Pets

13 of the Most Expensive Dog Breeds

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A dog’s unconditional love and devotion are priceless. Still, if you want to bring a furry bundle of joy home, you have to lay down a few bucks. Today we’re going to get to know a few popular dog breeds that top the list in regards to your initial investment.

Although prices for the same breed can vary widely, we based our findings for average prices on a 2021 survey by petbudget.com. After they reviewed 48,000 ads from breeders, the AKC and other sources, these pups topped their list in terms of the initial expense. 

Of course, if a puppy comes from a prestigious line or breeder, it can cost up to 100 times more. But on average, here’s what 11 of the most expensive dogs on the list clock in at.

Neopòlitan Mastiff 

Neopolitan Mastiff

Average Price: $3,500 (Range $2,500 – $4,500)

Height: 26 – 29 inches

Weight: 110 – 150 pounds

Average Lifespan: 7-9 years

At the top of our price and weight category is the imposing Neopolitan Mastiff, also known as a Mastino. Between 110 to 150 pounds with a massive head and loose folds of skin, this breed goes all the way back to 700 BC. 

In ancient Rome, they were war dogs, gladiators and guard dogs. Though fierce in appearance, this breed is now better known as a gentle giant who’s extremely affectionate with the family. And though they will fiercely protect their loved ones if need be, Mastinos aren’t usually aggressive without reason.

Still, they are strong-willed, drool a lot and are notorious for passing gas. But if you want a loyal companion who’s sure to scare off strangers, one of these pups could be worth the investment. 

Norwich Terrier 

Norwich Terrier

Average Price: $3,500 (Range: $2,000-$4,000)

Height: 10 inches

Weight: 12 pounds

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years

The feisty, fearless and happy-go-lucky Norwich Terrier gets its name from its hometown in England. Bred to hunt rats and foxes, this pint-sized pup was actually a fad with Cambridge undergraduate students back in the 1870s.

Energetic and affectionate, they are eager to play, love kids, shed very little and make good apartment dogs. Just beware of that strong prey drive as they’ll dart after squirrels, rats and other small animals. They can also be a bit bossy and tough to train.

When you break it down pound per pound, this rare little breed is very expensive. But because you get a big dog in a small package with tons of personality, many pet parents feel he’s worth it! 

French Bulldog 

French bulldog looking at the camera

Average Price: $2,800 (Range: $1,800-$4,500)

Height: 11-13 inches

Weight: Under 28 pounds

Average Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

Although known as the French Bulldog, this funny little character actually hails from England and is a relative of the larger English Bulldog. But when British lacemakers migrated to France, he went along for the ride and soon became the rage in Paris.

Nicknamed “Frenchies,” these dogs are affectionate, playful and generally easy-going. Though known to be a good little watchdog, they don’t bark excessively and also make good apartment dogs. 

Like their larger relative, the English Bulldog, this flat-nosed breed has to be monitored so that he doesn’t overheat and can also be a bit stubborn at times. Still, this bon vivant is highly entertaining and is guaranteed to make you laugh with his goofy antics and funny face. 

Sunny with the Frenchie Store notes that one unusual thing about this breed is the fact that they cannot have puppies naturally. Due to their large head and small hips, reproducing naturally is difficult and delivery is dangerous. As a result, many breeders find themselves with significant vet bills from insemination to the actual delivery.

“If you see a cheap French Bulldog, that usually means the breeder bypassed many necessary testings and will usually result in a lifetime of vet bills.”

So, there’s a reason he commands such a high price and you’ll be better off just paying it upfront. 

Related: 13 Best Small Dog Breeds For Families [Household Guide]

German Pinscher 

German Pinscher

Average Price: $2,800 (Range: $2,000-$3,550)

Height: 17-20 inches

Weight: 25-45 pounds

Average Lifespan: 12 – 14 years

The German Pinscher is one of Germany’s oldest breeds and is the forerunner of the Doberman and Mini Pinschers.

Though on the small to medium side, this dog is sleek, muscular and graceful. They’re also highly intelligent. Bred to be ratters and catch other vermin, they have a strong prey drive and are notorious for gutting squeaky toys in nothing flat.

Though they love to be with family, they also have an independent streak, need to be socialized early and will walk all over you if you don’t lay down the law. Though not recommended for first time owners, this extremely loyal dog will defend you with everything he has and scare off intruders with his surprisingly big bark.

If you like a dog on the smaller side but who isn’t a pushover, he could be worth the money.

Xoloitzcuintli 

Two Xoloitzcuintli dogs on a dirt road

Average Price: $2,750 – (Range: $800-$4,000)

Height: 10 – 14 inches

Weight: Toy 10-15 pounds, Miniature 15-30 pounds, Standard 30-55 pounds

Average Lifespan: 13-18 years

This ancient dog breed dates back 3000 years and was named after the dog-headed Aztec god Xolotl. These odd, hairless dogs are even mentioned in the journals of Columbus and other famous explorers. Considered sacred by the Aztecs, they were sometimes sacrificed and buried by the side of their owners to guide them into the next world and drive off evil spirits.

Today there are fewer than 1000 Xolos in the US, but they do stand out because of their hairless body, mohawk and wrinkly brow. They may not win any beauty contests, but these dogs are affectionate companions and lovely to cuddle with, as their hairless torso acts like a hot water bottle.

Xolos are also protective, have a strong prey drive and will chase anything, including the neighbor’s cat. But if you were named after an Aztec god, you’d probably have a little bit of an attitude as well.

Tibetan Mastiff 

Tibetan Mastiff

Average Price: $2,500 (Range: $1,800-$4,500)

Height: 24-26 inches

Weight: 70 – 150 pounds

Average Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

Though the average price of this dog is not as expensive as some other breeds on this list, the Tibetan Mastiff does own the title of the most expensive dog ever sold. Purchased by a Chinese businessman in 2014, he reportedly commanded a price of $1.95 million!

This ancient breed was developed in Tibet to guard people, livestock and property. And as you can see, he has the imposing looks to ward off strangers.

Despite his intimidating size and appearance, the Tibetan Mastiff is known to be affectionate and devoted to his family. However, this guardian breed may not always listen to you when he thinks he’s right and should never be walked off-leash because of his protective nature. He’s also not the best fit for families with very young children.

But if you’re looking for the ultimate guard dog who has a soft side for his human family, you might be willing to pay a little extra for this imposing canine too!

English Toy Spaniel  

Tri-colored English Toy Spaniel

Average Price: $2,500 (Range: $2,000-$3,000)

Height: 9 – 10 inches

Weight: 8 – 14 pounds

Average Lifespan: 10 -12 years

The ancestors of the English Toy Spaniel were the companions of kings and especially associated with King Charles II of England. In fact, he declared that toy spaniels were the only dogs allowed in parliament. 

Another odd fact: a toy spaniel accompanied Mary Queen of Scots to her beheading in 1587. Now that’s what you call a comfort dog. 

Considering their history, perhaps it’s not so surprising that today these pups can command a royal price. Although the English Spaniel can be a pampered lapdog, underneath that haughty demeanor is an intelligent dog who is extremely devoted to his human companions.

English Spaniels don’t need tons of exercise and have a laid back personality. But they do thrive on human attention and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. 

And like any spaniel, they do have fun chasing birds. 

Excellent dogs for seniors or pèople with mobility issues, the English Toy Spaniel will give back in devotion what you spend in dollars to bring him home. 

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever 

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever 

Average Price: $2,500 (Range: $1,800-$3,500)

Height: 17 – 21 inches

Weight: 35 – 50 pounds

Average Lifespan: 12 – 14 years

This copper-coated retriever was bred by 19th century Nova Scotia duck hunters as a foxy hunting companion – literally! For some reason, waterfowl have a strange fascination for foxes. When they see this dog playing along the shore with his red fur, they mistake him for a fox and are enticed into shooting range by their curiosity. Foxy indeed!

Today these smallest of retrievers still like to hunt. But with their abundant energy, they are up for just about anything and excel in the show ring and in agility contests. Although super affectionate and adaptable, they need a lot of exercise and attention, or they can become bored and destructive.

They’re also more independent and stubborn than a golden retriever and need an owner with a kind but firm hand. But if you’re looking for a smart, active dog who enjoys being with a family, this rare breed could make a great investment and quickly become your best friend. 

Pharaoh Hound 

Pharaoh Hound 

Average Price: $2,500 (Range: $1,800-$3,000)

Height: 21 – 25 inches

Weight: 45 – 55 pounds

Average Lifespan: 12 – 14 years

The ancestors of the Pharaoh dog are thought to be hounds of ancient Egypt who were bred to sprint after small game over rough terrain. These dogs were eventually transported by the Phoenicians to the island of Malta, where they hunted rabbits and were named the Pharaoh Hound. 

Like all hunters, they have a strong prey drive and an astounding sense of smell. But when not sprinting after game, they’re actually an affectionate dog who has an odd ability to smile and blush when he’s excited. 

Known to have a clownish streak, they make great family companions and get along well with children. However, like any hound, they can be a bit stubborn sometimes and need to be leashed when walking as they’re always game to chase small animals. 

But an appealing combination of speed, grace, intelligence and affection makes it easy to see why this special breed has survived since the Bronze Age. 

Related: Top 9 Pet Insurance Companies [For All Your Furry Friends] 

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Average Price: $2,500 (Range: $1,800-$3,000)

Height: 23 – 28.5 inches

Weight: 85 – 140 pounds

Average Lifespan: 8 – 11 years

Also known as Swissies, this breed descended from the war dogs that Julius Caesar’s armies brought over the Alps. The Swiss then used these mastiff-type canines to breed their own mountain dogs and used them as farm and pasture dogs who also pulled goods to market. Swissies are also closely related to the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Today these dogs make wonderful family dogs as they are affectionate, good with children and make a wonderful guard dog with their imposing size and deep bark. However, they do best in a large yard and need plenty of exercise and stimulation.

Because they like to keep busy, they excel at agility, herding and pulling in case you have an interest in competitions. A wonderful combination of affection with a great work ethic, this unusual dog is definitely worth the money for the right owner. 

English Bulldog 

English Bulldog 

Average Price: $2,500 (Range: $1,500-$4,500)

Height: 14 – 15 inches

Weight: 40 – 50 pounds

Average Lifespan: 8 – 10 years

The ancestors of this stocky, stalwart dog were used in13th century England in a brutal sport called bull baiting. In this bloody pastime, dogs were used to fight a staked bull while onlookers took bets.

But by 1835, England outlawed bull-baiting and blood sports were forced underground. Gamblers then created more agile dogs for celler fights by crossing the bulldog with various terriers, which resulted in early prototypes of various bull-terriers that are popular today.

But with bull baiting outlawed, the Bulldog almost went extinct. That’s when admirers of the breed began the process of transforming this dog from a fierce fighter to a devoted companion. The result was the sweet, mellow and loyal pooch that we know today as the English Bulldog. 

A longtime symbol of England, this tenacious dog was also compared to their fearless and jowly World War II Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.

Today, dog owners love them for their big-hearted but mellow character. However, pet parents of the bulldog have to be extra careful of the heat as this flat-faced breed is prone to respiratory health issues and can overheat easily and leave you with some heft vet bills.

But considering all this dog has survived, it’s easy to understand why this enduring pooch still commands a high price.

Löwchen

Löwchen

Average Price: $3,000 (Range: $2,000-$8,000)

Height: 11-13 inches

Weight: 10-15 pounds

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years

Also known as the Little Lion dog, the Löwchen has been a beloved companion for more than 500 years. These small companions are full of life and love for everyone in the family. 

The Löwchen is happy to live indoors and quite accustomed to apartment life, although they are prone to barking— a trait your neighbors may not be too fond of. 

This breed doesn’t shed, is easy to train and doesn’t have any major health concerns, so it’s easy to see why they come with a steep price tag.

Chow Chow 

Chow Chow 

Average Price: $2,250 (Range: $900-$3,500)

Height: 17-20 inches

Weight: 45-70 pounds 

Average Lifespan: 8-12 years

Originally from northern China, the Chow Chow comes with some serious shag. It’s probably not surprising that their adorably fluffy coat will shed heavily, especially as the seasons change. 

But don’t let their teddy bear appearance fool you. The Chow is better suited for an experienced owner who knows how to socialize and provide training at a young age, as they can be mouthy and wary of strangers. It’s also not the dog to have around small children. 

Despite its thick frame, this breed will require regular exercise beyond what an apartment can provide. But if you aren’t afraid of the grooming and exercise needs, a chow can be a great and loyal addition to your home.

The Tail End

As you can see, these rare and expensive canines all have their own unique origins. Some other top budget breeds are the Samoyed, Rottweilers, Akitas, Afghan Hound, Irish Wolfhound and the Canadian Eskimo Dog. Whether they’re worth the price depends on the pet parent. If you do decide to invest in one of these dogs, be sure to buy from a reputable breeder and never from a puppy mill. 

If the price seems too good to be true, it may mean the seller has shady breeding practices. Also, keep in mind that some purebred dogs can even be found in shelters and are also in need of a good home.

Whatever breed you choose, be sure that they’re suited to your family and living situation. But when the right breed meets the right pet parent, an invaluable bond is sure to form. And that’s something a price tag can’t always determine. 

You might also be interested in:  The 11 Best Large Breed Dogs For Families 

Most Expensive Dog Breeds: 

  1. Neopòlitan Mastiff
  2. Norwich Terrier
  3. French Bulldog 
  4. German Pinscher 
  5. Xoloitzcuintli 
  6. Tibetan Mastiff 
  7. English Toy Spaniel
  8. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever 
  9. Pharaoh Hound 
  10. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog 
  11. English Bulldog
  12. Löwchen
  13. Chow Chow

Sherry De Alba

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