These Dog Breeds Are The Most Expensive In The World

Dogs are one of, if not the most popular pet in the world. The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that in the United States alone, over 48 million households owned at least one dog, representing over 38% of households across the country. Unsurprisingly, statistics say there are over 76 million dogs in the United States. The popularity of pooches has driven up demand for certain breeds of dog, which often only have a limited supply. As a result, the costs of individual puppies can be quite high among certain breeds.

Estimating the costs of these expensive breeds can be tricky. One breeder may offer lower prices, but at the risk of not having a healthily bred dog. Another may be a reputable breeder, and as such will charge rates as luxuriant as an Afghan Hound's coat. To illustrate, Smart Pet Decisions shows that a Puli puppy, a Hungarian breed that looks more mop than canine, can sell for as low as $100 and much as $3,000. That is quite a delta. Also, when considering dog expenses, you need to include maintenance. A Puli coat require extensive grooming, which can cost up to $150 per session. For any breed, the lifetime costs of dog ownership can be jaw-dropping. The American Kennel Club reports that lifetime costs can easily top $90,000 for dogs that have considerable maintenance requirements.

Obviously, some breeds of dog can cost a pretty penny. Let's take a look at some of the world's most expensive breeds.

Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is routinely listed as one of the world's most expensive dog breeds. According to the American Kennel Club, this dog was bred with a high sense of devotion to its family, as well as a strong sense of territoriality. And since individuals easily grow to 26 inches shoulder high and weigh over 100 pounds, they do have an imposing presence when guarding their turf.

Tibetan Mastiffs are desirable and rare. This has driven up their costs to the top of the dog pile. In fact, CNBC reported that in 2014, a golden haired Tibetan Mastiff was bought by an unknown buyer in China for almost $2 million. That sum of money was justified by the breeder, who claimed that his mastiffs "...have lion's blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs."

Now, if you are interested in purchasing a Tibetan Mastiff, you do not need to win the pet lottery. PetBudget analyzed the range of costs associated with Tibetan mastiffs and reported that the cost of a puppy can range from $1,500 to $4,500, with an average of $2,500. For maintenance costs over the lifetime of the dog, an owner may expect to pay an average of $32,485. Of course, if you went all out and fully trained the dog, boarded it for a week once a year, bought pet insurance, and microchipped the dog, your expenses would escalate to up to over $134,000 in total lifetime costs for your Tibetan Mastiff.

Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier has one of the most interesting histories of dog breeds. According to the American Kennel Club, the dog's origins began in the 1930s at a mysterious location near Moscow called the Red Star Kennel, when the Soviets began a breeding program aiming to produce the perfect guard dog. This program fell apart after the Nazi invasion during World War II, but after the war, the Soviets began again. Breeders cobbled together 17 different breeds, including Newfoundland, Giant Schnauzer, and Rottweilers, to produce the Black Russian Terrier. 

This 140-pound breed was used not only for patrolling the Soviet Union's long borders, but also as a watchdog at Siberian prison camps. After the closure of many camps following Stalin's death in the 1950s, breeding of the Black Russian Terrier tapered off, so today, purebreds tend to be rarer than other breeds of dog. 

Unsurprisingly, this rarity has resulted in a decidedly high price tag. A puppy from a reputable breeder may cost an owner between $1,000 and $2,500 (per PetBudget), while Dogsbreedslist asserts that the price can go up to $4,500.

Neapolitan Mastiff

Although the Neapolitan Mastiff wasn't recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1946, the breed has an ancient history. 

According to "Neapolitan Mastiff: A Comprehensive Owner's Guide," these wrinkly, massive-headed dogs are probably the descendants of war and guard dogs from Roman times. Certainly their nearly 150-pound frame could frighten any ancient or modern prowler. In fact, their startling face, the United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club asserts, may have been purposely bred so as to scare intruders away by their visage alone. Aside from guard duty, the Romans also used the Mastiff in gladiatorial combat, where different dog trainers would pit their dogs against one another. 

Despite this bellicose history, the American Kennel Club asserts that among friends and family, the dog is steady-tempered and sweet. These virtues, plus its truly unique look, have made it a highly desirable breed. This has also made the Neapolitan Mastiff one of the most expensive breeds in the world. According to PetBudget, a puppy from a reputable breeder may cost you anywhere from $2,500 to $4,500, with an average of $3,500.

French Bulldog

With a squashed, puggish face, French Bulldogs are one of the most desirable dog breeds in the world. The American Kennel Club lists its positive attributes, particularly its friendly and magnetic personality. As a result of the high demand and limited supply, French Bulldogs are among the priciest dog breeds out there. Reader's Digest states that puppies can cost up to $4,000 each. However, the New York Times reported that some French bulldog varieties, especially a nouvelle "fluffy" type, can sell for over $30,000.

Ssadly, such economic forces have created a lucrative black market for those lacking a moral compass. Worldwide, French Bulldog robbers have stolen individual dogs, often at gunpoint. Possibly the most infamous dognapping in recent times was the abduction of Gustav and Koji, Lady Gaga's two French bulldogs, from her dogwalker, who was shot and choked in the theft. It is supposed that the five robbers targeted the bulldogs not because they were Lady Gaga's, but because of the inherent value of the breed. Nowadays, French Bulldog breeders are more likely to carry a gun with them than a milk bone.


Samoyeds are white, fluffy, and have a face that seems to be shaped into an ever-present grin. This and its loving disposition make it, as explained by the American Kennel Club, a very desirable breed. 

According to Reader's Digest, a Samoyed puppy can go up to $5,000, though PetBudget tells us that most people would pay an average of $1,850. These luxury prices, however, belie the working-class roots of Samoyeds. These canines were first bred in Siberia by the semi-nomadic Samoyedic people for hunting reindeer and later herding them. Samoyeds were also exceptional sled hauling dogs, which could pull one and a half times their own weight.

So closely bonded did the Samoyedic people become with their dogs that they would often huddle with them at night against the sometimes -60 degrees Fahrenheit Siberian cold. The breed only achieved world recognition after Arctic explorers adopted them and brought them back to warmer climes at the end of the 18th century. It became a recognized breed in the United States in 1906.


The little Löwchen is a breed which has been a desirable companion pet since the Middle Ages. According to the American Kennel Club, the Löwchen is closely related to similar companion dogs such as the Maltese and the Bichon Frise. The Löwchen's appeal is not just for its small size (about a foot high at the shoulder) and affectionate disposition. It is also considered to be a brave species, which is reflected in its flowing lionesque coat. In fact, the name Löwchen literally means "little lion" in German.

Despite these appealing characteristics, according to "Löwchen," the Löwchen had become unpopular by the late 19th century, and was in danger of becoming extinct as a breed. Efforts by a Belgian breeder named Madam Bennert saved the breed, though it remains rare to this day. This scarcity is reflected in its price. Dogbreedslist tells us that a Löwchen puppy from a reputable breeder can range between $4,000 and $8,000, while Reader's Digest gives a more modest, but still expensive, range of $2,500 to $4,000.

Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound's striking, long-haired coat gives it an aristocratic appearance. This regal silkiness, however, is not just to impress. 

The American Kennel Club reports that the breed originated in the mountains of Afghanistan, where its coat offered proof against the harsh vicissitudes of the mountainous climate. It was also bred with large paw pads and a certain level of endurance, which makes it an excellent hunting hound. In its assessment of the Afghan, Hill's Pet notes that it is a rather "high maintenance" breed with an independent streak that makes it difficult at times to train. Thus, it takes a certain type of dog owner to bond with an Afghan — but when it is done successfully, the breed can be an outstanding companion.

The nobility of the Afghan does come at a cost. According to PetBudget, a puppy can cost you up to $2,500. However, when considering the other costs of maintaining an Afghan over the cost of its lifetime — particularly, grooming its Rapunzel-inspired coat — one can expect to shell out well over $100,000.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is regularly listed as one of the best emotional support dogs out there. In fact, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club asserts that they were especially bred for that purpose, and that they also make commendable service animals. 

What makes this breed particularly attractive is its adaptability. The American Kennel Club points out that individual dogs will often adopt the attitudes of their owners. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will take on just as well to an avid outdoor type as they would to one who likes to vegetate on a couch. However, perhaps what really solidifies this breed's popularity is its sheer cuteness. These spaniels are part of the toy group, averaging about 13 inches high and weighing between 13 and 18 pounds. They have expressive eyes, floppy ears, and a rich coat (usually of brown or black and white) which is hard to resist.

Such compelling features make the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel a popular pet of choice. That said, if you want one from a reputable breeder, you will have to dig deep into your wallet. According to Reader's Digest, you may have to pay $3,500 for a single puppy.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain dogs sound big, and they are. They were first bred in the Swiss canton of Bern as farm dogs, and are quite strong. The Bernese Mountain Dog Club explains that the breed was developed more as a farmer's companion and versatile farm dog than as a specialist in herding or a draft animal (although they can haul several times their own weight). Rather, they are described as a "watchful farm dog" breed.

The American Kennel Club explains that they can grow up to 27.5 inches high at the shoulder and weigh over 100 pounds. Yet despite its imposing size, the Bernese Mountain Dog is as mild-mannered as Clark Kent. Friendly and very gentle with children, "Berners" can be great members of any family. Plus, they don't bark that much! The only thing you'd have to get over is that they are very prone to shedding their dense coat. 

Reader's Digest reports that a single Berner puppy from good stock could set you back as high as $3,500. PetBudget, however, explains that most people will pay a more modest price of about $1,200.

Saint Bernard

Similar to the Bernese Mountain Dog and of a similar frame (but heavier weight) is the famous Saint Bernard. The American Kennel Club explains that the breed has its roots in Switzerland, where it had appeared by the 2nd century C.E. 

The breed achieved fame as a rescue dog for the monks of the Hospice of Saint Bernard. The dog's sense of smell was able to detect travelers who had been buried in snow and ice by disastrous avalanches. The most famous of the Saint Bernards was "Barry," who reportedly rescued 40 people from 1800 to 1814. It should be noted, though, that these dogs did not have little casks of brandy hanging from their necks. The monks of Saint Bernard would have known that giving alcohol to a person suffering hypothermia would be disastrous. This historical stereotype seems to have been developed from a famous painting by 19th century artist Edwin Landseer, which depicted a tiny barrel strapped to a Saint Bernard who was rescuing an icebound traveler.

While the Saint Bernard is powerfully built (weighing up to 200 pounds), it generally has a mellow disposition, and can be a great family pet. This dog can also be quite expensive. A puppy, according to Reader's Digest may cost up to $3,500, barrels of brandy not included.

Biewer Terrier

The Biewer Terrier, pronounced "Beaver," is one the newest and cutest breeds to be recognized by the American Kennel Club

The breed was developed beginning in the 1970s, when Werner and Gertrude Biewer started breeding tri-color Yorkies in Germany. By 2007, veterinary geneticists recognized the Biewer as a distinct breed based on a combination of dominant traits from the Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, and Bichon Frise. The Biewer is an adaptable dog which enjoys spending equal time in the lap and on the hunt. It is considered by the American Kennel Club to be a very affectionate pet which bonds very well with families.

It also is a bit high maintenance, having a luxurious coat which must be groomed on a regular basis. This should be added into the already considerable initial outlay of cost, reaching up to $4,000 for a show quality Biewer and between $1,000 and $2,000 for a pet quality Biewer.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier saw its origin in cruel dog blood sports starting in the 17th century. According to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club, back then, bulldogs were used in bear and bull baiting contests, which were popular at the time. However, by the 19th century, people began to view the contests less favorably, and so they turned to dog-on-dog fighting. Breeders, seeking to make a nimbler fighting dog, interbred bulldogs with either the Manchester Terrier or the English White Terrier (a breed that no longer exists) along with other terrier breeds to produce the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. 

While dog blood sports are no longer openly conducted, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is still a demanded breed. According to the American Kennel Club, the breed, while certainly muscular and quick at up to 38 pounds, has a pleasant disposition that is very good with kids. Still, because of its fighting past, owners need to take pains to properly socialize the breed with other dogs. To attain such a gregarious family member from good stock does, however, come with a hefty price. Terrier Hub cites that a puppy can cost from anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.

Irish Wolfhound

With a name like Irish Wolfhound, you know that this is a breed that can handle itself. The breed, according to the American Kennel Club, has a history that stretches back to antiquity. 

In 391 C.E., a Roman consul in the British Isles is said to have received seven of these hounds. They were originally bred to hunt large prey such as the extinct Irish elk, but by the 15th century, they were used to hunt the wolves that were causing problems within Ireland. By the end of the 18th century, wolves and large game in Ireland were virtually extinct. The breed nearly disappeared at this time, but in 1862, a British officer named George Augustus Graham worked tirelessly to ensure the wolfhound's survival.

The Irish Wolfhound is an undeniably impressive canine. A male can grow to 3 feet at the shoulder and weigh nearly 180 pounds. However, Irish Wolfhounds are truly gentle giants. Admittedly, it is a great commitment to keep a pet that big. You may also have to fork over big bucks to have one. PetBudget reports that average prices for a puppy can range from $1,400 to $2,500.

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are considered to be one of the friendliest, most trainable dog breeds around. The American Kennel Club not only asserts that they are "love-dovey" with family, but also that their innate friendly outgoing attitude extends to children and other dogs. 

They were originally bred in the 19th century to retrieve waterfowl, and they certainly love swimming (as well as any kind of play). Intelligent and easily trained, they can be effective service dogs, farm dogs, or hunting companions. It is easy to see why these attractive, medium-sized dogs are a favorite the world over, along with it regularly featuring among the most popular breeds

While there are many Golden Retrievers out there, the demand as such has driven up costs. Reader's Digest asserts that pet owners might shell out between $2,000 and $3,000 for a puppy from a well-regarded breeder. PetBudget places the average cost at $2,000 and notes that if you went all out with full veterinary, grooming, and walking services, a Golden may cost over $190,000 during its lifetime.