Are you considering bringing a German Shepherd into your home? You’re not alone. According to the American Kennel Club, German Shepherd dogs are the second most popular dog in the United States.
Highly intelligent, devoted and trainable, it’s no wonder German Shepherds are such a family favorite. That said, German Shepherd dogs also require experienced owners that are able to spend a lot of time with them and who will commit time to training, exercise, socialization and – obviously – finances.
Like all dogs, German Shepherds cost money. Not only do they require that initial lump sum you’ll be asked to fork over when you first obtain your German Shepherd from a breeder or rescue, but there are lifetime costs associated with raising the breed as well.
So, how much in total does a German Shepherd cost? That’s what we’re here to find out. Keep reading!
Table of Contents
The German Shepherd – A Working History And Breed Overview
The German Shepherd is the second most popular dog in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club.
Average German Shepherd Cost – $800 to $2,000
Height: 22 to 26 Inches
Weight: 50 to 90 Pounds
Temperament: Confident, Intelligent, Work-Oriented, Devoted
Ideal For: Experienced Dog Owners
Lifespan: 12 to 14 Years
Health Issues: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Hemophilia, Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (AKA Bloat), Diabetes, Degenerative Disc Disease, Cataracts, Panosteitis, Pancreatitis, Allergies, Thyroid Problems, Bladder Stones, Urinary Tract Infections, Dental Health Issues, Nose Infections and Some Cancers.
German Shepherd Dog Overview:
The German Shepherd is a working dog hailing from Germany. Originally used as a herding dog on ranches and farms, German Shepherds also found value as police dogs, military dogs, service dogs, search and rescue dogs and more.
Highly intelligent, trainable, devoted and confident, a well-trained and socialized German Shepherd makes an excellent addition to the right family or owner. They get along well with children and other pets, and make wonderful companions to those with a flexible schedule.
However, without the proper training, socialization and exercise, German shepherd dogs can become distressed, bored and anxious, resulting in a variety of behavioral issues that may not only be harmful, but costly as well.
All of this should be calculated into your overall German Shepherd cost and should be considered before you choose to invest in this kind of breed.
With that in mind, let’s read on to learn how you can obtain the healthiest German Shepherd puppy or rescue dog, and then talk about what kind of financial commitment it will take to raise a happy and healthy German Shepherd for years to come.
The Price Of Being A German Shepherd Breeder
Breeding healthy German Shepherds is no cheap task.
In order to talk about German Shepherd cost, we must first talk about what it takes to bring a German Shepherd puppy into the world.
And this is where breeders come in.
There are a variety of breeders throughout the United States, and some have more experience than others. Very high quality breeders tend to invest more into their practice than some, which means the overall price of being a German Shepherd breeder can vary.
On average, breeders spend between $7,444 to $24,000 on a single litter alone. Of course, this price can vary and will usually be much lower if the German Shepherd puppies are of companionship quality only.
Breeders breeding show quality German Shepherds are typically at the peak of the price range, as there are a number of fees associated with breeding show quality dogs that should be considered.
But why does it take so much money to bring a litter of German Shepherd puppies into the world, and how does this correlate with your overall German Shepherd cost?
Let’s break it down.
The Basic Costs Of Breeding A German Shepherd:
- Obtaining A Breeding License – $125 to $600
- Raising A Healthy Dam (Female German Shepherd) – $2,000 to $3,000 A Year
- The Average German Shepherd Stud Fee – $500 to $2,000
- Ultrasounds For A Pregnant German Shepherd Dam – $90 to $200 Per Ultrasound
- Puppy Whelping Supplies – $500 to $1,00
- Raising A Healthy German Shepherd Litter To Seven Weeks – $250 to $550
- Health Screening That Litter Before Selling – $500
Of course, there are also miscellaneous costs a breeder must consider when it comes to breeding and whelping a German Shepherd. These costs are usually associated with unforeseen complications or medical expenses, and include the following:
- C-Sections – $1,500 to $2,000
- Medical Costs For Unexpected Complications – $150 to $1,500
- Euthanasia (For Terminally Ill Or Severeal Ill Puppies) – $50
- Puppy Registration Through The American Kennel Club – $29 – $45
This Means That The Average Costs Of Breeding A German Shepherd Will Cost Breeders $6,000 and Up.
So, how does this impact you and your German Shepherd cost? Let’s find out below.
How Much Does A German Shepherd Cost Through A Reputable Breeder?
German Shepherds can cost between $800 and $2,000 when going through a reputable breeder.
If you’ve done even a little bit of digging, you already know German Shepherds are pricey.
While the average family dog goes for around $400 to $2,000 through a reputable breeder, the average German Shepherd cost is around $1,000. And that’s on the lower end.
Now that we know a bit more about what it takes to be a German Shepherd breeder, it is less of a shock to see the price of a German Shepherd puppy.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to come across people selling German Shepherd puppies at a much lower price than average.
Unfortunately, this is due to the German Shepherd’s popularity. When a dog breed becomes popular, it opens the door to backyard breeders, unqualified online sellers, and other opportunistic scammers who are looking to make a quick buck.
Sadly, this results in a number of people selling sick or irresponsibly bred puppies to unwitting owners.
When a puppy is bred irresponsibly through an unqualified source, it can lead to a number of issues for the dog and the owner down the road. These issues can include behavioral issues like anxiety, stress and aggressive tendencies, as well as health issues due to bad genetics from improper screening during the breeding process.
One of the reasons breeders charge so much when it comes to German Shepherd cost is because they invest so much into their puppies when it really counts.
From before you even buy your puppy through a reputable breeder, that breeder is ensuring that puppy is receiving the proper medical care, socialization, love, attention, diet and more.
All of these careful steps will factor into the quality of your dog when it comes to his health, temperament, appearance and lifespan. It can even save you money in the long run when it comes to preventative care or other aspects of German Shepherd cost, which we will cover below.
For now, let’s take a closer look at the German Shepherd cost when going through a breeder, and talk about the differences between puppies bred for companionship and puppies bred for show.
Average Companion German Shepherd Cost – Between $800 to $2,000
Are you interested in investing in a German Shepherd simply to be a family companion? For those who want a dog to join their household and be their best friend, you’ll be looking to get a German Shepherd bred for companionship.
Depending on your region and the breeder you go through, a companion German Shepherd cost is generally between $800 and $2,000.
Avoid breeders selling companion quilty German Shepherd dogs for much lower than $800 or for much higher than $2,000. It’s also important to avoid breeders selling what they might deem as “rare” or “unique” German Shepherd colors without paperwork or proof.
With that noted, we should point out that it is custom for some types of German Shepherds to cost more than others.
Female German Shepherd puppies often cost a bit more than their male littermates. German Shepherds that are considered a rare color like blue may also be more costly, though this will depend on the breeder you go through.
For the most part, however, most breeders will sell their puppies based on quality and breeding stock.
This is why it is best to stick with breeders that have a history of breeding German Shepherd dogs and breeders who can provide you with paperwork proving their dogs have been screened and cleared of any serious health issues.
You may also be able to ask for references and talk to others who have purchased puppies from the breeder in the past, or even see your puppy’s mother or father dog to get a good idea of what your puppy will grow up to look like.
Average Show German Shepherd Cost – Between $2,500 to $10,000
The average American Family is not looking for a dog to show in competitions. But if you are looking for a show quality dog, a German Shepherd is a great dog to invest in. These dogs are stellar competitors and quick to learn.
The best show quality German Shepherds come from great stock, which is where professional breeders who specialize in competition-stock dogs come in.
The average show-quality German Shepherd cost falls around $6,000, though some of these dogs can go for more than $10,000 depending on their lineage. For example, puppies who come from champion parents are often the most expensive.
Again, a breeder selling puppies for show quality should be carefully vetted, especially if you are new to the industry and are not sure of your references or the breeder you are dealing with.
Luckily, a show-quality breeder selling a dog for thousands of dollars is likely going to be registered with a major association or breed club, and you should be able to get quality information through these reputable sources.
How Much Does A German Shepherd Cost Through A Rescue?
Rescuing a German Shepherd is much less expensive than obtaining one through a breeder, though there are still fees.
When it comes to German Shepherd cost, we agree the price is pretty high. Instead of trying to cut your German Shepherd cost by going through irresponsible sources, we recommend going through a shelter or rescue.
There are countless benefits of going through a rescue to adopt a German Shepherd, and one of the most obvious is price. In fact, the typical German Shepherd cost when going through a shelter or rescue is often a fraction of the cost of going through a reeder.
The average German Shepherd cost when going through a shelter is between $250 and $750.
This German Shepherd cost often accounts for the food and supplies the shelter used to care for your dog during his stay. It can also cover initial vet exams, potential vaccinations, as well as behavioral testing to ensure your German Shepherd is ready for adoption.
Outside of the initial German Shepherd cost of going through a shelter, you may also encounter hidden savings. This is especially true if you obtain a German Shepherd that has already been spayed or neutered, or a German Shepherd that has previously been microchipped.
There are plenty of other benefits that come with rescuing that fall outside of price. When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you are providing a dog in need with a loving home. You are also providing more space in that shelter for another homeless dog to receive care.
Still, it’s important you do your research and go through a shelter or rescue you trust to obtain your German Shepherd.
If you’re not sure where to look, there are quite a few breed-specific shelters throughout the United States that specialize in German Shepherd Dogs.
Of course, obtaining your German Shepherd through a breeder or rescue is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your overall German Shepherd cost.
And with that in mind, it’s time to talk about the lifetime costs of raising a German Shepherd.
How Much Does It Cost To Raise A German Shepherd From Puppyhood?
German Shepherds live for up to 14 years, so they should be considered a long-term investment.
German Shepherds are large breed dogs with a decent lifespan of between 12 and 14 years. Some can even live longer if the conditions are ideal.
With that said, it’s safe to say the German Shepherd cost is going to be a long-term commitment. But just how much does it cost to raise a German Shepherd dog from puppyhood to seniorhood?
On average, the total lifetime cost to raise a large-breed dog like the German Shepherd is around $23,410, according to the American Kennel Club.
The first year of dog ownership, regardless of if you have a puppy or an adult rescue German Shepherd, is also going to be the most expensive, with prices falling around $3,815.
After that, your yearly German Shepherd cost will drop to around $1,765 a year or $147 per month.
So, where is all your money going each year when it comes to German Shepherd cost? Let’s take a look.
Average German Shepherd Dog Supplies: Around $500 Per Year
Most of your first-year expenses when it comes to your German Shepherd cost are going to go to acquiring your dog supplies. This is especially true if you’re a first time dog parent and don’t have any of the essentials you’ll need to ensure your GSD can thrive.
Some of these supplies include:
- ID Tags
- Dog Collars
- Dog Bowls
- And Toys
German Shepherd Food/Diet – Around $250 to $700 Per Year
The German Shepherd can be prone to a number of health issues, many of which can be exacerbated by a poor diet. To ensure your German Shepherd stays as healthy as possible for as long as possible it’s very important he maintains a quality diet.
A good German Shepherd diet should include:
- Large Breed Dog Food Specified For Your Dog’s Age, Weight and Activity Level
- Quality Dog Treats For Training and Building A bond
- Supplements and Vitamins For Prevention and Maintenance
German Shepherd Grooming Supplies- Between $50 to $330 Per Year
Grooming is an important part of your dog’s care and upkeep. Not only will investing in your dog’s coat health ensure he looks and feels his best, it will also play a role in preventive care down the road.
For a German Shepherd, you will need the following grooming tools:
- A Deshedding Brush
- An Undercoat Rake
- A Nail Grinder or Nail Clippers
- Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
- Grooming Wipes
- A Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- A Quality Dog Ear Cleaner
The Total Cost Of Professional Grooming Services For A GSD – $180 to $540
If you prefer to forgo grooming your German Shepherd at home, you always have the option of using a professional groomer.
On average, a professional groomer charges between $30 and $90 per visit. Experts agree that the German Shepherd should visit the groomer for routine care at least six times in a year.
First Year Medical Expenses – $500 to $600
The first year of owning a dog is usually the most expensive year for pet parents. This is generally due to the fact that pet parents are stocking up on items they didn’t have like basic bedding, supplies, toys, food, etc.
However, many dog parents don’t realize just how much the first year of medical costs are going to run them as well. Still, it’s important not to skip that first year of exams and procedures to get your German Shepherd puppy started off on the right paw.
Some of the most common first-year medical expenses for a German Shepherd dog will include:
- First Time Puppy Wellness Exam
- Common Puppy Vaccinations
- Neutering or Spaying
- And Microchipping
Basic Annual Medical Expenses – $50 to $300 A Year
Once you get through your first year of puppy parenthood, the costs will drop dramatically. In fact, most pet parents only spend around $50 to $300 a year on medical costs. That said, this price can vary depending on your dog’s age and any underlying health issues he might have.
The basic medical expenses you’ll undertake with a German Shepherd are as follows:
- Once-Yearly Wellness Exams For German Shepherd Dogs Under Seven
- Twice-Yearly Wellness Exams For German Shepherd Dogs Over Seven
- Basic Canine Vaccinations
- Basic Parasite Prevention Treatments
- Basic Dental Care and Upkeep
Are There Any Unexpected Expenses of Raising A German Shepherd?
There are health issues the German Shepherd is predisposed to that owners should be aware of.
All dogs can be prone to genetic health issues, regardless of if you go through a breeder or a shelter. That said, you can work to reduce your chances of dealing with health issues when it comes to the German Shepherd by ensuring you obtain your dog through a reputable source.
Even then, you might consider having your dog health screened at an early age to give you a better understanding of what he may be susceptible to down the road.
If you go through a breeder, remember that responsible breeders will be able to provide you with health certificates proving their puppies are cleared of any serious health issues. Of course, remember that as dogs age, their health can change.
This is why having a good idea of some of the most common health issues a German Shepherd can face as well as having a strong plan for preventative care is essential to being a responsible pet parent.
The Most Common German Shepherd Health Issues Include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Addison’s Disease
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV or Bloat)
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Thyroid Problems
- Bladder Stones
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Dental Health Issues
- Nose Infections
- And Some Cancers
The Average Cost of Some Of The Above German Shepherd Health Issues:
- Pancreatitis – $500 to $1000
- Cataracts – $2,700 to $4,000
- Cancer – $200 to $10,000 +
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat) – $1,500 to $7,500
- Hip Dysplasia – $3,500 to $7,000
Since many of the above ailments can be quite costly, we highly recommend investing in pet insurance. For many people, it is often more affordable to calculate pet insurance into the overall German Shepherd cost than to pay out of pocket for unexpected medical care.
On average, pet insurance can cost owners between $10 and $100 a month, or $120 and $1,200 a year.
Other expenses to calculate into your overall German Shepherd cost include:
- Dog Trainers
- Pet Rent
- Travel Expenses
- Pet Sitters/Dog Walkers
- And Property Damage
How To Decide If You Can Afford The Overall German Shepherd Cost
Overall, German Shepherds cost around the same amount as other large breed dogs in the United States.
With so many numbers being tossed around, the official German Shepherd cost can be confusing.
On average, raising a large breed dog from puppyhood costs around $23,410. So, where does the German Shepherd stand in comparison?
Raising A German Shepherd – The Breakdown of German Shepherd Cost
Remember, the first year of German Shepherd ownership is going to be most expensive. You’ll not only be putting down your initial payment on a German Shepherd puppy, but you’re also stocking up on supplies and getting a handle of first-time medical expenses.
Then you’ll have the average cost of caring for a German Shepherd throughout his life.
The Average German Shepherd Puppy Costs $800
The Average First Year Of GSD Ownership is around $3,815
The Average Total For That First Year of German Shepherd Cost Is $4,615
The Average Lifespan of A German Shepherd is Around 12 to 14 Years
The Average Yearly Cost of Raising A German Shepherd After Year One Is $1,764
The Total Average Cost For Raising A German Shepherd For 12 to 14 Years (Including Year One Costs) Is Between $24,019 to $27,547.
On the low end, the average German Shepherd cost is not much more than the average cost of raising a dog of any breed.
Furthermore, there are a few ways you can go about cutting costs without cutting the quality of your German Shepherd’s supplies, food, health or life.
Some of the best ways to ensure you save money and still raise a happy, healthy German Shepherd are listed below.
- Get Your German Shepherd From A Reputable Source
- Keep Up With Routine Vet Visits and Wellness Exams
- Consider Investing In Pet Insurance
- Set Aside An Emergency Pet Fund
- Ensure Your German Shepherd Maintains A Healthy Diet
- Keep Up With Exercise and Grooming Routines
- Have Your German Shepherd Trained and Socialized At An Early Age
- Keep Up With Preventative Care
- And Last, Do Your Research And Understand The GSD Breed
The German Shepherd Cost – Is A German Shepherd Worth It?
German Shepherds are some of the world’s most intelligent and renowned dogs for a reason.
The German Shepherd cost may be a bit more on average than other breeds, but there is a reason this dog remains at number 2 out of 196 on the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dogs.
This family-friendly, affectionate, intelligent and devoted purebred gives back so much more than he could ever take from his human family. When properly trained, socialized and exercised, he makes a wonderful companion for children and gets along well with other pets.
He makes an affectionate snuggle buddy while at the same time serving as an ideal protector. There is nothing, it seems, that the German Shepherd cannot do.
So, if you have your heart set on a German Shepherd, we say get your budget in order and go for it. You are sure to be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.