If you are considering getting a German Shepherd puppy, then you’ll want to know how much they cost on average and how much you can expect to pay. It’s essential that you have a rough idea in mind before contacting any breeder. This way you will know you will be getting a fair price and equally, can identify anomalies which are usually red flags. Hoping to adopt one for our family, I researched around and would like to share with you the data I collected here today.
So, how much is a German Shepherd Puppy? German Shepherd puppies can range in price anywhere from $500 to up to $20,000. The huge difference in price depends on several factors, including location, breeder, parentage, and life purpose. German Shepherd Puppies kept as pets usually range between $500-$1500, whereas show dog puppies range from $1500-$5000. Those that are closer to $15,00-$20,000 are used as service or police dogs, and usually have already gone through regimented training.
Because German Shepherds are such intelligent, and useful, working dogs, they are able to specialize in different areas, which also helps drive the cost of them up.
Most German Shepherd puppies are not purchased just to be a family pet, they often have another job waiting for them when they are picked up.
For example, puppies from show-quality parents will cost more – as you are expected to pay a premium for dogs that have a superior lineage and are typically, less likely to suffer from health conditions and complications later in life.
While the cost of German Shepherd puppies between breeders can vary, an honest breeder should be charging what their puppy is worth.
Having conversations with multiple breeders, checking papers and doing your research as you are here today will set you in good stead.
Let us now take a closer look at the upfront cost of a German Shepherd puppy before turning to the ongoing costs that you will need to pay for their care.
Average German Shepherd Puppy Prices
There are several different average ranges for German Shepherd puppies, depending on which type of German Shepherd you are looking for.
Of course, this will all vary by location, where you live and how many German Shepherd breeders you have locally, and in your area.
That being said, Average prices for German Shepherd puppies usually range between $500 and $1500. This is what you can expect to pay if you just want a German Shepherd puppy for a family pet.
If you purchase a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder who produces show dogs, you can expect to pay on average between $1500 and $5000. The more well-known the German Shepherd parents are in the show community, the more you will end up paying.
For a service dog, or police K-9, German Shepherd puppy, you can expect to pay anywhere between $8,000 to $20,00.
To be fair, a lot of time this will include the training that is required to perform which ever job that you have in mind for the puppy.
These service dogs are also the exception rather than the norm. Breeders will often have direct relationships with different authorities regarding their sale.
So, if you are looking for a German Shepherd as a family pet, you shouldn’t have to worry about paying this rather large sum; unless you had the monies and wanted to of course.
Where Can You Buy a German Shepherd Puppy?
The best place to get a German Shepherd puppy is through a German Shepherd breeder, and it it best to go through a reputable one.
If you plan on showing your dog or using them as a working dog, you may want to purchase from a breeder that specifically deals with this.
Breeders are not your only option. Some other reputable places you may be able to pick up a German Shepherd is through a shelter or charity.
However, due to the demand of purebreds, you’re more likely to find a German Shepherd mix than a purebred through these means.
Equally, you must remember that while a good thing to do, going through a shelter or charity often gives you little insight into the previous owner. Even if it was for a short while, you do not know how your potential puppy was previously treated.
Also Puppies are often rare in shelters but you can find them from time to time.
Some not as reputable places, and not recommended, are to buy a German Shepherd puppy at bespoke pet stores, online, and through places like Craigslist.
You may be able to find a perfectly healthy purebred puppy through these means, however, there are quite a few reports of horror stories from these purchases.
You may have a friend who has a litter of German Shepherd puppies for sale, and though they may not be a breeder, you might feel confident purchasing from them as you know the puppies are pure and healthy.
When purchasing a German Shepherd puppy, or any breed for that matter, ensure you do your research and that you are getting a puppy from a reputable source.
Build relationships with multiple breeders in your area, and try to get as much information as you can about their breeding practices and the lineage of dog that their puppy litters are from.
Word of mouth is a great way to find a breeder. You’ll hear both good and bad from dog owners and where they got their dog from.
Word of mouth was how I found the breeder than I ended up going with for my dog. I didn’t just take their word for it though, I still did my research, but that recommendation went a long way.
I’m very happy with the breeder that I chose and will probably go back to them in the future when it’s time for another puppy, because you know there’s always going to be another one!
Why Are German Shepherd Puppies So Expensive?
German Shepherds are such magnificent dogs, with a high intelligence, that they are usually used for things other than being a family pet. German Shepherd puppies often grow up to be show dogs or working dogs.
Due to the demand for them and their capabilities the cost of German Shepherd puppies rises. The more you want your German Shepherd for, the more the cost will be.
Another factor for the cost is the parentage. If you are purchasing your German Shepherd puppy with the hopes of showing them, and their parents are both award-winning dogs, you will end up paying a premium.
Generally, the better the breeder, the more expensive the puppy. While this is not always the case, and there are definitely scams to be vigilant of, reputable breeders will often go the extra mile to ensure your puppy is healthy and safe.
For example, better breeders are likely to take better care of their puppy litters; through their accommodation, food, medications and sometimes even shots. Plus, they may have even filed papers to register the puppy.
All of this adds to the cost. So while it may seem expensive upfront, its usually a good investment in the health of the puppy and something you will want to ensure is in place.
Cost of Owning a German Shepherd
As with the cost of purchasing a German Shepherd puppy can vary, so to can the costs of owning one.
Again, there are a number of factors that can go into how much it costs to own a German Shepherd, such as your location, some optional costs such as insurance, and how much you want to spend on extras.
Some things that you will need to purchase for your puppy, whether in their first year, on an ongoing basis, or later in life are:
- Food and water bowls: $25
- Collar, ID tag and leash: $45
- Annual vet check-up: $85
- Puppy pads for house training: $20
- Dog crate (large with divider so your pup can grow into it): $75
- Dog bed: $70
- Travel dog crate and car restraint for safety: $75
- Basic grooming tools: $60
- Food: $55 per month
- Poop bags and holder: $15 every couple of months
- Treats/training aids: $25 per month
- Puppy toys and teething aids: $100
- Required vaccinations and boosters as needed: $85 per year
- Flea/tick/heartworm control treatments as needed: $35 per month
- Dog license and annual renewals (if applicable): $20 per year
Some costs that are optional include:
- Training classes as needed: $125 per level
- Spay/neuter as desired: $400
- Micro-chipping: $45
- Subscription Boxes: $35
- Daycare/Boarding: $15 – $25 a day
- Grooming: $30 per appointment
- Insurance: depends on plan
These estimates are conservative and don’t take into account an ongoing supply of toys, or if you choose to purchase clothes or specialty items for your German Shepherd.
If you’re anything like I am, I spend a lot on my dog. They can’t seem to keep a toy for very long and I hate to see him go without.
Plus, I tend to get him multiple types of treats. So, the above costs do not necessarily reflect what I spend on my dog.
Your puppy’s first year will be the most expensive generally and you can expect to pay about $1,200 on top of the cost of the German Shepherd puppy themselves.
Every year after that will cost an average of just under $1,000. Many experts claim that you will spend on average around $14,000 during the life of your German Shepherd.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Plus, we didn’t take into consideration anything out of the ordinary. If your dog has an emergency, or an ongoing medical condition of any kind, then that of course, will increase your average cost.
Some other costs that people may not think about are travelling costs to get to your German Shepherd puppy. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a local reputable breeder and they may need to travel to pick up their puppy.
I think most people would agree that German Shepherds are very intelligent dogs, and if you were anything like I was, I always wanted a dog that was well trained. Of course, this was before I knew the costs of dogs or how much training it took.
German Shepherd puppies are very expensive dogs, but that’s because of their intelligence and ability to do many things and be many things for people.
In addition to just being family pets, German Shepherds are also fantastic picks for Service Dogs and Police K-9 dogs.
Other factors to think of when considering costs for a German Shepherd puppy are medical costs, both regular and unexpected, supplies for grooming, potty training, and living expenses. Then you have food, toys, treats, and other goodies. It all starts to add up.
On average you can expect to spend around $1,000 per year for the life of your German Shepherd, and they have an average life expectancy of 9 to 13 years.
Of course, as with everything else, there are exceptions and different ranges that depend on other factors such as location and how much you want to spoil your German Shepherd. The averages here are generally the lower budget for the bare necessities and don’t necessarily cover any extras.
Another thing that isn’t considered in that $1,000 per year are unexpected medical costs, including emergencies and ongoing medical conditions.
Turns out my dog has allergies and that was an unexpected cost that is not covered under my insurance plan.
In addition, he’s too young to receive the regular medicine required so he needs a more specialized (read expensive) version until he’s one.
We love our dogs so once we have them costs seem to go out the window. We’ll do whatever we can to make them happy and healthy and will go without a new outfit just to get them one.
One thing is for sure, when looking to purchase a German Shepherd puppy, do your research beforehand. Research breeders, costs associated with getting your puppy, ongoing costs, and ways to save for unexpected expenses.
German Shepherd puppies are a long-term commitment in both time and expense, so you will want to ensure that you are prepared for both so that you can give your puppy the best possible home and life.
How Do You Know If A German Shepherd Puppy Is Purebred?
There are four main ways to confirm a German Shepherd is purebred.
Firstly, you can test the dog’s DNA with a DNA dog testing kit. Secondly, you can examine the dogs’ coat (they can only have one of three different coat varieties – either a double coat, a plush coat, or a long-haired coat).
Equally, the coat should be one of the breed standards colors: (pure black, black and white, black and red, black and silver, bi-color, blue, gray, liver, sable, and white).
Thirdly, they should possess distinct physical characteristics for this breed, including pointed ears, expressing a certain held tilt, being strong in build and physique, and possessing a bushy tail.
Lastly, they should behave in a certain way; they should be loyal, have high energy, be intelligent and be possessive.
Should I Get A Male Or Female German Shepherd?
While it depends on your preferences, female German Shepherds are friendlier companions and make better family pets. They are easier to train and more sensitive. They are also smaller, have better agility, and also mature quicker than males. Male German shepherds are more territorial, protective, and likely to show aggression. This makes them more suitable as guard dogs.
What Should I Look For When Buying A German Shepherd Puppy?
It is recommended to buy a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder that is fully registered. Equally, you will want to ensure the puppy has been socialized with other dogs and people, and has gone through all of the required screening tests, health checks, and had their vaccinations. Make sure the dog has been bred ethically, and make sure you discuss with your breeder their breeding process, return policy, and the bloodline of the litter.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.