sell low-quality pups. Many people who breed and sell dogs out of hobby take excellent care of their pups and conduct all the necessary health testing and screening.
Many of these people are dog lovers who are simply trying to earn some extra bucks by doing what they love, and that is taking care of canines.
At the same time, they don’t have the knowledge and experience of other, more expensive breeders, even if they are registered by the AKC. This might mean that they’ll make some mistakes that you’ll have to fix from your own pocket.
Still, they are a fairly decent purchase choice, especially compared to pet stores and Backyard Breeders. If you read about how much German Shepherds cost on average and you still want to risk and go a bit cheaper, then hobby breeders are a good option.
Factors That Affect The Price
If you have wondered how much German Shepherds cost, then you may be unpleasantly surprised to find out just how much the price varies.
The price of a dog doesn’t just depend on the dog’s breed or the breeder’s reputation. There are plenty of other factors that affect this. We’ll go over the most important ones.
Some breeders only reproduce show-quality dogs, sometimes even show winners. As a result, these breeders quickly become known for their good reputation.
However, there is more than just a good name as breeding high-quality dogs is very expensive. These breeders invest in high-quality dog food, health testing, proper socialization, and all the other ways that they can ensure they only have amazing dogs for sale and mating.
Some breeders, both reputable and more ‘underground’ ones, are members of kennel clubs – the two most notable ones being the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Kennel Club (AKC).
These breeders prefer to have their dogs registered, which is something they add to their fees.
Keep in mind that most reputable breeders have Limited Registration on the dogs they offer to the general public. This is one of the main ways you can determine the difference between a reputable breeder and a BYB.
BYBs often offer dogs with either Full Registration or no registration whatsoever whereas a reputable breeder will rarely offer Full Registration to a regular customer.
All responsible breeders will test the dogs they mate for various health issues and conditions. This way, they’ll ensure that they’ll only reproduce healthy dogs, and that no bad genes are entering the bloodline.
Some even go a step further and take their puppies for regular vet check-ups, vaccinations, deworming, and microchipping before giving them away to a new owner. While this increases the price, it also lowers the risk of having unhealthy dogs.
Training And Socialization
While most breeders sell their dogs while they are very young, some keep them until they’ve completed initial socialization and training.
Sure, this might seem like an unnecessary way of increasing a purebred puppy’s price, but keep in mind that German Shepherds are large working dogs that love to howl and bark and that can require training classes – and this would cost you much more in the future.
Supply and demand affect the price of everything, and the same goes for dogs. Different breeds are of different demand in other places.
For example, if you have tried to learn how much German Shepherds cost, then you may have noticed that there is a price difference in suburban versus urban areas. This is because smaller dogs are more sought after in city areas, so larger dogs have lower prices.
On the other hand, in areas with more houses than apartments, or in rural areas, larger canines are more wanted, so they are naturally more expensive.
Because of this, it might be a good idea to look for a dog that comes from a cheaper area than the one you are in. Just keep in mind that it might be risky getting a pup you’ve never seen in person before.
German Shepherds come in a standard black and tan color – although their original coat color was sable. With this breed, there usually isn’t much variation.
However, there are some other coat colors that these pups can have, such as the pied pattern, black coat color, sable, and even white, and the demand for these rarer colors can influence the dog’s price.
When it comes to most dog breeds, including purebred German Shepherds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and many others, colors accepted by the kennel clubs are those that buyers typically want.
How Much Do White German Shepherds Cost?
White German Shepherds are one of those large family dogs that stun everyone with their gorgeous appearance. But, does that influence their price?
While rare coat colors can make dogs more expensive, so can the dog’s purpose. Show-quality dogs don’t have the same price as dogs bred to be family pets.
Even though white GSDs can be registered with the AKC, the same cannot be said for the UKC, which only allows you to register your white GSD as a ‘White Shepherd’. These dogs are not a common sight at dog shows, so they are rarely of show quality.
Also, these pups are usually bred to have a softer and sweeter personality, so they are rarely used as working dogs. In fact, they are more likely to be skittish than aggressive!
Another important thing to consider is that despite the common belief, white German Shepherds aren’t rare. Sure, they aren’t a common sight, but they aren’t unusual.
Because of all of this, their price is rarely any higher than the price of a regular GSD, and these dogs can also be found at a price of around $1000.
However, keep in mind that many white dogs have a plethora of health issues because genes for the white coat color can also cause blindness and deafness. So, while the initial cost is the same, you may end up with many expensive vet bills afterward.
Dwarf German Shepherd Price
You’ve learned how much German Shepherds cost. But, have you heard of dwarf German Shepherds? These little dogs are adorable little brothers of the large police dogs you know as GSDs!
The price of a dwarf German Shepherd depends on the reason why the dog is puppy-sized.
Most of the time, these pups aren’t purebred German Shepherds. Instead, they are a mixture with some smaller dog breed, usually a Poodle or a Border Collie.
Being a crossbreed, their price tends to be much higher than that of a purebred GSD. In fact, they almost never cost less than $950, with some of them costing several thousands of dollars!
Some breeders sell German Shepherds with dwarfism at the same price range, sometimes even claiming that there is nothing wrong with the pup. However, the cost of buying such a pup is usually nothing compared to the cost of owning it.
German Shepherds with dwarfism tend to have plenty of health problems, including hip dysplasia, hemophilia, perianal fistula, and many other bone-related issues.
Large dogs such as German Shepherds greatly benefit from training. While they aren’t an aggressive breed, due to their large size, they can cause serious harm if you haven’t done proper obedience training and socialization.
Training is something you can do from your home. There are plenty of treats and toys on sites such as Amazon that can help you teach your GSD how to behave.
However, not all people have this time – especially if we’re talking about an adult dog with a developed (and bad) personality. This is where professional trainers are very handy.
For larger dog breeds that are intelligent and willing to learn, five to seven private lessons should be enough to teach all of the important basics. This usually costs between $750 and $1000 depending on the price range of the professional and how many classes your pup has.
Also, your GSD should have several group sessions for better socialization. This means that you should add $150 to $200 more into the account.
Overall, you can look at the average expense of $1000 for professional dog training.
Unfortunately, medical expenses are something that can eat the money away – and yet it’s still necessary. Still, you can lower these costs by buying from a reputable buyer that ensures that the puppy is less likely to suffer from any severe medical condition.
For the first year of owning a GSD puppy, you should count in on some vet expenses that you most likely won’t have later on. This includes deworming, microchipping, and regular vaccinations.
Because of all of this, the price for the first year of owning a new pet can be as high as $650. If you want to spay or neuter your dog, then you should add between $250 and $850 for that procedure as well.
When you get a new puppy, you’ll have to take him to the vet at least three times; once for each shot he needs to have. These vet visits can cost anywhere between $65 and $170 per visit. The heartworm and flea prevention medication can also cost up to $250 if you want to be covered for the entire year.
Later on, while you’ll most likely have only yearly vet visits, they will be more expensive since the dog should also be tested for heartworm every year. If you own a senior dog, there will be some additional blood work included as well.
GSD Health Problems
All dog breeds are prone to a certain set of illnesses and conditions. While reputable breeders do all they can to prevent bad genes from being passed onto their puppies, this isn’t something that can be entirely predicted.
There is nothing more devastating for a dog lover than having their beloved family companion get sick. However, this is a possible future that we all must prepare ourselves for – both emotionally and financially.
Here are some of the most common health issues in German Shepherds, and what the cost of the treatments is.
|Health Concern||Estimated Treatment Cost|
|Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia||$500-13,000|
|Degenerative disc disease and lumbosacral instability||$500-$3,5000|
Here is why the prices for some treatments vary greatly.
Hip Dysplasia Аnd Еlbow Dysplasia
When it comes to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, there is a big variety of treatment options depending on your desires, finances, and the dog’s condition itself.
The cheapest alternative is simply giving your dog pain medicine and physical therapy. This can cost you anywhere between $500 and $2,500 per year.
However, if you want a more durable solution that could truly help the condition of your pup, then you should attempt to get a total hip replacement for your pup – but this procedure can cost you thousands.
When you think about how much German Shepherds cost, you’re probably not thinking about allergies. Some dogs have allergies all the time. This is common with dogs with food or smoke allergies. Others might just have a flare or two throughout the year.
Also, you can opt to have your pup tested to see what exactly he is allergic to. And, other than standard, more affordable oral antihistamines, some dogs might require expensive injections.
Food allergies tend to be especially expensive, considering that your dog will likely need some pricey prescription food.
It can be very tricky to calculate the exact price for this disease.
First off, there are plenty of tests that can be done to rule out any other condition that may be mimicking degenerative myelopathy, and these can be very expensive.
Then, your dog will need to have genetic testing as well as plenty of medication prescribed. He may even need a wheelchair. All of these expenses can pile up.
Degenerative Disc Disease And Lumbosacral Instability
This is another condition for which you have several treatment options, making the cost vary greatly.
On the lower end of the price range, you have a somewhat conservative method that includes pain medication, physical therapy, and, on some occasions, a dog wheelchair.
However, you may also opt to take your pup in for surgery, which is very expensive, but it might help your dog live a normal and long life without pain.
Bloat requires an emergency treatment that can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $7,500. Unfortunately, even this treatment isn’t a guarantee that your dog will make it. Many dogs that experience bloat have to be euthanized.
Dog Insurance Cost
Getting a health insurance plan for your dog sounds like a waste of money for some. However, if you’ve bought your dog from a Backyard Breeder or a pet store, then it might be a good idea to buy a plan.
There are plenty of dog insurance plans you can count on. For example, if you want a plan that will cover only accidents, then the average annual plan costs around $190. However, if you want a bit more extensive plan that will cover most illnesses, then expect to pay around $565.
There are even some premium insurance plans that cover any health expenses you may have with your dog, but be prepared to pay a hefty sum of money for them.
Getting dog insurance is a good idea if your dog is prone to some genetic health conditions – or if you have no way of knowing whether or not he is predisposed for some of them.
In the end, it’s better to be safe than sorry as no dog lover would want to have to see their dog suffer because they cannot afford the treatment.
Of course, if you’ve bought your dog from a reputable breeder that has already provided all the health screenings, then you may determine that pet insurance is entirely unnecessary. The decision is completely up to you.
Dog Food Costs
You cannot expect to calculate how much German Shepherds cost without looking at the price of the dog food and the amount of it they can eat.
German Shepherds are a large dog breed. An adult GSD weighs anywhere between 50 and 90 lbs, which means they eat a lot of food.
On average, an adult German Shepherd will eat around 310 lbs of food per year.
Depending on the food and the brand, this can cost you anywhere between $160 and $495.
While pups eat less, their food tends to be more expensive, so you’re looking at fairly similar prices when all is said and done.
Of course, you have to buy some dog treats as a reward for your good boy. While treats shouldn’t be a part of a dog’s daily diet, some brands can be very expensive. This is why the price discrepancy is massive – most dog owners spend anywhere between $125 and $715 on dog treats!
This amount is calculated based on the premise that your GSD gets one larger treat per day. If you give your dog treats less than this, then you can expect the yearly amount to be lower.
German Shepherds are big shedders. They have a thick double coat that tends to shed a lot.
Fortunately, their coat type is easy to groom, and you can do it in your home. However, you should still consider taking your dog to a professional groomer every few months, especially if you have a longer-haired dog.
Groomer prices for larger dogs usually range anywhere between $55 and $75 per visit. If you take your pup to a groomer every two months, then you can count on $450 in yearly expenses.
Professional dog grooming usually includes bathing, a haircut if needed, brushing, styling, nail trimming, eye and ear cleaning, and teeth brushing.
If you want to do all of this by yourself, then you can find some good dog grooming kits online. Their average price is around $75. If you’ve got the time to groom your dog monthly, this is a fine investment.
While German Shepherds are dogs that can be left alone during work hours, it’s still inadvisable to leave them home alone during trips. Luckily, there are many dog boarding services that can help you take care of your dog while you are on a trip.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to plan ahead. Dog boarding services tend to get quite busy, especially during the holiday season. This is also the time when they raise their prices. If you want to stay budget-friendly, then you’ll need to schedule everything ahead.
Depending on the location, type of services, and date, boarding services cost anywhere between $25 and $85 a day. If this sounds like too much, then you can always ask your friends or family to take care of your pup for a little while.
You might also want to take your GSD with you. Many airline companies offer provisions to help you take your pets with you on a trip.
Just like with boarding services, this is something you need to plan ahead. You’ll have to provide a formal request to the airline company so you can be able to travel with a pet.
Also, it’s impossible to predict the price of traveling with your pup as this greatly depends on the airline, the location of travel, your dog’s size, and his temperament.
Dog Walking Costs
Most people walk their own dogs. Sometimes, however, this isn’t popular. No matter whether you’ve had an accident or had to go on a trip and leave your dog behind, someone has to walk it.
German Shepherds are dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. If you cannot give this to them at the moment, then the best thing would be to hire a dog sitter or a dog walker.
For larger dogs, half an hour of walking usually costs between $15 and $25, and hourly walks cost between $20 and $50.
These walkers usually take more than just one dog for a walk. In case your pup isn’t socialized, you might want to pay extra for private walks for everyone’s safety.
Tips To Reduce The Cost Of Owning A German Shepherd
Let’s face it. Every penny counts, and once you’ve learned how much German Shepherds cost, you’re probably thinking where you can save a bit. In the end, all these numbers aren’t small.
Luckily, there are a few tips on reducing the cost of owning a GSD. Here are four of them:
Give Your GSD High-Quality Food
It’s essential that your German Shepherd only eats healthy food. This isn’t just good for your puppy to grow up to be healthy, but also for supporting his immune system.
High quality, healthy food isn’t necessarily expensive. It only has to follow the nutritional guidelines of the American Association of Feed Control Officials.
Creating your own recipes could ruin your dog’s health – unless you’re consulting with a professional vet or nutritionist who knows what they are doing.
Feeding your pup this way can also keep your dog from being obese or malnourished. All of this saves you money in the long run.
Groom Your German Shepherd At Home
As we’ve mentioned before, grooming GSDs isn’t difficult despite the heavy shedding. This is something that you can easily do on your own without the help of a professional groomer.
In fact, grooming your German Shepherd at home can save you between $1,000 and $1,500 during the lifetime of your pup. At the same time, it will create a strong bond with your dog.
Don’t Skip Annual Check-Ups
Early detection is the best way to save money on medical bills. Not to mention that it’s the best way to keep your pup alive and healthy without long-term consequences.
Prevention is always a better option than expensive medication. Annual check-ups are important to help you detect the early stages of plenty of health conditions, which is the key to keeping your pooch healthy.
Take Your Dog’s Vaccines From A Rescue Center
A good tip for every dog owner is that a lot of rescue centers give dog vaccines at a lower cost, sometimes even for free. If you’re not standing that well with finances, then this can come in handy.
It’s important to note that not all shelters have the same prices. Check out several dog shelters near you to see which one has the most affordable price.
Why Are German Shepherd Puppies So Expensive?
After reading a bit on how much German Shepherds cost, you’re probably thinking why they are so expensive, especially since they are by no means rare dogs.
Despite GSDs being widespread, they are not easy dogs to breed. They require a lot of dedication and care, and all of this costs money.
A reputable breeder who is looking to breed and sell their pups needs to train and show their mating dogs, then they need to do all the health screening and pay for all the licenses and paperwork.
None of this comes at a cheap price.
Here is a brief overview of all the costs that await a professional German Shepherd Breeder:
|Training and showing||$3,500 per year|
|Stud fee||$1000 and more|
|Food||$100 per litter|
|Registration||$25 + $2 per puppy|
|Total:||$6,985 and more|
When you add the cost of feeding and maintaining the dam yearly, you can see that a single litter of German Shepherd puppies can cost the breeder as much as $8000!
All of this is without the cost of buying a quality female and/or male dog and raising them to adulthood. Not to mention all of the time and effort that goes into making their GSD the best dog they can possibly be!
Don’t Save Money On Your Pup
If there’s one thing you shouldn’t be frugal on, it’s the wellbeing of your family members, no matter if they walk on two or four legs.
If you’ve researched how much German Shepherds cost, then you’re probably inclined to buy the more affordable puppies. In the end, it’s in human nature to try to find the best deal possible for anything we’re buying.
However, with all dogs, including German Shepherds, this can be tricky. In fact, saving on the initial purchase can end up costing you ten times more!
Buying dogs from pet stores, giving them poor-quality food, and buying them cheap dog beds can have an impact on your dog’s health. All of this can lead to many health or behavioral problems that you’ll spend more money on.
While we’re sure many breeders overprice their dogs, you have to look for sellers with the best possible value for the money.
Talk to your GSD-owner friends or ask on forums or German-Shepherd-lover groups to learn all you can about people’s experience with the breeder of interest. Word of mouth is the best recommendation and a sign of quality one can get.
Planning your budget ahead can help you save not just a lot of money, but your mental health as well. It’s stressful having to see your pet suffer while you’re counting every penny thinking about ways to help it.
This is why it’s important to support reputable breeders and only buy the best possible things for your beloved pooch.