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How Much Does a German Shepherd Cost? (2021 Price Guide)

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dogs because of their intelligent, fun, and driven nature. However, German Shepherds should not be bought on a whim because they are a major financial investment.

From their initial purchase to the day they pass on, German Shepherds are a continual financial requirement. Most German Shepherd owners report spending around $12,000 or more in total throughout the dog’s entire life.

Knowing exactly how much it costs to own a German Shepherd can help you decide whether or not you have the means to provide it a happy and healthy life. Let’s learn how much it costs to own a German Shepherd now.

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Bringing Home a New German Shepherd: One-Time Costs

As with just about any other animal, the most expensive cost associated with bringing home a German Shepherd is the German Shepherd itself. You can either get a German Shepherd as a gift, adopt it, or buy it from a breeder.

German Shepherd standing on the grass
Image Credit: cvop, Pixabay

Free

Because German Shepherds are one of the more popular dogs around, it is possible for someone to gift you a German Shepherd. This may happen because the person is moving and unable to take the dog with them, or it may just be from the kindness of their own heart.

We wouldn’t bank on getting a free German Shepherd, but it is possible. With this option, you have to keep in mind that there may be an adjustment period since the dog may have learned bad habits with the original owners.

Adoption

  • $500–$1,000

One of the more affordable ways to bring a new German Shepherd home is to adopt one. You should be able to find adult German Shepherds at local shelters near you. Most of the adoption fees range between $500 and $1,000.

It’s important to know that when you adopt any full-grown German Shepherd, you do run a few risks. When adopting an adult dog, it may have been abused or scarred, making it less suitable for homes with children.

At the same time, you can find great German Shepherds to adopt. Just make sure that you have plenty of one-on-one time with the dog beforehand to determine whether or not its personality fits in with your home.

Breeder

  • $1,000–$4,000

If you want a German Shepherd puppy that has great health and a beautiful appearance, your best bet is to go to a breeder. Going to a breeder is expensive, but it does ensure that the dog you are selecting has not picked up bad habits yet and is healthy.

If you decide to get a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder, make sure the breeder is responsible with their dogs. This ensures that none of the dogs are abused and that the dogs are in great health.

Initial Setup and Supplies

  • $100–$300

Aside from the dog itself, there are some one-time items you will need to buy alongside the dog. For example, you will need a dog collar, leash, food bowls, crate, bed, and standard veterinary care.

You may also want to consider other optional first time owner purchases, such as a microchip, getting the dog spayed or neutered, and other veterinary or surgical needs your dog may have.

german shepherd dog
Image Credit: Rob Wee, Pixabay

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List of German Shepherd Care Supplies and Costs

ID Tag and Collar $20-$40
Spay/Neuter $60-$800
X-Ray Cost $100–$250
Ultrasound Cost $250–$500
Microchip $45-$55
Flea and Heartworm Prevention $100-$200
Teeth Cleaning $150-$300
Bed $50
Nail Clipper (optional but recommended) $7
Brush (optional but recommended) $8
Toys $50
Crate $100
Food and Water Bowls $30

How Much Does a German Shepherd Cost Per Month?

  • $100–$715 per month

Even after you pay the initial prices, German Shepherds are still very expensive to own the remainder of their lives. German Shepherds are considered healthy dogs that can live many years. You must be able to pay for these dogs every month of their lives.

According to most German Shepherd owners, owning one of these dogs costs at least $12,000 in total throughout their entire lives. Based on this number and the fact German Shepherds live an average of 11 years, this adds up to about $1090 a year or $100 a month.

dark sable working german shepherd dog
Image Credit: LNbjors, Shutterstock

Health Care

  • $25–$50 per month

German Shepherds are considered pretty healthy dogs. As a result, they aren’t very expensive when it comes to monthly health care. For the most part, providing your dog a lot of exercise and high-quality food will prevent the dog from developing unforeseen health issues.

You will need to buy a dog safe toothpaste, dog safe shampoo, and certain medications, such as heartworm prevention, to keep your dog healthy its entire life.

Food

  • $44–$100+ per month

Because German Shepherds are so large and active, it’s no shocker that feeding them can cost a small fortune. Not only do you have to feed your German Shepherd a lot of food, but you want to feed your dog food that is high quality and healthy.

When your dog is in the puppy stage, it should cost around $44 a month for food. By the time your dog is fully grown, it can easily cost over $100 per month. With this in mind, you will be paying around $100 a month in food for most of your dog’s life.

Grooming

  • $0–$100 per month

In terms of grooming, German Shepherds are lower maintenance than other heavy shedding breeds. As long as your dog does not have any known illnesses or issues, you should not have to pay monthly prices. Especially if you brush their teeth, clip their nails, and comb out their hair on your own, you shouldn’t pay monthly bills.

With that being said, you may need to pay monthly bills if you are not able to trim the dogs nails or groom it yourself. This can cost about $66 to $100 a month, but this is avoidable if you buy the clippers and trimmers to use on your own.

Medications and Vet Visits

  • $50–$300 per month

Because German Shepherds were bred as working dogs, they are considered very healthy. At the minimum, you should take your German Shepherd for an annual visit, assuming it is healthy. The visit typically costs between $100 and $300.

You also need to pay for fleas, tick, and heartworm prevention. Flea and tick prevention typically cost between $100 and $200, whereas heartworm prevention costs around $180. Most of these medications last for 1 to 3 months at a time.

black german shepherd
Image Credit: YamaBSM, Pixabay

Pet Insurance

  • $0–$60 per month

Getting pet insurance is not required for all dogs or owners. It is completely up to you whether or not you decide to get pet insurance. Most insurance companies offer pet insurance at around $60 a month.

If you do not want to pay for pet insurance, you can simply set up a savings account instead. A savings account for your pet can help you out on a rainy day, but it also means you don’t have to pay a monthly fee.

Environment Maintenance

  • $0–$30 per month

One way that dogs are a bit easier to maintain than cats is that there are very little environmental maintenance things you have to do. So long as you have a house and a yard for your dog to play, the home environment is generally suitable for dogs.

Some environmental maintenance things you will need to buy include doggie bags. You need these if you take your dog for a walk or if you have a yard that you have to maintain. These are pretty cheap and don’t cost a fortune.

You may also need to pay for carpet cleaner, deodorizer, and other items to keep the house clean, despite your heavy shedding German Shepherd.

Entertainment

  • $20–$75 per month

German Shepherds are highly intelligent. This means that your German Shepherd can help you out when you are in a pinch, but it also means that you need to provide your German Shepherd ample entertainment, or else the dog could become destructive out of boredom.

At the very minimum, you need to buy heavy-duty toys for your German Shepherd. German Shepherds can be really rough with their toys. So, we recommend some sort of brand specific for rough playing dogs, such as Kong.

If you want to go the extra mile for your dog’s entertainment, you can even buy a doggie subscription box. These boxes will offer toys, treats, and more for your dog, but these boxes can be pretty expensive too.

one year old German Shepherd female_Lurin_shutterstock
Image Credit: Lurin, Shutterstock

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Total Monthly Cost of Owning a German Shepherd

  • $100–$175 per month

As you can see, owning a German Shepherd is a pretty high monthly expense. If you are selective in what you provide your dog, they only cost $100. At the same time, German Shepherds can cost as much as $175 a month to own.

Additional Costs to Factor In

In addition to initial costs and monthly payments, there are some other additional factors you need to think about. For starters, obedience training is really important for dogs of this size. Obedience training can be a bit expensive at first, but it will be worth it in the long run.

You need to pay for a pet sitter or kennel whenever you go on vacations and your dog does not come with you. If you are buying a German Shepherd puppy, you may also have to pay to replace or fix items the puppy damages.

Think about accidents or unforeseen illnesses too. These can cost a whole lot in vet visits. So that you aren’t swamped with unforeseen bills, we recommend having an emergency fund for your dog or pet insurance.

Owning a German Shepherd on a Budget

If you want a German Shepherd but are worried about destroying your budget, there are ways that you can own one of these wonderful dogs without spending a fortune either. Unfortunately, there is little you can change about the price of these dogs up front, but you can save on the monthly expenses.

The most important tip for taking care of a German Shepherd on a budget is to know when to splurge. When it comes to dog food, make sure to select high quality food. This will be more expensive upfront, but it will ensure that your dog is healthy for as long as possible, resulting in fewer bills.

Splurging on heavy-duty toys is another great idea. These toys will cost more at first, but they should last much longer than cheap ones.

German Shepherd
Image credit: adamkontor, Pixabay

Saving Money on German Shepherd Care

There are many ways that you can save money while taking care of your German Shepherd. For instance, there are a lot of coupons and promo codes you can use when purchasing toys, food, and other items for your German Shepherd.

Even if you find coupons, only spend money on the essentials. Remember: select essentials that are durable and long lasting so that you don’t have to keep buying your dog items over and over again.

Not to mention, buy crates and beds that are suitable for the dog as it grows. Many people make the mistake of buying crates and beds suitable for the puppy, but the puppy soon outgrows them. Purchase adult sized items so that you don’t have to purchase more than one item.

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Conclusion

German Shepherds are pretty expensive animals. The initial cost primarily accounts for the dog itself and any other items required when bringing the dog home for the first time. Initially, a purebred German Shepherd costs about $1000 when you first get them.

Even after the German Shepherd has made your home its home, you will still have to pay some pretty hefty bills for the remainder of its life. Most likely, you will have to pay around $100 a month to keep this dog happy and healthy, but that price may increase if the dog has a large appetite or develops health conditions.

Although the initial and monthly costs for this dog are a bit high, they are required for this dog to live a happy life. If you cannot afford to provide a German Shepherd the sort of life it needs and deserves, simply do not get a German Shepherd. It wouldn’t be fair to the dog.

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