How Much Do German Shepherds Cost (Complete Buying Guide)

A German Shepherd (GSD) is one of the exceptional choices for pets. This dog is known for its bravery, loyalty, and protective instinct. It maximizes its full potential when trained properly. This makes it an excellent option for a working dog such as police dog, guard or search & rescue dog.

However, just like anything else in the world, one needs to pay a great price to be able to own one of these adorable creatures. German Shepherds are popular in U.S and the world, making them the most sought-after breed. For this reason, they are a bit more expensive than other dogs.

If you have been wondering “how much does a german shepherd cost?” you are in the right place. In this article, we will look at the cost of the German Shepherd and the factors that affect its cost.

How Much Does a German Shepherd Cost?

German Shepherds remain to be one of the most sought-after breeds of dogs. The characteristics of this dog naturally comes with a hefty price tag, depending on its lineage, training, and background. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $15,000.

German Shepherds that came from shelters can cost anywhere from $50 to $300. The fees are dependent on what vaccinations or services the puppy has already had. Oftentimes, GSD pups that came from shelters already had a comprehensive check-up with a Veterinarian and various vaccinations. This could include rabies vaccination, deworming, neutering or spaying, tick/flea treatment, etc.

Meanwhile, the price of German Shepherd that’s meant to be a family pet is around $800 – $1500. However, that is just the ballpark figure. As explained earlier, there are several factors considered relative to the price of this dog. The dog breeder can explain the entire background of the dog, which includes medical records, training, skills and capabilities, certification, warranties, and the like.

Some people also invest in their German Shepherd from when it’s still a puppy, to make some money out of it in the future. If you’re one of those, prepare to spend more on trainings and other relevant expenses. Some turn out to be service dogs, show dogs, performance dogs while others join competitions. If the GSD came from show winning parents, then the price for the pup can range from $6,000 – $7,000. Well trained dogs of this kind could sell for as high as $15,000 up.

How Much Does a Purebred German Shepherd Cost?

It is also worth noting that the closer this dog is to being a purebred, the more expensive it gets.

Overall, the price of a Purebred German Shepherd puppy can be somewhere in the range of $1,500 to $5,000. Like what was explained earlier, the price depends on what the breeder has already spent as an investment on the dog.

The price of a Purebred German Shepherd can also be as high as $6,000 to $10,000 or more. This could also be reliant to the achievements of its parents and lineage.

Surprised that the rates of this breed can go that high? Good Purebreds can also be priced at less than $1,000 or as low as being FREE. German Shepherds that are in animal shelters and have been rescued or in need of a good home are generally priced less than those raised by breeders.

Puppy Vs Older Dog

There are pros and cons to owning a puppy to an older dog, specifically for German Shepherds. Since this breed is a very talented kind, German Shepherd puppies actually cost more. This is because they are most receptive and can be easily trained to its owner’s liking. The early stages that fit this description are between 8 and 12 weeks, after which, the price will already start to decline.

Older dogs already have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. However, the older the GSD is, the lower its price becomes. It is already challenging to retrain an older dog once it has picked up bad habits. This is also because even though he has already mastered a lot of skills, time spent with an old dog would be more focused on bonding and playing.

Quite sad to hear, but based on research, older dogs are not wanted much. Hence, this explains why German Shepherd puppies cost more than their older counterparts.

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What Are the Standard Costs?

We have already discussed about the costs and various factors affecting the price of a German Shepherd. Another important point of discussion is the costs of owning one. Just like having a baby, raising a German Shepherd also entails responsibilities, both financial and emotional from the owner.

It is now clear that the cost of buying German Shepherds is on the higher side.  Moreover, the expenses of actually owning one is no joke as well.  Basically, this can range from $1,200 – $1,500 a year. Furthermore, the expenses can go up to $10,000 for lifetime commitment to this wonderful creature.

Here are some of the standard costs based on one helpful rescue groups online:

  1. Food – $35.00 a month
  2. Grooming – $10.00 – $20.00


  • Boarding: $20 – $40/day depending on peak or off-peak season
  • Obedient classes: $50 – $100 depending on the training session

Costs Of Vets

  • Vet visits/ rabies: $75 – $85
  • Spay/Neuter: $285 – $425
  • Worming: $20 – $50 depending on specific worm and number of times required
  • Parasite treatment: $15 – $35 at onset plus $15 – $20 follow up per month
  • Heartworm Treatment, if positive: $300 – $600
  • Other serious illness or hospitalization: $400 – $1,000+
  • Cost of toys, bed, bedding, leash, bowls etc. – $10 – $20

Potential Health Costs

There are a lot of reasons why a German Shepherd is a great choice for a pet dog. However, to balance our perspective on this matter, it is also best to discuss potential health risks associated with it.

Some experts have advised getting a better dog if you want a pet or get comprehensive pet insurance if you opt for the German Shepherd. This is because there are some illnesses that this dog breed is prone to.

Here are some common health conditions of German Shepherds and the treatment costs:

  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy –  $200-$1,500
  • Cataracts –                                       $1,500-$5,000
  • Corneal Dystrophy –                            $300-$3,000
  • Compulsive Behaviors –                    $500-$3,000
  • Degenerative Myelopathy –           $2,000-$4,000
  • Hemivertebrae –                        $2,500-$6,000
  • Hyperparathyroidism –                    $2,000-$4,000
  • Perianal Fistula –                                   $2,000-$5,000
  • Hip Dysplasia –                                       $1,500-$6,000
  • Osteochondrosis of the Knee/Spine –               $2,000-$4,000
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat) –                  $1,500-$7,500
  • Osteochondrosis of the Shoulder –                    $2,000-$4,000
  • Cardiomyopathy –                                                 $500-$1,500
  • Aortic Stenosis –                                               $500-$1,500
  • Elbow Dysplasia –                                           $1,500-$4,000

Why You Shouldn’t Buy from Puppy Mills

No matter how excited you or your family are to add a furry friend, you need to make sure that you are well oriented where to buy your pets.   It is advisable to buy from a reputable breeder or a rescue group. This is because they are conversant with the dog’s background, health conditions, skills, traits etc.

By caring enough, you will be able to know if you are talking to a Puppy Mill or a Backyard breeder. Backyard breeders are people around you who breed dogs to make money out of them. They can act like they are pet enthusiasts and passionate about animals, when in fact, like Puppy mills, they are not. 

They just breed the animals but do not really take care of them. Like Puppy mills, the dogs lack care, attention and proper accommodation to ensure they are healthy even at the onset.

You should avoid buying your four-legged friend from puppy Mills or Backyard Breeders for various reasons.

Puppy Mills are Deceiving

Puppy Mills are commercial breeders that intend to make a whole lot of profit mass producing dogs.  This is very inhumane. Hence, you should make a wise decision not to buy from them or support them in any way.

Dogs raised from puppy mills are sold off in pet stores, or online ads. They make it appear like the dogs are in the best of health but are actually not. They may look like perfect little pups at the onset, so adorable you want to take them home right away. What you do not know is that they may have a hidden disease and you will only find it out later.

Animal Cruelty

Animals from puppy mills are raised under very cruel conditions. The dogs are caged in overcrowded shelters with no protection from extreme weather. They also suffer from lack of (clean) food and water and some even get sick and are not given medical attention.   

Profit Driven

Puppy mills and backyard breeders operate for the sole reason of making profit. They will do whatever it takes just to make money, and at the expense of the poor animals.

Supporting Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders sustain their business. Obviously, we do not want to support these two inhumane groups. If we make a mistake of doing so, they earn while the animals suffer.

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Related Articles:

What to Look for In a German Shepherd Breeder

Reputable breeders of German Shepherd raise excellent dogs. They are well bred and have great attributes, healthier and generally in great condition. But how can we tell a good breeder apart from the rest? Here are some tips in what to look for in a German Shepherd Breeder:

They have a Good Veterinarian

A good breeder has a good relationship with his veterinarian. He ensures that his dogs are in good health and have the basic health care needed. If you are looking for the best German Shepherd breeder in your area, you can ask some vets for recommendations.

Good Breeders Show off their Dogs

One way to spot good breeders is during pet shows. These breeders are immensely proud to show off their dog’s talents around and would talk about them a lot. So, the pet show would be an excellent place to locate one if you are looking to buy.

They know their Dogs Well

Spotting the thin line between a good breeder and a bad breeder is not easy. However, you can identify one by how much they know about their dogs. A good one would know practically everything about the German Shepherd, including its condition from birth, favorite stuff, food and even their traits and temperaments.

They Will Ask About You

A respectable breeder is not all about profit alone. He will want to ensure that the dogs will have a good home. For this reason, he will make sure to inquire about you, your family and any other information that will be relevant to your adopting the dog.

He Understands Commitment

 A good German Shepherd breeder understands full well what his role entails and the responsibility that goes along with it.  Financial obligation is just one, as he needs to ensure that he gives his breeds the best of care through good shelter, food, medical attention and care.

Differences in Expensive vs Cheap German Shepherd

The fact is that the price of a German Shepherd really varies depending on various factors. However, this does not necessarily mean that a cheaper one is inferior to the other. Just the same way it doesn’t always mean that your $6,000 canine is way better than his $800.  Expensive does not always mean superior.

However, there are some factors that affected the cost of a of the German Shepherd. Here is a brief detail about it.

  • Age.  If your GSD is younger, it is understandably pricier than older ones. This is because younger dogs are more flexible to teach new tricks. The lifeline of older ones is of course a consideration. You get to spend generally less time with an older German Shepherd.
  • Color. The color of a German Shepherd’s coat is caused by recessive traits in their genes. Hence, a White German Shepherd is more costly than the black or brown ones. This is because they are more challenging to breed.
  • Gender.  Both genders are equally important, especially when noting the purpose of getting a German Shepherd. Male GSD are considered for guard dog and active families, as they are energetic. Female GSD are more mellow, so they fit better into households as family pet.
  • Bloodlines.  A German Shepherd pup who is born from champion parents will definitely have higher rates. If showmanship is in the blood of the dog, then the GSD will already have innate attributes that could be enhanced.
  • Breeder or Rescue teams.  Some Rescue groups charge minimal fees for adoption of GSDs. Reputable breeders are more costly, as they may have already invested in the pups to ensure their welfare prior to sale.

Looking at these factors, a mix or two may be enough to justify the price of an expensive German Shepherd. However, we would like to go back to the premise that the price of the dog does not always guarantee superiority over the other.

Interested In Training Your German Shepherd The Right Way?

If you haven’t trained your German Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your German Shepherd completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


In conclusion, it is good to know how much the reasonable price of a German Shepherd is nowadays. By educating yourself of the price facts, you will have a better appreciation about just how valuable and talented this breed is.

German Shepherds are extremely popular dog breed, but it comes with a price. The cost of having one begins at how much it costs but it does not end there. It also includes the cost of everyday essentials like food, health, training, grooming and more. In fact, the first year of owning this breed is going to be the most expensive.

Before you make the decision to buy or adopt one, it is important that you put these cost factors into consideration. Doing this will help you decide whether a German Shepherd is worth the investment.

Image: German Shepherd At Sunset – Luke Lawreszuk