The most expensive dog breeds
The bigger the dog, the higher his monthly expenses will be. Most giant breeds only live eight to ten years, so the overall cost of ownership is lower than larger breeds that live longer. Taking life expectancy into account, here are the five dog breeds with the highest total cost of ownership*.
- Giant Schnauzer: $34,410 over 14 years
- Goldendoodle: $32,675 over 13 years
- Tibetan Mastiff: $32,485 over 11 years
- Black Russian Terrier: $30,200 over 11 years
- Labradoodle: $29,475 over 13 years
This breed is only “giant” compared to other schnauzers. Adults typically weigh between 55 and 80 pounds, but are very active and may need up to 4 cups of food per day. You can expect to spend $290 a year on food and $345 on treats. Giant Schnauzers are highly intelligent but willful and can become destructive when bored. Thus, they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. You will have to spend on toys and training to help you.
Giant Schnauzer puppies are hard to find and cost an average of $2,500. First-year costs for this breed, including supplies, training, and vet visits, are around $5,940. Grooming is another substantial cost: a giant schnauzer has a double coat that needs to be hand-trimmed every four to six months. Expect to pay around $650 per year for grooming.
Giant Schnauzers are generally in relatively good health, although hip and joint problems, thyroiditis and squamous cell carcinoma are possible. Vet visits will cost an average of $675 per year, plus emergencies.
Giant Schnauzers cost an average of $2,190 per year of adult life. Considering first-year costs and a 14-year lifespan, that’s about $34,410, making the giant schnauzer the most expensive breed on our list.
It may surprise you to see this mixed breed on our list, but since the goldendoodle is a designer breed combining a golden retriever with a standard poodle, it’s quite expensive. Puppies are easy to find, but a responsible breeder who knows how to pair dogs to reduce the risk of hereditary disease will charge around $2,000 for a goldendoodle.
Food costs about as much as a giant schnauzer, about $290 a year, as the two breeds are similar in size and energy.
Goldendoodles don’t shed much, but they will need regular haircuts totaling around $710 a year. They are reasonably healthy, but like many large breeds they are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. These genetic conditions can cause arthritis, joint pain, and even paralysis. So expect to spend around $675 a year on vet bills.
First-year expenses for a goldendoodle puppy average around $5,675, and you can expect to pay around $2,250 per year thereafter. On an average life expectancy of 13 years, that works out to about $32,675.
The first truly giant breed on our list, Tibetan Mastiffs are huge, hard-working guard dogs that can weigh up to 160 pounds. They eat 4-6 cups of food per day, or about 430 pounds per year, totaling $390 per year plus an additional $345 for treats.
Another considerable regular expense is professional grooming at around $900 per year. Mastiffs’ thick double coats form a lion-like mane around their neck and shoulders, which creates a striking appearance but requires frequent grooming to remain matt and tangle-free.
Tibetan Mastiffs are a fairly rare breed. A puppy can cost between $1,800 and $4,500, although the average is $2,500. In 2011, a Tibetan Mastiff named Big Splash sold for $1.5 million — at the time, the most expensive dog never sold.
Even if you opt for a rescue dog with $500 adoption fee, you will still have to pay annual medical bills of around $750. Hip and elbow dysplasia and other orthopedic conditions are cause for concern, as are hypothyroidism and canine hereditary demyelinating neuropathy.
Total first year costs for a Tibetan Mastiff puppy are $6,235 because they are so expensive to buy and grow so quickly. These dogs also have the highest average annual costs for adults, around $2,625. However, since they only live for about 11 years, their overall cost is $32,485, slightly less than the goldendoodle.
Russian black terrier
The Black Russian Terrier resembles the Tibetan Mastiff in that it is a giant breed with a high annual cost and a short lifespan. It’s also rare, with puppies costing around $2,000. You can expect to pay around $5,750 in the first year of ownership between food, training, medical bills, and extra-large supplies.
Adult Russian Black Terriers can weigh up to 140 pounds and eat around $380 worth of food per year. Grooming their long double coats isn’t as difficult as a Tibetan Mastiff, but you’ll still pay around $730 a year for professional grooming. Black Russian Terriers are fairly healthy, but there is always a risk of elbow and hip dysplasia and an eye disease called progressive retinal apathy. Expect to pay around $750 per year in medical bills.
Overall, an adult Black Russian Terrier costs around $2,445 per year, or $30,200 over an 11-year lifespan.
Another hybrid breed rounds out our top five, thanks to the relatively high price of puppies (around $1,550) and longer lifespan. Because this Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle mix is a designer breed, there aren’t many of them in shelters. You will likely need to find a breeder and possibly put yourself on a waiting list. Expect to pay around $225 for the first year of food and $255 per year for food thereafter.
Labradors have different coat textures and lengths, so grooming requirements depend on each Labradoodle’s parentage, but average around $650 per year. Most Labradoodles reach around 50 to 65 pounds, although some are bred smaller. Hip and elbow dysplasia are potential health issues, as are epilepsy, diabetes, and progressive retinal apathy. That said, Labradoodles tend to derive some health benefits from their hybrid genetics, so medical costs will be around $625 per year.
A labradoodle puppy costs around $4,695 the first year of ownership and $2,065 for each year thereafter. Assuming a 13-year lifespan, this breed has a total cost of ownership of around $29,475.