How Much Does A German Shepherd Cost? (Full Breakdown)

Want to know the cost of a German Shepherd?

You’re in the right place!

America’s 3rd most loved canine breed is as expensive as it looks!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • Estimated costs of rearing a German Shepherd
  • Factors that affect the pricing of GSD puppies
  • Tips in choosing the right type of GSD
  • Expenses that incur as you care for your GSD

And much more! 

image of Adult German Shepherd Lying on Ground

What's In This Guide?

      How Much Will A German Shepherd Cost On Average?

      The average expenses for an adult GSD range from $800 to $1500 USD each year.

      The lower end of the spectrum assumes the dog has no medical issues and is fed with dry dog food. It also covers basic annual vaccinations.

      The higher-end, on the other hand, involves a combination of kibble and canned food and higher medical expenses.

      Average Price of German Shepherd Puppies

      The average price of a standard German Shepherd pup is anywhere between $500 to $1,000 USD. Take note; these are localized prices from hobby breeders and unregistered backyard breeders.

      Professional breeders will charge more as they have high standards for breeding their canines.

      To provide buyers with health guarantees, each puppy shall undergo thorough screenings to rule out hereditary diseases and other health issues common to the breed.

      Expect an increased price point starting at $2,000 up to $4,000 USD.

      If you want a GSD puppy from top breed lines, prepare to shell out $10,000 USD or more. Puppies whose ancestors have an outstanding history of achievements command a hefty premium.

      Adoption fees cost around $200.

      Factors Affecting The Price of German Shepherd

      Pedigree (Lineage)

      Pedigree is the biggest factor for price variation not just in German Shepherds but in all canine breeds.

      A pedigree GSD means that the dog has at least three generations without crossbreeding; anything less is disqualified.

      Unfortunately, there have been increasing concerns about overbreeding dogs of the same family. This practice leads to a small gene pool that deprives dogs of the genetic diversity crucial for health.

      Inbreeding can increase the risk of degenerative diseases and reduce lower life expectancy, among others.

      That is why it pays to get your GSD from a certified breeder.

      Working Line Vs. Show Line

      The German Shepherd is categorized into three genetic lines but ultimately the breed is divided into five different types.

      American Show Line

      German Shepherds of the American show line frequented the annual AKC show ring.

      A puppy of this line costs around $2,000 USD and the price can shoot up for puppies whose parents have proven exemplary records.

      American-bred GSDs possess several traits that make them easily distinguishable from their European counterparts.

      In comparison, these shepherds are built larger and weigh heavier but their heads look slimmer and more refined.

      Second, these canines have a significant slope to their backs and haunched hind legs that provide them with an elegant trot.

      But aside from physical attributes, these handsome doggos are also a bit different temperament-wise. These dogs are believed to be better suited as family pets as they are more laidback.

      And as far as athleticism goes, American-bred GSDs tend to fall behind due to their build. That is why the military and police prefer East and West German Shepherd working lines.

      East German Working Line

      German Shepherds from the working line are often cheaper than show dogs but these canines are an exception. East GSDs carry a price tag that comes pretty close to top-tier American show dogs.

      East GSDs are smaller and leaner than their American counterparts but they appear seemingly larger due to their blocky head and heavy-looking structure.

      Another quality that differs them from American-bred GSDs is their symmetrical backs. With a flatback, these German Shepherds can jump great heights in a cinch.

      Alternately known as the DDR variant (Deutsche Demokratische Republik), these dogs are considered the healthiest and most resilient due to their genetic disposition as well as the environment they were bred.

      Moreover, you can train these canines to be more tenacious in the face of a threat. Back in the day, East GSDs were employed as scouts and sentries, attacking people who were trying to escape the borders.

      West German Working Line

      The West German Shepherd is the most revered working line; it is believed to be the closest to the original breed developed by Max von Stephanitz.

      As expected of a working line, West GSDs are much healthier and more active than show-type GSDs. The emphasis of this bloodline is aimed at preserving the working ethics of the breed in various areas.

      This canine ticks all the boxes whether you are looking for a reliable sheepdog, watchdog, or anything in between.

      As these dogs demand frequent and active engagement, they are better suited for people with experience.

      West German Show Line

      The show-type West GSD is considered to be the most beautiful of all the German Shepherd lines. These gorgeous canines sport the coveted wolf look plus they come in richer colors.

      While show-type West GSDs are impressive, they don’t possess the same degree of strength and athleticism as those from the working line.

      Like any show line of dogs, these canines are developed for aesthetics.

      While these show dogs have an angulated topline, it is not nearly as much as you would find in their American-bred counterparts. Expect to pay $2,000 to $2,500 USD for a puppy.

      Czech Shepherd Working Line

      These German Shepherds come from a strong bloodline of a strictly regulated Czech GSD breeding program. Czech-bred German Shepherds are almost entirely black, sable, or a mix of both. 

      These canines experienced isolated breeding in 1955 and the first lot were believed to have been bred from the remnants of the working GSD line from East Germany. Hence, the resemblance.

      These GSDs were bred specifically to exhibit exemplary working abilities emphasizing protection and defense.

      For the purest Czech GSDs, you will have to pay significantly more than you would for other GSD types.

      Breeder Reputation And Registration Papers

      As with every industry, reputation comes with a price but there are many good reasons why you should choose recognized breeders over backyard breeders.

      Professional breeders invest in premium-quality dog food, health screenings, and other expenses to optimize their canines’ health and wellness.

      Additionally, only certified breeders can issue necessary documentation.

      You will never know your puppy’s family tree without a pedigree certificate.

      Registration papers are likewise essential when taking your pet abroad and they provide your canine eligibility to engage in the world of canine sports.

      You may not have plans to participate but in case you change your mind in the future, you can head for the show ring without delay.

      image of German Shepherd Dog standing on a tree trunk

      Cost Of Supplies For German Shepherd

      Bringing a puppy home is no different from welcoming a baby; you need to gather the right supplies.

      While there are plenty of products in the market that might prove helpful, these are the essentials to have on hand.

      SuppliesPrice RangeAverage Cost
      Food and water bowls$10 – $40$20
      Edible chews$20 – $85$50
      Toys$50 – $155$90
      Brush$5 – $45$15
      Shampoo$5 – $20$10
      Tooth-brushing kit$5 – $15$10
      Toenail clippers$5 – $30$15
      Collar$10 – $40$20
      Leash$10 – $30$15
      Bed$20 – $85$50
      Crate$30 – $120$55
      Plastic poop bags$15 – $110$55
      Pooper scooper$10 – $30$20
      Wee wee pads$15 – $45$25

      Take note; most of these are expendable goods that you need to buy again and again.

      Miscellaneous expenditures and equipment such as muzzles, strollers, and playpens are not included in the table as these products are optional and they vary greatly in price. 

      To get more bang out of your buck, always opt for good-quality products that can last for a long time.

      How Much Will a German Shepherd Cost In Medical Care?

      While we all want to show off our new pooch, it is better to confine Pupper within the safety of your home until he completes his puppy shots. You will frequent the vet during your pup’s first year.

      Preventive Care For 1-Year PuppiesEstimated Costs
      Exam and Vaccinations (3 – 4)$450 to $900
      Heartworm Prevention$10 monthly
      Flea and Tick Prevention$23 monthly
      Castration (optional)$250
      Spay (optional)$350

      While vet trips decline for each that follows, the cost of medications might increase as your dog grows. What is more, you may need additional vaccines depending on your lifestyle.

      Adult GSD Vet ExpensesEstimated Costs
      Leptospirosis$15 – $25
      Kennel cough vaccine (2 doses)$70 – $90
      Lyme disease (2 doses)$60 – $80
      Annual checkup$125 – $265
      Yearly flea and heartworm prevention$150 – 250
      Dental cleaning$300 – $1,200

      Potential Health Issue Costs

      Not all GSDs will experience the following health issues but it is wise to be prepared just in case problems arise.

      Health ProblemEstimated Costs
      Allergies$100 – $2,000 per year
      Degenerative Myelopathy$500 – $3,000
      Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus $1,500 – $3,000
      Hip Dysplasia$500 – $13,000
      Lumbosacral Instability and Degenerative Disc Disease$500 – $3,500

      Pet Insurance Costs

      Pet insurance gives you peace of mind that in case your GSD has an accident or develops a chronic illness, you can make decisions based on what is best for him rather than settle for anything less. 

      As pet insurance policies differ, you’ll need to read the fine print carefully before signing up.

      CoverageEstimated Costs
      Accident-only plans$190 – $250
      Accident and illness plans$600

      You can opt for complete health coverage but it gets much more pricey.

      Regardless, consider it as your safety net against unexpected costs so that you won’t have to carry out an economic analysis of whether or not you can afford them.

      Food Costs For German Shepherd

      Costs will vary greatly depending on the brand and type of food (canned food/kibble) you choose to feed your pooch.

      Puppy food tends to be more expensive as they are specially formulated to provide more nutrients needed for growth.

      That is why you are looking at similar price points in the table below.

      Estimated Yearly CostPrice RangeAverage Cost
      Puppy$180 – $355$260
      Adult GSD$160 – $495$290

      The cost estimation is based on the prices of best-selling brands, such as Blue Buffalo, Purina, and Pedigree. To save money, buy food in large quantities.

      How much is Grooming for German Shepherd

      You may buy a grooming kit and learn how to groom your dog effectively at home to save money on grooming costs. To ensure success, you will need to start while your puppy is young.

      Estimated Yearly CostPrice RangeAverage Cost
      Adult GSD$0 to $450$225

      Unexpected Costs Associated With German Shepherd

      Sometimes, problems arise and you may find yourself needing the help of others to take care of your dog during your absence.

      Services And ProductsPrice RangeAverage Cost
      Microchip$25 – $50$40
      Dog walker$25 – $50$40
      Dog Boarding$25-$85 a day$225

      What Monthly And Yearly Recurring Costs Are There For German Shepherd?

      The bulk of the major expenses take place within the first year. Costs can be as high as $4,000 USD exclusive of the puppy. This amount only covers medical expenses, vet services, food, treats, and other essentials.

      After the first year, you may expect the costs to come down. For each adult year, you have to budget $1,800 USD.

      These numbers do not reflect emergency expenses down the road, so you must consider saving for the rainy days.

      Average Lifetime Ownership Cost for German Shepherd

      The upfront cost of purchasing a puppy is far less than the expenses of maintaining a German Shepherd.

      Given the 9 to 13-year life expectancy of the GSD, the lifetime cost of keeping this breed is anywhere between $18,000 to $25,000 USD.

      Final Thoughts On The Cost of German Shepherd

      The financial costs that come with owning a German Shepherd do not end once you shell out $500 to $4000 USD a pup. 

      Simply put, GSDs are a costly breed. And aside from allocating your funds for their basic needs, emergencies can happen anytime and you need to financially prepare for these situations. 

      The perks of having one of the best canine breeds in the world certainly do not come for free!

      Picture of Lara Writes

      Lara Writes

      Lara, a.k.a Alpha Mama, is a great dancer and belter singer, although the world tells her otherwise. However, her greatest pleasure is working with animals. If the Alpha Mama is not being delusional, she manages to create informative articles and clear-cut buying guides. She also likes to share her personal experiences that may ignite your soul or possibly change your life!

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