Have you ever wondered why are some puppies cheaper than others? And why are some dog breeds expensive while others are not? It depends on factors such as rarity, popularity, maintenance, medical needs, and other breed characteristics.
Let’s dive deep into this article as we share the reasons and factors determining why some puppies are cheaper than others.
Why Do Some Puppies Cost So Much Than Others?
According to the study by Packer et al. (2021), one reason why puppies in general increased in price is the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in puppy demand. Many people became more interested in owning a puppy than before the pandemic.
Moreover, other reasons why some puppies are so expensive are their rarity, popularity, lineage, medical needs, vaccination records, maintenance, basic needs, and other breed characteristics. For example, more popular puppies can be more expensive because of their high demand compared to lesser popular breeds.
Here’s a deeper discussion on the reasons why dogs are so expensive:
The rarer the breed, the higher the cost. These dogs are expensive since they are more difficult to breed compared to other types of dogs. There are several reasons why a dog is considered rare: they are harder to breed, there are only a few puppies per litter, and they are only bred in a certain place. For example, the rare dog Pharaoh Hound is only bred in Malta.
A dog’s lineage also contributes to its cost. Puppies who came from a purebred bloodline are more expensive. Moreover, puppies with parents who are game or kennel club champions cost a lot more than other dogs because of their “DNA.” People tend to assume that dogs with champion parents also have higher chances of being a champion.
Designer dog breeds or hybrid dogs are the offspring of carefully regulated cross-breeding between two purebred dogs. Hybrid dogs are smaller in size than other dogs, making them more appealing to people. Many designer breeds are also known for their good physical appearance, contributing to their increasing popularity.
Based on the study by Holland (2020), possible owners look at a dog’s appearance more in considering which dog they will get. In addition, because of the few puppies per litter during cross-breeding and some hybrid dogs that are harder to breed, they became more expensive.
Here are some of the most expensive hybrid dogs:
- Tibetan Mastiff
- Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
- Portuguese Water Dog
- English Bernard
Genetic tests are conducted to understand your dog’s genetics further. By doing a genetic test, you can identify your dog’s risks because of its genetics. With that, you can find a more compatible mate to ensure that their offspring will have no genetic problems. Breeders usually conduct this test to have healthier puppies – and healthier puppies with no medical issues or problems are more expensive.
These genetic tests cost around $60 to $170.
Temperament refers to a dog’s attitude, personality, or nature. According to this article, there are three dog temperament groups: Assertive/Aggressive, Neutral, and Passive. There are multiple temperament tests available that are used to identify a dog’s temperament.
Identifying a dog’s temperament is helpful since if ever extreme aggressiveness or other violent behaviors are detected, they can be immediately addressed with training. The cost of advanced temperament testing starts at $100 per puppy.
This factor contributes to a dog’s price since many people prefer a good temperament and behavior among puppies (Holland, 2020).
Some breeds can be easily trained, and others require professional intervention for a successful training outcome. The latter is the reason you could opt to enroll your dog in obedience training. Some institutions employ trainers who are familiar with how canines learn.
As of 2022, group dog training costs $30 to $50 per hour. Meanwhile, private training is $45 to $120 per session (one hour). However, these prices may vary depending on your location and chosen training institution.
Fully vaccinated dogs normally cost more compared to dogs with incomplete vaccination. Breeders usually put additional charges for each vaccine shot, plus the time and labor they put in arranging the vaccinations. In addition, many people, especially those with limited dog vaccination knowledge, look more for completely vaccinated puppies to avoid the hassle.
According to Prestige Animal Hospital, here are some of the core vaccine shots a puppy should have at its early stages:
- Canine Parvovirus and Canine Distemper
These core vaccines cost around $75 to $100, plus the $15 fee for rabies.
Meanwhile, here are the non-core vaccine shots:
- Canine Influenza (dog flu)
- Rattlesnake vaccine
- Lyme vaccine
Take note that even though these vaccines are labeled as non-core, they are still important in keeping your dogs away from infectious diseases.
In the basic rules of economics, the higher the demand, the higher the price. Thus, popularity affects dog prices. For example, due to the rise of dog popularity and aspiring pet owners during the pandemic, puppies, in general, became more expensive.
According to Gray (2020), there has been a 50% increase in dog prices amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Maltese and poodles that cost $1,000 to $1,500 before the pandemic are now sold at $2,400. Meanwhile, Golden Retrievers went from $2,700 to $3,900.
The dog breeds mentioned are also included in the most popular dogs list of 2021 by the American Kennel Club.
Some dogs are mainly more expensive than other breeds because of their grooming requirements and maintenance. Dogs who have thick and long coats usually require professional grooming and trimming. Meanwhile, some breeds, such as the Beagle and Border Collies, rarely need grooming.
Grooming needs can cost from $30 to $90, depending on factors like location, dog’s size, coat length, and grooming duration.
Since puppies will not rely on their mother’s milk forever, all professional breeders must make huge food investments – especially in larger dog breeds. Moreover, breeders must know what diet best works for specific dog breeds. Maintaining these diets is very expensive. With that, some breeds that require higher calories and nutrient intake will naturally be more expensive.
The breeder makes the greatest food investments because they want to maintain the health of their parents and puppies.
Due to genetic traits, some dog breeds are more prone to health problems compared to other breeds. Therefore, a pet owner should be prepared to handle all medical and healthcare fees. Warner (2016) listed the top dog breeds that have a high health concern level:
- Cocker Spaniel
- German Shepherd
- Golden and Labrador Retrievers
- Saint Bernard
- Basset Hound
- Miniature Poodle
Pet insurance for your dog can also help manage your bills during emergency health situations.
Buying a puppy from a breeder with a good reputation will cost a lot compared to buying a dog from simple puppy sellers. Breeding dogs is harder than other people think. Since professional dog breeders are very knowledgeable in breeding dogs, they ensure that the puppies are in perfect condition and health. Moreover, professional breeders are always complete regarding legal paperwork, registrations, and other requirements.
10 Cheapest Puppy Breeds
If you are looking for a dog companion but have a very tight budget, here are some of the cheapest puppy breeds:
The Beagles are described as loving and affectionate dog companions. They are also easygoing and pleasant to be with, making them good family dogs. In addition, because of their short coat, Beagles are very low maintenance. Beagles cost around $500 but can still be higher depending on their lineage.
2. Border Collie
The Border Collies are known for their high energy levels and herding skills. They are extremely low-maintenance dogs because they do not require a lot of keeping to be healthy. If you run into one, it could be possible for you to purchase a dog for a reasonable price. They can cost around $200 in some places and around $600 to $800 if with complete legal papers.
The Chihuahuas are little dogs with big personalities. They are also considered one of the oldest breeds of the Americas. Furthermore, they are considered one of the cheapest dogs because of the following:
- They are cheaper since professional dog breeders do not mostly back them up. Purebred Chihuahuas can also be found at shelters and adoption facilities.
- The majority of Chihuahuas are small, healthy canines. You only need to look out for some genetic issues that may concern them.
- Their grooming needs are also low maintenance.
If you buy from reputable breeders, Chihuahuas’ price starts at $400.
The Dachshunds are scent hound dogs that were developed to hunt rabbits, foxes, badgers, and other creatures that burrow. Why are Dachshunds cheaper? They don’t shed much. This avoids trips to the groomer and allows you to avoid paying extra cleaning fees.
This dog breed usually costs around $200 to $3,500 – depending on their lineage, vaccination, and other determinants.
The Dalmatians were made to run. It is one of the kinds of dogs that can sprint at speeds of up to 37 mph. Having a dalmatian does not require a lot of maintenance like grooming and such, which makes them more affordable to have compared to other breeds. On average, Dalmatians cost around $800.
6. German Wirehaired Pointer
The German wirehaired pointers have a lot of energy. Their rough, wiry coat requires little maintenance. Weekly brushing with a comb and brush can assist to keep the dog looking his best. This breed can cost around $600 to $950, while those with established lineage can go up to $1,500.
7. Manchester Terrier
The Manchester Terrier is a very intelligent and athletic dog. It was originally bred in the 19th century to control pests. Manchester Terriers require little maintenance. They are often described as “wash and wear” dogs. This breed only needs the usual shampoo and soap during baths to keep them clean and fresh.
On average, Manchester Terriers cost around $600 to $1000.
8. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Strong, active, and loving without being needy, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a miniature herder breed. Based on Joyner (2022), this breed of Corgi is a low-maintenance house dog. Regular brushing of a Welsh Corgi’s thick coat will already suffice.
Like other dogs, the price of this dog depends on the breeder. Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be bought starting from $700 to $2000.
Pugs originating from China are also known as one of the oldest dog breeds. This breed is ideal if you live in an apartment or if you have a roommate since they are extremely low maintenance. Even though their smooth and glossy coat sheds, it is not as heavy as the other breeds. Thus, minimal grooming and daily brushing will be enough.
This adorable breed has an average cost of $800 to $1,500. However, pugs with champion lineages can go up to $3,000.
The Schipperke is a curious, self-assured, and devoted breed that was developed in Belgium’s Flemish regions. Schipperkes are easy-care canines. Although they don’t need to be bathed, they occasionally might use a brush or comb. They are usually sold for around $700, while some breeders’ prices can range from $1,200 to $4,300.
10 Most Expensive Puppy Breeds
Well, if you have a huge budget for your dog companions, check this top 10 list of most expensive puppy breeds:
The Samoyed is known for its beautiful white, fluffy, and smooth fur. They are also very friendly and affectionate. Thus, a lot of people dream of owning one. Samoyeds are one of the most expensive breeds, with an average price of $1500 to $3000. Take note that Samoyeds from known breeders can cost up to $6,000.
The Samoyed’s expensive price is associated with its popularity and breed. Since many people are interested in this breed, breeders tend to raise its prices. Also, only purebred Samoyeds are bred to maintain a pure line.
The Löwchen, whose name translates to “Little Lion” in German, is a small companion dog. They have been popular among European countries for more than 500 years. With their combined popularity and rarity, Löwchens cost around $5,000 to $8,000.
These so-called little lions were the favorite pets of noblemen until they became “virtually extinct” in the 19th century. There were only 70 Löwchens during 1970. Until now, Löwchens are extremely rare, with only a couple hundred of them.
3. Chow Chow
Looking like a big teddy bear, Chow Chows are extremely popular among aspiring pet owners. Aside from their fluffy features, their rarity and maintenance contributed to their expensive price of around $800 to $1600.
Other reasons why they are so expensive are the following: Larger breeds like Chow Chows also require more food to attain their required nutrients and vitamins. Additionally, breeders need “more upfront investment” in breeding Chow Chows.
4. Tibetan Mastiff
The Tibetan Mastiff is considered one of the largest dog breeds in the world. With their enormous size and rare breed, it is not surprising that they also belong in the most expensive dog breeds costing around $2,000 to $6,000. Zhang Gengyun, a dog breeder, stated that Tibetan Mastiffs are rare, like their (China’s) national treasured pandas.
Moreover, a Tibetan Mastiff said to have “lion’s blood” was sold for $2,000,000 in China. This dog breed is often used as a status symbol.
The Azawakh is known for its uncommon physique. They have extremely lean and rangy bodies, and their bone structure is also visible beneath their skin. Aside from their unique features, this dog breed is very elegant looking.
The Azawakh costs around $1,500 to $2,500. With their distinct features, rarity, and special skills, the Azawakhs belong to the world’s top most expensive dog breeds.
The Rottweilers are known for their loyalty and natural protective instinct. Due to the expenses of Rottweiler breeding, a puppy costs around $1,450 each. In an article by Thomas (2021), breeders need to test both Rottweiler parents for hip dysplasia since it is very common among the said dog breed. This type of test can cost up to $200.
The cost of a Rottweiler puppy can also vary depending on their lineage, bloodline, and breeders. Breeders who are registered with the American Kennel Club or other kennel clubs charge more.
7. Canadian Eskimo Dog
The Canadian Eskimo or Canadian Inuit dog has similarities with large huskies or malamutes in terms of physique. However, the Canadian Eskimo dogs are much rarer compared to other dogs. Because of this, their average cost is around $1,500 to $3,500 or more.
Another contributing factor to their high value is that they almost went extinct during the 1960s.
8. Dogo Argentino
The Dogo Argentino or the Argentinian Mastiff is a pack-hunting dog. They were originally bred to hunt big wild animals like boars and pumas. The Dogo Argentino’s average cost is around $1,200 to $2,000. Dog breeder reputation, purebred status, and lineage are other factors that increase this breed’s price.
9. Pharaoh Hound
The Pharaoh Hound, also called the “ancient blushing dog” of Malta, is known for its adorable characteristic of “blushing” when excited or happy. They are also considered one of the oldest breeds in the world, with their history dating back to the Egyptian Period.
Now, they are mostly in Malta, making them extra rare. With their combined rich history, rarity, and elegant looks, this breed costs around $5,000.
10. Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound is described as the “most eye-catching” dog breed in the world. Their thick, silky, and smooth coats are always associated with beauty, elegance, and royalty. Due to their appearance, Afghan Hounds can cost around $2,000 to $7,000.
This breed is also high maintenance regarding healthcare needs and grooming, making them more expensive than other breeds.
Dos and Donts of Buying a Puppy
Buying a puppy is a big responsibility and should always be done thoroughly – more especially since research studies like Whittake and Button’s (2020) concluded that there had been an increase in pet scams and fraud due to online selling.
With that, here are the following do’s and don’ts that you need to remember while buying a puppy:
- Conduct research regarding the breed you are planning to get. This can help you identify if the dog’s characteristics, behavior, and lifestyle are compatible with yours.
- Strictly check the seller or breeder’s background to know if they are legitimate puppy sellers. There have been a lot of scam incidents like sellers lying about the puppy’s breed and pedigree and not disclosing accurate information and medical history. Thus, researching their background is very important.
- According to Reed Animal Hospital, it is also better to visit the breeder/seller in person and see how the puppy interacts with their mother. With this, you can have a glimpse of the puppy’s behavior.
- Have your puppy checked at a veterinary hospital after getting them. Even though the seller provided medical history, having them checked is important to know if there are any underlying health issues or concerns.
- Never pay a deposit if you haven’t seen the dog in person. Sometimes, sellers lie about the puppy’s conditions and additional information, so seeing the dog in person before depositing anything will help you avoid being scammed.
- Don’t feel embarrassed about asking questions regarding the puppy’s behavior, medical history, or even their mother’s characteristics. Asking questions will guide you in deciding if you are compatible with the puppy or not.
- There are no transactions on shady areas like parking spaces and layby areas. Sellers who settle to transact in these places might not have the best intentions.
A lot of factors affect the cost of a puppy, and since each puppy is different, it is normal for some puppies to be cheaper than others and vice-versa. Furthermore, since buying puppies is a big commitment, knowing what you should and shouldn’t do is game-changing.