The Most (and Least) Expensive Dog Breeds in the World
Lisa Marie Conklin
From the elegant Azawakh to the sublime Schipperke, these are the breeds that American Kennel Club experts say are the priciest—and most affordable.
How much is that doggie in the window?
Jerry Klein, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club (AKC) says the costs of breeds are up to the breeder. “How and why a certain breed or type of dog can be labeled expensive can be influenced by many factors,” says Dr. Klein. For example, the rarity of the breed due to the expense of finding an appropriate mate for breeding or difficulty and cost of obtaining foundation stock. Society also tends to dictate which breed is in demand. A celebrity, a movie the latest winners of a dog show can prompt more desire to own a specific breed. And of course, there are the general expenses of being a responsible breeder which can vary depending on the breed and specific health requirements of the breed.
Average cost: $4,000-$8,000
Mary Burch, PhD, a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and director of the AKC Family Dog Program says the Low Chen (pronounced lerv-chun) is also known as the Little Lion Dog. You may not see a Low Chen in your neighborhood, but if you watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show you could easily spot this breed with its traditional lion trim, working the crowd carrying its head and tail high. It’s playful and cheery, yet has a calm demeanor; the lion mane requires brushing at least every other day along with a monthly clipping. Grooming and other costs add up. This is how much it really costs to own a dog.
Average cost: Up to $7,000
This breed is much happier inside, near their family, says Dr. Burch. That’s perfect because it is a big and cuddly dog you could definitely spend a lazy afternoon lounging with. And with its origins as a protector of villages and monasteries, they tend to be aloof with strangers but devoted to their family. Tibetan Mastiffs are good with children—but these may be the best breeds for kids.
Average cost: Up to $4,500
“Before Akitas had an official breed name, they were referred to simply as “snow country dogs,” says Dr. Burch. Their dense undercoat, raised outer layer of fur, and webbing between their toes make Akitas ideal for their bred purpose: Hunters in snowy mountains of Japan. Nowadays, they’re better known for being devoted watchdogs and protectors. They have a tendency to be domineering and aren’t crazy about other dogs or pets; they’re also reserved with strangers. That said, with the right person or family, they are a lovable companion. These are the pet combos that are most likely to hate each other.
Average cost: $2,000-$6,000
This breed that hails from Malta, says Dr. Burch, and is known for “blushing” when it’s happy or excited. This is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the nose and ears flush with blood. It’s the National Dog of Malta, and it bears a striking resemblance to the jackal god Anubis from ancient Egypt. The Pharoah Hound is gentle and loving with children and devoted snuggler.
Average cost: $3,500 and up
“Rottweilers were originally used to guard, drive, and hold cattle,” says Dr. Burch. They’re still thought of as guard dogs, but instead of cattle, they’re used by police and the military—and they can be good pets for families. The powerful breed is confident, bold, and a bit intimidating.
At first glance the Azawakh from the border regions of Mali and Niger, Africa looks like it missed a few meals but this leggy and lean breed was well suited for chasing gazelles in the sands of the Sahara for more than a thousand years. Owners are drawn to their elegant and regal-like appearance. They’re highly intelligent and fairly independent, so don’t delay your puppy training. Azawakhs doesn’t have a “dog odor” and won’t require frequent baths.
Average cost: $1,700 – $3,000
These graceful and loyal ranch dogs were bred with wild African dogs—that’s how they get their distinctive stripe of hair that grows in the opposite direction along their spine (the ridge). Loving with their immediate family members, this breed is aloof with strangers and protective of property.
At first glance, the Saluki looks like a greyhound with a flowing wig. Its elegant poise was a characteristic highly valued by Arab tribesmen, explains Dr. Burch; they thought of Salukis as a gift from God and called them el hor, which means “noble one.” They have an aloof and reserved personality—think of them as the supermodels of the canine world.
They may have a commanding appearance, but Irish Wolfhounds are known as gentle giants. One of the tallest breeds of dog and the largest of the sighthounds—dogs that depend on their eyes more than their snouts for hunting, explains Dr. Burch. Easygoing, sensitive, patient and sweet, the breed is relaxed with other pets and dogs in the house and good with children. Owning a dog is good for your health—here’s why.
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This impressive breed seems closer to a horse than a dog. Despite their imposing size, Great Danes are friendly and spirited. The sheer size (around 40 inches at the shoulder and 140 pounds) may be challenging in tight quarters, but the dogs are pretty graceful for their size. Danes do need a lot of space to stretch out for sleeping and napping and will eat a lot of kibble—about eight to ten cups per day! Larger dogs are prone to more health issues, which is why you may want to buy pet insurance.
Named for the Samoyed people, this is one of the world’s oldest dog breeds, Dr. Burch says. The dogs are known for their smile. A furry and warm companion, Samoyeds were originally bred to keep nomadic Samoyed children warm in their tent. With their cold weather tolerance and compliant demeanor, they became popular sled dogs and were part of the first expedition team to reach the South Pole. Sweet, lovable, and gentle, Samoyeds will quickly become treasured family members. Check out what these dog breeds looked like 100 years ago!
“They’re one of the most popular breeds in the United States,” according to Dr. Burch. Beagles were bred to hunt in packs, and therefore love to hang out with other pets and people. They are very vocal and will howl and bark. As social as they are, they are known for running off on solo excursions when they get a whiff of something worth exploring. Make sure you know about these backyard dog dangers before letting your dog loose.
German Wirehaired Pointer
If you love the outdoors and looking for a dog that can adapt to a variety of weather conditions, the German Wirehaired Pointer (GWP) could be your new hiking buddy. “The coat is weather resistant and virtually water-repellent, allowing them to work in harsh conditions,” explains Dr. Burch. The breed’s original “work” was to help hunt down feathered and furred game; the dogs are ideal partners for energetic owners who love to explore the great outdoors. Find out the 12 secrets your dog’s tail is trying to tell you.
The Dalmatian became highly popular in posh Victorian England as a coach dog, trotting alongside carriages and protecting the horses from predatory dogs; they also added style and class to the coach. When automobiles came along, their popularity declined, though they remained popular for horse-drawn fire engines (and then as firehouse mascots). And then came the Disney movie, 101 Dalmatians. While the breed surges in popularity every time a new version of the movie is released, the breed is built for running; dalmatians have ample energy and may not be suitable for families with young children.
One of the most intelligent breeds, border collies were simply known as sheepdogs until 1915 when the breed standard was established. The name refers to the breed’s origin on the farms on the England/Scotland border. Full of energy, agility, and stamina, its herding skills are quite remarkable; some border collies can control the sheep by just staring at the animal. Just remember, this breed has loads of energy and a sharp mind; be prepared to offer your pup plenty of stimulation in the way of frequent long walks and plenty of room to run.
The fox-like face of the all black Schipperke stole the heart of the Queen of Belgium at a dog show, assuring the breed’s popularity. “They became fashionable in 1885 when Queen Marie Henriette of Belgium owned one,” says Dr. Burch. Although classified as a non-sporting dog, the Schipperkes are alert, curious, and always ready for adventures. Plus, they love to give and receive affection.
Average cost: $600 and up
This tiny breed is only six to nine inches tall and weighs between three and six pounds—but that means they have a long life expectancy, often living up to 16 years. These pint-size pooches are known for their high energy levels and always seem to be on guard duty. If you’re visiting a house where a chihuahua lives, the owner and everyone in the neighborhood will know you’re at the door. Feeding your dog healthy kibble helps ensure a long life: Here are the dog foods veterinarians feed their own dogs.
In the nineteenth century, the Manchester Terrier was bred for the sport of rat killing and rabbit coursing, explains Dr. Burch. While the Manchester Terrier maintains its hunter instincts and may still chase small animals, it’s basically just curious. The breed is famous for being gentle and affectionate with family, but timid with strangers. A dog’s voracious appetite can lead to trouble if they find these foods.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Average cost: $500 and up
“A favorite for Queen Elizabeth who has owned them since she was a child,” says Dr. Burch. The palace corgis may have an easy time of it, but their ancestors worked hard herding cattle for farmers in South Wales. As you can imagine, a dog bred for cattle herding has to be quick on its feet and a fast thinker; if a corgi isn’t in the field working, she will need daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy. They’re pretty vocal, too. This is the real reason Queen Elizabeth loves corgis.
Average cost: $500 and up
The Pekingese used to live in the lap of luxury: “They were originally bred for centuries to be companions for the Chinese imperial family,” says Dr. Burch. During the T’ang dynasty, the Pekingese was treated like royalty and pampered by their own personal servants. Not a far-fetched scenario because their long course coat requires a lot of upkeep, at least a weekly comb or the coat will mat. Definitely not a breed for the hot weather—they’ll need A/C during summer months. Here’s how to keep your pup safe in the summer.
Average cost: $500 and up
There’s a lot of dog packed into this stocky breed with the smushed face. The pug motto is “Multum in Parvo,” meaning a lot in a little. Once you fall for a pug, you realize they have an undeniable cuteness. They’re playful and confident and were once bred and owned as prized possessions of Chinese emperors. While they can be a little stubborn and headstrong at times, pugs generally love to please their owners. Here’s how to keep a frisky pug (and other breeds) happy while you’re at work.