The good news is, so long as you're looking for a family dog and not a show dog, a German Shepherd is pretty affordable. Of course, if you're looking for a show dog, then expect the price to jump up a bit.
Before you make your decision, though, and buy a dog you may know nothing about, it is important to research the breed’s temperament first.
So many people buy dogs just because they're “cute,” only to discover there is something they don't like about the dog's temperament after the fact.
And you know what happens to these dogs? They end up abandoned at a local shelter.
Prevent this from happening in your own home by learning all you can about a breed first. You can learn more about the German Shepherd below.
German Shepherd Temperament and Personality
Here are some of the more important things to note about a German Shepherd's personality. These traits can be the deciding factor in whether or not you choose to bring this breed home.
German Shepherds are active dogs and, as such, need at least 1 hour each day of interactive exercise.
You can't just toss them out in the backyard and leave them to their own devices.
Whatever you choose to do, whether it's to run him, walk him, or swim with him, give him plenty of physical activity each day to tire him out.
German Shepherds can be great with kids, but both need training on how to behave with each other.
If the child can respect the dog by not, say, putting his hands in the dog's food dish while the dog is eating, they can develop a mutual respect.
A child also shouldn't roughhouse with this dog. He's a big dog, and so he could end up hurting the child by accident or by defending himself against excessive roughness.
The German Shepherd’s History
All you really need to know about the German Shepherd's history is right there in his name.
He originated in Germany in 1899 as a farm dog, working to guard and herd sheep.
If, therefore, you own a farm, and you're looking for a herding dog, you've got yourself a good one in this breed.
German Shepherd Size
As a full-grown adult, healthy German Shepherds tend to weigh, on average, between 50 and 90 lbs.
They also grow to a maximum of between 22 and 26 inches tall.
This is a rather big dog. Can your home withstand a dog this size? And do you have the budget necessary to feed him?
The German Shepherd Dog Price – How Much Do German Shepherds Cost?
The German Shepherd price range is, on average, between $300 and $900.
If, however, you're looking for a dog of show quality, then you can expect to pay between $6,000 and $7,000 for a German Shepherd puppy.
German Shepherd Guard Dog Price
German Shepherds make for good guard dogs on their own; however, did you know you could pay top-dollar for an expert “protection dog”?
That's right, wealthy folks pay, on average, between $40,000 and $60,000 for a German Shepherd certified in the art of Schutzhund.
Schutzhund is actually a sport wherein the dog works on the traits that make him more useful to his owners, like guarding.
And – get this – if a dog does exceptionally well in a competition for this sort of thing, his price tag can go even higher!
German Shepherd Service Dog Price
If you've ever seen a German Shepherd escorting a blind person down the street, this is a service dog.
People often use German Shepherds as service dogs because of their ability to take to training so easily.
They're incredibly smart, and they enjoy learning, which makes teaching them new things a breeze.
On that note, if you’re interested in purchasing a German Shepherd as a service dog, you’re looking at a price of anywhere from $5,000 to $65,000!
However, you can always opt for simply getting a dog and then training him yourself to be a service dog.
German Shepherds consistently land among the most popular breed of dog in the U.S.
In fact, nearly five percent of the AKC’s total population of registered dogs are German Shepherds!
There are pros and cons to a breed being popular.
For some pros, this means that the dog is obviously a good match for many families out there. As such, the odds of getting along with the one you bring home are fairly good.
For cons, however, you may have to wait a while if you’re interested in buying a purebred puppy because many other people are too. There are only so many pups born to a litter!
And beware of breeders who up their prices because the breed is “in demand.” Once you know the German Shepherd’s average price, you can better arm yourself against those who claim to know more than you do.
German Shepherd Rescue and Adoption
If you’d prefer to adopt a German Shepherd, you can save yourself thousands of dollars.
The German Shepherd puppies’ price is significantly lower when you rescue, though you may not get the clearest picture of the dog’s history. This is because the shelter often doesn’t even know.
Plus, you can give a home to a dog whom someone might otherwise pass over for a “cuter” dog.
You just may not be able to get a puppy, since most dogs at the shelter are adults or even seniors.
The German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) can provide you with some helpful information on their website.
Tips include where to find reputable breeders in your area, as well as some tips to help you with your shopping.
Barring that, you can also call around to your local shelters to find out if they have any German Shepherds available.
In many cases, you may have to settle for a mixed breed. If you’re okay with that, then let the shelter know – you may just bring home a new friend sooner since most dogs in shelters are mixed.
You may have to relinquish your dream of owning a purebred dog, but “mutts” are just as loving, just as loyal, and just as deserving of a loving home.
(Plus, they save you a couple of bucks in the process!)
German Shepherd Cost of Ownership
When considering the cost of a dog, you also have to factor in those expenses that, while necessary, can feel pesky after a while.
Here are some of the typical costs of ownership associated with owning a German Shepherd.
Cost of Food
A German Shepherd is a relatively big dog. Therefore, you need to account for buying him a large bag of dog food once or twice a month.
Dog food can run you anywhere from $35 to $60, and you should never cheap out on your dog’s nutrition.
You, therefore, need to factor into your budget an additional $420 to $600 a year in dog food.
Health Care Expenses
Health conditions are important to consider beforehand.
While every dog is different, and no one can predict the future, knowing which conditions tend to plague a particular breed can be helpful for long-term planning.
For instance, in the German Shepherd’s case, he tends to suffer from:
- Elbow and hip malformations, especially hip dysplasia, which can lead to early arthritis and pain
- Heart problems
- Degenerative Myelopathy (like MS, but for dogs)
- Hemangiosarcoma (cancer)
- Eye problems
- Perianal Fistulas
Something else to consider is that, in some cases, more serious health conditions could lead to a reduced lifespan.
Is this something you’re willing to accept if you opt for a dog from this breed? Knowing that you paid what could be thousands of dollars for a dog who died too soon?
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
You may not think to look at a German Shepherd that grooming would be much of a problem, but this breed actually has a double coat.
This means routine maintenance is not only necessary but critical to keep him looking his best.
It also helps him from developing skin problems, and it keeps your house cleaner by staying on top of things.
If you find your schedule makes it impossible to keep up with your dog’s grooming needs, then you may have to take him to a groomer.
And this, of course, is an added expense you’ll need to factor into the overall price of the dog.
Sometimes, when people find it nearly impossible to train their dogs, they need to enlist the help of a professional.
The German Shepherd, being an easy dog to train, should not give you this problem.
However, if you want to train your dog to be a service dog or “protection dog,” then this may be a cost you’ll have to consider.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
Final Thoughts on the German Shepherd Dog Price
The German Shepherd dog price, in total, consists of everything from toys and leashes to higher-priced items like professional groomers and trainers.
You also need to factor in health concerns, and even just bank some money away for those regular vet checkups.
Ultimately, while the price of a German Shepherd, on average, will run you around a thousand dollars, a purebred German Shepherd price can easily run you thousands more.
This is why it is so important to know exactly what you’re getting by learning all there is to know about a breed before making your commitment.