The most expensive dog breeds
The bigger the dog, the higher your monthly expenses. Most giant breeds only live eight to 10 years, so the total cost of ownership is lower than larger breeds that live longer. Taking life expectancy into account, these are the five dog breeds with the highest total cost of ownership*.
- Giant Schnauzer: $34,410 over 14 years
- golden doodle: $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 they are very active and may need up to 4 cups of food a day. You can expect to spend $290 per year on food and $345 on treats. Giant Schnauzers are highly intelligent but strong-willed and can become destructive when bored. Therefore, they need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. You will have to spend on toys and training to help with this.
Giant schnauzer puppies are hard to find, costing an average of $2,500. First year costs for this breed, including supplies, training, and vet visits, are about $5,940. Grooming is another substantial cost: a giant schnauzer has a double coat that must be shed by hand every four to six months. Expect to pay around $650 per year for grooming.
Giant Schnauzers are usually relatively healthy, although they may have hip and joint problems, thyroiditis, and squamous cell carcinoma. Vet visits will cost an average of $675 per year, plus any emergencies.
Giant schnauzers cost an average of $2,190 per year of adult life. Factoring in first-year costs and a 14-year shelf life, that’s about $34,410, making the giant schnauzer the most expensive breed on our list.
You might be surprised to see this mixed breed on our list, but since the goldendoodle is a designer breed that combines a golden retriever with a standard poodle, it’s pretty pricey. Puppies are easy to find, but a responsible breeder who knows how to pair dogs to reduce the chance of hereditary diseases will charge around $2,000 for a goldendoodle.
Food costs about as much as it would for a giant schnauzer, around $290 per year, as both breeds are similar in size and energy levels.
Goldendoodles don’t shed much, but they’ll 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 per year on vet bills.
First year expenses for a goldendoodle puppy average around $5,675, and you can expect to pay about $2,250 a year after that. With an average life expectancy of 13 years, this works out to about $32,675.
The first truly giant breed on our list, Tibetan Mastiffs are huge, hard-working watchdogs that can weigh up to 160 pounds. They eat 4 to 6 cups of food a day, or about 430 pounds a year, for a total of $390 a year plus another $345 for treats.
Another hefty regular expense is professional grooming at around $900 per year. The Mastiffs’ thick double coats form a lion-like mane around the neck and shoulders, creating a striking appearance but requiring frequent grooming to remain free of mats and tangles.
Tibetan Mastiffs are a somewhat 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 that time, the most expensive dog ever sold.
Even if you opt for a rescue dog with $500 in adoption fees, you’ll still have to pay annual medical expenses of about $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 add up to $6,235 as they cost so much to buy and grow so fast. These dogs also have the highest average annual costs for adults at around $2,625. However, since they only live for about 11 years, their total cost is $32,485, slightly lower than the goldendoodle.
black russian terrier
The Black Russian Terrier is similar to 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 Black Russian Terriers can weigh up to 140 pounds and eat about $380 worth of food a year. Grooming their long double coats isn’t as difficult as a Tibetan Mastiff, but you’ll still pay about $730 a year for professional grooming. Black Russian terriers are quite healthy, but there is still a chance of elbow and hip dysplasia and an eye disease called progressive retinal apathy. Expect to pay around $750 per year in medical expenses.
In general, an adult Black Russian Terrier costs about $2,445 per year, which adds up to a total of $30,200 over an 11-year lifespan.
Another hybrid breed rounds out our top five, thanks to the puppies’ relatively high price (around $1,550) and longer lifespan. Because this Labrador Retriever/Standard Poodle mix is a designer breed, there aren’t many in shelters. You may need to find a breeder and possibly join a waiting list. Expect to pay about $225 for food the first year and $255 a year for food after that.
Labradors come in various coat textures and lengths, so grooming requirements depend on the parentage of the individual labradoodle, but they average $650 per year. Most Labradoodles grow to between 50 and 65 pounds, although some are bred smaller. Hip and elbow dysplasia are possible health problems, as are epilepsy, diabetes, and progressive retinal apathy. That said, Labradoodles do tend to get some health benefits from their hybrid genetics, so medical costs will be around $625 per year.
A Labradoodle puppy costs about $4,695 in 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.