How Much Does A German Shepherd Cost? Simple Price Chart
Dogs are not cheap. And the German Shepherd is no exception to the rule. As a matter of fact, they will even cost more than your average small to medium size dog because their large size means more food and possibly more health issues. It is important to know all of the costs before you decide to purchase a GSD pup. This article will breakdown all of the associated costs of owning one of the most intelligent and popular dogs on the planet.
The average German Shepherd puppy cost anywhere from $300 from an adoption center or shelter, to upwards of $4500 from a reputable breeder. This wide range depends on several factors including the pedigree of the parents, the quality of the dog, and whether or not they have been health tested for conditions such as hip dyplasia.
Here is a simple price chart to give you a good estimate of what you can expect from purchasing your first puppy, to supplies, to vet and health costs over their lifetime!
German Shepherd Puppy Cost
When purchasing a new German Shepherd puppy, the cost can vary greatly depending on many different factors. This chart will give you a good idea of what you can expect with several different options.
|Purchased From||Price Range||Average Cost|
Adopt a Pet and Pet Finder are two of the top adoption websites for dogs. You can check your local area for specific German Shepherd rescue organizations. Here is a list of the top breeders in the U.S.
German Shepherd Supplies Cost (First Year)
Owning a GSD puppy will mean you are going to need a lot of supplies. This chart will give you a rough estimate of the original cost of the most common supplies needed for raising a new puppy.
|Supplies||Price Range||Average Cost|
|Dog Collar (Large)||$5-$25||$15|
|Dog Crate (Large Min. 36″)||$60-$190||$125|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10-$60||$35|
|Leash and Harness||$15-$45||$30|
|Shampoo and Conditioner||$10-$50||$30|
|Toothbrush and Pet-Safe Toothpaste Kit||$8-$12||$10|
This brings the total average costs for the first year of GSD supplies to $478.00. Obviously, this will vary depending on the quality of the supplies listed.
If you are wondering why a dog bed isn’t listed, it is because German Shepherds are notorious chewers and they will destroy most dog beds. We recommend a large dog crate with a couple of blankets on the bottom. There are a few exceptions of extremely durable beds such as the Big Barker.
German Shepherd Food Cost (First Year)
Food is one of the main costs to consider when purchasing a German Shepherd. Due to their large size, they eat more food than some smaller breeds. Weighing anywhere between 60 and 100 pounds, GSDs can eat their fair share of kibble.
If you plan on taking the healthier route and feeding them an all-natural raw diet, it will be even more expensive. Either way, here are some options to consider.
|Food||Price Range||Average Cost Per Year|
|Low Quality Puppy Kibble (8 30lb Bags)||$20-$40 Per Bag||$240|
|High Quality Puppy Kibble (8 30 lb Bags)||$40-$80 Per Bag||$480|
|The Best Puppy Kibble (Royal Canin 8 30 lb Bags)||$82-$86||$840|
|All-Natural Raw Diet||$2-$8 Per Day||$1,825|
|Treats||$3-$12 Per Bag||$90|
These are rough estimates. We recommend feeding your GSD an all-natural diet or high-quality puppy kibble. Keep in mind you will be starting off with puppy kibble and switching to an adult kibble after they reach one year old.
German Shepherd Vet Cost (First Year)
During the first year of a GSD’s life, they will make several trips to the vet for the recommended exams and preventative vaccines. They help prevent some of the common conditions such as distemper, hepatitus, parainfluenza, parvovirus and rabies.
|Preventative Measure||Price Range||Average Cost|
|Exams and Recommended Vaccinations (Up to 4)||$75-$100||$350|
|Fecal Test (2 Times)||$25-$45||$70|
|Flea and Tick Medication||$30-$60||$180|
|Neuter Male (Optional)||$50-$250||$150|
|Spay Female (Optional)||$50-$300||$175|
|Prophylactic Gastropexy During Sterilization (Optional)||$500-$800||$650|
This would bring the total average cost for the recommended preventative procedures to $780. That doesn’t include the optional procedures which can run from $150 to $650.
Annual Cost After Year One
Following the first year, the costs should drop since you have already bought all of your supplies and gotten all of their exams and recommended vaccinations. Here is a breakdown of the estimated annual cost for owning a German Shepherd.
|Description||Price Range||Cost Per Year|
|Dog Collar (Large)||$5-$25||$15|
|Shampoo and Conditioner||$10-$50||$30|
The average total for the annual cost of owning a GSD after year one would be $1001. This doesn’t include any optional costs such as health problems or training.
K9 Training Cost
The cost to train a GSD varies greatly depending on your budget and what you want to accomplish. It can range from as low as $30 for a basic obedience training class to $1250 for a one-week dog boot camp.
|Training Type||Price Range||Average|
|Basic Obedience||$30-$80 Per Class||$55|
|Private Trainer||$45-$120 Per Class||$82.50|
|Dog Training School||$200-$600 Per Week||$400|
|Intensive Boot Camp||$500-$1,250 Per Week||$875|
|Service Dog Training||$150-$250 Per Hour||$200|
As you can see there is a huge range of options for owners to choose from. You will at least need some basic obedience training if you can’t do it yourself. If you can afford it, a private trainer will be much more able to meet your dog’s specific needs.
Possible Lifetime Health Cost
Possible lifetime health cost is really something you should consider when purchasing a large dog breed like the German Shepherd. Because of their size, they are more prone to certain conditions such as elbow and hip dyplasia. This is why it is so important to purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder that does the proper health checks.
Here is a rundown of all the potential health issues that could arise over the lifetime of a GSD. Keep in mind, most of these issues don’t surface until after they are three years old.
|Health Condition||Price Range||Average Cost|
|Hip Dysplasia (Total Replacement)||$3,500-$7,000 Per Hip||$5,250|
|Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus||$2000-$8000||$5000|
|Panosteitis (Bone Inflammation)||$500-$2500||$1,500|
|Pannus (Eye Disease)||$1,100-$2,000||$1,550|
While these conditions due tend to be more common in German Shepherds, it doesn’t mean that your GSD will get any of these. There are also plenty of preventative measures that you can take to decrease the chance that your dog suffers from any of these health issues.
Total Lifetime German Shepherd Cost (3 Examples)
Now that we have broken down the specific cost for owning a German Shepherd, let’s take a look at the total lifetime cost for 3 different possible scenarios. This should give you a good idea of what you can expect depending on your budget and health issues that could arise.
Note: These lifetime costs are based on an average lifespan of 10 years.
|Description||Example 1 (Low Budget)||Example 3 (Medium Budget)||Example 2 (High Budget)|
|Puppy Price||$225 (Adoption Center)||$550 (Rescue Shelter)||$3000 (Reputable Breeder)|
|Dog Collar (10)||$50||$150||$250|
|Food and Water Bowls (3)||$30||$105||$180|
|I.D. Tag (3)||$21||$39||$57|
|Leash and Harness (5)||$75||$150||$225|
|Poop Bags (10)||$70||$210||$350|
|Shampoo and Conditioner (10)||$100||$300||$500|
|Toothbrush and Pet-Safe Toothpaste (3)||$24||$30||$36|
|Toys (10 Per Year)||$500||$750||$1000|
|Undercoat Rake (3)||$33||$51||$69|
|Food (10 x 8 30lb Bags)||$2400 (Low Quality)||$4800 (High Quality)||$18,250 (All-Natural Raw Diet)|
|Treats (12 x Bags Per Year)||$360||$900||$1440|
|Exams and Recommended Vaccinations (First Year x 4)||$300||$350||$400|
|Grooming (2 Times Per Year)||N/A||$1,000||$1,600|
|Annual Health Exams (9)||$1,500||$2,000||$2,500|
|Fecal Test (2 Times)||$50||$70||$90|
|Flea and Tick Medication||$2000||$1,800||$2,400|
|Neuter or Spay||$50||$175||$250|
|Prophylactic Gastropexy During Sterilization (Optional)||N/A||$500||$800|
|Training||$220 (Basic Obedience)||$400 (Dog Training School)||$875 (Intensive Boot Camp)|
As you can see this is a wide range of total lifetime cost that totally depends on your budget and living situation. These totals do not include possible health conditions. The next chart will give you an idea of some unexpected health costs.
Lifetime, Monthly and Unexpected Cost
Here is an overall look at the lifetime and monthly expenses for each budget, with or without some common health issues, and with a week of boarding for a yearly vacation which many families take.
|Budget||Monthly||Lifetime without Health Issues||Lifetime with Health Issues||Add Boarding|
|Low Budget||$78||$9,364||$14,364 (Hip Replacement)||$17,164 (1 Week Per Year)|
|Medium Budget||$129||$16,587||$21,587 (Gastric Dilatation)||$24,387 (1 Week Per Year)|
|High Budget||$276||$34,790||$36,340 (Pannus Eye Disease)||$39,140 (1 Week Per Year)|
Tips For Saving Money On A Tight Budget
There are several ways that you can cut corners and save some money over your GSD’s lifetime. Here are some tips to help you save some money.
- Adopt a German Shepherd: Instead of buying a GSD from a breeder. Find one at your local animal adoption center or rescue service. Not only will you provide a home for a lost or abandoned dog, you will also pocket a few thousand dollars i savings.
- Buy Food or Treats in Bulk: Most of the time you can find good deals when buying in bulk. Calculate the ratio of dollars per ounce and buy in larger quantities when you can. This is especially true if you plan on feeding your dog an all-natural raw diet.
- Groom Them Yourself: If you don’t have the time, the groomer is definitely the way to go. But if you can, buy a good brush and undercoat rake to groom them yourself. This will save you a couple hundred bucks a year. Be prepared, they aren’t called “German Shedders” for nothing.
- Learn How to Train Them Yourself: Simple obedience training of the basic commands isn’t that hard for the average owner and it will save you so cash. You can find plenty of training videos on YouTube. They also have more advanced training techniques if you’re up for the challenge.
- Get Pet Insurance: You may be able to save some money by getting pet insurance for your dog. Most of the popular plans have a $500 deductible, 80% reimbursement, and an unlimited annual reimbursement limit. Prices for insurance range from $25 to $58.
- Take Preventative Measures: There are several things you can do to avoid health issues later in their life. First make sure you get their health records for signs of hip dyplasia. Second, feed them a lean diet to avoid obesity which leads to health conditions. Third consider supplements that contain omega 3 & 6 fatty acids.
As you can see there are many costs when it comes to owning a German Shepherd. Hopefully this article opened your eyes to some potential expenses you may not have thought about. If you need some extra help determining the exact cost of a GSD, check out the Pet Budget Calculator.
Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!
Have you ever owned a German Shepherd? If so, what were your lifetime costs? Let us know! We would love to hear about your personal experience!