How Much Does A Purebred German Shepherd Cost? (Updated for 2021)

German Shepherds are truly amazing dogs as they are the third most intelligent breed of dog on the planet. They are also known for their trainability, temperament, loyalty, and obedience. If you are looking at getting a German Shepherd Dog, here are some facts that will give you a better idea of what you are getting into and how much they will cost you.

In general, a German Shepherd puppy bought from reputable breeders can cost from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the age, color, location, and the breeder’s costs on health screening and vaccinations. Adopting a German Shepherd could be less than $150 from animal shelters or around $150 to $500 from rescue organizations.

Or if you happen to know someone who can’t keep their German Shepherd, you might be lucky to get one for free.

Related posts:

Are German Shepherds Good for First-Time Owners?

Are German Shepherds Good for Grandma or Grandpa?

Before Getting a German Shepherd: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

Male vs Female German Shepherds: How to Choose?

Top 10 German Shepherd Training Tips for First-Time Owners

What factors determine the price of a German Shepherd Dog?

The cost of a German Shepherd puppy does vary, depending upon her age, color, bloodline, litter size, location, as well as the amount the breeder has invested into health tests.

German Shepherds obtained from animal shelters and rescue organizations are relatively inexpensive because they charge only enough to cover their costs.

Here are the 5 most prominent factors that will affect the price of a German Shepherd:

1. Age

Age is the most important factor for determining the price of a German Shepherd Dog. All in all, it has a lot to do with the desirability of a cuddly puppy.

Puppies that are only 8-12 weeks old will cost the most. It is because this marks the beginning of the most precious moments of a puppy. The demand drives up the price.

The price of puppies of 12 weeks or older will start to decrease. Adult dogs will be offered at much lower prices because some people see them as less desirable.

Another reason is that the new owner may need to set a budget for health issues related to senior dogs.

2. Coat Color

Some colors are more expensive than others. For German Shepherd, colors such as white will cost more than the usual black and tan. This is because these rare coat colors are more difficult to breed.

3. Bloodline

Although purebred German Shepherds are the most sought-after puppies, mixed breed pups usually cost much less and have the potential to be healthier than many purebreds.

In general, German Shepherds have working lines and show lines, totaling five different variations. We will get into them later in this article.

4. Litter size

It refers to the number of puppies in a litter. Usually, the more the number of puppies in a litter, the cheaper the price will become.

5. Location

The location from where you purchase your German Shepherd can actually affect how much you pay.

Areas with a lower cost of living, or places where there is less demand will typically charge lower prices than more populated cities.

Certain states or cities may even have more regulations on breeding which may increase the cost, thus the price of a German Shepherd pup.

5. Health screening, vaccinations, and more

A good breeder will always provide documentation of vaccinations, health screening results, or even genetic testing (which provide clues to a dog’s behavioral traits, and even help identify breed-specific health problems). And these all come at a cost for the breeders.

What are the different variations of the German Shepherd bloodline and their prices?

You have probably stumbled upon different variations of German Shepherd Dogs. Purebred German Shepherds do come in many different sizes, colors, coloration patterns, and body styles.

In general, German Shepherds are divided into working lines and show lines, totaling five different variations. Here is a four-minute video from which you can learn about their variations:

1. American/Canadian Show Line

The American/Canadian Show line is what you see most commonly as show dogs in the US and Canada. They have a distinctive angulation with their back legs shorter than their front legs, thinner bones, and significantly smaller heads. They come in quite a few colors, mostly solid with occasional bi-color variations, including black and tan saddle, solid back, solid white, and saddle sable.

Originally bred for their appearance, the American/Canadian Show Line doesn’t have as much energy or work drive as other working lines. But their obedient and playful character make them fantastic pets.

Price range: An American/Canadian Show Line puppy from a reputable breeder can cost anywhere from $1000 to $1500.

2. West German Show Line

The West German Show Line is bred strictly according to the German Shepherd Breed Standard. There are certain measurement minimums for their hips and elbows. This results in a stunning, very specific, and uniform appearance. These dogs have a very strong, pronounced build with a black and tan saddle, and solid back.

They make good house protectors and need a lot of exercise and to be trained frequently. These dogs are very social. So they are perfect for families with kids.

Price Range: A West German Show Line puppy may cost $5,000 to $8,000.

3. West German Working Line

The West German Working Line is primarily bred to be working dogs, especially in law enforcement and military functions. The breeding process is aimed to develop the dog’s endurance for adverse situations.

This is the line of GSD you would normally see in movies. They are also closest to the original breed that was bred and developed by Max von Stephanitz, who is acknowledged as the father of German Shepherd Dogs.

With a stable temperament, they excel in working jobs, and also make awesome family pets.

Price range: A West German Working Line puppy can cost anywhere from $1500 to $3000.

4. DDR/East German Working Line

Developed after World War II from the war dogs, the DDR/East German Working Line is maintained strictly by the ex-government of East Germany. Rigid control of the original DDR breed prevents the gene poll from diluting.

They must be free from any history of hip dysplasia, among other health conditions, to be able to reproduce. This resulted in a very distinct look – with large heads, large bones, and a shinny dark coat.

The DDR/East German Working Line can endure hostile weather conditions for extended periods of time due to their breeding history, and were initially bred as guards in between the borders of East and West Germany.

Price range: A DDR/East German Working Line puppies are prized from $1500 to $3000.

5. Czech Working Line

The Czech Working Line was a further enhancement of the DDR/East German Shepherd. The Czech further tightened the breeding standards, resulting in arguably the most intense breed of German Shepherd available to date.

This line wasn’t bred for aesthetic reasons. But they are extremely loyal and obedient, with a pleasant temperament. They could be the best guard dog to protect people.

Price range: A Czech Working Line puppy can cost anywhere from $1500 to $3000. But they are extremely rare nowadays.

Other factors that affect the cost of a German Shepherd Dog

A puppy whose parents (and often grandparents and other relatives) are hunting champions has the potential to excel in these areas as well. And it will cost you more than any puppy who is the offspring of just average parents.

And the most expensive German Shepherds are those adults with proven records as show dogs, K9, or breeding dogs. It’s considered that there is very little risk involved in purchasing a proven German Shepherd – and these dogs will be priced accordingly.

You may also like:

20 Amazing Facts Every German Shepherd Dog Owner Should Know

What is a reasonable price for a purebred German Shepherd puppy?

Reputable breeders, when pricing their German Shepherd puppies, must factor in the expenses involved in breeding, feeding, raising, and caring for the pups as well as their mother.

A reasonable price for a purebred German Shepherd puppy should be around $1200- $2000, depending on your location and the litter size.

If you have ever asked the question: “Why are GSD puppies so expensive?”, you should understand the very basic cost for the breeders. Below are the estimated costs for your reference:

Cost for a puppy:

  • Genetic health testing: $250 to $750
  • Vaccinations: $100 to $500
  • De-worming: $25
  • Microchipping: $50
  • Veterinary check-ups:  $125
  • AKC registration: $30 (Basic Individual Dog Registration)

Minimum cost per puppy: $580

Cost for the parent (mom):

  • Stud services: $500 to $1000
  • C-sections and birthing complications (in case): $2,000 – $7,000
  • Dog food, vitamins, supplements: $100 to $200
  • Veterinary check-ups:  $125

The minimum cost for maternity care, with no complications: $725

Thus, it may not even be reasonable for you to buy a puppy for less than $580, with the consideration of the cost a breeder has to bear at the minimum for the puppy as well as the mother.

That said, when you are looking to purchase a puppy, do not be tempted to go to a low-cost pet store or search for the cheapest puppies online. These puppies are often bred in very poor conditions and are prone to health issues.

They often come from puppy mills (or are produced by inexperienced or backyard breeders) who are more concerned with making a profit than providing you with a healthy pup. Thus, a bargain may eventually cost you a fortune with their medical bills in the long run.

Go to AKC Marketplace – PuppyFinder to find AKC-Registered litters and the breeders in your area. (US only)

How much does owning a German Shepherd cost annually?

Purchasing your pup is only the beginning of all. You are also advised to do your own research on how much does it cost to own and care for your beloved German Shepherd in the years to come.

The cost of dog-keeping varies considerably depending on your German Shepherd (including size, age and overall health), the quality of supplies and equipment, and even where you live. The following numbers should give you an idea of what to expect:

For a german shepherd puppy in her first year:

  • Veterinary care, including general care and laboratory tests: $100 to $200
  • Immunizations: $100 to $200
  • Spaying/neutering: $100 to $300
  • Internal and external parasite treatment and control: $100 to $150
  • Food: $300 to $500
  • Miscellaneous expenses including crate, collar, leash, bowls, toys, grooming supplies and training: $500 to $1000

Total: $1,100 to $2,350 for the first year only.

For an adult dog, the annual costs could involve:

  • Veterinary care, including general care and laboratory tests: $100 to $200
  • Immunizations: $100 to $200
  • Internal and external parasite treatment and control: $100 to $150
  • Food: $500 to $1,000
  • Miscellaneous expenses: $500 to $1000

Total: $1300 to $2550 per year onwards.

These figures are estimates only and they do not include expenses related to illnesses, injuries, showing, competition, breeding, boarding or travel. Senior dogs usually require more health care than adults or puppies.

From these figures, the care for a healthy German Shepherd living up to the age of 12 years could easily cost $15,400 to $30,400 or more.

Further questions

What makes a German Shepherd Dog expensive?

Factors such as purity of breed, rarity, color, can drive up the price of a German Shepherd Dog. Offsprings of prize-winning dogs can also be very expensive.

Can I get a  German Shepherd Dog for free?

If you happen to know someone who can’t keep their German Shepherd, you might be lucky to get one for free.

Are German Shepherds good for first-time owners?

If you are able to satisfy GSDs’ need for socialization, training, exercise, grooming, and potential veterinary care, a German Shepherd will be good for you as a first-time owner.

Check out our post to learn more:

Are German Shepherds Good for First-Time Owners?

Should I choose a male or female German Shepherd?

When considering whether to get a male or female German Shepherd, your expectation from a dog and handling experience plays an integral part. If the GSD is your first dog or you have kids at home, females may be easier to handle. But if you’re looking for a guard dog or working dog, male GSDs are more suitable.

Check out our post to learn more:

Male vs Female German Shepherds: How to Choose?

How to make sure I am buying from a reputable breeder?

A good breeder will always let you meet the parents, as well as provide you with adequate health certificates. Read our guide to learn more:

A resourceful guide for any first-time GSD owner.

Do you want to know how to find a purebred German Shepherd puppy? What are the pros and cons of purebred dogs? How to identify a responsible/reputable breeder? What questions should you ask a breeder before you buy a puppy? How to make sure your puppy is purebred? What’s include in the puppy sales contract?

You will find answers to all these questions in this guide.


Getting a German Shepherd, and/or any other dog is not a simple decision that anyone should make on impulse. So it is very important that you do your research and are aware of the price for the pup as well as the various costs you will encounter in the years to come.

Hopefully, this article has provided the information to help you make an educated decision on how much you should budget for your long-awaited German Shepherd.

25 thoughts on “How Much Does A Purebred German Shepherd Cost? (Updated for 2021)

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  2. Very good post help me with a lot of question. My German Shepard is due to have puppies for her first time and mine. I had DNA done through Embark an she is from Germany and here parents were also pure breeds. Thank you for all the information I have more studing to do in the next 5 weeks.

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  7. I breed and train German Shepherds. The information provided in this article as to cost of care, as well as cost of, a German Shepherd is extremely off. Your average cost for a German Shepherd is more in the range of 1500 and up. Although, you may be able to find ones cheaper, because people Back Yard breed and puppy mills are everywhere; however, you WILL get what you pay for. If you buy a German Shepherd in the price range listed in the article above, or in some of the comments, you will almost undoubtedly get a dog with unstable nerves, unclear heads, bad genetics, aggression issues that arise out of fear, health issues, next to no food or ball drive, and environmental issues. One of the leading causes of my clients seeking training help has always been, The result of bad breeding practices. People Breed these dogs assuming that every dog is equal and that IS NOT the case! The Germans (who created the breed) also created a Breed Standard that should be followed, as well as a breed suitability test called Shutzhund. Simply stated, you should not breed a dog to make money, it should be in an effort to better the breed, to build a better dog. Unfortunately people who do not train, breed, and that results in genetic nerve issues being passed on to puppies, unsuitable drives, and pairings that should never be made! Only by training your dog for years do you fully understand their individual strengths and weaknesses, knowing what those are, enable you to select the right stud for your dog…one that will compliment what your dog already has and or strengthen where they may need it….only then are you breeding with a purpose, only then can you be deemed a responsible and purposeful breeder.

    If any breeder tells you that a black GSD is rare…run in the other direction! Black GSD’s are very common! Please educate yourself(with reputable information), and seek out responsible breeders…they are out there, but Likely, they won’t be cheap, nor should they be! It takes years of dedicated training and thousands upon thousands of dollars in equipment, fees, and tests to get just ONE dog to where they can, and should be bred.

  8. I had a melanistic girl- best damn dog I ever had. Sadly she was a drop off and had horrible hip dysplasia. I had her the remaining 7 years of her life and put every penny I had into her, she was worth it. She’s home with us to this day ( I got her cremated) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    Melanistic are hard to find, I breed Shepherds an have yet to find them. Also yes color does affect price, I bought my white one and they had a litter of 2 white, 4 sable and 3 black and tan and I got charged 300$ more than the black and tan ones because she’s white. I personally price all of mine the same, I base price off of their lineage and paper status.

  9. I breed German Shepherds and have had them as pets since I was born. My dad was big into Shepherds as well. I sell mine depending on the parents, their papers, and their coats. For instance I have a White ( Champagne) Full AKC Shepherd girl whom has a pedigree a mile long that will be bread with another male- same papers as hers, their pups will be priced between 12-1500$, I have a girl who has no papers but her DNA testing proves Purebred, and the male she gets bred with is ICA registered and comes from heavy working line but their pups I only sell for 700$- all of mine have vet checks, and I Guarantee them up to a year. I have a full kennel licence and sellers license as well. So from a responsible breeder your shepherd is going to cost more, I have seen shepherds all day long go fro 400$ but with no genetic testing and no hip and elbow testing it’s risky. ALWAYS GO TO A REPUTABLE BREEDER trust me paying more for a puppy is a lot less than future vet bills.

  10. My son and his siblings want a german shepherd i just want a nice family puppy that can grow with them not to cheap but nothing to high anyone can help me i appreciate it im in north Carolina

  11. I feel we got lucky on our Humane Society German Shepard rescue.

    About 10 years in I realized why people “waste” $1000 on a purebred. Fact is, most breeds have pretty defined character traits. Anything otherwise is a crapshoot. Spending $1000 vs $100 (or “free”) is nothing compared to the total cost of a well maintained dog.

    I don’t know that we’ll ever have another dog (we travel a lot, which makes it a challenge to be a “good” steward of any animal), but if we do, it will be either an AKC or one with verifiable lineage.

    Just thinking about our Daisy makes me tear up. Really wish it was feasible to have another.

  12. Thanks for informing me that a German Shepherd puppy will usually cost between $300 to $900 each. I think I’ll buy a black one since I like having a black dog at my house. I’ve always wanted a dog ever since I was young, so I might buy from a breeder if they’re selling one around this price range.

  13. Black German shepherd dogs are beautiful and also considered rare. They have a good and pleasant nature and because of all their traits and unique color, these are expensive dogs. The price also gets higher if the dog has a long coat with more silky and beautiful hair.

  14. I just paid 4K for my male puppy. While not from New Skete his lineage is documented 2 generations from there. Parent bloodlines are guaranteed pure, AKC registered. For me, he’s worth every single penny.

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