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The Most Expensive Dog Breeds In The World

From the elegant Azawakh to the reliable Golden Retriever, these are the most expensive dog breeds to bring home.

two afghan hound dogs standing in forest, one wearing a king crownMariana Mikhailova/Getty Images

Any dog will cost you some kibble. It doesn’t matter if you choose fluffy dogs, toy dog breeds, dogs that look like teddy bears, smart dog breeds, or loyal dog breeds. It all adds up—vet care, food, toys, treats, grooming, and don’t forget dog boarding and dog walking fees if you need them. Of course, there’s the initial cost of purchasing the dog too (unless you adopt a shelter dog), which is the criteria we used for this list of most expensive dog breeds.

There aren’t set-in-stone prices for dog breeds, so we pawed through puppy listings across the country to come up with an average price. Speaking of puppy listings, the smartest way to avoid puppy mills is to take your time and thoroughly research the breeder, read reviews, and ask lots of questions.

Several factors influence the higher price tag. The most popular dog breeds, overall popularity, and even the rarity of the breed dictate the price, as well as whether the dog comes from a high pedigree. Whatever the reason, these breeds fetch a higher price tag—and dog lovers will say they’re worth every penny!

Tibetan mastiff standing outsideLiliya Kulianionak/Shutterstock

1. Tibetan Mastiff

Average Tibetan Mastiff cost: $3,000–$5,000

If the price of a dog were based on weight, pound for pound, the Tibetan Mastiff would be a front runner for sure. Case in point, a Red Tibetan Mastiff named Big Splash is the most expensive dog ever sold. His new owner shelled out some $1.5 million to take home a then 11-month-old, 180-pound puppy. The Tibetan Mastiff’s size could undoubtedly be intimidating and scary, but they’re actually a very affectionate family dog breed, albeit a bit standoffish and territorial with strangers.

two black russian terriers sitting on the ground outsideAll the rights for presented photos are my own./Getty Images

2. Black Russian Terrier

Average Black Russian Terrier cost: $3,000–$5,000

We typically think of terriers as small and cute dogs, but the Black Russian Terrier is an exception. When all four paws are on the scales, they can weigh as much as 140 pounds and stand 30 inches tall at the shoulder. They’re indeed a muscular and powerful dog, well suited for guarding and protecting. Like other giant dog breeds that make great pets, they are eager to please and wicked smart, but unlike other big dogs, they’re not loafers and need plenty of exercises and mental stimulation to keep them happy and out of mischief.

white samoyed dog with tongue out sitting outside on a sunny dayyurakrasil/Shutterstock

3. Samoyed

Average Samoyed cost: $2,500–$5,000

Famously known for their cheerful, contagious smile, this adorable and fluffy Russian dog breed is one of the most expensive dog breeds. Besides melting our hearts, that smile has a practical purpose. The upturned corners of the lips keep the dogs from drooling, preventing icicles from forming on their faces.

They are lovey-dovey and gentle with humans of all ages, making for enthusiastic playmates for kids and adults. They do get bored easily, though, so they’ll fit best with people who have time to provide ample exercise and loads of mental stimulation, whether it is hide-and-seek outside or a fun and challenging dog puzzle inside.

Portrait Of French Bulldog Sitting On Sofa At HomeMichael Camilleri/Getty Images

4. French Bulldog

Average French Bulldog cost: $2,500–$4,000

If you’re looking for an adorably short-legged dog, this fun-loving, short-haired dog breed could be the pup of your dreams. You won’t have to make regular trips to the groomer, but those irresistible wrinkles do merit daily attention and should be kept clean and dry.

Speaking of attention, the Frenchie demands lots of doting, playtime, and general interaction from its human family. As a matter of fact, that’s probably why they love kids so much—instant playmates! Unless they get excited, Frenchies probably won’t be loud or rambunctious barkers, but they are known for their preciously sweet snorts and snores.

Löwchen dog sitting on grass outsideSvetlana Valoueva/Shutterstock

5. Löwchen

Average Low Chen cost: $2,500–$4,000

Flowy manes make some dogs look like lions, but the Löwchen (pronounced lerv-chun) has a name that actually means “little lion dog” in German—with emphasis on “little.” They are nowhere near the size of a full-grown lion, weighing just 15 pounds and standing a little over a foot tall.

They’re not remotely as ferocious as their wild doppelganger, either. Löwchens are playful and cheery, yet have a calm demeanor, and they’re positively smitten with humans of all ages. The stunning lion mane requires brushing at least every other day, along with a monthly “lion clip,” which keeps the furry locks long and flowing around the face and chest, close-cropped in the hindquarters, and plumed in the tail.

cavalier king Charles Spaniel sitting on bed at homeTempura/Getty Images

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Average Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cost: $2,500–$3,500

Undeniably one of the cutest little fur nuggets you’ll ever meet, these pups have so much more than melt-your-heart good looks going for them. They also have comfort-bestowing superpowers and are sensitive to what humans need, be it a snuggle session to soothe anxiety or a cheerful distraction with their playfulness after a hard day.

They are gentle, mild-mannered, and their heartwarming affection knows no limits, nor does their eagerness to please. They easily check off the qualifications for being among both the best dog breeds for emotional support as well as the most beloved family dogs.

bernese mountain dog sitting outside near bushesElena Pejchinova/Getty Images

7. Bernese Mountain Dog

Average Bernese Mountain Dog cost: $2,500–$3,500

Large and in charge—of your heart, the Bernese Mountain Dog (aka Berner) is the big ball of love we can’t get enough of. Berners check off a lot of boxes for people looking for a large and affectionate dog, so it’s easy to see why they are one of the most expensive dogs.

At the top of the list of attributes is versatility. The Berner can jet through an agility course, pull the kids on a sled, and watch over your family and home. And home is where the Berner’s heart is. They thrive on family togetherness, and even though they are big dogs, they are gentle around young kids and a quiet dog breed that doesn’t bark too much.

Biewer Terrier standing on grass outsideVSFP/Getty Images

8. Biewer Terrier

Average Biewer Terrier cost: $2,500–$3,500

Though it bears no resemblance to the beaver, Biewer is pronounced “beaver.” These Yorkshire Terrier lookalikes are named for the original breeders, Gertrude and Werner Biewer. No offense to the beaver, but we think the Biewer is a lot cuter! Until recently, you might not have even heard of them, but since they became fully recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), their popularity and price tag have been growing.

Bred to be companion, lap-loving dogs, these little darlings are as sweet as they look. Standing under a foot tall and just four to eight pounds, they are portable and fun little sidekicks that win hearts everywhere they go.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier standing in the sun on a grassy fieldMarcus Vall/Getty Images

9. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Average Staffordshire Bull Terrier cost: $2,000–$3,500

This breed is definitely one of those dog breeds everyone confuses with a Pit Bull, a Bull Terrier, or an American Staffordshire Terrier. It also shares an unfortunate history with dog-orientated blood sports and is thus tossed into the mix of pit bull “facts” that are totally wrong.

Thankfully, those dark days are over, and the Staffie is more popular than ever as a lovey-dovey, sweet-natured dog. They hold their families in high regard and keep a close eye on family members and their property, so it’s perfectly natural that they would be a little suspicious of strangers.

laxy st bernard dog lying on grass outsidetobkatrina/Getty Images

10. St. Bernard

Average St. Bernard cost: $1,500–$3,500

These days, more people are flocking to parks and trails to take in the fresh air and calming scenery. And if you’re longing to share those calming vibes with a big rugged mountain dog breed that loves adventure, your search may be over. This super chill giant of the Swiss Alps was famous for rescuing travelers trapped in the snow and avalanches back in the day, and while it still can step up to that role, St. Bernards are content to be non-working members of the family.

Given their 120- to 200-pound frame, you would think they would eat enormous amounts of kibble, but they don’t because of their calm demeanor and lower exercise requirements.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog standing in a large field outsideNadiia_Diachenko/Getty Images

11. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Average Greater Swiss Mountain Dog cost: $2,500–$3,000

The Rottweiler and St. Bernard can thank their Great Swiss Mountain Dog (aka Swissy) ancestors for helping to develop their breeds. You can see the similarity in their tri-color coats, rugged good looks, and strong, muscular physiques. Plus, they all share the status of being some of the most expensive dog breeds.

Though Swissy’s are a working breed, they tend to gel with the activity level of their family. That doesn’t mean exercise should take a backseat when it comes to keeping the Swissy in prime condition. Working dogs flourish when they have “jobs” to do, be it pulling a cart in the garden, hiking, or backpacking. Just be sure your Swissy stays cool, as this faithful and family-geared dog doesn’t fare well in hot climates.

Irish Wolfhound dog lying on grass outsideJana Oudova/Shutterstock

12. Irish Wolfhound

Average Irish Wolfhound cost: $2,500–$3,000

Wire-haired dogs may not scream “soft and cuddly,” but their coats are surprisingly soft to the touch. These gentle giants are an expensive dog breed and one of the tallest and heaviest breeds of the sighthounds, meaning they depend on their eyes more than their snouts for hunting. They are an impressive 32 inches (or more) at the shoulder and weigh around 120 pounds.

But as formidable as they look, they fail as guard dogs. They’re not suspicious or remotely aggressive. On the contrary, they are easygoing, sensitive, patient, and sweet. The breed is relaxed with other pets and dogs in the house and good with children.

Golden Retriever Dog standing in a field outsideTatyana Consaul/Getty Images

13. Golden Retriever

Average Golden Retriever cost: $2,000–$3,000

Who would have thought a Scottish gun dog would be one of the most popular dog breeds in America? “Me,” the Golden would answer. An impressive jack-of-all-trades kind of dog, the Golden can be a therapy or service dog, a standout candidate in competitive and obedience events, or an outdoor sports partner in hunting and field work. And we haven’t even mentioned the good-natured, loving, eager-to-please, and loyal characteristics yet. Wrap up all those qualities and you have a dog that is pretty close to perfection.

Shikoku dog on a leash in publicanahtiris/Getty Images

14. Shikoku

Average Shikoku cost: $2,000–$3,000

The price tag of expensive dog breeds often coincides with newfound popularity in the media. The fantastical over-sized dire wolves in Game of Thrones and the beloved dog Rollo in Outlander launched a desire to adopt or buy dogs that look like wolves. The Shikoku, also known as the Kochi-ken (ken = dog), looks like a wolf and is named for an island in Japan.

It’s an alert and enthusiastic dog with loads of endurance, probably stemming from its ancestors, who were tireless boar hunters. They’re tenacious, have a high prey drive, and have a strong connection to nature, but indoors they are loyal and docile with their trusted humans.

Pharaoh Hound standing in the woodsTikhomirov Sergey/Shutterstock

15. Pharaoh Hound

Average Pharaoh Hound cost: $1,800–$3,000

The Pharaoh Hound hails from Malta and is known for “blushing” when happy or excited. This quirky natural phenomenon occurs when the nose and ears flush with blood. When they are deliriously happy (anticipating a tasty treat or just excited to see you), they’ll shake their whole body and open their mouth so big you could do a dental exam.

Though it’s the National Dog of Malta and bears a striking resemblance to the jackal god Anubis from ancient Egypt, it is one of those rare dog breeds you probably didn’t know about. But the people who do have Pharaoh hounds as pets know that they are gentle and loving with children and devoted snugglers.

Rottweiler dog lying on pavement outsideOlexandr Andreiko/Shutterstock

16. Rottweiler

Average Rottweiler cost: $1,500–$3,000

Rottweilers were initially developed to guard, drive, and hold cattle. They even guarded the cattlemen’s money by wearing the cash in a pouch around their neck. They’re still thought of as guard dogs, but instead of cattle, they’re used by police and the military. However, they can be good pets for families with early and consistent training and socialization.

Rotties are sharp, tireless, and eager to learn new skills. They are a powerful German dog breed that is confident, bold, and a bit intimidating to someone who doesn’t know them. But to their family, the Rottie is fun-loving, uber affectionate, and often comical.

azawakh dog running on the beachotsphoto/Shutterstock

17. Azawakh

Average Azawakh cost: $1,500–$2,500

With a similar resemblance to a greyhound, this unique long-nosed dog breed is ultra-lean and uniquely elegant. At first glance, the Azawakh looks like it missed a few meals, but this leggy and slim breed was well suited for chasing gazelles in the sands of the Sahara for more than 1,000 years.

They’re highly intelligent, fairly independent, and reserved with people they don’t know, so don’t delay your puppy training. However, when they’re around their humans, they are deeply affectionate. Azawakhs are one of the dogs least likely to drool, and they don’t have a “dog odor”—attributes fitting for a posh and regal breed.

Afghan hound dog standing in the woodsMariana Mikhailova/Getty Images

18. Afghan hound

Average Afghan Hound cost: $1,500–$2,500

When it comes to long-haired dogs with gorgeous locks, the Afghan Hound is the supermodel of the canine runway. But their regal and dignified appearance isn’t without loads of maintenance. If you love to dote on your fur baby, this may be the breed for you. Regular brushing and weekly baths are essential to maintain those silky locks.

Independent, self-confident, and a bit strong-willed, Afghan hounds can be challenging to train. Yet, they are also incredibly sweet and clownish at times. They may give off a pretentious vibe and be aloof with strangers, but they’re generally affectionate with their own family.

Large Chocolate Brown Newfoundland Dog on a Summer DayDejaVu Designs/Getty Images

19. Newfoundland

Average Newfoundland cost: $1,500–$2,500

The Newfie retains gold medal status for being one of the most easy going and low-key dogs on the planet. As one of the dog breeds that are less likely to bite, they are exceptionally gentle, patient, and watchful with young children. On top of that, they are notably friendly and enjoy the company of other dogs too. Newfies aren’t looking for high-intensity exercise—a daily leisurely walk should fend off boredom and help keep them fit.

As a bonus, Newfies don’t do much shedding or drooling—something to keep in mind if you’re not a fan of weekly brushing, vacuuming, or drool puddles.

Portrait of a Porturuguese Water Dog in a boatLynMc42k/Getty Images

20. Portuguese Water Dog

Average Portuguese Water Dog cost: $1,500–$2,500

It’s hard to resist an adorable curly haired dog that doesn’t shed much. Maybe those perks are how two Portuguese Water dogs found their way to the White House. President Obama had two of these dogs—Sunny and Bo, but can you match the other U.S. presidents with their dogs?

While those tight-woven curls don’t end up all over your furniture, they do need frequent brushing to keep tangles from forming and full coat trims monthly. Temperament wise, Portuguese Water dogs are friendly, affectionate, smart, and adventurous. Activities that utilize their intellect and need for physical exercise will keep these cuties happy and fit.

rhodesian ridgeback hound dog sitting on a grassy fieldTatiana Katsai/Shutterstock

21. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Average Rhodesian Ridgeback cost: $1,500–$2,500

These graceful and devoted caretakers were bred with wild African dogs—that’s how they got their distinctive stripe of hair that grows in the opposite direction along their spine (the ridge). Loving with their immediate family members, they fit into the big dog breeds that are great for families category because they like to hang out with kids and are protective of younger children under their “care.”

They also make great family pets because they get along with other dogs and even cats when they are brought up together. As one of the most expensive dog breeds, they are well worth the price tag for companionship and guarding nature.

Dogo argentine dog sitting on a field outsideklnge/Getty Images

22. Dogo Argentino

Average Dogo Argentino cost: $1,200–$2,500

Their hunting days may be over, but the Dogo Argentino’s vigilant guarding instincts and tendency to protect their territory (you and your home) are very strong. Yet, like most guard dog breeds, they are also lovable and super affectionate with their humans.

Back in the day, the Dogo Argentino was developed to hunt big game. With those genes still in their DNA, they are serious athletes who crave daily physical and mental activity, especially games that utilize their keen sense of smell. So, you’ll need more than money if you’re thinking about getting this short-haired white dog breed. The AKC (who recently recognized the dog breed) recommends an experienced dog owner who is consistent and confident in dog training.

Spinone Italiano dog on a green grass lawnCaptureLight/Getty Images

23. Spinone Italiano

Average Spinone Italiano cost: $1,000–$2,000

Italian dog breeds like the Spinone Italiano have a reputation for sharp intelligence and impressive speed and endurance in field hunting. But it just may be their stylish good looks that point to their expensive dog breed price tag.

Their soft and furry pendulous ears and sweet expressive eyes are enough to melt anyone’s heart—not to mention their distinguished beards and shaggy eyebrows. Besides being irresistibly cute, they are highly trainable, notably sweet and affectionate with their family, and socialize well with other dogs.

american akita puppy standing outside on the grassEduard_Mikrykov/Getty Images

24. Akita

Average Akita cost: $900–$1,500

Before Akitas had an official breed name, they were referred to simply as “snow country dogs.” Their dense undercoat, raised outer layer of fur, and webbing between their toes served them well while hunting in the snowy mountains of Japan. Nowadays, these authentic Japanese dog breeds are better known for being devoted watchdogs and protectors, but they still prefer the cold over hot temperatures.

Akita’s love the snow so much, in fact, that they’ll be the first one out the door when the white stuff piles up. They love to play and roll around in it. They have a tendency to be domineering and aren’t crazy about other dogs or pets; they’re also reserved with strangers. Still, with the right person or family, they make lovable companions.

Side View Of English Bulldog Looking Away On FieldTara Gregg/Getty Images

25. English Bulldog

Average English Bulldog cost: $900–$1,500

When the National Dog Show hosts share their most interesting moments, they always mention a Bulldog named Thor. Viewers and spectators fell in love with this adorable flat-faced dog breed and his confident and charming swagger. He impressed the judges too and took home the Best in Show honors in 2019.

When certain dogs win, it often propels the breed into instant popularity and makes them one of the most expensive dog breeds to own. Show dog or not, the English Bulldog has a lot going for it, especially if you love a low-key dog with a cute brawny frame and an adorably wrinkled face.

Chow Chow dog standing on grass in sun outsideGoodLifeStudio/Getty Images

26. Chow Chow

Average Chow Chow cost: $900–$1,500

With an enormous fluffy face, this authentic Chinese dog breed has a lot of unique features befitting an expensive dog breed, for example, a cool, dark blue-purple tongue. Then there’s the famous scowling expression it sometimes wears, even when it’s happy. Strong-willed, independent, and often aloof, the Chow Chow’s vibe is similar to that of a cat. It is endearing and perplexing at once. Fastidious like cats, Chow Chows don’t have offensive doggy odors when they are brushed often.

Sources

  • Newsweek, “The 25 Most Expensive Dog Breeds”
  • CBS News, “Tibetan Mastiff, “Big Splash,” sells for $1.5 million, world’s most expensive dog”
  • Hill’s Pet, “Dog Breeds”
  • AKC, “Dog Breeds”; Biewer Terrier; Dogo Argentino
  • USA Today, Things to love about Thor the Bulldog, the adorable pup who won the 2019 National Dog Show”

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, HealthiNation, The Family Handyman, Taste of Home, and Realtor.com., among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center. Follow her on Instagram @lisamariewrites4food and Twitter @cornish_conklin.