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Why Are Dogs so Expensive?

By Aviram K.
March 18, 2022
5 min read
Why Are Dogs so Expensive?
✏️ This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.

Preparing to buy a dog can be such an exciting time.

Scrolling through photos of cute pups online and imagining what life would be like with each one. Researching their little personalities and narrowing down the perfect pup to fit into your world.

So many dreams and so many possibilities!

But then you start to get into the more practical side of things. You start crunching numbers, and you realize pretty quickly that pups can get pricey!

But why?

Generally, market supply and demand dictate prices. If people are willing to pay a certain price for a dog, then the price will stay that way or keep going up. That being said, dogs can cost quite a lot to raise for breeders (or adoption centers) due to vet, food, and supplies bills, and if they are purebred, also other kennel-club-related bills.

In this article, I will dive deeper into why dogs are so expensive. I will also take you through a list of some of the most and least expensive dog breeds.

Hunting for the ideal pup can definitely be an adventure. But maybe you’re ready to get down to the numbers so you know exactly what you may be getting yourself into.

As you prepare your heart for dog ownership, allow me to help you prepare your pocketbook too.

Let’s go!

Table of Contents
01
Supply and Demand Drive Dog Prices
02
Dog Prices Can Vary Wildly
03
Owning a Dog Can Also Cost a Lot in the Long-Term
04
Most and Least Expensive Dog Breeds
05
But Your Pup’s Price Is Nothing but a Number

Supply and Demand Drive Dog Prices

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Though it may feel weird to say, your pup is essentially a product.

Supply and demand come into play in the doggy-sales world just as in any other market! If there is a shortage of pups and an increase in demand, like happened recently during the worldwide pandemic, prices will go up.

As long as people keep buying something (and in this case, dogs) at a high price, that price will either sustain itself or go up even higher.

All the rest of the details do not carry much weight at all.

Dog Prices Can Vary Wildly

If you’ve been researching and calling around, you’ve probably noticed that the price of dogs can vary quite a bit.

Here are the reasons why.

Purebred Status

A purebred dog will almost always cost more than a dog without papers.

Purebreds are generally considered more reliable in terms of predicting their temperament and what behavioral traits to expect. There is also an added degree of security as you can track the dog and know what family and bloodline they belong to.

If you would like a purebred puppy from a specific family, you can go as far as to reserve one…before they’re even born! But that will cost you extra, of course.

One known downside with purebred dogs is that they tend to have more health problems. This can contribute to an already expensive pup becoming even more costly over time.

Breed

Certain dog breeds are known to be more expensive than others.

While each dog is of equal inherent value, sometimes, a type of dog may simply be trending at the moment. Perhaps a celebrity or two has been photographed about the town with a specific breed in tow. This can cause the popularity of this breed to skyrocket!

Later on, I will go into more detail on the price points of some of the most and least expensive dog breeds.

Where You Purchase Your Pup

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Generally speaking, it is usually most cost-effective to adopt a dog from a shelter. Adoption fees usually run anywhere between $118-$667.

There are several other built-in advantages to adopting like:

  • Saving a life!
  • Having your pup already fixed and vaccinated
  • Your dog could already be trained
  • Not contributing to the business of puppy mills

To touch further on that final point, you may want to look at puppy mills. This is where your pup is probably coming from when you purchase a dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, this system is run on the factory farm mindset and generally cares more about their bottom line over the wellbeing of the dogs in the system.

The more you learn, the less you may want to participate in this process in any way.

A breeder will normally be your most expensive option, usually costing somewhere between $500-$3,000 per pup. This route usually offers the most peace of mind and assurance that you are getting the highest quality pup who has been bred according to the best standards and practices.

Owning a Dog Can Also Cost a Lot in the Long-Term

Just because you’ve purchased your pup doesn’t mean the spending is done.

Far from it!

Everything that comes along with having a dog adds up to an ongoing financial commitment. And it’s a commitment that lasts the duration of your pet’s life!

When factoring in how expensive a potential pup may be, remember you’ll have to pay for:

  • Food and treats
  • Vet bills
  • Vaccinations
  • New bedding and toys
  • Grooming products or grooming sessions
  • Boarding, training, or dog walkers if/when needed

The amount of money you may have to spend on these things can vary greatly depending on the size of your dog, how energetic they may be or how healthy they are (or aren’t).

Also, younger dogs tend to be more expensive than older dogs. And if you get a younger dog, keep in mind that the total costs will be greater as you will likely care for them over a longer life span.

Most and Least Expensive Dog Breeds

Of course, every dog is truly priceless. But as I mentioned earlier, the price of a dog can vary a lot depending on the breed.

Going from most expensive to least, here are some prices of common dog breeds:

  • French Bulldog: Between $1,800-$4,500, with an average price of $2,800.
  • English Bulldog: Between $1,500-$4,500, with an average price of $2,500.
  • Bullmastiff: Between $1,000-$2,200, with an average price of $1,500.
  • Yorkshire Terrier: Between $600-$2,500, with an average price of $1,200.
  • Golden Retriever: Between $700-$2,000, with an average price of $1,000.
  • Shih Tzu: Between $500-$1,600, with an average price of $850.
  • Chihuahua: Between $375-$2,420, with an average price of $800.
  • German Shepherd: Between $450-$1,900, with an average price of $800.
  • Siberian Husky: Between $400-$1,200, with an average price of $650.
  • Beagle: Between $295-$1,125, with an average price of $550.

But Your Pup’s Price Is Nothing but a Number

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Comparing and contrasting all of these different dogs by price can be very intriguing.

It is always enriching to understand more about the canine world as a dog lover. But knowing too much about how much some dogs are “worth” compared to others can also feel a bit icky, too.

It’s my hope that you’ll use this information to make practical decisions about what dog may be best for your budget and lifestyle. But certainly not to judge or subconsciously rank dogs in order of prestige…or their human counterparts based on the type of dog they can afford.

After all, a $200 dog’s kisses and cuddles still feel like heaven…and a piece of poop left on your pillow by a $2,000 dog will still stink all the same!

A pup’s price is truly nothing but a number!


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