Once you have decided the Australian Shepherd is the breed for you, it's time to determine their price point. The cost of an Australian Shepherd can vary depending on a number of factors, including where you live, the breeder you purchase from, pedigree, age, gender, and if you're purchasing from a backyard breeder or a reputable, established breeder. Write down what you're looking for and go from there.
How Much Do Australian Shepherds Cost?
Australian Shepherds aren't known to be overly expensive, but their cost can vary greatly based on several factors. You can expect to pay between $450 to $2,000 for an Australian Shepherd, with some being sold as high as $3,000. A reputable dog breeder will have spent the time and money necessary to produce healthy puppies. Even though the initial investment may seem to be substantial, it's worth finding and working with a reputable breeder, for your future puppy's sake.
Don't confuse the cost of the puppy with reputation. Puppy mill dogs sold at pet stores can still carry a hefty price tag.
Factors That Influence the Price of an Australian Shepherd
The price you will pay for an Australian Shepherd will vary based on several factors:
If you want a dog from a show-dog lineage, you will pay more than one who was sold as a pet, or a dog who has been raised on the farm herding sheep.
- Show-Quality Dogs. Show-quality dogs cost more because they are carefully bred to produce the best possible specimen of their breed. Show-quality dogs have been carefully bred to meet breed standards; not just physical appearance, but also temperament and ability, so even if you're not interested in showing your dog, these characteristics can make show-quality dogs great pets.
- Breeder-Quality Dogs. Breeder-quality dogs are sold with the intention of being bred. If you are considering breeding your puppy someday, you will want to look for breeder-quality dogs that have permission from the owner to have future litters. These dogs often cost more than pet-quality dogs, but less than show-quality.
- Pet-Quality Dogs. Pet-quality dogs are those your breeder intends to send to homes looking for companion dogs. Frequently, responsible breeders will request the owner sign a contract stating they will return the puppy if they ever need to find them a new home. They may also require spay/neuter by a certain age along with confirmation that you have a veterinarian.
Puppies will cost more than the average adult dog, unless you are purchasing your Aussie for specialized purposes, such as to be a service dog. It's easier to sell a puppy than it is to sell an adult dog. Most people want puppies, and breeders will often let them go home with you when they are between 8 and 12 weeks old. Their critical socialization period goes up to 16 weeks, providing owners with plenty of time to allow the puppy to adapt to new surroundings. Following the 12-week period, you may notice breeders lowering puppy prices for a particular litter, if there are any left.
Sometimes, if you can't find a reputable breeder nearby, a breeder will agree to ship your dog to you. In general, the price of shipping your puppy will depend on where you live and where you're shipping your puppy from. Shipping fees also vary depending on what type of crate you use for your dog's transportation needs. You'll need to look into how much it costs to ship a puppy before deciding whether it's worth it for your situation or not.
Take a look at different travel services to ensure your puppy makes it home safe with a quality carrier. Ask the breeder if they have any suggestions.
Buy From a Good Breeder
Ask your breeder for health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; thrombopathia from Auburn University; and normal eyes from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).
All of these genetic ailments are common in Australian Shepherd dogs. Find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your dog's parents if you're buying a puppy. Health clearances demonstrate that a dog has been checked for and cleared of some hereditary conditions. To verify health clearances, you can check the OFA website.
Where to Buy an Australian Shepherd
You can begin by contacting your local affiliate at the Australian Shepherd Club of America. They have a list of reputable breeders, which is particularly important if you're searching for show-quality dogs. The Aussie Times also contains breeder advertisements you can contact. Sign up for a subscription to the bi-monthly newsletter for access.
I cannot overstate the importance of purchasing from a reputable breeder. If you accidentally purchase a puppy from a puppy mill, you should be ready to handle a slew of health problems. Puppy mill dogs are not bred responsibly, with many being inbred, mistreated, and without veterinary care. To avoid purchasing from a puppy mill, ask plenty of questions, request to see the mother or both parents if they're available, and request health clearances.
Adopting From a Shelter
Dog adoptions typically cost between $100 to $200 USD for puppies up to 1-year-old, or $50 to $100 USD for adult dogs over the age of 1. Adoption price varies based on where you live and the adoption agency, but generally doesn't go over $300 in most cases.
Adopting a dog comes with its own set of benefits, including:
- Understanding the dog's personality if they're an adult
- Veterinary care and vaccinations have been taken care of
- The staff has been interacting with the dog and may know if there are any behavioral concerns
If you're interested in adopting an Aussie from a shelter, you can begin your search on Petfinder. You can also look at Save-a-Rescue for available dogs for adoption. You may notice some dogs are mixed breeds, with an Australian Shepherd likely being one of the adoptable dog's parents. If you aren't particular about adopting a purebred dog, that could be an option for you.
Choosing to Purchase or Adopt
When looking for the ideal Aussie, examine all the variables. You may want to look for a dog from a shelter if age and pedigree aren't a strict requirement. Or, if you're trying to find a puppy who fits the breed standard, search for reputable breeders to provide you with the dog you're looking for.