The most expensive dog breeds in the world can cost thousands of dollars (and even millions), but what makes them so highly priced and valuable to own?
The most expensive dog breeds didn't start out being lavish and extravagant. Each breed's worth has been shaped and molded by society throughout history, which has determined its value today. Rare breeds with beautiful coats became highly sought after, and small toy dogs with cute personalities were glorified and worshiped.
The average cost of buying a regular puppy today can range from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars. However, the most expensive breeds can cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars! Read on to find out the top 10 most expensive dog breeds today and what makes them so pricey.
Why Are Some Dog Breeds So Expensive?
Although many factors like rarity, breeding quality, and pedigree can influence a dog's value, society ultimately determines which breeds are more valuable.
For example, the desire for small toy breeds in royal courts across Europe and Asia significantly increased their demand and popularity.
Today’s culture has a dog breed that they deem as the pinnacle of status and reputation that drives up the price for owning one.
Some dog breeds are more expensive because they may be rare and hard to find. Rarer dog breeds may have once been on the brink of extinction, resulting in less foundation stock available. As a result, it may take longer for some breeds to grow and repopulate.
Some breeds also have small litters, making them scarce for breeding. A rarer breed will almost certainly drive up the cost of a purebred dog because it becomes much harder to find a suitable mate to continue the bloodline.
The law of supply and demand dictates that there is higher demand when there is very little supply of a specific dog breed, which dictates higher prices. The rarity may lead some people to seek out the breed, regardless of beauty or health. Owning a dog that no one else has can become a status symbol for many.
A dog with a highly pure pedigree (family tree) makes them the ideal breeding candidate. Purebreds are sought after by breed enthusiasts for specific traits that make them high-quality competition or show-level dogs.
Top competition prizes can award up to thousands of dollars!
Responsible breeders will keep complete pedigrees to show that they did not breed any dogs with underlying health conditions. Specific breeds may be prone to inheriting certain genetic health conditions, so it's important to avoid breeding any dog with a history of illnesses.
Having a pedigree is also essential to show that close relatives were not bred together, that the breed was kept pure, and that multiple mates were used to diversify the offspring. Purebred dogs are highly valued because it is a sign of good breeding and health.
To ensure safe breeding practices, enthusiasts established breed standards to educate the public about specific dog breeds. Having a mixed pedigree can ultimately lead to unexpected and potentially undesirable traits.
Responsible breeders will always take the time and care to ensure all of their puppies grow up in a safe environment. The most expensive dog breeds in the world are cared for and managed by world-class breeders, who take every measure to ensure their top-notch health.
Health screening tests can easily cost up to over a thousand dollars for breeders. X-rays for bone and joint problems, eye exams, or DNA tests can cost hundreds of dollars right out of the gate, and that's not including multiple visits to the veterinarian.
When the demand for a particular breed is trending upwards, it can also lead to many irresponsible breeders trying to take advantage of the opportunity to make some money. Some dogs are bred in terrible conditions or even mixed with other breeds to churn out as many new puppies as possible.
Irresponsible breeding can often lead to health issues, undesirable characteristics, or behavior issues that may cause you more than a few headaches. That's why you should always request documentation of the dog's pedigree and health screening tests to ensure that the dog will grow up to be healthy and strong.
Try to always stick to reputable breeders, and if something smells fishy, it probably is!
Are Puppies More Expensive Than Adult Dogs?
Yes, puppies are typically more expensive than adult dogs!
Puppies are generally more expensive because they are more impressionable early on instead of being set in their ways and habits as an adult. Many people cherish the opportunity to train their dogs for themselves instead of inheriting or adopting an older dog.
Since puppies are younger, it will cost more to care for them over their lifetime. That means more grooming trips, veterinary office visits, treats, and toys, costing the average dog owner about $1000-2000 a year.
Most Expensive Dog Breeds
Some of the most expensive dogs in the world are revered for their beauty and personalities. For the enthusiastic buyer, health issues are of no issues, despite some breeds having extensive vet costs. Many of these dogs began as working dogs until their looks and temperament made them the ideal companions.
Cost: $4,000 - $11,000, up to $15,000 or more
Samoyeds are originally native to Northern Russia and Siberia and were initially bred for pulling sleds, herding, and hunting. They are energetic dogs with beautiful, thick, white coats that they are well-known for. They have a unique smile known as the "Samoyed smile" that people fall in love with.
The Samoyed's charming personality and impressive intelligence are highly sought after and contribute to its high price tag. Despite having an extensive list of health issues that can cost thousands of dollars to treat and manage, Samoyeds are still among the most popular and expensive dogs in the world.
Although the average costs can range from $4000-11,000, some Samoyeds have been sold for over $15,000!
Cost: $5,000 - $8,000, up to $12,000 or more
Lowchens, or "Little Lions," is one of the rarest breeds in the world that also makes it one of the most expensive dogs. It is estimated that there are only a few hundred Lowchens in the world, although the number is slowly growing every year.
Lowchens are one of the most outgoing breeds in the world, making them the ideal family dog. They have beautiful, flowing coats and a cute, plumed tail that adds to their bright and loving personalities. Lowchens are also a very healthy breed, cutting down the costs for care and maintenance.
3) Chow Chow
Cost: $3000 - $8000, up to $11,000 or more
You might have seen pictures of Chow Chows, who are famous for their dark, blackish-purple tongue. Originating from Northern China, Chow Chows are one of the oldest and most recognizable breeds globally. They have a famous, dark red, lion-like mane that brings an aura of royalty to the breed.
You might be able to find Chow Chows for considerably cheaper than the average cost, but the breed comes with a long list of health issues that could drain your wallet.
Chow Chows have become a famous status symbol for their beautiful coats, despite only having a short lifespan of 8-12 years.
4) Tibetan Mastiff
Cost: $2,000 - $8,000, up to $12,000 or more
Tibetan Mastiffs come from a history as a guard dog in the Tibetan and Himalayan mountains for the local people. Over time, people began to treasure this breed for its dignified and noble personalities. Tibetan Mastiffs are gentle giants but can be very protective of their families.
The world record for the most expensive dog ever sold was a Tibetan Mastiff. At one point, they were the most popular dog to own for all wealthy families in China, but irresponsible overbreeding left millions of Tibetan Mastiffs homeless and abandoned.
Today, it may be harder to find purebred Mastiffs, and those that exist are incredibly expensive.
Cost: $1,000 - $2,500, up to $9000 or more
It may be surprising to see Rottweilers on this list since they are pretty common to see and the 8th most popular breed in America according to American Kennel Club (AKC). Rottweilers make this list as one of the most expensive dogs because they come with many health issues and have one of the shortest lifespans at 8-10 years.
The breed was once victims of puppy mills due to their popularity, and a well-bred Rottweiler today can cost thousands of dollars. Rottweilers are susceptible to almost every ailment that can affect dogs and have one of the highest insurance costs of all dog breeds.
Despite the health conditions, many people still love Rottweilers for their loyalty and intelligence, perfect for any family.
6) Pharaoh Hound
Cost: $2,500 - $3,500, up to $7,000 or more
The Pharaoh Hound is one of the oldest breeds in history, often depicted in ancient Egyptian art. They are tough to find today as they are only bred in Malta, a small Mediterranean country off the coast of Italy. They are known for their gracefulness, loyalty, and intelligence that many prospective owners love.
Pharaoh Hounds have a significantly increased risk of severe digestive issues that can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars to treat. However, the rarity of the breed makes them very expensive to own if you can even find one available.
7) Canadian Eskimo Dog
Cost: $1,000 - $2,000, up to $8,000 or more
Canadian Eskimo dogs are the lesser-known, larger cousins of the Husky and are extremely rare to find. The breed faces extinction even today, largely due to the dog killings from 1950-1970 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It is estimated less than 300 Canadian Eskimo dogs exist today.
Used initially as sled dogs for the Inuit people, the invention of snowmobiles quickly dwindled the Canadian Eskimo population.
Finding a true Canadian Eskimo dog may be near impossible today, and finding one with a pure pedigree may cost thousands of dollars.
Cost: $1,500 - $4,500, up to $6,500
Purebred Japanese Akita dogs are large dogs that resemble a mix between Huskies and Shiba Inus. They are highly sought after for their adorable looks, clean habits, and protective instincts. Akitas have an American variety, but they are not as expensive or popular.
Since purebreds only come from Japan, one can easily spend thousands of dollars on imported Akitas. Show-quality Akitas with perfect pedigrees are worth up to $75,000!
9) Afghan Hounds
Cost: $1,500 - $3,000, up to $7,000 or more
Afghan Hounds perhaps have the most recognizable and stunning coats of all the breeds. They have long, flowing, silky coats that are highly prized. Afghan Hounds are predisposed to conditions like hypothyroidism and cataracts, which can increase the costs of owning one.
Today, there may be no other dog like the Afghan hound, making them one of the most expensive dogs to own.
Afghan Hounds also have the distinction of being one of the oldest and rarest breeds in the world, dating back to the pre-Christianity era.
Cost: $2,000 - $3,000, up to $5,000
Salukis are a gorgeous, graceful breed that was originally bred to hunt. They have thick feathering atop their ears and tails that many find extremely beautiful. The Saluki also has a rich history dating back to ancient Egypt and China.
Salukis can make excellent show dogs, which makes them all the more desired and coveted. Many show-quality Salukis can be worth over $5,000!
What is the Most Expensive Dog Ever Sold?
The most expensive dog ever sold was a pure red Tibetan Mastiff named "Big Splash," purchased for a record-setting $1.95 million in 2011 by a Chinese businessman.
Tibetan Mastiffs are a popular status symbol pet in Chinese culture because their enormous sizes and fluffy coats are reminiscent of lions, symbolizing strength and security in Asian cultures.
Owning a Tibetan Mastiff as a status symbol is ironic. Why? Because the breed is affected by many health conditions and has a shorter lifespan. The breed is just another example of social and cultural beliefs that raise the value of certain breeds.
In 2015, celebrity Kylie Jenner reportedly received a Merle English Bulldog worth a whopping $50,000. Although she received it as a gift, it is a testament to the value that dogs can have in society as a luxury good.
Do Expensive Dog Breeds Require More Care?
As long as you understand the proper care for each specific breed, most dogs have relatively the same level of care needed! However, many of the most expensive dog breeds can be costly because they come with many predisposed health conditions.
Despite their beauty and history, many of these breeds require extra attention and potential treatment for their ailments. For breeds susceptible to medical conditions it's good practice to provide joint-promoting and wellness-type dog products throughout the lifespan as a preventative measure.
Especially for many of the coveted larger dogs like the Tibetan Mastiff or Akita, grooming and food costs may be more extensive than other breeds. The average expenses for most dog owners are typically about $1,000 - $2,000 a year but can vary greatly depending on medical costs and veterinary visits.
Final Thoughts - Most Expensive Dog Breeds
The most expensive dogs are ones that have been built up by society for their attractiveness and rarity. Many people view these dogs as a status symbol that boosts their own reputation and wealth that drives up the prices of certain breeds.
However, at the end of the day, all dogs are equally impressive, and any one of them can be our best friends!