The German Shepherd is a sturdy family dog that is appreciated for its athletic temperament, intelligence, and aptitude for guarding. However, owning a German Shepherd is not cheap!
Unfortunately, it is easy for a family to underestimate the costs of having a dog, especially if it is their first time welcoming one into their home. Optimism may lead to financial hardships.
Similarly, cat owners may mistakenly assume that the cost of services for their companion will be similar for a future dog, leading to an inaccurate budget.
Adopting a pet without understanding the financial implications is never a good idea. After reading this article, you will be better equipped to make an informed decision and welcome your German Shepherd into your home.
What is the price of a German Shepherd puppy?
If you choose a reputable breeder, the average price for a purebred puppy such as a German Shepherd should range between $2000 and $4000.
This price typically includes:
- First vaccination
- Registration with the Canadian Kennel Club
- Health guarantee of 2 years
- Sometimes a “starter kit”, which may include a bag of food.
At this price, the breeder will require you to spay or neuter your pet at your own expense. A purebred dog with breeding rights is much more expensive.
On the other hand, adopting from a shelter costs on average between $500 and $600, which includes spaying/neutering, the first basic vaccination, rabies vaccination, and parasite treatment.
However, it is more challenging to find a specific breed of dog at a shelter, so it’s important to keep an open mind and listen to the advice of the professionals.
How much will a German Shepherd cost me over its entire life?
According to an 2021 article from the Quebec magazine Protégez-vous, the cost of owning a dog over a period of 14 years is approximately $45,000.
For you, this means a monthly budget of around $268, knowing that expenses will be higher in the first year and at the end of your pet’s life. Of course, this will be different for everyone, but it is a good baseline to keep in mind.
As you can see, welcoming a German Shepherd is not a decision to be taken lightly. More detailed costs will be outlined throughout the article.
Which expenses should I expect the first year?
In addition to paying the price of the puppy, there are several expenses that are difficult to avoid during the first year.
Spaying or neutering: The cost of the procedure ranges from $400 to $600.
Medical exams and vaccinations for the first year: You can expect 2 to 3 visits in the first year. This means you could spend around $366, plus $99 for a fecal exam.
Antiparasitic treatments for the first year: If they are not covered by the breeder, antiparasitic treatments, including deworming, will cost you $180.
Accessories : Except if you get a starting kit from your breeder, you will need to buy a crate, leash, harness, toys, a bed, a bowl, as well as recurring products such as poop bags. Expect to spend around 200$ to 300$.
Canine education: Do you want to start off your German Shepherd’s education on the right foot? Sending your companion to a “puppy kindergarten” will allow you to acquire the right reflexes and facilitate their socialization. Prices range from 250$ to 400$.
What are the other recurring costs that I should factor into my budget?
Food: The cost of food can vary significantly. A study by Kabo indicates that costs range from 450$ to 2,300$ per year.
However, unless you opt for truly “premium” food or a raw food diet, you should be able to limit your spending between $450 to $800. This still depends on the age of the dog and its level of activity.
Veterinary care: Based on average estimated costs by the AMVQ (Quebec Veterinary Medical Association) for an adult dog in 2021, if you are diligent about regular vet visits, you can expect:
- Medical consultation and health exam: $99 per year
- Vaccinations: $112 per year
- Antiparasitic treatments: $175
- Dental radiographs: $216 every 2 years, so $108 per year
- Teeth scaling and polishing: $529, as needed
- Prevention and screening based on medical needs: $219 per year
Insurance: Insuring your dog typically costs between $60 and $100 per month. It is not mandatory, but it can potentially save you a lot of money for unforeseen and costly illnesses and surgeries over the life of your pet. The cost of insurance will vary depending on several factors:
- The breed of the dog – some breeds are prone to health problems and will therefore cost more
- The deductible – if you agree to pay the first $200 of a claim, for example, your monthly insurance cost will be cheaper
- The age of the dog – it is much cheaper to insure a dog from a young age than to start the coverage at 10 years old
Grooming: Taking your dog to the groomer can cost around $60 per session.
License: Your city may require you to pay a license fee for your dog. In Montreal, for example, a license costs around $30 per year.
Boarding: Boarding your dog, for example if you go on vacation, costs around $30 per day.
Dog-walking: On average, hiring a professional to walk your dog will cost you $20 per session.
Specific costs for elderly dogs
One day, your German Shepherd will lose some of its former vitality. It is then necessary to plan for some additional costs related to the aging of a dog.
Supplements and prevention of arthritis: According to AMVQ (Quebec Veterinary Medical Association), in 2021, one should expect to pay $165 per year to cover these costs.
Blood tests: Specific blood tests for older dogs are recommended, at an annual cost of $300.
Euthanasia and cremation: According to an analysis by Protégez-vous, euthanasia in a clinic costs around $315. A common cremation, when one does not wish to keep the ashes of the animal, would cost approximately $140.
Tips for reducing the costs of owning a dog
To save money throughout your German Shepherd’s life, here are some practical tips:
1) Do the grooming yourself: By doing things like trimming your dog’s nails yourself instead of going to a groomer, you can save a lot of money in the long run. A good nail clipper costs between $10 and $20.
2) Take care of its health: Cleaning ears, trimming nails, brushing teeth, and cleaning around your dog’s eyes are tasks that owners often neglect. If you wait until your dog suffers from gingivitis to take care of its teeth, the vet bill will increase.
3) Buy second-hand: While it’s not always possible, many accessories (such as a crate) could be purchased second-hand on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji.
4) Adopt from a shelter: Unless you have a specific passion for the German Shepherd breed, less expensive companions are expecting you at the shelter, hoping for a second chance. They would make you just as happy.
Next step: adopt a German Shepherd
If you’re not sure if this breed is right for you, Lebernard can also help you gather information to make the right choice.
Last update date: January 2023