How Much Does A German Shepherd Cost – And Why They Are So Expensive?

By Michael Tarran

October 11, 2020

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how much does a german shepherd cost

The German Shepherds are widely known as hard-working dogs, but that is not the only reason why they are the second most popular breed in the U.S. They are also very loyal and brave. Since I already mentioned how they are quite popular in the States, you should not be surprised by the price that most of the respective breeders are asking for them.

They are usually more expensive than any other average pup, but how much does a German Shepherd cost will be determined by pedigree and the color. By pedigree, I mean is it a working dog, a show dog, or a normal pup.

Anyhow in this article, I will talk about the exact cost of the breed, about the expenses of food, vet care, and supplies, so at the end of this article, you will be well aware of if you are financially ready to get a German Shepherd pup or not.

Last Updated: October 19th 2020

Why Are German Shepherds So Expensive?

Like with many other dogs breeds, an exact price of a German Shepherd depends on where you get him/her, the breeding, and if the dog is trained to do some kind of work such as a police dog, service dog, etc. German Shepherds saved from animal shelters  are relatively inexpensive because these organizations charge only enough to cover their costs.

You must be aware that reputable breeder always calculate the factor of the expenses involved in breeding, raising, training, health testing, and showing the dogs when calculating the German Shepherd cost. If you choose a German Shepherd puppy whose parents are proven show or hunting champions will cost a lot more than another German Shepherd puppy that came from a liter of average parents since they have the potential to excel in these areas as well.

In case you want to skip the early puppyhood, you can always buy an adult German Shepherd from a proven show or hunting line. This purchase will cost you a lot because of all the additional costs of raising a puppy to adulthood. Also, they will be expensive since the breeder will be able to determine the overall quality of an adult dog by then.

The most expensive German Shepherds are those already as show dogs, K9, or breeding dogs. Let’s see how much money you will need to put on a side to get yourself a German Shepherd dog.

German Shepherd puppy price

So what's the price for German Shepherd puppy?

When you are buying a puppy from a breeder, you can expect to pay anywhere from $900-$2000; usually the average price of a German Shepherd puppy is $1000. Of course, if you buy a puppy from a reputable breeder, then you can expect the price to go even higher since they put more time, effort, and money into caring for their breeding dogs and puppies.

The proper care of an average litter of German Shepherd puppies will cost breeder somewhere around $8,000. On the other hand, taking care of show litter can cost breeders around $24,000 in the first eight weeks of their life! This is a huge amount of money, but this budget covers vet expenses, care for the pregnant mother, food, all the necessary genetic and medical testing, and all other supplies.

If you are determinate to buy a German Shepherd puppy, do not get tempted to go to a low-cost pet store or search for the cheapest German Shepherd puppies on the internet since these puppies tend to have a lot of health issues later in the life which will approximately cost you a lot more than investing in a high-quality pup.

Adult German Shepherd price

A lot of people crave the adorableness of a fuzzy fluffy puppy, but unfortunately, they do not have the amount of time that these bundles of joy require in the early stages of puppyhood. Taking care of a puppy is similar to taking care of a newborn.

So if you decide to start raising your doggo from its earliest stages, you will need to be ready to lose out on a lot of sleep until you train it to sleep through the night, alone. Of course, you will have to put up with peeing and pooping in the house, and of course, during the teething phase, you will need to get used to chewed-up furniture, slippers, wardrobe, or even your hands.

This might frighten you since it sounds like a chaotic stage, but this stage is as well very loveable, and it will create a strong bond between you and your furball. Anyhow if you are sure that this is not the job for you, you can always purchase an adult dog or rescue an older dog from the shelter.

So how much do a German Shepherd cost?

To buy an adult German Shepherd dog that is not a show quality dog or a working dog, you can expect to pay up to $500 to $900 since people see an older dog as less desirable. In case you decided to save a life and adopt an adult German Shepherds from the shelter, they typically cost between $50 and $300. These dogs are often spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and in most cases, micro-chipped, so you will not have to worry about those extra expenses.

Shelter workers can answer questions about the dog’s temperament and personality, which will be very beneficial for you since you will know what type of dog you are dealing with.

German Shepherd service dog price

Like I mentioned how much do German Shepherds cost depends on if they are pet quality dogs , show quality dogs, or working dogs.

Most people know that German Shepherds are an excellent choice for K9 police or military dog considering their hard-working nature. These dogs are insanely focused, and they have an incredible amount of strength. This is the main reason why German Shepherd puppies are perfect for any job which they are trained for.

The dogs that are chosen for these positions are bred with a lot of care, and breeders must choose their parents very carefully. They must find parents with perfect temperaments so that puppies can be trained from a very early age. Breeders must give an immense amount of attention to detail to raise a German Shepherd service dog, so naturally, you will have to pay a lot for one of them. More precisely, get ready to pay somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 for an adult dog.

But there is no need to worry since a price like that guarantees you will have a hard-working dog for their entire lifetime. Remember, you will have to pay for on-going training throughout their life, but I will talk about that later.

What Are The Main Factors That Impact The Cost Of A GSD’s?

how much does a german shepherd cost

In this part of the article, I will talk about all the factors that breeders consider when forming a price for the dog they sell. Let’s begin.

Age

Age is the biggest factor when it comes to the cost of a German Shepherd dog. Young German Shepherd puppy in the early stages between 8 and 12 weeks will cost the most since he is the most impressionable and can be trained to their owner’s preference. When German Shepherd puppy past 12 weeks, their price will slowly start to decrease.

Yes, older dogs are less desirable, so the price is formed according to that factor. The tricky thing is that when you get an adult dog, you will have fewer years with him, but on the other hand, you won’t spend a lot of time focused on training and be more centered on playing and cuddling with your new best friend.

Coat color

Rare colors naturally will cost more this is a general rule for all the dog breeds. For example, a white German Shepherd who is very rare will cost more than the German Shepherd in black and tan color. They cost more because the rare coat colors are more difficult to breed because of the recessive traits.

Gender

When we talk about German Shepherd dogs, you can expect that males and females cost roughly the same, which is not usual for all the breeds. The benefit of having male German Shepherd is because he has a lot of brute force and energy, so he is a perfect companion for working and active families. On the other hand, female German Shepherd is gentle, so she will fit perfectly into homes with small children.

Lineage and bloodlines

The lineage significantly increases their price, so if the puppy comes from show winning parents, then you can expect to spend a couple of thousands of dollars to get your furry friend. In most cases, this large investment will pay off in prizes if you are interested in showing your dog at various competitions.

As I already said earlier, a pedigree puppy will cost around $1000 and up to $2000. Although many people have their heart set on a purebred, you can always consider mixed breed if this is too pricey for you. Mixed breed pups cost a lot less, and they have the potential to be healthier than many purebreds. The common mixes are German Shepherd and Huskie or Labrador Retriever.

Location

This might sound weird, but you should consider the location where you will purchase your German Shepherd since it can significantly affect the price. In smaller communities where there is less demand for this breed, the price will be lower. Some states and cities also have more regulations on breeding, which in the end affect the price by increasing it.

Certification and warranties

If you did not know this already, but some breeders will boast various certifications to justify their high prices. Never let these certifications fool you and always do the research of the breeder on your own before you make any contact with them.

Good breeder will always have a lifetime warranty on their puppies, and he will always guarantee that you can bring the puppy back if problems arise. They should let you meet the parents of the puppies. And is there a need for me to explain that they need to provide adequate documentation of vaccinations, health testing, and a document that will prove that the puppies are at least eight weeks of age.

Finding the best-qualified breeder will save you money in the long run on medical expenses that poorly bred puppies from the puppy mills will encounter later in life.

How Much Does It Cost To Train A German Shepherd?

German Shepherds are fairly easy to train, and it is very important to train your dog well. You need your pup to be obedient, well-behaved, sociable, and enjoyable to be around, or else living with him will be a nightmare.

These intelligent dogs will quickly assume leadership is on them if you do not show them who the boss is. So if you are a firm hand leader, you can opt to train them on your own and cut on training expenses significantly.

It is recommended to look into group lessons right away. Group training is a great way for your German Shepherd pup to learn to socialize with other dogs since they tend to be a little aggressive with other dogs.

Generally, all training schools offer four different classes:

1. Puppy Kindergarten Class – Costs between $125 to $150 for four weeks training session; each week, your dog will spend one-hour training. Your puppy will learn to socialize with other dogs in this class, housebreaking training, grooming and handling, and basic obedient skills.

2. Basic Obedience Class – Costs between $150 to $175 for six weeks training session, one hour each week. This class is more focused on socialization skills; they will master the manners and good behavior skills.

3. Intermediate Class – Costs between $200 to $375 for six weeks training session, one hour a week. In this class, your dog will learn many new skills such as dog training hand signals from in front, hand signals from a distance, stranger food refusal, automatic sit without any command given, sit-stand-down in motion, etc.

4. K9 Advanced Class/Customized Class – This class is for big boys only, and it will cost between $1000 to $10,000 depending on the program you requested. In a K9 advanced program, your German Shepherd is prepared and taught many specialized skills that professional police and military dogs must possess. Those are tracking missing objects, finding suspects, detecting dangerous substances, and guarding people and communities around him.

Other Long Term Ownership Expenses

Grooming

Thankfully the German Shepherd does not need to be trimmed by a professional groomer. You can do it on your own you only need a sturdy brush (which will cost you around $20) in order to comb their fur every 2 to 3 days, and that’s all about the fur care.

Their thick fur falls out frequently, so make sure you always have lint rollers close to keep your clothes clean. The only thing I recommend is to take your pooch to a professional groomer to trim their nails (typically cost $10) since many of them do not like this, so you will have a hard time doing it on your own.

Health care and vet bills

This is a healthy breed in general, but there are several common health issues to look out for. The most common issue is an elbow or hip dysplasia; almost 19% of German Shepherds will develop hip dysplasia during their lifetime. This condition is rather painful, and the treatments will around cost $1,500-$6,000.

They can also suffer from bloating, epilepsy, allergies, eczema, and keratitis, which require expensive medical treatment. You need to expect to pay $100-$200 for annual checkups as well.

Insurance

To cover unexpected medical expenses, make sure you consider insurance. It will cost you around $35-$50 per month to insure a German Shepherd.

Food and treats

German Shepherds have huge appetites to be aware of that! They need lots of fuel to power their strong bodies all day long, so feed them at least 4 cups of food each day. A German Shepherd puppies will require at least 2 cups of food per day.

Since high-quality dog food costs $2-$3 per pound, you can expect to pay around $600 per year on dog food. Also, count an additional $150 per year for treats since your good boys and girls do deserve an occasional reward.

The first year of owning a puppy is the most expensive one since you need to immunize your dog, microchip your pup, buy leashes and harnesses, bowls, bed, toys, and all other necessities. You will spend around $3,500 in the first year alone, and that should not surprise you. After the first year pass, you can relax a bit and expect to spend from $500-$1,500 annually on your best friend.

Is A German Shepherd A Good Family Dog?

how much does a german shepherd cost

I bet many of you have asked do German Shepherds make a good family pet. Well, honestly, all dogs make good family pets when they’re trained properly.

In general, German Shepherd makes a great pet for the family, but it’s very important to note the temperament, breeding line, sex, and the way breeder treat them will play a significant part in whether they’ll be right for you and your family. You must be aware that they have lots of needs that must be fulfilled for them to remain happy, and if you do not tend to fulfill them, you can expect that your dog will start acting mischievous.

Also, it is not the best option to buy German Shepherd that was bred with show quality in mind. The best option is to find a breeder that works with German Shepherds and breed them to be pets since they are more relaxed and easier around little kids.

In general, females are gentler and more protective over family than males are; they are more focused on protecting the territory. So if you have toddlers and small children, it is better to acquire a female since she will have more understanding for them considering their motherly instinct. On the other hand, male GSDs tend to bond with one person, but they will still love the rest of the family as well.

All in all, they will be a great addition to your family since they are loyal, extremely intelligent, outgoing, and if you train them well, most people won’t see them as a scary dog like they are used to.

Is Getting A German Shepherd Worth It?

how much does a german shepherd cost

Hell yes!

They might seem scary at first glance, but under that robust and slightly scary look, there is a great personality and a big heart full of love for everyone, yes, even for the Catto! They are so lovable, caring, and loyal like almost no other breed.

Do not get me wrong I’m not saying that other breeds are not loyal and caring; they are simply not so attached to their families as German Shepherd can be. Almost no other dog will protect your family and your territory, as well as a German Shepherd will, so you can rest assured you and your loved ones are in good paws.

The only thing you need to remember is that they need a family that will enjoy playing with them, exercise in them, and train them occasionally since they are a very active breed, and they tend to express their moodiness and unhappiness by destroying things when they are not treated right.

But honestly, which dog does not do that?

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Michael Tarran

About Me

I'm a devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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