How Much Does a German Shepherd (GSD) Cost? Pricing Guide

Last Updated on July, 2024

Owning a German Shepherd for many dog lovers is not something many people want to budge on. No other breed of dog will ever do if your heart is set on a German Shepherd. 

If you are hunting for a new GSD, you have come to the right place. This BUYER’S GUIDE contains all the vital information necessary to help understand the costs of buying and owning a German Shepherd. 

Various factors influence the cost of a German Shepherd; however, it should be noted that GSDs are an EXPENSIVE breed of dog. However, if you are looking for a budget-friendly option, we have you covered too. 

Hence, read this buyer’s guide, which contains EVERYTHING you need to know to better understand the factors that affect the cost and how to go about OWNING a GSD. 

Quick Summary

Adult German Shepherds can cost between $450 and $1900, while puppies can cost two to three times more.

The cost of a German Shepherd will vary based on factors such as breed, age, and status (trained or untrained).

Obtaining a German Shepherd from a reputable and responsible breeder is the best way to ensure a healthy and well-bred dog.

About the German Shepherd Dog Breed

Adult GSDs are known for their loyal and protective nature. They make EXCELLENT guard and service dogs and are known to serve in the MILITARY.

Size and Appearance

These are large dogs that are considered larger than most other breeds.

Though they aren’t as large as breeds such as Saint Bernard, comparatively, the German Shepherd is a LARGE dog breed. 

An adult dog can weigh 80 to 90 pounds; hence, these aren’t small dogs, which is why they make such GREAT guard dogs!

They are 22 to 26 inches in height and have an athletic build. A purebred dog will have a better coat and build than a mixed breed.

GSD Adult dog and a puppy sitting

An adult dog has erect ears, giving them a keen sense of hearing. The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes this dog breed as courageous and confident.

Their size only adds to the courage and confidence, which is why they make such great GUARD DODS!

They have a pointed muzzle, a loud bark, and gazing eyes. 

They come in a range of colors – black, sable, grey, white, red and black, black and tan, and finally, black and silver. 

GSDs have fur, not hair, and are known to be double-coated. They have a thick outer coat and a thinner inner coat. The fur makes for a soft and cozy feel, which many dog owners absolutely LOVE!

Other dogs of this size do not have the SHARP features of a German Shepherd, a dashing dog with some BRILLIANT features.

Lifespan

With many breeds of dogs having a lifespan of between 10 to 15 years, the lifespan of a GSD is lower than the average. 

A healthy German Shepherd is known to live till around 13 years. That being the case, you will find rare occasions where a pup outlived 13 years. However, that is rare. 

Typically, the lifespan of a German Shepherd ranges from 9 to 13 years.

The dog’s diet and environment bravely influence its lifespan. How the dog is treated will determine how long the dog will have a healthy life. Further to feeding the dog a high-quality diet, it is essential that you be careful when buying a GSD. 

You must make yourself aware of the importance of trusting a REPUTABLE breeder who knows how to breed healthy dogs. Healthy dogs have healthy offspring, and it is crucial that if you buy a puppy, you consider the breeder and the standards maintained by the breeder. 

Puppy mills are known for the HORRIBLE ways they treat dogs and animals. Hence though puppy prices may be lower than at reputable pet stores, you don’t want to TRUST these mills. GSD puppies (German Shepherd Dog) inherit health conditions from their parents. 

Hence, how the breeding dogs are treated will determine the health of the GSD puppy. 

GSD puppies have a good lifespan when bred through a trusted and caring breeder. Hence if you are looking for a GSD puppy, look for reputable breeders in your area.

Temperament

German Shepherd breeders and owners will tell you that GSDs are some of the most LOYAL and protective dog breeds on the planet. 

They have a calm temperament but are very protective of their owners. German Shepherds have a loud bark and can be aggressive towards strangers.

They are very athletically built, which leaves them with a confident and energetic temperament. 

Though these dogs can be aggressive, they are rarely aggressive toward their owners.

german shepherds playing together

However, it is essential that you train your dog to prevent aggression from being directed at you, the owner, or anyone else in the family or otherwise.

German Shepherd puppies are known to be less vicious and more playful. Have you ever seen German Shepherd puppies playing together? They have little barks and try playing tough; it’s adorable!

The temperament of a puppy is more playful than the temperament of an adult dog; GSDs are large dogs with a large personality. They are playful, aggressive, protective, calm, and even glamorous. 

They take very quickly to training, which is why a German Shepherd makes an excellent guard dog. This large dog does best after obedience training. 

Though the temperament is playful, this dog can be aggressive, so obedience training is critical to building the best personality for your pup. 

Types of Dog Breeds 

German Shepherds come in a host of colors. Though they are the parent breed, various terms are used to differentiate between the various types of GSDs. 

The Black GSD, for instance, has a solid black coat and is considered a type of German Shepherd. Though it doesn’t stand as a breed on its own, the black color makes it unique, providing it as a varied type within the breed. 

Strictly speaking, there are FIVE types of German Shepherds, the cost of which varies. 

  • East German Working Line.
  • West German Working Line.
  • Czech German Shepherd.
  • American/Canadian Show Line.
  • West German Show Line (European Showline)

Apart from this, you have the miniature German Shepherds, which isn’t a full-bred GSD. A miniature German Shepherd is attained by crossing a GSD with another dog, such as a Huskie. 

Miniature German Shepherds are a breed within the parent breed of German Shepherd. A miniature German Shepherd is smaller than an average German Shepherd; however, it is just a smaller breed, not actually miniature like the Maltipoo. 

So yes, it is essential that you understand the various breeds and types classified under the breed of the German Shepherd. A German Shepherd’s cost heavily depends on the breed, with some, like the West German Show Line costing much more than an East German Working Line. 

How Much Does a German Shepherd Cost?

GSD puppy and dog

The cost of a GSD will vary based on various factors such as breed and breeder. While some breeders are EXPENSIVE, backyard breeders, for instance (those who breed family pets), may cost less. 

Regardless of the factors influencing the cost, here are the average estimated costs of buying a German Shepherd. 

German Shepherd Dog

Buying a German Shepherd dog as an adult may cost you less than owning a puppy. Adult dogs can be sourced for as low as $450; however, you may not get an exotic breed. 

Nonetheless, you can source a regular German Shepherd for about $450 to $1900. Now you might say, that is quite the range of costs. Well, yes, German Shepherds come in a range of costs. 

While some colors and breeds are cheaper than others, more exotic and rare genetics, such as the Black German Shepherd, can cost you a lot more. A rare Black German Shepherd could cost you more than $2000.

German Shepherd dogs are known to be an EXPENSIVE breed; however, their ability to serve as service dogs makes breeds and types available for purchase at a lower cost. 

This is if you buy an ADULT dog, not a puppy. The cost of a puppy is a whole different thing. 

German Shepherd Puppy

A German Shepherd puppy can cost you much more than an adult dog. In fact, it could cost you two to three times more to buy a German Shepherd puppy than an adult dog. 

German Shepherd puppies can often cost upwards of $800 and reach $4000. Adult German Shepherd prices are much more affordable, with the average price for a German Shepherd puppy being higher. 

There are many factors that influence the German Shepherd puppy price. Which is why there is quite a range. While you may find one German Shepherd puppy for sale for $800, somewhere else, you may find another puppy that costs $4000. 

When understanding the German Shepherd price, you must consider the factors influencing the cost. Obviously, with a puppy costing more than an adult dog, the dog’s age is a factor in the cost. 

Let’s look deeper into the various factors that influence the cost of a German Shepherd. 

Factors that Affect the Cost of a German Shepherd

GSD dogs

Various factors affect the German Shepherd’s price. The average price of an adult dog is $450 to $1900; the cost of a puppy can be much higher. 

Hence, the cost will vary depending on whether you want to purchase an adult or a German Shepherd puppy.

A German Shepherd dog is a service dog and a working dog; hence when it comes to training, a trained dog will cost MORE than an untrained dog. 

If you want to buy an adult dog, consider whether you want to buy a German Shepherd dog that has already been trained or stick with one that will have to be trained. 

Apart from factors such as that, the color and rarity of the breed will also play a crucial part in the cost of the German Shepherd. 

German Shepherds are show dogs, so the ones bred and trained as show dogs will cost you a lot more than buying a regular German Shepherd that only knows to chase squirrels. 

A Purebred puppy will cost more, and so will purebred dogs. 

A German Shepherd dog can also cost more at an uptown pet store, while you may be able to find a cheaper German Shepherd through an online message board or forum. 

With a German Shepherd puppy being more expensive than an adult dog, if you consider owning a GSD, you may want to ask yourself the question with regards to whether you want an adult dog or a puppy. 

Remember, puppies can be a handful and require extra attention and care. Not to mention the added cost of raising a puppy. 

Where to Buy a German Shepherd Dog?

GSD dog

There are many places where you can buy a German Shepherd. However, you have to consider the cost as the cost will vary depending on where you source the German Shepherd. 

German Shepherds can cost more in uptown pet shops and can be sourced cheaply online through backyard breeders. 

The average price will vary depending on where you choose to look, so it is essential that you are aware of all the avenues to consider when getting your hands on a German Shepherd puppy or dog. 

Rescue Puppy

The cheapest and most cost-friendly means of getting your hands on a German Shepherd is checking with local animal shelters and rescues to see if they have German Shepherd puppies or dogs looking for a new home. 

It always makes more sense to adopt a pet than to go to the store and buy it. These shelters have limited space, and the more people adopt pets, the better. 

Hence, check the local animal shelters for German Shepherds. You may be able to adopt a German Shepherd puppy and completely forget about the German Shepherd cost. 

Adopting will cost you next to nothing if not nothing. That is right; you can rescue a puppy or dog at no cost. 

If not FREE, the shelter may charge you a small registration fee to cover the expense of having the dog registered under your name. This cost is a fraction of the cost of buying a German Shepherd, making this the most cost-friendly means to acquiring a German Shepherd. 

Purebred German Shepherd puppies are rarely put up for adoption, so if you find one, you should consider yourself LUCKY!

While a purebred German Shepherd puppy will cost more than a mixed breed, if you adopt, it costs you practically NOTHING!

Breeders

If you are after a specific type of German Shepherd, such as a Black German Shepherd, the best way to find one is through a responsible breeder. 

A responsible breeder will ensure to care for the breeding dogs properly. Responsible breeders are known to provide greater care in the breeding process.

What is most important when picking a breeder is ensuring their reputation classifies them as a responsible breeder. 

Most reputable breeders will only breed the best genetics; hence the chances of unhealthy puppies are drastically lower when trusting responsible breeders.

Hence, if you are looking to source through a breeder, look for a reputable breeder that can help you find the dog breed you are looking for.

A reputable breeder will have access to the information on where you can source rare breeds, hence if you are after a rare breed, checking with a trustworthy breeder is the best way to go. 

Breeding dogs can be a big business, and puppy mills, for instance, rely on unethical means and standards. The parent dogs are not fed properly and are left in poor conditions in an unhealthy environment, leading to various health conditions. 

These health conditions get passed down to the offspring. Hence, though that German Shepherd puppy looks healthy, they may have underlying health conditions that could act up if you choose to buy from a puppy mill. 

For your pet’s best health and lifespan, always trust a reputable and responsible breeder. 

Otherwise, you can look for people with pets who have naturally bred German Shepherds. Such breeders can be a GREAT for getting your hands on German Shepherd puppies.

These puppies are usually healthier than those found at puppy mills and have a better chance of a healthy and happy life. 

Breeders may not be able to help you locate adult German Shepherds. However, you could check with German Shepherd owners to see where they sourced their dogs and get a better idea of where to look.

Otherwise, hit the internet. 

Online Website (Eg: Craigslist)

Online websites are great places to find cheap German Shepherd dogs. That’s right, with so many people turning to the internet to sell puppies had by their pets, there are loads of people on the internet looking to sell German Shepherd dogs and puppies online. 

The internet is a valuable resource for finding things, and the same goes for when looking to buy a German Shepherd. 

Simply doing an online search will come back with a list of leads of where you can buy a German Shepherd from. 

German Shepherds are expensive dogs; however, you can always find a cheap break online. 

However, it is essential that when buying German Shepherds online, or any breed of dog for that matter, you ask all the necessary questions to ensure you have a healthy dog or puppy on your hands. 

Don’t shy away from inquiring more about the breeder, the parent dogs, the health of the parent dogs, etc. Ask the questions which will allow you to trust the source from which you buy a pet. 

Online websites often become fronts for puppy mills; hence you have to be careful to ensure you are not trusting an unreliable source. 

The health of the puppy and dog will depend on the breeder, and it is essential that you consider the health of the puppy or dog before buying. 

Online websites such as Facebook and Craigslist have people posting on them every day. These are great places to search. Simply leaving a post on either Facebook or Craigslist may provide you with leads on where to find the German Shepherd you are looking for. 

Why Are German Shepherds Expensive?

german shepherds running on the ground

German Shepherds are working dogs, service dogs, and companion dogs, which tell you one thing. They are an incredible breed with traits that make them valuable to humans. 

This is why they are considered so expensive. Their fur gives them a very polished and clean look. German Shepherds are known to have regal features and make excellent guard dogs. 

Further to the fact that German Shepherds are also trained as show dogs, this breed’s popularity sets it apart. 

It is this popularity that is the reason for the expensive nature of this breed. With the demand for German Shepherds increasing, the cost and desirability also increases. 

German Shepherds are a very desirable dog breed, which is why they are expensive. They have traits and features that make them very desirable. 

The loyal nature and protective aggression make this breed valuable for humans. These are all factors in the expense of a German Shepherd.

Where to Get Cheap German Shepherd Dogs?

The interest is probably the best place to search if you are looking for a German Shepherd on a budget. 

Though buying the cheapest puppies online may be enticing, you should be CAREFUL to ensure that the cheap puppy you buy was not bred unethically, leading to an unhealthy puppy that will develop various health conditions. 

That being the case, searching the internet can bring about various sources from which you can find a few that can be considered more affordable. 

Furthermore, you can try a low-cost pet store that may have a German Shepherd with them at a lower than average cost.

The average cost of a German Shepherd will depend on where you buy the German Shepherd from. Some pet stores will have a lower average cost, while others will have a higher cost. 

The average cost of buying from an uptown pet store will be considerably greater than the average cost of a small pet store in another town. 

The most expensive German Shepherds are those rare breeds that are hard to find, such as the Black German Shepherd. Hence, if you are looking for an affordable break on owning a German Shepherd, consider a common breed of German Shepherd. 

Ordinary German Shepherds will cost less and likely be cheaper than the average cost, as mentioned in this BUYER’S GUIDE!

If you are fortunate enough to find a German Shepherd looking for a new home at an animal shelter, you should adopt the dog because it will cost you next to nothing. 

Search the animal shelters in your locality, and if on a budget, search for people looking to place German Shepherds up for adoption. 

Steps to Adopt a German Shepherd Dog

GSD dog standing on the ground

If you have luckily found your future dog in an animal shelter and would like to adopt it, these are the steps you would have to follow. 

The only thing you would have to do is register the dog under your name, making you the dog’s legal owner. The registration process is simple and similar regardless of which animal shelter you choose to adopt from. 

Registration

After finding the German Shepherd you are looking to adopt, speak to the animal shelter with your intentions, and they will provide you with the registration papers to be filled out and signed. 

All you have to do is enter your basic information into the registration papers and sign them, and the dog will be registered as your pet. This is similar to but different from Kennel Club registration.

Once the adoption registration is complete, you are ready to take your new German Shepherd home. 

The process is simple and doesn’t require a lot of time. However, it is essential that you have your basic information at hand, such as a copy of your driving license. 

Cost of Raising a German Shepherd Dog

The initial cost of owning a German Shepherd only includes buying it; however, there are many costs that you have to consider, apart from the initial cost, to better understand the costs involved in raising a German Shepherd. 

You could have grooming costs, costs from dog walking services, pet insurance, dog food, and vet fees, all of which could contribute to raising a German Shepherd. 

Let’s look at these costs in greater detail to understand better the costs of raising a German Shepherd. 

Meals

German Shepherds are a quality breed of dog that should be fed high-quality dog food. Since German Shepherds are a large dog breed, they must be fed two to three times a day. 

Considering their size, they will eat more dog food than a poodle, which is much smaller. Hence, the cost of dog food may be higher than most other dog breeds. 

You could be looking to spend between $100 to $300 monthly on high-quality food to feed a grown adult German Shepherd.

Human giving food to a GSD dog

Obviously, the cost of meals is lower for puppies who eat a little less. However, the cost of meals is not considerably different between a puppy and an adult dog. 

German Shepherd owners will tell you that this breed of dog is very selective regarding the food they eat. They may not like every brand of dog food, even if it’s high-quality food. 

However, it is essential that you remember the importance of a good diet because your pet’s health will depend on the diet. 

Apart from the monthly cost of dog food, you will also have to consider the cost of dog treats, which can cost an added $50 a month. 

Health and Vet Visitation

The cost of owning a German Shepherd includes pet visitations which means medical expenses. Conditions such as Hip Dysplasia are prevalent in German Shepherds. 

If your dog suffers from Hip Dysplasia, you must consult a vet and acquire treatment. In such an instance where your dog suffers from Hip Dysplasia, the medical expenses involved in treating Hip Dysplasia can cost thousands of dollars. 

It is why pet insurance is so important. When it comes to unexpected medical costs, you will save money in the long run if you purchase pet insurance for your dog. 

Pet insurance is essential to ensure that you, as the pet owner, are covered for the costs that may be incurred. 

Pet insurance only costs between $100 to $300 a year and is a worthwhile investment that will help you rest at ease knowing that your dog’s life is covered, protected, and insured. 

Frequent vet visits are a part of good well-being for your dog. Hence you have to take into consideration the costs of frequent vet visits.

Your dog may develop various health conditions in the lifespan of your dog’s life; hence it is best to have the cost of health covered to place both you and the dog at ease. 

Vet expenses without insurance can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars, depending on the condition and treatment. Pet insurance should be considered one of the long term ownership costs of owning a German Shepherd, however it is worth it.

Grooming

Grooming can be a monthly cost if you have your German Shepherd professionally groomed. 

A German Shepherd is a working dog, a show dog, and a social creature that needs to be groomed and cared for. 

When you consider the cost of taking your German Shepherd to a professional groomer, you may think twice and consider grooming the dog at home yourself. 

A single session with a professional dog groomer can cost around $100. This includes nail clipping, bathing and blow drying, and gentle teeth brushing, all of which you can do at home. 

Hence, if you are looking to save money, this is probably the best place to save a few bucks along the way. 

Training

German Shepherds are easily trained. However, untrained German Shepherds can be aggressive, so training becomes essential, especially if you consider them a family pet. 

A professional dog trainer can cost upwards of $2000 to train your dog to some basic commands.

Considering the exuberant cost of hiring a professional dog trainer, many people turn to online courses and materials that teach dog owners how to train their dogs. 

These courses will only cost you a few hundred dollars, which is nothing compared to the costs of hiring a trainer.

Dog trainer training a adult GSD dog

German Shepherd owners will tell you that training a German Shepherd is easy and fun. Hence, training your dog yourself can be a great way to save some money. 

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Overall Annual Expenses

When it comes to the annual costs, which include everything, including the dog walker and the dog crate, the annual costs of raising a German Shepherd will vary between $1200 to $1500.

Though this may sound like a considerable number, in comparison to the costs of raising other dogs, such as a Cocker Spaniel, the number is relatively fair. 

You could expect to incur a cost of around $1500 raising just about any dog. 

These overall annual expenses are estimates, it could cost considerably more if you prefer taking your dog to a professional groomer or feeding your German Shepherd steak. 

Tips on Saving Money for German Shepherd Owners

GSD dog sitting

Though you may think of cutting corners and buying cheap dog food, that isn’t the best place to make a saving. 

If you want to save money, here are some tips for you. 

Groom your dog yourself. Dog shampoo and supplies don’t cost as much as taking your dog to a professional dog groomer. Grooming is somewhere you can save a lot of money, so groom the dog yourself at home. 

When it comes to training, you don’t need a professional trainer. Try training your dog yourself. There is plenty of FREE information on how to train your dog online.

If these free resources don’t suffice, you could purchase an instruction course by a reputed dog trainer that will provide you with the information you need to train your German Shepherd. 

Lastly, ensure that you buy pet insurance. You never know what health conditions may come about in the lifespan of your dog, hence pet insurance is an excellent way to ensure safety for both you and the dog. 

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Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are a beautiful breed of dog known to be expensive due to the value and service they offer humans. 

These working dogs are capable of working as herding dogs, guard dogs, service dogs, and companion dogs and make EXCELLENT family pets. 

If you want to get your hands on a German Shepherd, we hope this guide has proved useful. We hope you have the answers to the questions you were looking for and have a good idea of what to do next to start the search for your future pet. 

German Shepherds are some of the most loyal breeds of dogs. They make excellent pets, and the cost of owning one matches their reputation. 

FAQs

The most expensive type of German Shepherd is the European German Shepherd.

Yes, it is possible to buy retired German Shepherd adults. Searching online is a great way to find breeders who specialize in selling retired German Shepherds.

Yes, it is possible to manage more than one German Shepherd due to their ease of training.

Yes, maintaining a German Shepherd can be costly, with expenses ranging from $1200 to $1500 annually.

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Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

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