How much does a German Shepherd puppy, or a puppy of any breed cost? This is a huge question with so many aspects to tackle. Considerations do not only include the price of the German Shepherd puppy, but also the lifelong costs of owning this loyal and majestic breed. The German Shepherd is a large breed dog. They are strong, muscular, powerful, and exceedingly great companions for any dog owner.
The size of the breed can really influence the cost, but before we get into just how expensive a German Shepherd puppy can be, let’s get to know the breed a little bit more.
A Little About the Breed
The German Shepherd has been a human companion for years, going back to the late 1800s! Don’t let their fierce and intimidating exterior fool you, because German Shepherds are actually very friendly. Not only that, their intelligence is unmatched by most breeds, which is why German Shepherds often occupy roles alongside their human companions as service dogs.
They are known for being courageous and easy to train, which is a trait well-loved by people in the past since German Shepherds were working dogs. They can also be the perfect domestic companions – if you have the space! They have all the outstanding qualities one would want in a canine friend, and they also embody a lot of characteristics humans strive for, such as loyalty, patience, faithfulness, and bravery.
Average German Shepherd Puppy Prices
We really sold the breed to you, so you must be really eager to know how much a German Shepherd puppy can cost. In general, a German Shepherd puppy will cost you anywhere between $1,000 to $3,000. Why the range, you ask? It’s all about the breeder, lineage, and health. There are also German Shepherd pups that have gone through aptitude testing and have been bred from a long line of service dogs, for example, that would cost closer to 3000.
A registered AKC (American Kennel Club) breeder should have higher-priced puppies because they come with some guarantee to health and genetics. A German Shepherd puppy that comes without any certification or papers can even be less than $1,000. The question is whether or not you want to risk purchasing a puppy like this and potentially have to deal with a lot of health issues.
German Shepherds are among the higher-priced dogs. Of course, some other purebred breeds, designer dogs and show dogs can command a higher cost, but German Shepherds are really up there in price. Let’s take a closer look at why this breed is so expensive.
Why Are German Shepherd Puppies so Expensive?
German Shepherds bred for service are understandably less affordable. Organizations need to consider the temperament and intelligence of a breed before deciding whether or not to train the dog. Not all dogs will make it and have the desired traits. A reputable breeder will do his or her job to guarantee their German Shepherd pups are well-behaved, easy to train, and have a good and even temperament.
Young puppies are generally happy and healthy, and health issues develop later in life due to lifestyle habits, dietary habits, and old age. Puppies take after their parents, which is why the best way to gauge what health issues you may potentially have to face is by looking at the German Shepherd’s parents.
Large dogs are particularly susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia, and that is, unfortunately, the case for German Shepherds. Some dogs of the breed are lucky, but if your German Shepherd puppy’s parents have it, then the pups will likely suffer from it as well.
The AKC has certain guidelines for responsible breeders to follow, one of which is conducting certain tests to guarantee health. These tests include hip and elbow x-rays along with cardiac exams. The reason is to identify issues the breed largely suffers from.
Which Kind of German Shepherd is Most Expensive?
The German Shepherd is a breed itself, but there are sub-categories identified by the different coat and eye colors. There are even mini German Shepherds that have recently hit the scene, which we will talk about in a bit.
German Shepherds have various coat markings, some examples include the Panda German Shepherd, Black German Shepherd, and even albino German Shepherds. They can all be a purebred German Shepherd, with some of their asking prices going as high as $5000 and more! In general, the rarer and more unique a dog looks, the more you can expect to pay.
Our favorite is bi-eyed fur babies, which means one dog with different colored eyes. Most German Shepherds have dark eyes, but if you can find one with blue or a blue and a brown, then your pup is sure to turn some heads, and the price will rise as well.
Keep in mind that looking special isn’t all that goes into buying a dog. A healthy puppy is priceless, so make sure to prioritize your dog’s well-being above his markings.
As we said, new to the scene is the miniature German Shepherd. A mini GSD puppy is adorable, but be aware that these are not purebred dogs. Some breeders claim to have used selective breeding to breed the smallest dogs litter after litter, but others just breed adult German Shepherds with corgis, shelties, and other breeds to achieve a mini GSD.
These dogs can cost a lot as well since they are designer dogs, but it’s important to understand that they aren’t all purebred.
Then there are the genetic lines descended from show dogs and working dogs. Like we mentioned before, German Shepherds were originally working dogs, serving by humanity’s side for the better part of a century. Then we have the show dogs, and this type of German Shepherd dog was obviously bred for the show.
The working German Shepherd dogs can be expensive as well, especially if they come from a long line of service dogs. If you decide on one that is fully trained by the breeder with all the necessary skills in your field, you are looking at an asset that could cost over 20K!
Show dogs are also very expensive, especially if they have a long historical lineage that yielded many show winners. Understand that neither will guarantee better health, so the best way to make sure you have a healthy and happy purebred puppy is by looking at the parents and having tests done early on.
What to Avoid When Buying a German Shepherd Puppy
Finding the right breeder is a challenge itself. Responsible breeders are few and far between compared to puppy mills. Other than looking on the AKC list of registered breeders, are there criteria you can refer to be sure the breeder is legitimate?
Yes, there is! Although it can make you hesitate if the breeder isn’t AKC registered, they may still be a very responsible breeder. We have put together some tips to help you steer clear of breeders who do not give the proper care to their dogs.
How Do I Avoid Buying from Bad Dog Breeders?
You can avoid backyard breeders by compiling a quick checklist of desirable and undesirable qualities. You always have to ask the right questions and evaluate the answers you are given. Some important questions include:
How do I care for a German Shepherd puppy?
This question may seem basic, and you may feel it makes you look very inexperienced, but understanding how to take care of mixed or purebred German Shepherd puppies is something a responsible dog owner will do. This is also a good entry point to assess just how professional the breeder is.
Responsible breeders should be able to offer very detailed information on what the German Shepherd breed needs to thrive, what health issues they can suffer from, and even dive deep into the history of the breed. Make sure you have done your due diligence beforehand so you can verify their answers.
How long have you been a breeder?
You want to know if you are working with an experienced breeder. They should be able to provide you with their breeding history without hesitation. They may even show you their certificate if they have one and lots of other dog owners that have purchased German Shepherd dogs from the breeder that are ready and willing to give their testimony.
Can I come and see the puppies and pick one on the spot?
This is a very important question. If the breeder says no, definitely avoid purchasing from them. A good breeder should have nothing to hide and have adequate facilities and conditions to take care of their dogs well. Just because the breeder says yes, that doesn’t mean you should automatically trust them not to be a backyard breeder. You should still go and evaluate the conditions and their practices before being 100% sure.
There are also circumstances when visiting the breeder isn’t practical, especially since they usually live in rural areas to have the space to accommodate their pups.
Can I see the parents?
The father GSD may not be there, but the mom should – especially if there is a newborn litter. The mom GSD needs to be onsite to nurse and care for her pups. If the breeder says no to seeing the parents, then it is a huge red flag, and definitely someone you want to walk away from.
Can I see vaccination records for the pups and their parents?
Ask to see any kind of records or registration. We suggest vaccination records because these are the most common. If the breeder cannot produce these, do not hesitate to walk away and not purchase a German Shepherd puppy from them.
These are some example questions, there are a lot more that you can ask to identify whether or not a breeder is reputable. Don’t be shy or tentative, because these are your future fur babies and you need to be sure they are coming from a good place of love and care. As any and all questions and as many as you want until you feel comfortable enough to commit to a GSD puppy.
How Many Litters do They Produce?
A puppy mill is a breeder that has non-stop litters all year round. If there is more than one litter at a time for sale in the year, then that more than confirms the puppy mill situation. We strongly urge potential dog owners to avoid these establishments as the conditions in which they breed their dogs are oftentimes horrendous.
They do not give the mother dog adequate care or rest time between litters, the dogs are often in poor health, and the living conditions are abhorrent. If you are sure you have stumbled across a puppy mill situation, please report it to your local authorities.
Rescuing is the Way to Go
When in doubt, rescue! There are plenty of dogs at shelters that need a second chance. There is also a possibility that you may come across a German Shepherd at the shelter. Yes, rescue dogs do need more effort, especially if their previous owners were abusive and they suffer from trauma, but dogs are naturally loving animals. With the proper amount of love, care and patience, a rescue can be just as loyal, loving, friendly, and healthy as one purchased from a breeder.
What Should I Look for When Buying a German Shepherd Puppy?
We don’t need to go into too much detail about how to find a reputable breeder. One that can produce all the papers is very knowledgeable about the breed and has the perfect environment for their pups to live the first few months of their lives is most likely a very responsible breeder.
What is important for potential GSD dog parents is how to look for the right dog for you. We have curated a list of important qualities to help you find a suitable GSD puppy for your lifestyle and need.
As we mentioned before, there are several types of GSD puppies. Ones descended from show lines, ones that are working dogs, and GSDs that are solely for companionship.
GSD companion dogs are the ones that are the most affordable. This isn’t because they are any less desirable or unhealthy, it’s just because there aren’t stringent personality traits breeders look for in these dogs to qualify them as companions.
Dogs of this type are usually friendly and loving, but there are some things you can do to make sure the GSD puppy will grow into an adult dog with a good temperament.
Show dogs possess very specific physical attributes such as markings and coat length. They should have all the most coveted qualities of the breed. As you can imagine, show quality GSD puppies can come at several times the price of regular companions.
Next, we have the working GSD puppy, who always needs to be focused on a task. They may not be the most empathic dogs like your pet GSD, and they may also not be very physically attractive like their show quality counterparts, but they do the job and they do it well.
These are the dogs that are most suited to become police dogs and herders, and we recommend more experienced owners and handlers to opt for working quality German Shepherds.
Do you want a male or a female? How does gender affect the German Shepherd cost? Females tend to be more expensive since they can carry puppies, but a responsible breeder will make sure to put a clause in the contract that requires mandatory spaying.
Let’s explore males first. A male GSD puppy will grow to be larger, stronger, and more dominant. Males of all dog breeds lift their legs when they urinate, which is a consideration for those who are potty training. If your male GSD puppy is not neutered at a certain age, he will be influenced by females in heat and he may even give in to his primal instincts as he reaches sexual maturity.
Male dogs will need more training and socialization in that regard to make sure he acts right and knows how to behave around other dogs.
Females are smaller, less dominant, and can be easier to handle. However, they come into heat every half a year which can be a problem, especially if they are not spayed. They could very likely attract unwanted attention from males, which can result in unwelcome guests on your property.
The appearance category consists of coat length and color. The inexperienced may think German Shepherds come with one coat length, but in reality, aside from the standard length, there are long-haired GSDs with or without undercoats and plush coats.
As for the color, it’s difficult to tell the exact markings your GSD puppy will have until your future puppy is about a year or two old. Puppies can change a lot over time, just like most of us did through puberty. Keep in mind that the color could influence the German Shepherd’s cost. As we said, rarer colors cost more.
Choose the friendliest GSD puppy out of the litter. How can you find out which is friendly and confident? Walk up to the litter. The pups that cower or show no interest in you are most likely not the ones you want. You want the one that is curious and walks right up to you without fear.
Spend some time with the GDS puppies, and you will very clearly figure out which ones are confident and which ones are shy.
The Cost of Owning a German Shepherd Puppy
The cost of owning a GSD puppy is more than just the German Shepherd cost itself, but also the money you will shell out to take care of him during his lifetime. The dog bed, dog food, and maybe even pet insurance all need to be factored in.
For socialization and learning basic puppy manners, you should take your GSD puppy to puppy classes. It is where your happy and healthy puppy will learn how to interact with other dogs around his age, and get to know other people and new surroundings. Early training could help prevent behavioral problems such as resource guarding and separation anxiety.
Although good dog food can be expensive, you will thank your lucky stars you didn’t skimp on good food. Feeding your GSD puppy healthy and balanced meals can limit unexpected medical costs that accrue due to sudden illnesses. Good dog food and snacks can cost a few hundred dollars a month.
Daycare and Vacations
Having a dog doesn’t mean your life is over. Everyone needs a break from responsibility sometimes and that means leaving your dog at doggy daycare while you take a break. While this isn’t a consistent expense, it is still a decent chunk of cash over the years.
If you plan on taking your GSD puppy with you on trips, it will entail looking for dog-friendly hotels and establishments, which will be more expensive.
Health and Insurance
Dogs’ healthcare is expensive, to say the least. You don’t know what medical issues your GSD puppy may have in the future, which is why health testing is so important. Elbow and hip dysplasia are very common, even in expensive dogs. Do you want to buy puppy insurance? It may not be for everyone. Whatever you do, you have to consider the best course of action for your dog and not try to save money by denying him or her healthcare.
Accessories and Necessities
Then comes the everyday needs of your puppy. When you welcome your new GSD puppy home, you should have his bed, crate, toys, some food and snacks, water and food bowl, leash, and collar, and maybe even harness prepared. As your dog grows, these expenses increase. the larger the dog, the more he will eat, and we know GSDs are a big breed.
Your dog will most likely outgrow his collar and harness, which means those will need replacing as well. The accessories and everyday necessities are ongoing expenses that can range from tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars a month.
How much does a German Shepherd puppy cost? The answer is the cost of the pup plus most likely around $100 a month at the very least for its lifetime. The price is pretty high and it’s not for the faint of heart, so make sure you have the resources, time, patience, love, and care to take care of a GSD puppy before bringing one home.