German Shepherds are the second most-popular dog breed in the US.
Understandably, when a dog breed is in high demand, the cost of purchasing a GSD puppy won’t be cheap.
Also, prospective pet owners should factor in the cost of pet vaccinations, and vet consultations as the new puppy will need regular health screenings and checkups to avoid health problems.
The average price of having a large dog as a pet doesn’t stop there. Feeding your large pet is another expense to consider.
The upside is that a German Shepherd dog makes for one of the best family pets, so any money you spend on one is well worth your while.
How Much Does a German Shepherd Puppy Cost?
People often ask how much a German Shepherd puppy costs and are surprised at the response. German Shepherds from reputable breeders are costly because of the investments in breeding.
One litter can cost up to $8,000 because of everything that goes into raising a litter. Breeders don’t just pair males and females and hope for the best.
Excellent breeders conduct tests on the breeding pair before going ahead with mating. Breeders obtain OFA or PennHip tests to check for hip or elbow dysplasia.
Other tests are conducted to determine what diseases have been prevalent in the pair’s history. Breeders obtain ratings to aspire to healthy puppies with good temperaments.
Only after a range of tests has been done will the breeder allow mating between an identified pair of animals. Then the breeder must feed the mother to maintain her health throughout the pregnancy.
After giving birth, the breeder makes sure that the puppies receive premium feed once they have been weaned.
Additional costs follow because the puppies must be registered and get certain vaccinations before selling them to prospective buyers.
These costs add up, and the breeder must also make a profit, so don’t be surprised at how much a German Shepherd puppy costs, particularly if you’re in search of show-quality dogs.
Buying a German Shepherd purebred puppy costs in the region of $1,200 to $1,500 and sometimes higher. That’s expensive, but it comes with a lot of backup in breeding ratings, bloodlines and health checks.
You may see advertisements for puppies at $400, but you won’t get all the paperwork that supports a healthy lineage and you may be at risk of purchasing from puppy mills or unqualified breeders. That can lead to mixed breeds with specific health issues.
Choosing a cheap puppy price can become costly later as vet bills escalate, so be aware of what is involved when buying a German Shepherd puppy.
Do homework on responsible breeders before making a purchase. Find out what guarantees they include, what tests they have done, and what paperwork they provide.
Do they offer their puppy’s titles in the paperwork, and have they done any crate training with the puppies?
Ensure that your investment accounts for the puppy’s health and temperament moving forward because these are the most important factors.
If these price ranges sound expensive, then you can scout around your area for German Shepherd rescues – contact your local animal shelters to enquire about the availability of a GSD.
You may be lucky enough to find a puppy but are more likely to be able to adopt an adult dog. The costs will be cheaper, and you will have one of the best pets that $50 to $350 can buy.
Cost Of Vaccines And Vet
The cost of a German Shepherd’s vaccines increases as the puppy and adult require a range of shots at different times.
You are looking at several vaccines for your puppy to prevent it from acquiring certain diseases.
German Shepherd puppy vaccines include:
- Distemper and parvovirus vaccinations between 6 and 8 weeks, with an optional Bordetella shot.
- Between 10 and 12 weeks, your GSD will need a combination shot of DHPP that includes the distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus vaccines. Optional shots are offered for Bordetella, Lyme, Leptospirosis, and influenza.
- DHPP and rabies shots should be done in weeks 16 to 18, with the same optional shots recommended in the previous round.
- DHPP and rabies should be given to your GSD at 12 to 16 months again. Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme, and coronavirus vaccines are optional during this period.
- Vets recommend that your GSD is vaccinated with DHPP every two years, and you should take your pet for rabies shots once a year to once every 3rd year. The timing of these rabies shots is indicated by legal regulations in your specific region. Optional shots are also recommended as the puppy matures into adulthood.
Each vaccine costs in the region of $75 to $100, totaling $800 for required shots. Optional vaccines can cost in the region of $1,400, depending on which shots you believe will keep your GSD safe from diseases.
Instead of giving your pet vaccines every few months or years after it has become an adult, many dog owners elect to have them tested. Testing checks for the pet’s immunity levels and indicates whether a vaccine is necessary.
Some vets suggest your GSD should receive annual vaccinations as an adult, while others consider this a dangerous or unnecessary practice. Getting a titer done to check immunity is an option for all vaccines other than rabies.
Rabies vaccines for pets are a legal requirement in many areas, but dog owners will need to check with their vets whether these should be done annually, every second year, or once in 3 years.
GSDs may also require medications like heartworm tests and medication, which can cost more than $200 each year.
You may also elect to neuter or spay your GSD, so that cost will need to be factored in as well.
As you can calculate, the cost of owning a German Shepherd is no small matter. On top of the cost of purchasing your pet and preventing health issues like hip dysplasia, there are other costs to contend with.
Cost Of German Shepherd Dog Food
The cost of GSD food depends on whether your dog is a male or female, how old they are, how active they are, and how large the animal is.
Different sources offer various food totals but feeding your GSD also depends on the quality of the food that you purchase.
Other costs must be factored into monthly maintenance, such as whether your pet is a puppy, adult, or senior dog.
While there are many variables around the cost of German Shepherd food and feeding, it is possible to develop a basic guideline.
- Up to 2 months, a puppy will eat about 3 cups of dry food a day, which totals about $45 a month.
- As the puppy grows, you must increase its food intake. By the third month, the puppy should get about 4 cups of food a day at 85 grams each, which totals $57.
- From 4 to 5 months, the GSD puppy feeding costs at 5 cups daily equals $124.
- From around 6 to 9 months, you should be feeding your pet about 5.5 cups daily, which amounts to $309.
- In months 10 and 11, your puppy’s food intake should be stable, which means 5 cups of food daily is probably enough. The costs will go down to around $140 a month.
- After the first year to 13 months, the food intake can be reduced to around 4.5 cups of food daily, amounting to $127 monthly for an adult German Shepherd.
The average cost of feeding your German Shepherd can be between $700 and $850 annually, with a larger amount of food required for a working dog.
You can choose to buy high-quality vet-recommended foods and supplement your pet’s diet, which will also increase average food costs.
Also, supplements for coat shine, dental hygiene, and support of your pet’s health will increase the costs of keeping this large dog as a pet.
Though not necessarily a major cost for owners who don’t vacation regularly, keep in mind you may need to house your GSD in kennels when you’re away.
How Much Should I Spend On Toys And Accessories?
Fortunately, the bill for toys and accessories is spread over many years, making this part of raising the German Shepherd breed somewhat easier.
Toys are, however, essential to keep your German Shepherd puppy busy (as well as your family members!) during the teething phase. Don’t skimp on this phase.
Some toys and accessories to look at purchasing for your GSD are:
- Chew toys like those manufactured by Nylabone
- Toys that challenge your pet’s sniffing abilities to find food, such as the Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Dog Toy
- Kong chew toys
- Treat dispensers
- Dental sticks
- Dog toothpaste and toothbrush
- Grooming brushes
- Dog harnesses and leads
You will also need a crate is required for training in the early months of this breed’s life to support its socialization.
Many brushes are necessary to maintain their coat and get your pet used to being touched, or a professional groomer if you’d prefer. You will also need a harness and lead for walking your dog.
Initial costs for bigger items such as a dog bed, crate, brushes, harness, and lead will set you back at least $150 to $200 from the pet store. Chew toys can cost about $30 per month as GSDs have a powerful bite.
Last Words On The Costs Of Having a German Shepherd
The costs of purchasing a German Shepherd are quite steep. Maintenance costs that include food, health bills, pet insurance, toys, and training classes run even higher over the dog’s lifespan.
Once you decide, appreciate that the costs of a German Shepherd will be worth every dollar spent.
Owning a GSD is clearly a long-term commitment that you must take seriously.
Only make this long-term commitment if you are certain that you can provide this high-energy, large dog breed with everything it needs to grow into a stable, well-rounded companion and a friendly family dog.