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First off, let me start by acknowledging the fact that the general sales in the pet industry have risen dramatically over the past two years (2019 and 2020). This is in part due to more specified and advanced methods of research analysis by various research stakeholders. In fact, the APPA has refined its research methodology to find out more about dog breeds and their popularity among people in the US.

YearExpenditure (in billions of dollars)
2020$99.0 (Estimated expenditure)
2019$95.7 (Actual expenditure)
2018$90.5 (Actual expenditure)

Further, it utilizes research data from top research companies such as Nielsen, Euromonitor and Packaged facts to arrive at pertinent pet solutions. Of course I have included components from other sources such as pet retailers and other industry experts to arrive at the decisive conclusions in this article.

I have delineated the average costs of various pet industry key action areas in the table below:

YearAction AreasExpenditure
2020(Estimated)Pet food and Treats$38.4 billion
Supplies, Live Animals & OTC Medicine$19.8 billion
Vet Care Product Sales$30.2 billion
Other Services$10.7 billion
2019(Actual)Pet food and Treats$36.9 billion
Supplies, Live Animals & OTC Medicine$19.2 billion
Vet Care Product Sales$29.3 billion
Other Services$10.3 billion

Today I will mostly focus on the German Shepherd among the many pets being kept here in the U.S.

So how much does a German Shepherd cost?

The most popular question among individuals who want to keep the German Shepherd as a pet is its cost. The German Shepherd is the second most popular dog breed after the Labrador Retriever.  This is because it is very agile, intelligent and very athletic. Given that the dog breed took Captain Max von Stephanitz 35 years to perfect, it makes for a very proud, courageous and hefty canine.

When considering the cost of the German Shepherd, there are a myriad of factors that you need to consider before making the decision to actually keep and maintain the pet. Furthermore, you will also find that the German Shepherd cost will vary depending on the age and use of the pet. Mature German Shepherds will be more costly than younger dogs or puppies. Similarly, German Shepherds for security purposes will be more costly as compared to family pets. The relative cost will depend on the use of your pet as well as the maintenance level needed to ensure that it performs intended functions.

The initial German Shepherd price

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The approximate cost of the German Shepherd is between $500 – $1500 USD. In my review, I concur with the NextDayPets in the analysis that the average cost of the dog breed is $800 for a German Shepherd being bred as a family pet. This is only the initial price for most German Shepherd pets.

Nonetheless, you might pay significantly more for show – quality dogs with exceptional lineages. For pups with top breed lines, you might pay from $2500 USD up to as much as $10000 USD. This might seem like an extravagant price but considering the type of canine that you will get in reciprocation for your investment, the price is totally worthwhile.

Alternatively, you might be able to adopt a German Shepherd from various animal shelters throughout the country at a relative price of just $350 USD. In other cases, you can get a good dog at just $100 USD or less from outlying animal shelters; or just $200 USD from reputable rescue organizations. As some of these German Shepherds are not pure breeds, this price might vary and you might end up paying up to $550 USD depending on the characteristics and abilities of the dog.

Either way, you will be able to save a lot of cash not only for the dog, but also with respect to the relative procedures in registration and critical vaccinations. Better yet, you will have a mutually beneficial relationship where you are able to give the dog a home that it desperately needs.

Why does the German Shepherd cost vary so much?

You might be wondering why the big difference in the costs of the German Shepherd.


There are many factors that affect the pricing of a German Shepherd. First off, you have to understand that there is a lot of work involved in raising a dog. These are some of the basic factors that determine the price of your German Shepherd in the market:

  • Breeding of the dog
  • Training of the dog
  • Raising of the dog
  • Dog maintenance
  • Dog abilities

It is prudent to argue that the cheapest German Shepherds that you can acquire are actually from animal shelters or rescue operation centers. These dogs are usually cheap because their major aim is to cover the operation costs involved in rescuing the canines. Nonetheless, other dog sellers will factor in other operations that were involved in getting the ideal German Shepherd for you.

For instance, you will find that reputable dog breeders will have to account for the cost of breeding, raising and training the dogs to meet your expected standards. This is how you end up paying an approximate $6000 or $7000 for a show or work dog as compared to obtaining a regular German Shepherd from an animal shelter.

Further, you will also find that some German Shepherds are priced highly due to their lineages. You will definitely pay more for puppies whose parents or grandparents are proven champions in various categories such as hunting or shows. This is mostly because there is a high probability that your puppy is capable of exhibiting such skills as it grows, this could be the next champion in the relative fields.

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It goes without saying that champion German Shepherds in hunting championships or showmanship will fetch a higher price than your ordinary Joe dog. This is because the dogs are not only pets, but also lucrative income earning investments. These dogs are highly priced as there is very little risk involved and they are already proven to excel in the specific areas that make them great German Shepherds.

Factors that impact the cost of a German Shepherd

I had summarized some of the basic factors that determine the relative prices of German Shepherds in the market. These factors are critical in discerning what to expect in return for your investment. I have explained in great detail how these factors impact the relative outcome of your German Shepherd:

  1. Age – Most people prefer puppies, preferably between 8 – 12 weeks as they are more impressionable than adult dogs. Further, you can be able to train them to reach your desired preference by the time they come of age. The general price of puppies past 12 weeks will decrease as they are less desirable. In addition, getting an adult dog will mean less time with your dog, despite saving on the cost of training.
  2. Coat Color – The coat color will significantly affect the price; and rare coat colors such as the White German Shepherd are more expensive than the common black and tan colors. These is mostly because it is difficult to breed these colors as they are as a result of recessive genes in the dog breed.
  3. Gender – The gender affects the pricing of the German Shepherd with regards to the type of work done by the dog. Male German Shepherds have a lot of energy and brute force and thus are better suited as work dogs; whilst female German Shepherds are gentler and thus more suited for families and especially those with dogs.
  4. Lineage and Bloodlines – The lineage definitely affects the pricing of the German Shepherd as puppies of show dogs or champions in various fields will definitely cost more than puppies with regular German Shepherds. In fact, their high prices are considered to be a very great investment for future indulgences by your dog.
  5. Location – The location might seem insignificant with regards to the prices but on the contrary, location greatly affects the pricing of your German Shepherd. You will find that small towns with fewer population means that there is a low demand for dogs and thus the prices might be a little less. On the other hand, cities with larger populations will cost more due to more demand for dogs.
  6. Certification and Warranties – Finally, most breeders will boast of various certifications to justify their high prices. However, I will caution you against such certifications and you should always do your own research into a breeder before acknowledging their high prices. Reputable breeders will have a lifetime warranty to their puppies as they are sure of the German Shepherd breed that they sell to you. They will also let you meet the parents of the puppy before you make the decision to purchase it.

Other costs other than the German Shepherd price

As you might have already noticed, there is a lot more involved in the excellent rearing of a German Shepherd than just the initial price alone. As a matter of fact, I have been able to break these relative costs involved in the long term ownership of the canine if you are serious about owning this proud and intelligent dog breed.

The Long-term ownership costs of grooming a German Shepherd are inclusive of:

  • Training 

German Shepherds can be fairly easy to train as long as you are willing to be a firm leader. Otherwise, the dog breed quickly assumes leadership roles and you will not be able to control it thereafter. If you are willing to train the dog breed yourself, you might end up saving a lot of cash in the process.

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If you do not want to train the dog yourself, or maybe you just unable to do so, don’t worry for you can pay a professional trainer to perform this service on your behalf. You will be expected to pay between $50 – $100 USD or basic training, which will take about 4 – 8 weeks. Furthermore, you can enroll your dog in group training, which will also help your dog to socialize with other dogs.

  • Grooming

You might not have thought that your German Shepherd will need grooming but it will. You do not want a shabby looking dog and especially because its fur grows way to quickly and has a tendency to form locks very fast. Although these locks do not look bad, I would advise to buy a decent brush at only $20, and comb your German Shepherd every 2 – 3 days.

Furthermore, you will need to make regular visits to the dog grooming centers where you can have their nails clipped at just $10 per every visit. I would argue that grooming your German Shepherd is a fairly inexpensive endeavor and there is no reason for you not to groom your dog.

  • Healthcare and Veterinary bills

The vet expenses are the most crucial of all maintenance costs of a German Shepherd. This is because you want your canine to be at optimum health at all times. Regular checkups to the veterinary should become a routine for you and each routine checkup might cost you between $100 – $200 USD annually.

Further, you have to consider the immunization costs against various common dog diseases and this might cost you between $50 – $100 USD when you first get your puppy. In case you are adopting from a breeder, you might have to pay $50 – $200 for the spay/neuter surgery as well.

These immunizations are fairly important but you will still need to set some money aside just in case of other medical emergencies. Your German Shepherd might develop bloat, eczema, allergies, epilepsy or even keratitis; which might require expensive treatment. Having money for medical emergencies protects you from unexpected or unforeseen medical mishaps.

I should also add that among the most common dog diseases in German Shepherds is the elbow or hip dysplasia. This disease attacks approximately 19% of all German Shepherds in the U.S. and can cost from $1500 – $6000 USD to treat. Regular visits to the veterinary are therefore critical if you are to detect and avoid such diseases from occurring or escalating to unprecedented levels.

  • Insurance

With medical expenses on the rise, it would be smart to get an insurance plan for your German Shepherd just in case there are any of these unexpected medical emergencies or other mishaps. Dog insurance might only cost you about $35 – $50 USD per month, which is insignificant as compared to what you would have to pay in case of an emergency, without this insurance service.

  • Food and Treats

The German Shepherd breed has very huge appetites and eats a lot. This is because they need a lot of energy to power up their huge bodies and maintain their active energy levels all day long. On average, one German Shepherd will eat at least 4 cups a day.

Considering that the average cost of high quality dog food is around $2 – $3 per pound, you will expect to spend at least $660 USD per year on dog food alone. Further, you might want to add extra dog treats which cost approximately $5 – $10 per month

  • Miscellaneous

The first year of acquiring your German Shepherd is always the most expensive due to the acquisition of many things and initial services. These costs will include such things as immunizations, micro-chipping, vaccinations, training, toys, feeding bowls, beds and grooming supplies. You might find yourself spending up to $3,500 USD in the first year alone. However, consequent years will see you spend a lot less and you can as well spend between $500 – $1500 USD annually for consequent years.

How much does a German Shepherd cost annually?

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For most enthusiasts and pet lovers, you might be familiar with the relative costs involved in different services necessary in maintaining your pet. Whether you already have this knowledge or you are just interested in keeping a German Shepherd, I have broken down the list of your expected annual costs for both puppies and adult dogs as you will see in the section below. You should keep in mind that the cost varies considerably depending on the size, age and overall health of your canine friend, as well as the quality of the supplies and equipment.

For a German Shepherd Puppy in her first year

  • Veterinary care – $100 – $200
  • Immunizations – $50 – $100
  • Spay or Neuter – $50 – $200
  • Internal and External parasite control – $100 – $150
  • Food – $150 – $250
  • Miscellaneous – $200 – $225

The total cost of maintaining a German Shepherd puppy in the first year will range between $650 – $1125. You should note that this does not include the cost of purchasing the puppy.

For an adult  German Shepherd, the annual cost would involve:

  • Veterinary care – $50 – $125
  • Immunizations – $40 – $75
  • Internal and External parasite control – $100 – $150
  • Food – $200 – $600
  • Miscellaneous – $100 – $125

The total annual costs for an adult German Shepherd will therefore range between $490 – $875. You should note that these figures are approximate estimates but do not vary greatly from the actual costs that you will have to incur.

Why should you get a German Shepherd?

Given the relative costs involved in keeping a German Shepherd, you have every reason to want to have man’s best friend by your side. For starters, they are a great security measure and well trained dogs will pretty much protect you and any intruders.

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Further, you can be able to use the German Shepherd as work dogs or as hunting dogs. This breed is courageous, agile and intelligent; all the quality features of a good partner in hunting or work activities. If that is not enough to convince you, the German Shepherd makes for very good company and is applicable in a diverse range of situations; from family pets to show dogs.

Finally, it is fairly cost-friendly to keep a German Shepherd than other pets who can achieve the same functions in the U.S.

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