Clever, friendly, and energetic—the Australian Shepherd has it all. It’s not hard to see why these beautiful dogs are among the most popular in the United States. More and more people want to own an Aussie, and for many families, this dog is the perfect match for their needs.
But before you take a new pet home, you need to balance your budget so that you can give your new dog the care it needs without breaking the bank.
Bringing Home a New Australian Shepherd: One-Time Costs
Getting a new pet brings with it a host of expenses, both one-time and ongoing. When it comes to one-time costs, most people think about the price of the dog itself, but that might only be a small part of your dog’s total price tag. Getting all the equipment you need for an Australian Shepherd’s setup can take a solid chunk of change, too.
Here are some standard prices you can expect for buying a dog and all the equipment to go with it.
Free Australian Shepherds
If you’re extra lucky, you might come across an Australian Shepherd posted for free. These dogs are high-energy and take some serious time to care for properly, and some owners realize that they underestimated the commitment they’d need.
Finding a free Aussie is a great way to keep initial costs down, but it’s important to make sure that you know what you’re getting into. A poorly treated dog might develop serious issues, so inexperienced owners might find that their “good deal” has a lot of hidden costs.
Another budget option is to adopt an Australian Shepherd from your local shelter. This is a popular enough dog that it’s not too unusual for shelters to take one in. In some areas you may even be able to find a rescue organization that helps connect you to Aussies. Shelter fees vary widely, and many shelters charge more for puppies and purebreds. Most shelters have standard fees of $100–$300, but occasionally these fees are reduced or waived during adoption events.
Australian Shepherd breeders are the best way to go if you want a puppy. Prices vary, but expect to pay at least $800 for an Aussie from a quality breeder. Look for breeders that take good care of their dogs, including giving them proper vet care and lots of healthy socialization. A too-good-to-be-true price is often a sign that breeders are cutting corners at their dogs’ expense.
Initial Setup and Supplies
When you adopt an Australian Shepherd, you’ll need to have some basic supplies like a dog bed, food and water dishes, and a leash. Buying these supplies will add up a little bit, but the nice thing about most initial supplies is that they need to be replaced rarely if ever. Once you spend a few hundred dollars on initial supplies, you’ll be set for a while.
You also may need to do some initial vet care. Many adopted and breeder dogs already come spayed/neutered and vaccinated, but you might have to pay for these if your dog isn’t, and you’ll probably want to schedule a well check anyway. You also will want to microchip your dog.
List of Australian Shepherd Care Supplies and Costs
|Spay/Neuter||$100 – $400|
|Initial Well Check and Vaccines||$100 – $250|
|Microchip||$45 – $55|
|ID Tag and Collar||$15|
|Leash||$10 – $30|
|Crate||$30 – $100|
|Dog Bed||$10 – $50|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10|
|Toys||$20 – $100+|
How Much Does an Australian Shepherd Cost Per Month?
There are a lot of monthly costs to consider when caring for your Australian Shepherd, but the ones that will have the biggest dent on your budget are food, vet care, and pet insurance. Australian Shepherds aren’t the most expensive dogs in the world, but even if your costs are on the lower end it still adds up. Here are some of the most common costs to consider.
Taking care of your Australian Shepherd’s health is all-encompassing, with food, grooming, vet care, and pet insurance as the major costs to think about. Australian Shepherds aren’t small dogs, and their activity level keeps them hungry, so a solid food budget is a must! They are generally a fairly healthy breed, but they’ll still need some vet care as well.
Australian Shepherds generally need two to three cups of dog food a day. Since they’re so active, a high-protein, high-quality food is best for them, even if that means they need a little more. Depending on the brand of food you choose, you can expect most food to cost somewhere between $50 and $100.
Australian Shepherds have long coats that need regular grooming and bathing. If you decide to do it yourself, you won’t have to budget in grooming costs, except for the cost of supplies. However, if regular bathing sounds like too much, a professional grooming service costs about $30–$60 a month.
Medications and Vet Visits
Vet costs and medications will vary over time, with puppies and seniors generally needing more visits. Although pet insurance can take some of the costs, most don’t fully cover your pet’s vet and medication costs, so it’s important to expect some costs. An average vet visit is around $100, but most dogs won’t need a visit every month, lowering the cost somewhat.
Unless you’re prepared to pay out of pocket for emergencies, pet insurance is highly recommended. There are some low-cost plans available to help out in case of an accident for as low as $10 a month, while plans that include illnesses and other health needs are generally more expensive. Investing in insurance can save you a ton of money in the long run!
Aside from the costs above, you’ll also need to consider their environmental maintenance costs. What you need depends on your specific dog—for example, not every dog will need pee pads. Here are a few common purchases along with average costs, but every dog will be slightly different.
|Dog shampoo||$5 – 15/month|
Australian Shepherds are pretty easily entertained. These dogs can play for hours with a frisbee or tennis ball, and they tend to prefer interacting with their owners over most toys. However, many Australian Shepherds can be hard on their toys, so regular purchases of whatever your dog prefers are probably needed.
Another option is to buy a subscription box; these usually cost $20–$50 a month and will let you try out a variety of dog toys.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning an Australian Shepherd
As you can see, the biggest flex in prices comes from vet care and pet insurance. Some of this is out of your hands; a senior Aussie with chronic health issues is just going to be more expensive. But the type of insurance you buy and the quality of preventative care you give to your pet also play into it heavily. Food’s another big flex, and finding the right food for your dog and your budget will make a big difference.
Additional Costs to Factor In
In addition to all the standard monthly costs, there are a few optional or irregular costs to consider. If you travel regularly, you will probably need to pay for a pet sitter or boarding fees to take care of your dog while you’re gone. Another high irregular cost is emergency medical care—if your dog gets into an accident, the portion not covered by insurance can still be considerable.
If your dog has behavioral issues, an obedience school is usually a good investment, but it will cost you money in the short term. There are also emergency costs. An accident or medical emergency can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, even with insurance. You might also need to pay to replace property damaged by your dog. It’s important to have a plan for any additional costs.
Owning an Australian Shepherd on a Budget
If the costs are starting to intimidate you, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are lots of ways to make sure that your costs stay on the lower side, and many expenses can be cut. If money is tight, we don’t recommend cutting down your health insurance too much. Buying higher-coverage insurance might hurt, but it’s better than paying huge vet bills you can’t afford. Instead, look at other places where you can tighten the budget.
Saving Money on Australian Shepherd Care
You can cut down on both one-time and monthly expenses with a little creativity and patience. Look to adopt a dog from a rescue or shelter instead of a breeder, and search for dogs that already have most of their one-time work, like vaccinations, done. Adult dogs tend to be less expensive than puppies. You can also often find equipment secondhand, sometimes for free!
You can also save money on monthly costs by buying food in bulk, experimenting with brands, and cutting out nonessential costs like groomer’s fees and fancy toys. Try buying generic brand dog shampoos, cleaners, and other supplies. More than anything else, put in the time and care to make sure your dog is healthy and happy for as long as possible.
There’s no such thing as a free dog—all the costs of responsible pet ownership add up! But having an Australian Shepherd doesn’t have to break the bank either. Making a budget and considering every cost before you commit will help you give your new pup a forever home and lower your own stress as well. In the end, you’ll get to have many happy years with your Aussie as part of the family, so it’s best to be prepared.
Featured Image Credit: JitkaP, Shutterstock