German Shepherd Puppy Pricing + Lifetime Ownership Cost Analysis

German Shepherd Puppy Pricing + Lifetime Ownership Cost Analysis

Whether or not you should buy a German Shepherd puppy is the first question you’ll need to answer on your road to dog ownership, but we must first ask ourselves…

German Shepherd Puppy Pricing Guide 2016

Last updated on May 29, 2017 @ 10:56 pm to help make your family’s German Shepherd research easier.

Is this even the right question to be asking if you’re looking for puppies?

And if so, is it even a puppy buying question that breeders should be answering?

But before I get into that, I need to mention one thing:

This article is 7,200+ words! It’s long, so we one related PDF to help you…

It’s a free min-report with 10 questions you should ask every German Shepherd breeder you speak with. You can enter your email below to have it sent over for later reading.

And don’t worry. After you hit submit, you’ll stay on this page so you can keep reading.

Click the image below to download your free PDF:

german shepherd breeder questions

If you’re looking to buy a German Shepherd puppy, then you’ll probably agree with me when I say…

Breeders shouldn’t be in the business of telling customers what they should (or should not) do with their dogs!

Breeders shouldn't be in the business of telling customers what they should (or shouldn't) do with their dogs!Click To Tweet

After all, it’s not just a puppy or dog. It’s your family member! And one that will be living with you for the next 10+ years. This isn’t just a little bit of time. There are commitments, responsibilities, and costs that pop up in places you’d never imagine.

And still, it’s your family member! Not a random piece of property or “just a dog.” And this is exactly what puts breeders (and dog owners too) in a sticky situation that you need to know about if you’re looking to buy a German Shepherd puppy.

By no means is this article meant to scare you or make raising a Shepherd feel like the hardest thing in the World. In fact, I’ll be the first to admit that there are many thing harder than raising a Shepherd puppy and many things harder than training them to be a great family dog as an adult.

The sticky situation isn’t entirely in your control. It comes down to how the dog industry operates (more on that another time).

Dog laws in many states are written to make dogs similar to property.

They’re ‘property’ in the eyes of the law, but feellike family…

See the problem?


Where most German Shepherd puppy pricing articles miss the boat

Much like dog laws you’ll read about on your town’s website, the dog training information you’ll find online is just as confusing…

Don’t believe me?

Try a quick Google search for a real, specific question you’d like an answer to. I bet the search will turn up nothing but half-written articles and short sighted attempts to persuade you to buy a German Shepherd puppy. Take a look:

Real German Shepherd Puppy Costs

If you’ve been researching puppies, maybe you feel it.

Let's get a few important dog world notes out of the way.

To address the off-base search results above:

Claim A; about puppy prices from respectable breeders:

“Respectable breeders” would never charge $300-$900 per puppy because think about it, they need to raise the puppies for 8 full weeks, not to mention caring for a pregnant mother (unless they have a foster program), food, shots, toys, and more. And where I understand it’s not every breeder’s goal to make a profit, it’s important for you to understand that breeders who charge these prices are putting undue risk on their litters.

It doesn’t make sense until you really think about it…

By pricing puppies too low at $300-$900, breeders have no ability to cover a major medical expense for a pregnant (or recovering) mother, a sick puppy, or a sick litter. And yes, entire litters can get sick. Very sick, at times. These are the sad, hidden secrets of the dog breeding world. Just because they are not publicized anywhere does not, unfortunately, mean they do not exist.

Claim B; about how much it costs to own an adult Shepherd

The dog care prices stated in claim B depend completely on your lifestyle, the dog’s health, and much, much more. Sweeping generalizations like this are dangerous if you’re making a decision to buy a German Shepherd puppy based on price alone.

Many puppy owners from past Hayes Haus litters puppy owners have admitted to me that their head was spinning while trying to find information about best practices for choosing a breeder, and after buying their puppy it only got worse while sifting through unhelpful puppy training articles.

This struggle for puppy owners is one of the main reasons we teamed up with other dog industry professionals to found Bark Better. We’ve been working together to release some live puppy training videos on Facebook, like this one:

And in the next few months, we’ll be working together to make this whole process a heck of a lot easier for families like yours to not only find a reputable German Shepherd breeder, but also train their puppy the right way, meaning using a system that’s proven to work!

If you’re at all confused about the dog world and wondering who to buy your puppy from or how to raise it the right way, then I can’t blame you because I’ve been in the dog industry for over 15 years and still get confused by how it operates.

If you keep reading, I’m going to help break down the real costs associated with buying a German Shepherd puppy and raising him or her to become a great family dog that’s both healthy and happy.

Disclaimer: consider the real cost of a German Shepherd “Puppy”

These costs are not concrete because everybody’s lifestyle is different…

German Shepherd Dog Leaning on Fence

Seemingly simple things like whether or not you own a fence (and what type) can have a drastic affect on your personal cost for owning a German Shepherd Dog.

They’re not promises, but ARE based on lots of experience training in rescues and breeding 200+ German Shepherd puppies in Massachusetts.

I’ll definitely give you exact numbers you can expect to be spend when buying your puppy and estimate on what raising him or her will cost, but I can’t stress enough that the up front cost of owning a German Shepherd puppy is the last ownership consideration that should be on your mind right now.

I understand many people just want to see the numbers, though. I won’t stop you. Though I do recommend reading the entire article from start to finish, here are the raw numbers if that’s all you’re interested in:

Puppy ownership cost breakdown


Between $300 and $10,000


Between $20-$100 per month


Between $25-200 per month


Between $0 and $10,000 per month


Between $150 and $5,000+ per month


Between $0 and $2,500 per month


Between $25 and $2,000 per month

Wanna skip ahead to the in-depth break down? Surely.

Click here to start with 8 week old German Shepherd puppy pricing

Considering how you live your life (and how you would like to live it in the future) is a better first step, before moving on to the exact costs of your canine investment. To understand why, consider this:

A dog living in the middle of Boston will have different needs than one living in a more country setting. These dogs have similar costs associated with them, sure. For example, the investment to buy the dog is around the same price. Toys are similar in price, as is food. But as the your new puppy ages into a full grown dog and beyond differences will creep in. As your puppy grows up, you’ll realize that there are some things you can’t put a price tag on…

Why I Re-Wrote This Article for 2016

I originally wrote “Should I Buy a German Shepherd Puppy” in 2009 and it was well received on popular dog forums like But the passage time is a catalyst for change and a perspective shift.

The dog world needs to head in a different direction. And whether puppies are legally considered ‘property’ or considered your family, the first step in the right direction is helping first time German Shepherd owners understand their investment!

So here, we are going to break down the potential cost of owning a German Shepherd in all the areas in your life in which owning dog will impact you.

Exactly How To Decide Whether Owning A German Shepherd Is Right For Your Family

If I could give you one bit of advice about buying a German Shepherd puppy (especially from a breeder) it would be this:

The financial cost of owning a German Shepherd Dog is perhaps the least most important to consider.

Many factors in dog ownership are just as important as the financial cost:

A few of these hidden costs include:

Educational costs. Spending money on learning is critical; especially if you’re a first time dog owner of first time German Shepherd owner.

The complex emotional costs of owning a German Shepherd dog.

A big shift in general life responsibilities from non-dog owner to now being a dog owner.

Less time for you? Or just a different kind of time when you own a GSD?

And finally, yes. The financials. But as I’ll explain, how much owning a German Shepherd costs has very little to do with how much the puppy costs.

Educational Costs & Benefits; Learning about German Shepherd puppies now is smart, but you’ll need more education too

When you are contemplating dog ownership, the educational aspect is arguably the most important bit. It’s also one that feels most confusing to new (or potentially new) German Shepherd owners.

Crazy Puppies Flipping Around With Each Other

Why? Because dogs are not human (proven in the picture above?), so applying human reasoning and human teaching styles to their behavior and training (dog education) is a “no no.” I just doesn’t work and leads to frustration.

What’s the solution?

We must learn more about dogs and understand the world through their eyes.Click To Tweet

This way, when giving feedback or working through an issue, we can be sure the dog will understand the process we are using to adjust something in it’s life.

By communicating clearly, they understand us better, we understand them better, and being a dog owner becomes a bit easier.

You may be wondering… Where’s the cost here?

Besides buying books about the GSD breed, dog training courses, or hiring a dog trainer to help you learn, the cost of dog education is hidden just like many other costs of dog ownership…

However, we recommend books “The Art of Raising A Puppy” and “How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” for all new German Shepherd puppy owners and for those considering adding one to their family. The books are written by The Monks of New Skete (pictured below), well-respected dog behavior experts.

Monks of New Skete; Respected Dog Behavior Experts

Keep in mind while you read these two books that the Monks get to spend all day with their dogs. For the most part, the dogs are their life. So don’t feel overwhelmed by the training regime they recommend. Take what works for your lifestyle and adjust accordingly.

The educational cost of owning a dog has more to do with your time than your wallet.

Consider these questions:

How much is your time worth?

If you’re retired, you certainly have more time to train and educate yourself about German Shepherd puppies than if you were working full time. Most new puppy owners don’t have the luxury to invest tons of time into research and preparation.

It’s why we get a handful of inquiries every day about trained German Shepherd puppies. For many people, the time spent learning about crate training is better spent elsewhere.

But whether or not you crate train your puppy or have an expert do it, being educated about your puppy/dog and your breed is vital as you raise your dog. You can have someone else train your German Shepherd, but you can’t have someone else raise the dog.

Litter in Whelping Box at Hayes Haus Kennels

Many puppy price articles and even breeders forget that not everyone can spend all day with their dog. And the time you can spend with your dog directly affects the cost of ownership.

Also, the more time you invest into learning about your dog’s breed and behavior up front will almost always directly subtract from the additional time and money you would’ve had to spend fixing issues that are could have been avoided.

Dogs are animals with the ability to make decisions for themselves but without the ability to fully decide whether or not that decision is the correct one.

It’s best to be prepared.

The educational cost of owning a Shepherd is multiplied by the fact not everyone is a “dog person”


Not everyone is a dog person…

Not everyone likes or enjoys the company of animals. When you are a dog owner you are an ambassador for animals in our society. It is your job to make sure your dog puts forth a good impression. This, of course, doesn’t always happen the way we imagine, so being able to clearly communicate with other humans about your dog, and perhaps their dog or their objections to dogs, is crucial for being a helpful ambassador.

Understanding how your dog thinks and why your German Shepherd puppy or dog behaves a certain way takes time. There WILL be frustration, too. But trust me when I say that you’ll thank yourself later for putting in the time investment. The dog world will thank you too 🙂

The exciting emotions you’ll feel when buying your German Shepherd puppy will fade after a short while…


The emotional costs, benefits, and values of owning a German Shepherd are very often overlooked until we have established a relationship with the dog. These unseen “negative” or emotionally draining aspects of owning a dog (whether German Shepherd breed or otherwise) can not be understated.

Luckily, we could go on all day, for pages and pages, rattling off ways dogs improve your life and how you feel; from the release of oxytocin into our bodies when we have contact with them to having a non-judgmental ear to talk off in moments of strife.

You’ll miss and worry about your dog because dogs end up becoming big parts of our human families.

You’ll ‘feel bad’ for leaving them just as you to with your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, or father. It’s natural. But you can’t speak with your dog over the phone or write them an email as you can with the humans you miss in your life. We FEEL the same things towards our dogs as we do our human counterparts. Leaving them for trips, board and train programs, or extended vet stays can lead to feeling anxious if you’re not prepared.

Remember when I mentioned that these considerations aren’t concrete?

This is one of those cases.

Pro Tip: Leave your puppy somewhere!

But not just anywhere!

It’s a good practice to leave your puppy with a friend, family member, dog trainer, or boarding facility a few times when they’re young so they learn that it’s okay to be without you for a while.

Whether or not you’re emotionally ready to own a German Shepherd puppy is a different question and different answer for everyone because each of us has a different lifestyle. Some people can “handle” being away from their canine best friend and some cannot. For some, this is easier when the dog is a puppy than when an adult dog and for others vice versa.

So before you decide if you should buy a German Shepherd puppy, consider how you’ll feel leaving the dog with someone while you’re away. It’s not the biggest thing to let affect your decision making process, but it’s one to certainly keep in mind.

Other dog owners will test your emotions, especially when you own a German Shepherd puppy

Count on life’s inevitable ability to throw a stick in your spokes as you are riding around peacefully, assuming nothing bad will ever happen to you and your dog…

Your dog will have less than optimal encounters with other animals, environments and other humans.

A “less than friendly” dog could rush up to you on a walk and scare your puppy.

The possibilities are endless…

Many of these situations will be “sticky” to say the least but before you decide whether you should buy a German Shepherd puppy or not, you must accept that they will happen. They happen to me. They happen to Hayes Haus puppy owners.

It’s part of owning a puppy and raising a dog, but knowing sporadic emotional turmoil is par for the course you can better prepare your mind for future distress. And acquire the knowledge you’ll need to work through some of the most common dog problems.

You’re buying a German Shepherd puppy now, but FAST FORWARD 12 years…

It’s sad to put this in writing, but statistics tell us that you will almost certainly outlive your canine counterpart…

0 years
Average Shepherd Lifespan
0 years
Average Human Lifespan

Sad face…

This will be one of the most emotionally trying moments of your life because loss felt is always equal to the subtraction of value the being held. And since your dog will likely have extremely high value to you (verging on pricelessness), it will be a particularly difficult blow to endure. If you’ve owned a dog before, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s terrible.

It cannot be avoided, but we can find peace in it…

Dogs come into the world knowing everything that we attempt to teach humans throughout their life. Dogs know to live in the moment and cherish those they love. They know to add positively to their family unit and provide unwavering loyalty and trust. And it is said because they know these things intrinsically they simply need less time on the earth to live out their life fully.

The unexpected responsibilities that come with puppy ownership…

Many of the responsibilities that come with buying or owning a German Shepherd have been touched on in the educational and emotional sections above. Even still, responsibilities remain…

Dogs don't take days off! And on their 'sick days' they are MORE work as opposed to less!Click To Tweet

You’re adding a German Shepherd puppy to your family?

Great choice! But only if you accept that your life just became MUCH more unpredictable.

Basically, what I’m saying is… well, poop happens!

German Shepherd Puppy Pooping

Told ya!

You have become responsible for another life, and like having a child the onerous duty of protecting that life is inherently yours and yours alone. Your decisions made in the realm of your animal can have consequences.

This area of ownership takes some time and education. Researching boarding and daycare facilities, setting up emergency plans and funds, having some “go-to” humans to call if you need a hand dealing with chaos in your life (that can be dog caused or human caused)

How much time does owning a German Shepherd puppy take out of your schedule?

We touched a bit on the time associated with German Shepherd ownership above too, but a very conservative time breakdown is would be helpful here…


According to the 10,000 hour rule popularized by Malcom Gladwell, it take 10,000 hours to master a specific skill. Prepare to spend that much “mastering” your dog. Spend time traveling, lounging, and playing together. Treat your dog as part of your family, but not like a human.

This is why education is important and why we recommend dedicating lots of time to it not only before bringing your new puppy home, but long after they’re settled in as a family member too.


Care costs for German Shepherds will vary greatly from dog to dog. Some Shepherds need a lot of physical exercise (a few hours a day) and some need very little. Some need extensive brushing and trimming where others need only to be brushed occasionally.

Fortunately, the mental side of dog care can be accomplished through playing and walking with your dog. And these are things that can easily be woven into daily schedules.

The positive outcomes of doing daily tasks with your dog can’t be overstated. You’ll thank yourself later that you spent extra time caring for your puppy as he or she was growing up. Small daily decision points are where the real German Shepherd ownership costs shine through. It can become all too easy to ignore your dog as time goes on, but it’s critical not to.


Play is the area in which your dog learns the most so it’s important to dedicate lots of time to structured play, especially when you have a high-energy German Shepherd puppy on your hands. Understanding that dogs learn through play makes it easy to see why habits acquired at doggie daycare frequently make the list of behaviors owners want to change about their dogs.

For puppies and dogs, it’s not just about learning through play on the surface level…

Maya vom Hayes Haus

Canines learn to act in socially acceptable ways because groups of dogs tend not to put up with riled up puppies, bullies, or dogs that are overly fearful. Because many dogs dislike these behaviors just as much as you do, it’s frequent that a dog in the group will administer a correction for unwanted behavior without YOU having to intervene and do it yourself.

Pro Tip: use play as training

All mammals learn better when they are enjoying the activity.

This is a big reason why play is so powerful and engaging for you and your puppy.

Just like humans you want to make sure the influences in your dog’s life add value, not make your life more difficult. Because if this is the case, it’s important to consider whether or not those activities are worth the time investment.

One important hidden cost of dog ownership

Dogs, like children, require differing amounts of direct attention and in vastly different ways. But, one thing you can be 100% sure of is that they need time.

We established this above…

They need your time, but they also need many other people’s time too. The very best way to mitigate the time cost of owning a German Shepherd dog is to roll them into a healthy lifestyle:

Eat food that is healthy for you AND your dog so you can share.Click To Tweet

Exercise with your dog, go on walks, throw a ball, play tug etc.

There are many activities that you are already taking part in that a dog would be a pleasant addition. This way the dog isn’t “taking” time from your day but spending time WITH you.

Differing and combative opinions in the dog world are anything but scarce. It is your responsibility to handle these encounters with poise and knowledge. Keeping your emotional responses to a minimum and being an expert in the situations you and your dog are commonly taking part in will go further than you think.

What is the real financial cost of raising a German Shepherd puppy to be a great family dog?

The fact you’ve read this far instead of skipping straight to the financial section tells me that you’re here to learn whether owning a German Shepherd is right for you. It tells me that now we’re ready to talk about the financial side of your dog investment…

The Cost of Buying an 8 Week Old German Shepherd Puppy

What you’ll pay for your puppy depends on where your puppy comes from, how it was raised wherever it came from, and the support you intend to receive both before, during, and after purchasing and bringing home your dog.

As you’ll see below, costs vary! And we certainly do NOT recommend going out and spending $10,000 on a puppy is for everyone. Spending that much on a puppy alone is rarely, if ever, necessary but this shouldn’t take away from that fact that it DOES matter where you buy your puppy.

Whether you buy from a rescue or specialty breeder, choosing where to buy your puppy should be viewed like you’re making an investment.

Note: these are not Hayes Haus puppy prices. You can inquire about our current availability through email.

Rescues: $0-$1,000

Costs associated here include housing, adoption fee, potential medical needs for the puppy, and spay/neutering, which is generally required by rescues.

Backyard breeders: $300-$1,200

Here, the breeding dogs are are “just their pets” with no screening, testing, or expertise involved. Many times, backyard breeders have the best of intentions however, are misinformed of best practices and what it truly takes to breed, whelp, and raise a litter, never mind time needed to properly answer customer questions, do paper work, sell the dog the right way, truly guarantee the dog for a respectable amount of time, and support the dog owner (that’s you) forever!

Many backyard breeders start breeding because they love dogs, then back both themselves and other breeders into a corner by offering impossibly low prices if your aim is to do things the right way.

Reputable Breeders:$2,500-$7,000

A reputable breeder can be loosely defined as someone who earns a living breeding dogs and spends the vast majority of their time with their breeding dogs and puppies, both past and present.

Reputable dog breeders in general usually choose to breed only one or two types of breeds and very seldom more. Dog breeds have their own distinct personalities and all take time to learn, so be careful of dog directories that sell dogs like products without any clear transparency of who the puppy’s parents are, where they came from, and where the puppies were raised.

Specialty Breeders:$4,000-$10,000

Usually, specialty breeders breed one specific breed for a specific service. For example, breeding then training labradors to be guide dogs or St Bernards to be avalanche rescue dogs.

Keep in mind that these prices are for 8 week old German Shepherd puppies, not for 10 week old, 12 week, or 16 week old puppies.

As puppies get older, breeders should be training and exposing the puppy properly to safe environments. Unfortunately, doing so daily takes LOTS of time and energy and it’s very often that breeders have none of either to give older puppies.

Because of this, it’s important to consider puppy pricing from a logical standpoint…

The price of a puppy should increase as the puppy ages, otherwise aging puppies are seen as a detriment to a breeder and not an asset. Having an older puppy should be an opportunity for the breeder to help start the dog’s life off on the right foot, but it’s the sad fact that these dogs are often seen as a detriment.

Many times they’re neglected, so if you’re buying an older puppy it’s important to ask the breeder what the puppy’s life has looked like over the past few weeks.

p.s. there are still “rare” breeds who’s price tags will be exorbitant, especially for puppies (Afghan hounds, Tibetan mastiffs).

I understand puppy ownership isn’t right for everyone, so if you’re looking to buy an adult German Shepherd, use these prices for reference:

The Cost of Buying an Adult German Shepherd Dog: $0-$100,000+


$0-$1,000, depending on adoption fees. With the potential medical bills and rehabilitation training you may or may not need, costs can rise. Hayes Haus recommends strongly considering rescuing a German Shepherd Dog instead of purchasing an 8 week old puppy. We simply recommend you ask questions and ‘do your research.’

Trained Hunting Dog

$2,500-$25,000 (Gun dog types, retrievers, pointers and such. They can be trained in all sorts of hunting skills, price varies on time with the dog and skills obtained)

Executive Protection Dog

$15000-$250,000 (extensive in kennel training to cover dangerous scenarios based on the owner’s lifestyle, and continual training thereafter to maintain the dogs sharpness.)

Guide Dog

$10,000- $100,000 (Personal assistance dogs and guide dogs are priced for their abilities, some are capable of leading someone who is 100% blind in a busy place, others act as emotional support to children, there is a different set of skills for each dog.

Pet Insurance: $20-$100+ per month.

Dog insurance pricing is dependent on your dog’s breed, the deductibles you choose, and life variables.

Like humans, healthier dogs (determined by breed, age, and other factors) enjoy lower rates.

We are currently doing extensive research on dog insurance in hopes of uncovering something that will make medical bills less expensive for dog owners; especially German Shepherd owners. If you’d like us to keep you in the loop on our progress, email us: [email protected] and we’ll add you to the update list!

Dog Food: $25-$200 per month

A high quality food will cost more up front, but it will save you in the long run.

We’ve been feeding Hayes Haus Shepherds Life’s Abundance Kibble for years and have had success. But with that being said, much like with the insurance, we are always open to change because in the dog world, you need to be.

New dog foods come out every day and just because they have good reviews doesn’t mean they’ll be good for your dog. Very few long-term studies have been done on dog food, which is something we’re hoping to change.

Pro tip: avoid puppy food

Many times, food made specifically for puppies lacks nutrients essential for puppy development. All stage dog foods are great for puppies and we recommend mixing in raw foods that are safe for dogs, too! Recommended human foods that dogs can eat include most veggies, and meats straight off the bone.

Many options exist and not all brands will agree with your dog. Much like humans, dog’s stomaches are all different so different foods will agree one dog where they do not with another from the same breed, or even from the same litter!

Below are approximate costs for a few popular dog food brands. And remember, because these foods are <em>popular</em> or because your vet recommends them does not mean they are good for your dog:

Purina: approximately $25 per month

You can buy Purina dog food at the Dollar Store, KMart, and most gas stations.

It can sometimes sit on the shelves for years before entering your dog’s body.

It’s also one of the most recommended dog foods by bet. I’ll let you put the gut-wrenching dots together on this one…

Blue Buffalo: approximately $60 per month

Blue Buffalo makes a strong product, but has experienced a handful of unfortunate recalls so we are weary to recommend them outright. Even if they’ve made changes, it’s difficult for us to recommend a dog food that could have been sitting on the shelves for months…

Merrick: approximately $75 per month

Merrick has a wide range of products for dogs which includes bones, treats, and the actual dog food they’re known for. It’s good quality and perhaps the best you’ll find on the walls of pet stores. Recently, they’ve released lines of kibble mixed with freeze-dried raw bits, which come in a variety of meats from chicken, to beef, to salmon. An upper end option we recommend if you’re looking for food at your local pet store.

Life’s Abundance approximately $100 per month

The pricing for Life’s Abundance mentioned above factors in shipping, as the food is direct to consumer. This means it doesn’t sit on shelves for months. Their grain-free option is what we use and recommend. It has limited ingredients, which is something to look for when you’re searching for dog food.

Pre-packaged raw diets: upwards of $150-$300 per month

Feeding a raw diet to your German Shepherd can have tremendous health benefits which include but are not limited to better oral health, shiner coat, and more energy. It does come with a price, however. It’s up to you to decide whether or not your living situation merits the decision.

You can also mix raw food with high-quality kibble to reduce costs!

Training: $0-$10,000 per month

You’ll have to invest time training or pay a professional to train your dog with you. Dogs are amazing creatures and can be taught to help us in many ways. As a result, many training opportunities exist for intelligent breeds like the German Shepherd. The complexity if your training will help determine:

Early stage puppy training: $500-$5,000 per week

Early puppy training often includes crate training and proper socialization but can include more depending on your wants or needs.

The $500 range will likely get you socialization only (plus, of course, the boarding of your puppy).

Crate training packages for puppies traditionally start at $1,000 to $1,250 per week due to the dedication involved, like getting up at Midnight, 2:00 AM, and 5:00 AM to take your puppy outside.

The upper price range of the range of early stage puppy training generally includes more advanced or specialized training; including but not limited to house breaking, advanced puppy obedience work, or laying the foundation for sport or working dog training later in life.

Puppy kindergarten: $100-$500 per class

Pricing difference for puppy kindergarten depend on the trainer’s experience, training specialty, and your location. Puppy kindergartens are generally much more expensive in and around cities, especially in the Northeast part of America.

Basic obedience $50-$5,000 per class

Basic obedience classes depend on not only the factors mentioned regarding puppy kindergarten, but also the scope of training and class size. Smaller classes with more experienced trainers (working or sport dog trainers) can and should cost more because of the value you’re receiving.

The upper range (thousands per lesson) is reserved for high-touch working dog training and are not something you’ll need to even get close to if you’re looking to train a family dog.The $150-$300 per lesson range is a realistic expectation for hiring a reputable, experienced dog trainer in Massachusetts. Other parts of the country fall in line with similar ranges.

Private lessons: $100-$500 per lesson

$100 is certainly a low end for high-touch private dog training lessons and you can expect to pay a good deal more if you’re looking to solve difficult behavioral problems. As mentioned throughout this article, the need for behavior modification of any kind can be avoided if you check the education and training box off early in your puppy’s life, assuming you buy the puppy when they’re 8 weeks old.

Board and train: $500-$5,000 per week

Board and train programs for dogs are one of the best ways to get your German Shepherd behaving in a way you can be proud of. We discuss board and train programs on the page linked to above.

If you’re looking to purchase a puppy and plan a few weeks of board and train for the future, many breeders will oblige. But make sure they’re not just dog breeders, but behavioral trainers too! Whether your dog’s board and train session is one week, two, or a month, that’s a lot of time to spent with your dog. Make sure you ask the right questions so the session doesn’t hurt more than it helps.

Sport Training$50-$200 per lesson

Because the breed learns quickly, finding a sport dog trainer for your GSD will be easier than finding one for other breeds. Popular dog sports include frisbee, agility, nose work, and herding. And of course, a list of Sport training for German Shepherd Dogs wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Schutzhund; a mix of protection, odor detection, search and rescue, and more.

Schutzhund originated in Germany and is extremely popular amongst German Shepherd owners in the United States and abroad. You can learn more about Schutzhund training by visiting The United Schutzhund Clubs of America’s site.

Care: $500-$1,000+ per month

German Shepherd care costs can range from minuscule to astronomical depending on your dog’s age, activity level, general health, and coat length. Coat length is important as grooming can get pricey.

I’ve included some cost below for your reference, but this is by no means an exhaustive list of what you’ll need to properly care for your German Shepherd dog.

Grooming: $35-$100 per bath

Some luxury groomers charge more, but you should be looking in this range when trying to find a groomer for your German Shepherd.

Long coats of course will cost more to care for, but this can be managed by the amount of grooming keep up you do at home. Introducing your puppy to proper grooming habits at an early age will make them less inlined to put up a fight when they’re adults.

Boarding: $30-$150 per day

Boarding facilities range in quality from “I wouldn’t want a wild animal to be kept in these conditions” to “wow, I’d sleep at this boarding facility myself!” So for boarding, we recommend taking a tour before deciding to board your dog for any period of time.

Most reputable boarding facilities will have ample testimonials from repeat customers you can sift through and some may even have a video walk through on their website.

Day care: $30-$75 per day

Similar considerations as a boarding facility. Make sure you ask questions about what your dog will be doing during the day, including but not limited to exercise time, bathroom trips (to where, and how frequently), as well as interaction with other dogs.

Many top doggie daycares in your area will have extensive procedures and rules available for you to check out before you make the decision to enroll your dog. If you have any questions on best practices after reviewing a doggie daycare’s rules, then please feel free to message us. We’re here to help whether you purchase a puppy through us or not.

As stated earlier in this article, dogs learn best while they’re having fun and in groups. Combining the two with poor rules and regulations for days on end can “ruin” training time you’ve put in and instill bad habits.

Day training: $50-$250 per day

Similar considerations as doggie day care, but ask for success stories the trainer has had in day training dogs in the past. It’s best to use your best judgement here as every trainer, owner, and dog is different.

Dog walking: $5-$30 per walk

If you live in an apartment complex or major US city like Boston, then you may be in luck! Lots of these complexes now offer dog walking packages if you’re away for a while at work during the day. No longer do you need to leave your puppy in the crate all day.

These services do wonders for create training, because most puppies should be able to stay in the crate for 4 hour blocks during the day, provided they get ample exercise and mental stimulation before you leave for work and after you come home.

Vet: $0-$2,500+ per month

Annual visit: $25-$200

Most breeders take their litters to the vet before sending them home with you or entering them into an advanced training program.

Annual shots: $25-$200

Some owners choose to give their dogs all the shots vets recommend while other go a more holistic route. There are pros and cons for both, but setting aside $300 per month for vet costs in general is a smart decision.

Whether or not you use it, you’ll have a reserve stored for any potentially big bills that pop up seemingly out of nowhere.

Rabies shot: $0-$100

Your puppy’s rabies shot will be given at 6 months then again at 18 months. After that, your puppy will need a rabies shot once every three years to keep up with best practice and most local laws (however, please check with your local government’s bylaws to confirm the rules for your town)

Antibiotics for infections: $25-$250

This cost does not include to the vet visit where the shots will be given. Unfortunate, yes. Add another $25-$200 for each of these vet visits depending on your vet’s pricing.

Obstruction/broken bones: $2,000-$10,000+

Multiply these prices if bad timing lands you at the animal emergency room during off-hours, a weekend, or a holiday.

We recommend putting some money aside in an emergency fund for your dog just in case surprises pop up, which they almost always do…

Miscellaneous dog supplies

This is another area where we could go on forever and ever. There’s a massive selection of dog supplies ranging from cheap (will break down the same day you buy) to ultra-premium.

Naturally, these costs will be higher when your puppy is younger because you’ll need to purchase everything for the first time. Here’s a selection of pricing expectations to help get your brain moving for what you may want or need:

Crate: $50-$1500 (one time purchase at adult size)

If you’re crate training your puppy at home, we strongly recommend purchasing a small, puppy-sized create. This will make crate training much easier for you…

Crates are abundant and can easily be found on craigslist. Try that before purchasing at markup from a pet store.

For premium options, some crates have organizational drawers, storage add-ons, and even crash safety ratings for when you’re traveling with your puppy/dog.

Food Bowls: $10-$50

Grab one for water, and another for food. Stainless steel is recommend for hygiene and maintainence benefits. They can be rinsed out between uses, then washed in the dishwasher which makes puppy food time a little easier for you.

ID Tags: $10-$50

Required by most local laws and can be designed and cut at some vet offices, or at your local pet store.

Microchip: $50-$150

Hayes Haus puppies all come with a microchip and we recommend that if your puppy does not come with one, then you get one immediately. Spending less than $100 to prepare in advance for potentially losing your dog (in a worst case scenario) can save lots of heartache.

Training collars: $10-$75

Options include martingale collars, prong collars, choke chains, and many others. The collar we recommend depends on your puppy’s age, training experience, temperament, how they take to training, and a variety of other factors.

Training collars for your puppy are not one size fits all.

Pun intended.

Moving along.

Electronic Training collars: $100-$1000+

Electronic collar technology is getting better and better. Please consult a dog trainer who has experience with electronic collars before putting one around your dog’s neck.

Leashes: $10-$50

A well-made leather leash will last your dog’s entire life. Buy a nice one that’s comfortable to hold when they’re a puppy and you won’t regret it.

Dog toys: $0-$200+ per month

Flirt Pole: $35-$150

Not only a toy, but an excellent training tool for high-drive German Shepherd puppies and older dogs alike.

Balls: $1-$50

Lacrosse balls and tennis balls are both balls of fun. They’re cheap too, so each of them to see which your dog likes better.

Frisbee: $5-$30

Playing frisbee with your dog can be as enjoyable for you as it is for them. It’s also a good test to see whether or not they’d take to competitive frisbee as a dog sport!

Tug Toys: $10-$100

Tug toys are critical for German Shepherd training and general development. Be careful of rope toys that fray apart. They’re great for your dog’s teeth, but shouldn’t be swallowed. Definitely not a toy we recommend leaving your dog alone with.

Elk Antlers: $10-$100

We give Hayes Haus puppies elk antlers before they go home and they love them. Great for teething and keeping an energetic puppy entertained.

Kong Toys: $5-$50

While we don’t recommend all toys you’ll find at pet stores, we do recommend Kong. Specifically the “extreme” version (black in color) as it’s something that you’ll be able to keep as your dog ages. Like elk antlers, kongs are great for teething puppies and keeping adult dogs entertained.

Pro Tip: Small balls are a choking hazard.

As a precaution, we recommend avoiding them; especially golf balls.

Toys and accessories are personal preference but dogs don’t seem to care whether something is new or not.

Old toys and unconventional items often work best in keeping a German Shepherd puppy or adult dog entertained.

Have we considered enough German Shepherd costs?

…or not enough?

After updating this article for 2016, we feel that you as a potentially new German Shepherd puppy owner is now better prepared for what life and the dog world may soon throw at you.

We feel we have touched upon every “real cost” of ownership from time and money, to the unavoidable emotional connection with your dog and how it can affect your life…

Please take all this information into consideration before you bring a German Shepherd into your family, your home and into your heart.

They will give you all they have, and they require so little, by comparison, in return.

A German Shepherd dog will light up your life if you let it, regardless of cost.Click To Tweet

ps. if you didn’t grab your free Breeder Question PDF download, you can do so by clicking the image below:

german shepherd breeder questions

I invite you to leave a comment below…

I’d love to hear what you think about the topics discussed in this article and if you have any questions, you can post them below too!

German Shepherd Ownership Costs Beyond Simple Puppy Pricing
Article Name
German Shepherd Ownership Costs Beyond Simple Puppy Pricing
Examining the real costs of owning a German Shepherd Dog; beyond the price you'll pay for your 8 week old puppy.
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Hayes Haus Kennels LLC
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About the Author Brandon Hayes

Founder of Hayes Haus Kennels, Brandon Hayes grew up in Massachusetts and is no stranger to the dog world. He's been working as a dog trainer for 15+ years and breeding German Shepherd Dogs since 2009. In his free time, he enjoys coaching wresting at Triton High School.

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