- Companion puppy
- Show potential puppy
- Working prospect
- Service dog prospect
- $2000+ (+$10,000-$50,000 in training and certification)
- Senior dog
One of the most beloved breeds in the United States, the German Shepherd is a hardy working dog. Well-renowned for their immense bravery and loyalty, the German Shepherd is highly intelligent and an eager training companion. Exceptionally versatile, this dog breed excels at nearly any activity from conformation, Rally, obedience, and agility to tracking, scent detection, and much more. Loving and affectionate with their family members, the breed can be standoffish and wary of strangers and makes a very good watchdog.
If you’re thinking a German Shepherd Dog would make an ideal companion for your family, stay tuned to this article to learn about how much you can expect to pay for your new canine pal.
How Much is a German Shepherd Puppy? $750-$3000
There is a wide range of prices when it comes to purchasing a puppy of any breed. Making the decision to buy a pup from a reputable breeder will most definitely cost you more money than if you opt to adopt your new canine pal from a shelter, rescue, or online marketplace.
Because there is no standardized pricing for puppy purchases across the United States, there are many different factors that come together to determine the purchase price of your new puppy. However, it is important to note that though price is not necessarily indicative of high quality; you do get what you pay for in life. Most often, higher priced puppies are the result of breeders who invest a great deal of time, money, and resources into the production of litters that are healthy, of solid structure, and of good temperament, something all new owners should value in their new canine pal.
The 3rd most popular breed in America in 2020, the German Shepherd Dog is a breed that is in high demand. When a breed becomes popular with the public, prices will sometimes begin to increase. However, most reputable breeders do not change their prices or increase the number of litters they produce to keep pace with trends. Most often, reputable breeders only increase their prices in small ways and only when their own expenses for breeding, whelping, and raising their puppies well becomes more expensive for them.
Because the German Shepherd is a very popular breed, the asking price for a puppy is relatively high. If your hopes for your new canine pal extend to the show ring, a service dog prospect, or a breeding dog, the cost to purchase a dog of this quality will be substantially more than that of a pet. However, there are many more expenses to consider than simply the initial purchase price of your German Shepherd Dog. Other costs you will need to keep in mind for the future include veterinary care, vaccinations, training, grooming, food, toys, and much, much more.
How Much Does a German Shepherd Dog Cost? $750-$5000+
The age of the dog you hope to purchase will often have some bearing on the ultimate price that you pay. German Shepherd puppies are in high demand, and thus, you can expect to pay a higher price to obtain one in this age range.
German Shepherd mixed breeds can often be found in shelters and rescues and for a much lower price than purchasing a purebred. Alternatively, many states have GSD specific rescues that occasionally get puppies and adults in their care that would be available for adoption.
Companion German Shepherd Puppies=$750-$3000
Companion German Shepherd puppies are typically available for purchase for as little as $750 but may go as high as $3000 or more. A careful review of breeders throughout the United States shows that obtaining a GSD puppy for less than $2000 is extremely rare. Pet puppies are no less special than their littermates that have been reserved for breeding programs or show careers, but their price is typically lower since there are no performance expectations on the breeder or the puppy.
Show German Shepherd Puppies=$3000-$5000+
Show potential puppies sell for a higher price because of the risk the breeder takes in providing a pup that he or she feels may excel in the show ring. Since many breeds do not fully mature until they are two or three years old, a puppy that looks very good at eight weeks may not develop as hoped, and thus, will not end up being suited to life as a show dog. Each time a show quality pup from a breeder is shown at a public event, the quality of the breeder’s breeding program is evaluated, thus making it even more important for the puppy to be an excellent example of its breed.
Show potential puppies nearly always come with breeding rights as well, and because of this, they are priced significantly higher than pet puppies. You can expect to pay between $3000 and $10,000 or more for a show quality German Shepherd pup. This high price is justified by the fact that this breed is extremely popular, making it also highly competitive in the show ring. Breeds that have high entries have exceptional quality competition, meaning your breeder will need to sell you one of her very best pups if your hopes include the show ring.
Most show breeders require a contract that stipulates what must happen if the puppy does not turn out as hoped. Most often, this includes the return of the puppy for a replacement or refund.
Some breeders will sell puppies as show potential. When this happens, the breeder typically prices the puppy at the lower end of the spectrum as an acknowledgement that the puppy looks good now but may not remain show quality when fully mature. The lower price reflects your willingness to take this chance.
Guaranteed Show Quality German Shepherd Dogs (Older Puppies and Young Adults)=$5000-$10,000+
Because German Shepherds are a very popular breed amongst show people, some breeders are unwilling to part with their very best specimens. However, in some cases, you may find a breeder that is willing to sell you a dog that is guaranteed to be show quality. If you are this fortunate, you can expect to receive a young adult dog as your breeder will need to be certain that the dog’s testicles are fully descended (for a male) and that the dog’s bite has come in properly. It is also important that the breeder wait the dog out until maturity to ensure the dog does not possess any faults that would be disqualifying or considered to be severe for the breed.
When a breeder guarantees a dog to be worthy of the show ring, the price is much higher as a result. The breeder is offering you a promise that the dog you are purchasing is capable of representing its breed well and is worthy of being considered in the Best of Breed ring. Guaranteed show quality German Shepherds cost as little as $3000 but are often in excess of $10,000. You should be prepared the pay the top end of this range if this is what you are hoping for in a dog.
Retired Adult German Shepherds=$350-$1000
When a dog is no longer involved in a breeding program or show or performance career, some breeder will opt to place them in a loving forever pet home. For some breeders, this will mean that you will pay the same price as you would for a pet puppy. However, many breeders will offer the dog to you for the cost of the dog’s spay or neuter, an amount that is most often between $350 and $1000.
Rescue or Shelter Puppies and Adults=$50-$1000
On occasion, you may find a German Shepherd Dog for adoption at a local shelter or rescue. The adoption fee for a dog ranges from $50-$750 for adult dogs. Puppies are most often available for $750-$1000.
Senior German Shepherds (8+)=$350-$500
A senior German Shepherd still has a lot of living left to do. Already house trained and less exuberant than a puppy, a senior GSD may be the perfect addition to your family. Most shelters and rescues offer senior German Shepherds for a reduced fee of approximately $350 to $500.
Service Dogs=$2000+ (+$10,000-$50,000 for training and certification)
The German Shepherd is highly intelligent and loyal and can make for an excellent service or therapy dog if properly trained. To acquire a service dog, you need to select a breeder who has the ability to carefully assess their puppies for the traits that a service dog needs to excel in their job. Most often, you will pay the mid to high end price you would pay for a pet puppy for a service dog prospect.
However, the price point you pay to purchase your potential service dog pales in comparison to what you will pay for the requisite training and certification. The proper service dog training and certification process will cost you between $10,000 and $50,000.
Should I Get a Male or a Female German Shepherd?
In some cases, there are valid reasons why a male or a female may be a better fit for your home. There are some gender specific differences with German Shepherds that may factor into this decision for you. Though the male German Shepherd tends to be a better fit for first time dog owners, boys can be more prone to aggressive behaviors, have stronger guardian and territorial tendencies, and are more frequently plagued by health problems.
By comparison, females are softer natured and tend to have better longevity. Girl German Shepherds are also known to be more gentle and tolerant with children and are easier to train.
Why Purchase a Purebred German Shepherd?
Some people feel purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder comes at a very high price when compared to what you would pay for a dog from an online marketplace, shelter, or rescue. While this can be true, you must consider what this additional amount of money buys you.
Reputable breeders are looking to make a commitment to you to support you and your puppy throughout its lifetime. Many of these breeders offer health guarantees should your puppy become ill. When you invest in the purchase of a puppy from a reputable breeder, you are not only gaining a puppy; you are also gaining a lifetime of experience and a firm commitment to breeding, raising, and promoting exceptional quality puppies that are well suited to life as healthy, cherished family pets.
The breed standard is of critical importance to a reputable breeder. The breed standard dictates what the ideal German Shepherd Dog should look and act like. It is these characteristics that make the GSD what it is and what reputable breeders fight so hard to preserve in future generations. Coming as close to this standard as possible ensures your GSD puppy is properly built to avoid injury that could affect the dog’s future health and ability to do its job.
Structure is not just a matter of aesthetic appearance. A dog that is properly built will not break down easily and remains healthy and able to fulfill its role in life. Still, this is only one part of the puzzle when it comes to the future health of your GSD. All dog breeds are predisposed to some genetic health issues. Reputable breeders perform all appropriate health testing to understand what is behind their potential breeding dogs, eliminating dogs from their program that may be affected or likely to pass on disease-causing genes to their offspring.
To understand what tests should be done on German Shepherd breeding dogs, you can find this information on the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals website. Another excellent resource is the German Shepherd Dog Club of America. The recommended health tests for the GSD provide assurance that dogs being considered for use in breeding are free from the most common genetic problems affecting the breed. Once the testing is completed, many breeders opt to list their dogs’ results on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website, a public database.
Mixed breed puppies are every bit as adorable and loving as purebreds, and all are deserving of wonderful, loving forever homes. Unfortunately, since mixed breeds come from unknown genetic pools in many cases, it is impossible to predict how a puppy will look or act when fully grown. Also a mystery is what health issues may lay ahead for the puppy.
When breeding any two dogs together, purebreds or mixed breeds, there is a genetic gamble involved. With any one litter, the breeder may get some puppies with the best traits of both parents, some puppies with the worst traits of both parents, and most often, a mix of the two is seen. Because of this, it is a good idea to purchase pet insurance if you opt to welcome a mixed breed into your home. Not because health problems are inevitable, but because preparation in case issues should arise will save you a world of heartache down the road.
German Shepherd puppies that are the product of two AKC registered parents are eligible for registration with the American Kennel Club. This is optional but does come with its advantages if you choose to do so.
The American Kennel Club offers many perks to owners of registered dogs. One of the programs many owners find very beneficial is AKC Reunite. Since AKC Reunite records and tracks the microchips of all registered dogs, they can be a great help to you if your dog is ever missing, lost, or stolen. In addition to this, AKC also offers discounts on their in-store merchandise and pet insurance policies.
Does Location Make a Difference When It Comes to Price?
The location in which you live will most definitely make a difference when it comes to the price you can expect to pay for your German Shepherd puppy. Areas of the country where the breed is not commonly seen will likely sell their puppies for less than in other states where the breed is in high demand.
Another thing that often has an impact on the final cost for a puppy is the financial investment the breeder had to make for the breeding to occur. It is expensive to breed, whelp, and raise a litter properly. When these expenses rise, an increase in price is often necessary. However, a breeder’s expenses will vary from state to state, meaning a breeder that lives in Utah may pay more money for standard expenses such as vaccinations, microchips, puppy food, veterinary care, health certificates, whelping expenses, and prenatal care than a breeder that lives in Michigan.
German Shepherd Price List by Location (US State)
Interesting Facts About German Shepherd Prices
|Most expensive variations||Panda, Isabella (unrecognized colors), all black|
|Rarest||Albino Shepherd (unrecognized color)|
|Most popular||Saddle coat|
German Shepherd Ownership Costs
Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to spend per month for these items for a Siberian Husky:
|Dog food (kibble)||$250|
|Dog food (raw)||$350|
|Dog treats and chews||$100|
The purchase price of a new puppy is only a small fraction of what you will pay throughout the lifetime of your best canine pal. German Shepherds typically live between 9 and 13 years, meaning you have a lot of fun and bills in your future together. Here is an approximate breakdown of what you can expect to pay for your dog:
Puppy supplies is a term that refers to such items as training treats, a leash and collar, a crate, pee pads, and toys.
The two sets of vaccinations remaining in your pup’s puppy series plus an additional two dewormings will cost you approximately $250.
Puppy socialization and manners classes range in price from $25 to $100 per class and are taught in blocks of 4-6 weeks.
Ongoing adult training/dog sports=$500-$2500+
From dog performance sports to conformation, scent work, tracking, and more, the sky’s the limit when it comes to fun things to do with your dog. As an average, you will pay from $500-$2500+ per year for additional training and/or participation in dog sports.
Veterinary fees=$100-200+ annually
An annual health exam is a must for every dog. This number should be increased to twice yearly during the senior years.
Because accidents and illnesses can occur, it is wise to budget an additional $3000-$5000 for emergency vet care.
Insurance=$50-$75 per month
The average pet insurance policy costs approximately $50-$75 per month. Over a lifespan of 13 years, that total comes to $11,700. Bear in mind that your premiums may increase as your dog ages. Also, most insurance plans also have deductibles which must first be satisfied before you receive any refunds for monies paid out for veterinary care.
Food=$200+ per month
A high performance dog food ideal suited to the active and athletic German Shepherd will cost you approximately $200+ per month.
A breed that sheds a great deal, you will need to brush your dog several times each week to keep the shed hair in your home to a minimum. Baths should be done infrequently to avoid stripping the skin and hair of its natural oils. The tools you will need for these jobs will cost approximately $100.
What to Know Before Buying a German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is a dog that was bred with a purpose in mind: herding livestock, primarily sheep. Because of this, this is a high drive working breed that needs a job to do to remain physically and mentally content. If you prefer a more sedentary lifestyle, the GSD is not the dog for you. They need vigorous daily exercise to help burn off their immense amounts of energy.
German Shepherds will become destructive if not given an outlet for their energy levels. You can expect such problems as persistent barking, digging, and even chewing if your dog is not sufficiently exercised every day.
German Shepherd puppies go through a growth spurt between four and seven months of age. During this time, it is very important to keep your puppy on a large breed puppy formulation that prevents your puppy from growing at too rapid a rate. This approach can help to prevent permanent structural damage from occurring.
In addition to this, it is important to restrict the type of activity your GSD puppy engages in until the pup reaches two years of age when the joints are fully closed. For best results, limit your puppy to play on soft surfaces and avoid excessive jumping.
The German Shepherd loves to eat and can easily become overweight. Measure your dog’s food intake and monitor all treats carefully to prevent obesity from occurring. Free feeding this dog breed is strongly discouraged.
A dog breed with a double coat of medium length, the German Shepherd does shed a lot but does not have tremendously high grooming requirements. Brush your dog several times per week and bath on an as needed basis. Nails should be trimmed once weekly, and teeth brushed several times each week to maintain good oral hygiene.
German Shepherds can get along well with kids, but supervision and training is highly recommended for the safety of both parties. The GSD can make fast friends with other dogs if carefully introduced to them. For best results, introduce your GSD to your other household pets when your new family member is still a puppy.
The final thing to keep in mind before committing to purchase a German Shepherd Dog is the health issues that can befall the breed. You will want to discuss with your breeder what health testing they have done on the parent dogs. Breeders are always happy to share the results of the testing they have done on their dogs, so don’t be afraid to ask to see them.
Health testing is not inexpensive for a breeder. But breeders who choose to do it show a true love for their breed and a desire to ensure the puppies they produce are as healthy as they can possibly be.
Among the health problems that can plague the German Shepherd Dog are:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Gastric dilatation-volvulus (bloat)
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
Thinking the German Shepherd is the right dog for your family? The first step to take is finding the right breeder, rescue, or shelter from which to obtain your new canine friend. Prices can vary from state to state, but as an average, you can expect to pay as little as $50 to over $1000 for a rescue, $750-$5000+ for a pet or show potential puppy or young adult.
If you’re not yet ready to add a dog to your home, that’s okay. Many breeders have waiting lists that are several years in length. You can add your name to a list and use the wait time to learn more about your new breed and to save for your upcoming puppy expenses.