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Why Are Dogs So Expensive?

Dogs are one of the most common and beloved household pets, yet one of the biggest concerns when deciding whether or not to get a dog is the hefty price tag. Here is some information as to why dogs are so expensive, and how to get the most bark for your buck.

So why are dogs so expensive? The cost of a dog depends on breed, registration, and smaller add-ons such as medical care and microchipping. Purebred and American Kennel Club registered dogs are typically more expensive, while adopted mutts are less likely to break the bank.

The best way to save money on a dog is to know exactly what you’re paying for. Below are some of the costs for different ways of acquiring the pet, as well as which breeds are the most expensive and which are the most affordable.

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Why Are Dogs So Expensive to Adopt?

The biggest costs of adopting a dog cover the care that the shelter provides. Veterinary wellness exams, spaying and neutering services, and microchipping all contribute to a higher bill. Adoption fees also cover various vaccinations and sometimes an identification tag.

This chart breaks down the various costs of adopting a dog.

Service Cost
Food, shelter, and toys $40-60
Adoption fee $0-500
Spaying or neutering $150-300
Vaccinations $60-150
Microchipping $50
Grooming $0-1,200
Deworming $20-50
Total: $320-2,310

While this price range can seem like a lot for a dog, adopting is still the cheapest method for acquiring a pet. Other options, such as breeders, will put an even bigger dent in your finances.

Why Are Pedigree Dogs So Expensive?

Pedigree dogs (or purebred dogs) are typically more expensive than shelter dogs because of their lineage. Pedigree dogs are often specially bred to have specific traits and qualities. When purchasing a pedigree dog, you’re likely not only paying for breeding fees but also a higher price depending on the availability and popularity of the breed.

The Cost of Breeding Dogs

Often, purebred dogs’ prices reflect the costs needed to breed and raise a litter of puppies. This includes pre-breeding care such as health tests, as well as supplies to care for the puppies and postnatal care for the mother.

The total cost of breeding a dog can be anywhere between $1,000 and $8,000! So when you see the bank-breaking price on your new purebred, know that this comes from the care and attention breeders provided.

The Most Expensive Dog Breeds

If you’re looking to cut down on the price, here are some of the most expensive purebreds to avoid.

1. Afghan Hound

Beautiful long-haired Afghan Hounds can set you back around $7,000!

2. Chow Chow

According to PrudentPet, Chow Chows are “one of the oldest and rarest breeds in the world.” Rarer breeds will likely have a higher price tag; this one comes in at around $11,000.

3. Canadian Eskimo Dog

Known for their proximity to wolves, these pups run between $3,000 and $6,000.

4. Akita

This Japanese import costs between $1,500 and $5,000.

5. Pharaoh Hound

One of the oldest domesticated breeds, these regal pooches, cost around $7,500.

6. English Bulldog

English Bulldogs run between $2,500 and $9,000, despite health problems associated with their breed, such as difficulty breathing.

7. Samoyed

These fluffy fellows will set you back around $14,000.

8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This small royal pup costs between $1,000 and $14,000.

9. Tibetan Mastiff

These fluffy, intelligent, and well-mannered pups start at a whopping $10,000 and can range to well over a million dollars!

Why Are Registered Dogs So Expensive?

A registered dog means a dog registered with either the American Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club, or the United Kennel Club. Registration papers typically assure that the dog’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents are all the same purebred breed.

An unregistered dog might be considered less physically or mentally adept than his registered counterpart and will typically be cheaper.

American Kennel Club registration allows a dog to take part in any of their events with added entry fees. According to CNN, entry to the annual Westminster Dog Show might cost $25-30 besides paying a handler and traveling to the show itself. The show, however, offers no cash prize.

Some other AKC events include:

            Hunting Tests – Sporting breeds and other hunting breeds are evaluated on their

hunting abilities.

Agility Trials – Various obstacle course runs test pups for time and accuracy.

Obedience Trials – Dogs are tested on their behavioral abilities in a variety of situations.

Affordable Strategies for Adopting a Dog

Purebreds, pedigrees, puppies, oh my! While this article lists a lot of information about why dogs cost as much as they do, it’s important to also examine the many different ways to incorporate a furry friend into your home without sacrificing your life savings.

Cheapest Dog Breeds

If fancy registration papers or purebred lineage don’t speak to you, these breeds are great options that can be found in shelters or through ads in the newspaper.

1. Mutt

Mutts are mixed breed dogs that can be found easily at shelters. In fact, they’re typically healthier than purebred dogs as they do not have the genetic modification pedigrees are specifically bred to have.

2. Chihuahua

Chihuahua’s small size and short hair mean extra savings on food and grooming!

3. Miniature Pinscher

Pinschers’ small size and long life span mean less food and more time together.

4. Bichon Frise

These fancy-looking pups are on the lazier side, meaning no constant puppy energy!

5. Australian Shepherd

Naturally loyal and obedient, Australian Shepherds save you from pesky training costs.

6. Dachshund

Like the Miniature Pinscher, the dachshund’s small size and long life expectancy is overall a cheaper option.

7. Puggle

The puggle is a beagle-pug mix that comes in a compact size and requires very little grooming.

8. Rat Terrier

Notice any consistencies? The rat terrier is another small dog with a long lifespan.

9. American Foxhound

These pups are easy to train, saving your wallet from obedience classes.

10. Golden Retriever

Lastly is the fan-favorite: goldens. While goldens might cost a lot to actually purchase, their loyalty and family-friendliness cancel it out, making them worth their price tag.

Adopting and Owning a Dog When You’re on a Budget

Typically, the cheapest way to acquire a dog is through adoption. While neutering and vaccination fees can look intimidating, shelters usually offer these services at a much lower price than if you were to do it independently. Shelters are a brilliant way to find dogs; some even have specific adopting events where you can look around.

If there’s no shelter near you, try your local newspaper or Facebook groups. People will often put out ads for dogs they need to get rid of, whether that be new puppies or an older dog they can’t take care of anymore. Chances are, you’ll find a healthy and well-taken care of pup for an affordable price.

Once you’ve found your dog, it’s time to research how to save on food, toys, and other supplies. Purchasing dry food in bulk is a great way to save over time; you can compare different brands online to see which would be the best fit. Also, consider checking out thrift stores for used beds, crates, and toys. You might be surprised at what you can find!

Regardless of whether you love registered purebreds or shelter mutts, the most important thing to do before adopting a dog is research exactly how much you’ll be paying. That way, you won’t be caught off guard, and you and your new furry friend can start your lives together happily!