Top and cheapest dog breeds: costs and details

The most expensive dog breeds

The bigger the dog, the higher the monthly costs will be. Most giant breeds only live eight to 10 years, so the total cost of ownership is lower than larger breeds that live longer. Here are the five dog breeds with the highest total cost of ownership, taking into account life expectancy*.

  • 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
  • Labradoodles: $29,475 over 13 years

Giant Schnauzer

This breed is only “giant” compared to other schnauzers. Adults usually weigh between 55 and 80 kilograms, but are very active and may require 4 cups a day. Expect to spend $290 a year on food and $345 on meals. Giant Schnauzers are very intelligent but strong-willed and can become destructive when bored. So they need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. To help with this, you will need to spend money on toys and training.

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 about $5,940. Grooming is another significant expense: A giant schnauzer has a double coat that needs to be brushed by hand every four to six months. Expect to pay about $650 a year for maintenance.

Giant Schnauzers are usually relatively healthy, although hip and joint problems, thyroiditis, and squamous cell carcinoma are possible. Vet visits will cost an average of $675 a year, plus any emergencies.

A yearling of giant schnauzers costs an average of $2,190. Factoring in first-year costs and a 14-year lifespan, that’s about $34,410, making the giant schnauzer the most expensive breed on our list.


You may be surprised to see this mixed breed on our list, but the goldendoodle is quite expensive because it is a designer breed that combines a golden retriever with a standard poodle. Puppies are easy to find, but a responsible breeder who knows how to mate dogs to reduce the chance of hereditary disease will charge about $2,000 for a golden retriever.

Food costs the same for a giant schnauzer, about $290 a year, because both breeds are similar in size and energy levels.

Goldendoodles don’t shed much, but they will need regular haircuts at a cost of about $710 a year. They are fairly healthy, but like many large breeds are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. These genetic conditions can cause arthritis, joint pain, and even paralysis. So expect to spend about $675 a year on vet bills.

First-year costs for a Goldendoodle puppy average $5,675, and you can expect to pay about $2,250 annually thereafter. At an average life of 13 years, that’s about $32,675.

Tibetan Mastiff

The first truly giant breed on our list, Tibetan Mastiffs are huge, hardworking guard dogs that can weigh up to 160 pounds. They eat 4-6 cups a day, or about 430 pounds a year, for a total of $390 a year, plus another $345 for groceries.

Another significant regular expense is professional maintenance, which is about $900 a year. Mastiffs’ thick double coats form a lion-like mane on their necks and shoulders, which makes for a stunning look, but requires frequent grooming to keep it matte and matted.

Tibetan Mastiffs are a somewhat rare breed. A puppy can cost anywhere from $1,800 to $4,500, although the average is $2,500. In 2011, a Tibetan mastiff named Big Splash was sold for $1.5 million. the most expensive dog never sold.

Even if you choose a rescue dog with a $500 adoption fee, you’ll still have to pay about $750 in annual medical bills. Hip and elbow dysplasia and other orthopedic conditions are of concern, as are hypothyroidism and hereditary demyelinating neuropathy in dogs.

The total cost for a Tibetan Mastiff dog for the first year comes to $6,235 because they are very expensive to purchase and grow very quickly. These dogs also have the highest average annual adult costs at around $2,625. However, since they only lived for 11 years, their total value is $32,485, which is slightly less than gold.

Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier is similar to the Tibetan Mastiff, a giant breed with a high annual value and short lifespan. It is also rare, the price of puppies is about 2000 dollars. Between food, training, medical bills and extra large supplies, you can expect to pay about $5,750 in the first year of ownership.

Adult Black Russian Terriers can weigh up to 140 pounds and eat about $380 worth of food each year. Their long double coats aren’t as difficult to care for as the Tibetan Mastiff, but you’ll still pay about $730 a year for professional grooming. Black Russian Terriers are fairly healthy, but still have the potential for elbow and hip dysplasia and an eye disease called progressive retinal apathy. Expect to pay about $750 a year in medical expenses.

In total, an adult Black Russian Terrier costs about $2,445 per year, which equates to $30,200 over an 11-year lifetime.


Another hybrid breed completes our top five thanks to the relatively high cost of puppies (about $1,550) and longer lifespan. This mix of Labrador retriever and standard poodle is not common in shelters because it is a designer breed. You will likely have to find a breeder and possibly join a waiting list. Expect to pay about $225 for the first year of meals and $255 per year for meals after that.

Labradors come in a variety of coat textures and lengths, so grooming requirements depend on the individual labradoodle sire, but averages around $650 per year. Most labradoodles grow to about 50 to 65 pounds, although some are smaller. Potential health problems include hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, diabetes, and progressive retinal apathy. However, labradoodles tend to get some health benefits from their hybrid genetics, so medical costs will be about $625 a year.

A labradoodle puppy costs about $4,695 for the first year of ownership and $2,065 for each subsequent year. Assuming a 13-year lifespan, the total cost of ownership for this breed is approximately $29,475.

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