When thinking about the most expensive dog breed, you may picture something rare, exotic looking or with special skills like a collie, but this isn’t always the case. It is worth remembering that the most expensive breeds are often made even more expensive due to grooming, health care and feeding costs over their lifetimes.
There have been some eye-watering sales of particularly special dogs in the past five years, with one Mastiff selling for 1.5 million dollars, but in general, if we look at the upfront costs of bringing home a puppy for the first time and potential cost of care over a lifetime, there are some clear winners for the most expensive dog breeds.
Read on for our roundup of the 32 most expensive dog breeds, in no particular order, and what you need to know about them.
32 most expensive dog breeds
1. Alaskan Malamute
Malamutes are wonderful dogs to own, but that coat comes with a lot of grooming requirements. Expect to pay between $1000 and $2000 for a pup from a reputable breeder. These dogs are also prone to health issues, so you should factor this in when considering potential cost over the dog’s lifetime.
2. Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are stunning dogs, but require a lot of grooming to keep their coat in tip-top condition. You can expect to pay up to $6000 for a top of the range Husky pup, but price varies depending on bloodlines and what you intend to use the dog for: if you want a pet, the dog will cost $1500 to $2000, but for a working sled dog, you can expect to pay more.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
These large dogs may look like bears, but their affectionate natures and trainability make them a breed that is always in high demand. As such, a puppy can cost $1500 to $3000. Like any large dog, they eat a lot, and this may cause your monthly expenses to creep up.
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their lovely temperaments and long coats. They brighten every room they enter, but need regular grooming to care for their coats, with a trip to the salon every 4-6 weeks. They are also prone to a number of health problems, including heart issues which can rack up quite the vet bill to manage.
5. German Shepherd
A well bred German Shepherd will set you back around $2500- $3000, but a blue or white coat will send that price skyrocketing, as these colors are rare and prized by breeders. The gene for white hair in particular is recessive, so these dogs are in high demand. GSDs are prone to hip dysplasia, which can be expensive to treat over the lifetime of the dog.
6. Black Russian Terrier
A rare breed you may not have seen before, this new dog breed is garnering increased popularity as a working dog and a pet across the USA. Prices range between $2000 and $4000 for a puppy, and they need shearing once every 6 weeks to 2 months, which ramps up the cost to keep one.
Akin to a cloud in appearance, a Samoyed puppy averages around $1800 to buy. They have high grooming requirements, so again this is something you should bear in mind if you’re considering getting one of these dogs. As with all dogs, if you want a pup from an award winning bloodline, you’ll end up paying more.
8. French Bulldog
One of the most popular dog breeds, a French Bulldog will set you back between $2000 and $6000 depending on their coat and eye color. French Bulldogs are notorious for their health problems, and even with pet insurance you may find yourself paying a lot in medication and vet bills over the lifetime of the dog.
9. Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan Mastiffs generally cost between $2000 and $6000, but dogs from top bloodlines can sell for tens if not hundreds of thousands, with one 11 month old dog selling for $1.5 million in 2019, earning him the title of “world’s most expensive dog”.
10. St. Bernard
St. Bernards are big, which means they eat a lot, and long haired dogs need maintenance for their coats. On top of that, a pup will cost you $1000 to $2000, with well bred, kennel club registered dogs sometimes costing more.
11. Irish Wolfhound
Another big dog, the Irish Wolfhound might set you back up to $3,000, depending on the breeding and gender of the pup. They are a breed prone to hip and elbow dysplasia and can sometimes only live for 6-8 years, so bear this in mind before investing in one of these gorgeous pups.
12. Golden Retriever
America’s golden boy, this dog can cost from $1000 to $5000 for a standard puppy, with champion bloodlines going for much more. If you want a showstopper and a perfect family dog wrapped up in a golden package, the Golden Retriever might be the dog for you!
13. Pharaoh Hound
These rare Maltese hunting dogs are generally for sale at around $7000 or more in the US. Due to their rarity, it is important to be extra diligent when researching your breeder with this dog, as for that price, you’ll want to be getting a 100% Pharaoh Hound!
A beautiful Japanese breed, this dog is prized for its wolf-like appearance. They are difficult to find outside of their native country, so you can expect to pay up to $5000 for a Shikoku puppy. These dogs are considered to be a culturally important national treasure by the Japanese government.
Rotties are wonderful dogs, but you should be careful that your city hasn’t banned ownership of this breed before you invest. A well bred Rottweiler will cost about $1500 in the USA, but some bloodlines cost far more than this, averaging closer to the $8000 mark.
16. Afghan Hound
Those beautiful long coats require a LOT of maintenance, so you should make sure you can afford the monthly cost of caring for an Afghan hound before you even consider the price of a puppy. Pups tend to cost $2000 to $2500, and breeding rights are notoriously expensive too.
Newfies tend to cost between $1500 and $3000, depending on their bloodlines. Their coat also needs a lot of maintenance, and even if you intend to groom your dog at home, you will need to invest in several combs, rakes and brushes to keep them in tip-top shape.
18. Rhodesian Ridgeback
These dogs are lion hunters! So bear that in mind when you’re looking at the $1800 - $2500 price tag for these gorgeous chestnut-colored dogs. Thankfully, their signature ridge of hair doesn’t require much grooming, and you can easily do it at home yourself.
19. Portuguese Water Dog
A puppy from a reputable breeder is likely to cost you around $3000, but a puppy with top bloodlines can clock in at around $6000. If you intend to show or breed from your Portuguese Water Dog, you may find yourself paying more than expected.
20. Dogo Argentino
To look at the Dogo Argentino, you can see they’re a high quality breed. With a smooth white coat, intelligent face and muscular body, these dogs were bred to hunt large game, including big cats. Originally from Córdoba, these dogs will set you back up to $10,000 for a purebred dog with a champion bloodline. But a standard Dogo Argentino is more likely to cost you around $2000.
21. Spinone Italiano
Hugely popular in Italy for their talents as a gundog, the Spinone is gaining popularity in the USA too. A standard pup costs around $2000, but some prized bloodlines can fetch a much higher price.
Ever popular in their home country of Japan, the stunning good looks of the Akita have turned heads in the USA too, with a puppy costing between $1500 and $2500. A dog with a top pedigree is likely to cost over the $5000 mark.
23. English Bulldog
Always popular, the English Bulldog can come with health problems that increase its overall lifetime cost. A puppy can cost between $1500 and $5000, depending on their bloodlines. Their squashed faces can cause issues with breathing and chronic skin conditions, which can be expensive to treat.
24. Old English Sheepdog
A stunning dog with classic good looks, a purebred Old English Sheepdog puppy costs on average around $1500. However, trips to the groomers every four weeks can be costly, and they are prone to eye problems.
25. Löwchen/Little Lion Dog
These dogs are rare, making them expensive. Popular in central Europe for many years, the Löwchen shares ancestors with the Bichon Frise. The traditional cut for the breed makes them look leonine, leading to the nickname “Little Lion Dog”. In America, Löwchen breeders are few and far between, so you will probably pay over $5000 for a purebred puppy.
26. Swiss Mountain Dog
You can expect to pay in excess of $1500 for a Swiss Mountain Dog puppy, but they might be a good alternative to the Bernese Mountain Dog for overall cost, as their grooming needs are much less intensive.
A stunning sighthound from West Africa, Azawakh dogs aren’t commonly found in the USA. A puppy is likely to cost $2000, but you may need to ship your new puppy from its homeland, which makes the overall cost significantly higher.
28. American Eskimo Dog
American Eskimo dogs have a darling appearance that you will find yourself falling in love with. There is quite a range of prices, as the dog comes in ‘toy’, ‘miniature’ and ‘standard’ sizes. Some pups sell for $800, some in excess of $4000 - it all depends on the type, coat color and breeding.
This cross breed is popular due to its low-shed coat and lovely temperament. They can cost between $1000 and $3000 and have regular grooming costs, as their coat needs regular trimming, every 4 to 6 weeks.
30. Miniature Dachshund
For such a small package, these dogs can be pricey. A puppy will generally cost between $1500 - $2000, but if you want a mini with a rare colored coat, be prepared to pay more.
Poms are lovely toy dogs, but their coats require a good amount of maintenance and a puppy can cost up to $6000, but are generally closer to the $2000 mark.
32. Norwegian Lundehund
A rare breed that will likely put you back around $2000 for a pup, and you’ll have to move fast to snap one up, with very few breeders working in the US
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Lou is an experienced writer and keen dog lover who works at PetRadar's sister site, LiveScience. When Lou isn't covering health and fitness, she's busy spending time with her family dogs or growing all kinds of veggies and flowers on her allotment.