So you’ve decided that it’s time to welcome a German Shepherd into your home. You’ve been eagerly researching all about about them, melting into pictures of various cute GSD puppies abound on the internet. However, there is one very important question that remains to be answered – how much does a German Shepherd puppy cost?
The cost of adopting a German Shepherd from a shelter ranges between $150-$500, and purchasing one from a reputable breeder will cost between $800-$2500, depending on the puppy’s pedigree.
In this article, we will thoroughly explore the reasons for the range in cost of a German Shepherd puppy, and we will also take a close look at how much the actual cost of owning of a GSD puppy is.
We urge you to pay close attention to the actual cost of ownership, as German Shepherds are relatively expensive dogs to maintain.
The price tag of the puppy is just the beginning of a new and potentially intimidating relationship between you and your wallet, and there are also non quantifiable costs associated with GSD puppy ownership that we urge you to explore as well.
Why Is There Such a Wide Range in the Price of a German Shepherd Puppy?
As we have mentioned above, the range in price for a German Shepherd puppy is generally between $150-$2500. On the low end of this price range will be a puppy that you acquire from a shelter, and on the high end will be a puppy acquired from a breeder.
Adopting a German Shepherd Puppy From a Shelter
When you adopt a German Shepherd puppy from a shelter, this does not mean whatsoever that you are getting an inferior dog. In fact, if you are patient and diligently contact shelters in a wide geographic range, your chances of coming across a purebred GSD puppy are reasonably high.
The further that you are willing to travel, the more likely it is that you will find just the right GSD puppy for you. Let’s now take a closer look at some aspects of adoption.
Adoption fees at a shelter are typically inclusive of the following:
- Veterinary wellness visit and exam
- Rabies vaccination
- Collar and an identification tag
- Distemper vaccination
- Rabies vaccination
- Heartworm test
- Flea/tick treatment
- Spaying or neutering
If you were to add up the cost of all of these services separately, and not part of an all-inclusive adoption fee, the price tag would invariably be considerably higher. It’s easy to see why adopting from a shelter is a much more economical option should it be available to you.
Additionally, you can also feel good about adopting a GSD puppy from a shelter, as the proceeds acquired through adoption fees are used to help support the shelter from which you adopted the puppy. This allows a shelter to continue to rescue new animals and relocate them in safe homes.
One potential downside to adoption is the time and effort that it may take you to find the right pup for you. Unlike a breeder who is able to provide you with rather specific dates, there is no telling when a new GSD puppy may be available through a shelter.
Additionally, purebred GSD puppies tend to be adopted out very quickly, so if you choose this option you must be very diligent and persistent. Be prepared to make lots of phone calls on a daily basis, as it is unlikely that a shelter will call you specifically when the puppy you want arrives, as many others will undoubtedly have the same request.
Buying a German Shepherd Puppy From a Breeder
Purchasing a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder can very easily set you back a pretty penny. This is because purebred dogs that are ethically raised by responsible breeders are expensive to breed in general.
For example, to DNA test a litter can cost upwards of $1,000. Additionally, if a C-Section becomes necessary during the birthing process, this may cost another $1,000.
Also, in contrast to a purebred shelter puppy that spends a short portion of its life at the shelter prior to adoption, a breeder must pay all of the costs associated with raising an entire litter for a minimum of 8 weeks, as is mandated by law in many states.
Next comes the cost of pre-breeding health checks performed on both parents, prenatal care, stud fees, shots, food, wormings, vet visits, and a host of other unexpected medical costs.
You must also figure in the time and effort that it takes to socialize an entire litter, coupled with the fact that many breeders are dealing with more than one litter at a time, and it is easy to see how the costs can quickly add up.
Essentially, a purebred German Shepherd puppy from a breeder will cost more because they are more expensive to raise. However, a purebred puppy from a reputable breeder will also come with health and temperament guarantees, so you do actually get what you pay for.
For more detailed understanding of adopting a German Shepherd puppy from a shelter versus purchasing one from a breeder, we have an excellent article here that will answer all of your questions and remove all of the guesswork for you.
The Cost of the First Year of German Shepherd Puppy Ownership
While the amount of money that you spend to acquire a German Shepherd puppy will vary in accordance to the different factors that we have described above, keep in mind that acquiring the puppy is just be beginning of your financial commitment.
Let’s now take a close look at the costs you will likely incur during your first year of GSD puppy ownership.
It is important that you pay attention to these costs, as they can be significant, and may have a bearing on whether or not acquiring a GSD puppy is a good economical choice for you.
While there are other related costs, the main costs that you will incur during the first year of GSD puppy ownership can be apportioned as follows:
Initial Cost of Your Puppy
As described above, this is entirely dependent on whether you adopt from a shelter or purchase from a breeder. This cost varies widely and can exceed several thousand dollars on the high end.
With so many different dog food brands on the market today, this cost can also vary considerably. From basic dry dog food to available gourmet raw diets, you can spend as little or as much as you choose.
While you can groom your GSD puppy yourself, many people opt to take their puppy to a professional groomer. Necessities such as nail trimming can be intimidating to the first-time puppy owner and may harm the puppy if performed incorrectly.
While it is our preference that you take the time to properly train your GSD puppy on your own, as this is a unique and irreplaceable bonding experience on many levels for you and your GSD puppy, many people opt to seek professional obedience training.
Some people simply do not have the time to do this, or perhaps it is their first dog and they are unsure of where to begin. If this is the case for you, then you should plan on this expense during your first year of GSD puppy ownership.
Treats and Toys
These are necessities of GSD puppy ownership, and also one of the funnest parts. Who doesn’t love a shopping trip to purchase something that will bring joy to their puppy?
It is, however, important to understand that individually these items do not cost very much, but if you love to spoil your puppy, then costs can add up very quickly!
Crate and Divider
A crate is another essential item that there is just no getting around purchasing if you want your puppy to be well-trained.
Be sure to not make the mistake that many people do by purchasing too small of a crate and then having to upsize as their puppy grows.
It is wise to purchase a large crate as well as a crate divider. This way, you are able to place the divider so that the volume of the crate can be increased as your puppy grows in size.
A preliminary veterinary health check and vaccinations are essential. If you adopt from a shelter, these are likely included in the adoption fee. However, if you purchase your puppy from a breeder, you may incur these costs after bringing your puppy home.
Keep in mind that you can, and should, also plan on unexpected veterinary bills. What happens when your puppy gets into something that he definitely should not have, and even worse, after veterinary office hours? It is wise to prepare and set aside some extra funds for such emergencies.
A few different preventative medications are necessary for your puppy’s health and well-being, as well as your own. Heartworms can be deadly, so heartworm preventative medication is a must.
Ticks can also transmit disease that may cause severe illness, such as Canine Anaplasmosis, and fleas are wildly uncomfortable for both human and puppies alike. Plan on the costs associated with these preventative medications during the first year of your GSD puppy’s life.
Table: First Year of German Shepherd Puppy Ownership Costs
Now that we have gone over the basic essential expenses of GSD puppy ownership during the first year, we can get more specific as to the expenses that you may incur, depending on your own personal preferences.
The table below provides a reasonable estimate of all costs associated with the first year of German Shepherd puppy ownership. Keep in mind that, while this is a reasonable estimate, it is still an estimate.
How much an owner will spend on a GSD will vary in accordance to the owner’s preferences, lifestyle, and financial situation.
There are certain services and items within the table below that are elective, such as boarding the puppy while on vacation or obedience classes. However, as discussed above, there are certain mandatory, nonnegotiable expenses such as food and veterinary care that you must take into consideration.
|Item / Service||Lowest Cost Estimate||Highest Cost Estimate|
|Cost of Puppy||$150||$2,500|
|Leash & Collar||$30||$50|
|Food & Water Bowls||$20||$60|
|Crate & Crate Divider||$80||$160|
|Spay / Neuter||$150||$450|
|Initial Veterinary Medical Exam||$75||$250|
|Subsequent Veterinary Medical Exams||$200||$600|
|Unscheduled / Emergency Veterinary Visits||$75||$350|
|Flea & Tick Medication||$45||$100|
|1 Week of Boarding||$140||$600|
|Puppy Training Class||$100||$400|
|Hygiene Products (Brushes / Shampoo / Oral Care)||$45||$170|
As you can see from the above table, the costs associated with the first year of German Shepherd puppy ownership can be rather expensive. On the other hand, if expenses are responsibly planned for ahead of time, they can also be rather manageable.
Remember that you will not be spending most of this money at one time. Items such as food, treats, and toys will be spread out through the year. On the other hand, keep in mind that your initial expenses may be relatively significant.
Items like a crate and divider, and services such as the initial veterinary exam and pet insurance, should you opt for it, will in essence work out as one large expenditure since they will be purchased within a short span of time.
With the arrival of your new GSD puppy in mind, we have saved you the time and trouble of conducting countless hours of research by compiling a complete list of everything that you may need for your German Shepherd puppy right here: The Best German Shepherd puppy Supplies.
Hidden and Related Costs of German Shepherd Puppy Ownership
While we have clearly outlined for you what to expect in terms of the money that you will spend in the first year of owning German Shepherd puppy, there are a number of related, and not so obvious, costs associated with German Shepherd puppy ownership.
You’ve heard the old saying, “time is money.” It’s important that you consider the time commitment required of you when you own a German Shepherd puppy. Especially when the puppy is very young (8-36 weeks), you will need to be devoting a substantial amount of your time to him.
Spending time with your GSD puppy is vitally important if you plan to have him grow into an obedient and well-natured dog.
While it is true that many German Shepherds are born with a certain disposition, sometimes shy and sometimes aggressive, there is a lot you can do to help your puppy move past these qualities and characteristics.
All of the things that you can do, however, such as socialization and obedience training, require your time – and a lot of it!
Particularly with GSDs, since they are such powerful and potentially aggressive dogs, spending the time to properly socialize them when they are puppies is one of the most important things that you can do.
So prepare to spend less time out socializing with your friends or significant other in exchange for spending time lovingly socializing your puppy!
For a complete guide on how to approach socializing a GSD puppy, take a look a our article “How To Socialize Your German Shepherd.” It’s full of helpful hints and examples to guide you along the way.
Changes to Your Lifestyle
As shown in the table above, one potential cost associated with German Shepherd puppy ownership is boarding the puppy if you were to go on vacation.
Vacationing is a highly individual thing – some people do it often and others not so much. However, if you fall into the category of those who need a few extended vacations per year, then perhaps you should look at how this may affect your GSD puppy.
Most German Shepherds do not do very well at all when separated from their owner. Separation may cause separation anxiety, which can be a very traumatic experience for a German Shepherd.
For a complete exploration of this topic, take a look at this article we have written for you all about German Shepherd separation anxiety.
We urge you to take your vacationing habits into consideration before deciding to purchase a GSD puppy. The odd vacation here and there will likely present few issues, but if you vacation frequently, then perhaps you should take a closer look at whether or not your lifestyle aligns with German Shepherd puppy ownership.
Personally, I have never taken a vacation during which I did not bring my GSD or GSDs along with me. Thus, I do not fly, and I drive wherever I go. I do not board my dogs, as I prefer them to enjoy the same experiences that I do.
However, everyone is different, and it is important that you take your particular lifestyle into account when considering owning a German Shepherd puppy.
Another consideration that you should take into account before acquiring a GSD puppy is how active a person you are. German Shepherds require a lot of exercise.
When your puppy is very young, your walks will be relatively short. But as he quickly grows, even as a puppy, your walks will need to become considerably longer in order to adequately meet your GSD’s exercise requirements.
If you are a very active person by nature, then you will have little to be concerned about. However, if you lead more of a sedentary lifestyle then you will need to realistically address whether or not you are willing to change this for the long-term.
You should realistically expect to be walking your GSD puppy 3 times a day for about 30 minutes each time towards the end of his first year.
The time that you spend walking your GSD puppy can be mitigated if you have a yard and your puppy is able to run freely. It is important, however, that you keep in mind that leash training is essential, and that a yard is not a substitute for actually walking your puppy.
So once again, we urge you to take a close look at your lifestyle and determine for yourself whether a GSD puppy is the right dog for you. While we highly encourage GSD ownership, we are very adamant about responsible GSD ownership.
For a more thorough exploration about whether a GSD is the right dog for you, take a look at the following article: “Is a German Shepherd the Right Dog for Me?“
As we’ve discussed, the cost of owning a German Shepherd puppy is a significant undertaking, and not only in a monetary sense. There are other time and lifestyle consideration that need to be taken into account.
If you are seriously considering brining a GSD puppy into your home, we ask that you really put some serious thought into the different aspects of GSD puppy ownership beyond just the financial aspect of it.
The last thing that you want is to purchase a GSD puppy and then find out that you are unable or unwilling to meet the financial and lifestyle costs and obligations that accompany ownership.