Many pet owners dream of adding a German Shepherd puppy to the family.
These popular dogs look beautiful and impress with their intelligence, so when you want to bring one home, what should you expect regarding German Shepherd prices?
In this 2023 guide, you’ll learn how much you might pay for a German Shepherd puppy and the other costs associated with dog ownership.
|German Shepherds Average Cost|
|German Shepherd Price (Puppy) & Initial Supplies||$3,710|
|Ongoing Expenses (Yearly)||$2,500|
|Minimum Lifetime Cost Based on the Life Span of 10 years||$31,210|
How Much Does A German Shepherd Puppy Cost?
A purebred German Shepherd puppy can cost as low as $800 or as high as $10,000. Purchasing a puppy from a breeder with a good reputation often won’t charge more than $4,000 unless the pup qualifies for AKC and other organization shows.
Many factors go into the price of a German Shepherd puppy, including everything from the coat color to the pup’s bloodline.
Another pricing factor involves the puppy’s training history. Police and military forces start training puppies as early as eight weeks old, but if the pup doesn’t prove itself within a few months, they may put it up for adoption.
While the puppy didn’t pass all requirements for a service dog, the training it garnered can raise the price of German Shepherd puppies to between $10,000 and $20,000.
Factors Affecting The Price Of A German Shepherd Puppy
Understanding the factors breeders use to price their German Shepherd puppies can help you look for the pup that meets your budget.
1. Breeder's Reputation
Most reputable breeders tend to price their puppies higher because they roll care costs into the total price tag. Puppies require vaccinations, medical care, specific foods, and other expensive services that prepare them for a happy, healthy life.
German Shepherd puppies with low prices might not have gotten that kind of care. Oftentimes, these puppies come from backyard breeders or puppy mills, and pups from such places are more prone to health issues, may be sick, or have poor temperaments due to inbreeding and unhealthy living conditions.
So, avoid the temptation of buying cheap German Shepherd dogs. Instead, do your research and find a reputable breeder where you can get an ethically-bred German Shepherd puppy at a fair price. In the long run, you will have saved yourself time, money, and worries about your beloved pup’s health and well-being.
If ever in doubt about the quality or price of a pup and think it might be too good to be true, do some additional research. Ask your breeder questions, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal if it doesn’t seem right. You can also visit the breeder’s kennel to gain more insight or talk to other owners who have purchased from the same breeder and do your due diligence to ensure that you are truly getting a quality GSD puppy.
Breeders carefully curate breeding pairs to produce the best puppies possible. A puppy with a superior pedigree or a highly traceable bloodline often costs more than a puppy with no discernable family tree, especially if the parents have been previously shown and have earned titles in the show ring.
The same is true of puppies with parents that have achieved work-related titles, such as Schutzhund, International Prüfung, police dog, herding dog, or tracking titles.
A good breeder also works hard to ensure the smallest chance of breeding between familial ties, with low-quality breeders mixing close family members and weakening the resultant puppies’ health.
3. Location & Time Of Year
The breeder’s location will also impact the overall price tag of their puppies. Those residing in areas with a higher cost of living have to price their pups higher to help them cover all expenses. For example, a breeder in San Francisco, CA, will charge higher than one in Hickory, NC.
If you can afford to travel to pick up your German Shepherd puppy, you could save hundreds, if not thousands, on the puppy you want.
In addition, most puppy prices skyrocket during the summer, when families look forward to raising their puppies with daily walks and outside play. Purchasing your German Shepherd puppy during the cold months could lower the costs since other families wait for warmer temperatures.
Many potential German Shepherd owners want to pick up their puppies as soon as they reach an independent age.
However, the younger the puppy, the higher its initial purchase cost. Waiting until a puppy age provides many benefits, such as a lower price and the likelihood that the breeder has potty-trained the pup for you.
5. Size & Coat Color
German Shepherds naturally come in larger sizes, so pups with a smaller build tend to sell for higher prices.
Breeders also use coat color to determine pricing. The rarer the coat color, the higher a breeder can charge for that puppy.
Common coat colors for German Shepherds are black and tan, sable, bi-color, and solid black. Rarer coat colors include pure white, isabella, liver, or blue. Note, though, that the AKC does not recognize most of the rarer coat colors and will disqualify them from the show ring. So if you’re looking for a show dog, stick to the standard colors.
Why Are German Shepherd Dogs So Expensive?
If they’re so popular and common, why are purebred German Shepherd puppies priced so highly?
German Shepherd breeders have to assign breeding pairs, tend to the mother dog, treat all of their pups to vet visits, provide appropriate food and living space, take care of the breeding dogs and puppies throughout the entire process, and perform other pricey duties.
In addition, the breeders have to deal with their own cost of living, which includes their rent or house payments, utility bills, and other personal bills that directly affect the level of care they provide their puppies.
Besides these costs that all breeders have to deal with, the most reputable dealers also treat their pups to X-rays to check certain areas of their bodies for healthy functions, as German Shepherds can have issues with their hips, elbows, or thyroids, among other body systems.
Cost of Adopting A German Shepherd Dog From A Shelter Or Rescue
With German Shepherds near the top of the list for most popular dog breeds in America, many puppies and adult German Shepherds can end up in dog shelters or rescues.
Hopeful owners can call their local animal shelters or look online, as many rescues will post incoming pups and adults in hopes of rehoming them quickly.
An adult German Shepherd coming from shelters or rescues can cost between $150 and $500, which usually includes procedures like deworming, vaccinations, and microchipping.
German Shepherd Initial Cost: Setup, Supplies, & Vet Bills in the First Year
When asking, “How much does a German Shepherd cost,” many potential pet owners only consider the original price tag.
Bringing home a new German Shepherd puppy costs more than the price of the pup itself. You also have to create a conducive environment for raising your puppy and factor in the costs of veterinary care.
Basic supplies can cost between $1,000 to $1,500, and you may also need to acquire a dog license or spend money on clean-up supplies for after they use the bathroom. Some of the basic items you’ll need include:
- Dog toys
- Dog food
- Dog crates
- Grooming supplies
- Collars or harnesses
- Food and water bowls
- Leashes and outdoor leads
Initial veterinary care varies depending on what vet care the puppy has experienced already and whether or not the pup has certain health conditions. Most first-year vet care won’t cost you more than $1,500, although it can also vary, depending on where you live. Vet care can include:
- Laboratory tests
- Spaying or neutering
- Flea, tick, and mite treatment and control
|Initial Puppy Supplies & Vet Visits||Average Cost|
|Food & Water Bowls/ Heated Bowls for Cold Weather||$30|
|Collar & ID Tags||$30|
|Vet Visits in the First Year (Including all the recommended vaccines, deworming, spaying/ neutering, etc.)||$1,000|
|Poop Bags (for 1 year)||$60|
|First Aid Kit||$30|
|Crash-Tested Dog Harness for Car Travel||$50|
|Nail Clippers/ Nail Grinders for Dogs||$35|
|Shampoo (Water/ Waterless)||$15|
|Dental Products (Toothbrush & Toothpaste)||$15|
Ongoing Expenses Of Owning An Alsatian
Another consideration of total German Shepherd prices includes the cost of caring for your puppy throughout its life. German Shepherds have a lifespan between nine and thirteen years, and dogs treated with better care enjoy a happier and healthier existence.
1. Basic Supplies - Equipment, Toys, Treats, & Accessories
German Shepherd puppies grow quickly in the first few months, so pet owners can expect to replace dog crates, leashes, and collars or harnesses as the months pass. The dogs also outgrow their food and drink dishes, prompting you to purchase new ones that work better for your German Shepherd’s size.
Another consideration to keep in mind consists of the fact that German Shepherd puppies love to chew, and they chew everything. So not only might you find chew marks on your shoes or furniture corners, but the puppy’s bedding, collar, or leash all look like chewable items to your canine.
During the first three years of their lives, German Shepherd puppies can consume an alarming amount of food. To give them the best chance at a long, healthy life, invest in the best quality dog food and start a feeding schedule that helps you control food intake. Not only will a food schedule help you save money, but your dog won’t gain too much weight.
Growing German Shepherds often begin to show a preference for certain foods, so adjust food brands and qualities as necessary to keep your dog in its best health. Your vet can help guide you in choosing the most beneficial food and talk with you about additives like eggs, muscle meat, fish, cottage cheese, etc.
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3. Medical Costs & Insurance
German Shepherd puppies require an initial veterinary visit to ensure they have all the required and recommended vaccinations and treatments. Your pup also needs effective flea and tick medications, deworming treatments, and check-ups for common puppy issues like ear mites.
If your pup comes unfixed and you don’t plan to breed them, you can provide a happier and more comfortable life for them by neutering or spaying them.
Another common German Shepherd puppy cost includes checking for medical conditions commonly associated with the breed.
German Shepherds can suffer from issues with their hips and elbows and sometimes develop problems with their thyroid or heart. Using X-rays and other types of testing, your veterinarian can help you identify potential problems that may cause difficulties for you and your pet in the future.
By knowing what to expect, you can work with your vet to plan medical care that delays the onset of these problems or cures them before they grow. This type of care may involve medications, surgeries, or other types of treatment. To help with veterinary costs, you may want to purchase pet insurance.
Pet insurance prices depend on the age, breed, and potential problems your pup or dog may face, usually costing between $30 to $60 a month. And you can opt for a higher-priced insurance plan if you need to address certain issues that the insurance can help you with as well.
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|Ongoing Expenses (Yearly)||Average Cost|
|Routine Veterinary Care||$500|
|Basic Supplies (Replacement)||$200|
Is Getting Your German Shepherd Pet Insurance A Good Idea?
Yes. Getting a pet insurance plan for your German Shepherd puppy is a good idea. Pet insurance often covers routine veterinary care like shots and check-ups while helping with other medical expenses, including the following:
- Accident Coverage: Emergency care for broken bones, lacerations, swallowed objects, and other accidents and emergency treatments, including X-rays, ultrasounds, and medications.
- Illnesses: Diagnosis and treatment for common German Shepherd diseases and illnesses like ear infections, urinary tract infections, and allergies.
- Hereditary Conditions and Congenital Defects: Diagnosis and treatment of genetic or inherited conditions, including the most common of German Shepherd diseases, hip dysplasia.
- Chronic Conditions: Diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses or diseases like cancer, arthritis, or diabetes.
- Behavioral Issues: Treatment for behavioral problems like destructive chewing, licking, biting, or barking.
Depending on the type of pet insurance you choose and how much you’re willing to pay, you can even access coverage for other treatments like chiropractic care or pet prescription coverage.
In many cases, pet insurance doesn’t cover treatments outright. Instead, you’ll report your veterinary bills and treatments and receive reimbursement afterward. While you’ll have to spend your own funds at first, pet insurance offers a reimbursement within a few days or weeks after you complete veterinary care.
Additional Costs to Factor In
1. Professional Training & Socialization Class
German Shepherd puppies have high intelligence and are devoted and brave, making them great protectors for their families but also causing trouble without proper training. Attending a professional training class and socializing your German Shepherd can help lower their defenses and train them how to react in certain situations.
Most obedience classes can fall between $80 and $100 while putting your German Shepherd in full-time obedience school or dog boot camps can cost between $250 and $1,250 per week. In addition, dogs that need additional training due to adopting bad behaviors may cost more than their better-behaved counterparts.
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2. Dog Walking
Puppies notoriously have a high activity level, and German Shepherd pups tend to need more activity than other breeds. Hiring a professional dog walker can cost between $20 to $30 per walk, though the price may change depending on the distance you want the dog walked and their overall behavior. As your puppy grows in size, you may also see an increase in the cost of walking.
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German Shepherds have a thick coat that needs regular grooming maintenance to avoid matting and uncomfortable knots. While you can do much of the brushing at home, bathing a German Shepherd can take multiple people, depending on the dog’s size and behavior.
Keeping your German Shepherd clean by hiring a professional groomer to attend to your pup’s coat and nails may be a better option, especially if your dog won’t cooperate during bath time.
Professional groomers are well-equipped with the knowledge and tools to brush out knots, trim nails, get rid of excess fur and dirt, and so on. Plus, they are used to dealing with dogs of all sizes and temperaments, so you can rest assured that your pup is in good hands.
Grooming prices vary depending on location, services, and the groomer’s reputation, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $100. Know up front that if your dog doesn’t behave well for others, you may need to pay an extra fee after the grooming visit. You can also request additional services like nail grinding and teeth cleaning, both of which may cost more but can help your German Shepherd enjoy a more comfortable life.
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4. Doggy Daycare & Boarding
Sometimes you have to spend time away from home, whether it’s for your eight-hour work day or you have a business trip or vacation coming up. When you do, you need somewhere safe for your German Shepherd to go, so take advantage of doggy daycare and dog boarding.
Doggy daycare can cost between $25 and $50 a day, though the cost can go higher depending on what services the daycare provides.
Some daycares also offer boarding services, with prices changing depending on how long you intend to leave your dog with them and whether you have a well-behaved German Shepherd.
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5. Emergency Vet Visits
While no one wants to think of their German Shepherd suffering from an illness or accident, you may one day have to take your pet to an emergency veterinarian.
Emergency vets typically charge around $200 as a base visit price, with most procedures ending up between $1,000 and $1,500.
More complex procedures can easily exceed $1,500 and can go as high as $5,000 or more. These prices cover everything, including the vet’s labor, medications used, and tests performed.
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|Additional Expenses to Factor in||Cost|
|Professional Training & Socialization Class||$80 - $100 per class and more for one-to-one training course|
|Dog Walking||$20 - $30 per walk|
|Grooming||$80 - $100|
|Doggy Daycare||$25 - $50 per day|
|Emergency Vet Visit||$1,000 - $5,000|
|Dog Boarding||$25 - $85 per night|
*A List of Additional German Shepherd Costs You May Need to Consider
Are German Shepherds Worth It?
German Shepherds provide their families with a loving, protective dog that trains easily and loves to play.
Bringing a German Shepherd into the family takes time and effort to fully train the pup and get them used to other animals and people, but these intelligent dogs make the perfect companion.
However, if you travel a lot or don’t spend much time at home every day, you’ll need to keep them in doggy daycare to avoid bored, destructive chewing and increase their socialization.
With the proper training and care, your German Shepherd will fit perfectly with your family and provide many years of love and happiness.
These dogs handle children well and happily engage in energetic play sessions, especially if exposed to young kids at an early age. So if you want a protector, a cuddler, and the perfect family dog, a German Shepherd makes sense for your home.
German Shepherd puppy price depends on many factors, so consider all of them before purchasing one if you’re working on a small pet budget.