The Most and Least Expensive Puppy Breeds to Own, New Data Shows
Some dogs cost a pretty penny before you've even gotten them home.
When deciding to get a puppy, it's important to understand the different financial expectations that are involved. You may assume that the bills only start adding up over time, but depending on where you buy the dog and its breed, you might be looking at a costly investment before you've even gotten your new four-legged friend home. That's why MarketWatch created a new ranking of the most and least expensive puppy breeds.
To arrive at their findings, the team consulted the American Kennel Club's (AKC) official list of breeds, dividing the dogs into small, medium, and large categories (those that fell in the AKC's Xsmall filter were included in the small group and Xlarge in the large group).
They then cross-referenced this list with thousands of U.S.-based ads for available puppies on PuppyFinder, collecting data on the dogs' breed type, age, price, and location. They excluded ads for dogs over one year old and those with no price. Then, according to the MarketWatch report, they "calculated the median price per dog breed and ranked breeds by median price overall and within each size classification."
Keep reading to learn the most and least expensive puppy breeds based on their initial cost.
The 5 Least Expensive Puppy Breeds
5. English Springer Spaniel, German Shorthaired Pointer, Miniature Pinscher, Australian Cattle Dog, Weimaraner, and Cain Terrier
Median Puppy Price: $1,800
The English Springer Spaniel, German Shorthaired Pointer, Miniature Pinscher, Australian Cattle Dog, Weimaraner, and Cairn Terrier came in a six-way tie for the fifth-most affordable puppy breed.
These dogs fall into a range of sizes, but the largest ones are the German Shorthaired Pointer and the Weimaraner, which can reach up to 70 and 90 pounds, respectively, according to the AKC. Do keep in mind that while their initial cost may not be too expensive, because of their size, these dogs will require more food and supplies that add up over time.
The English Springer Spaniel and Australian Cattle Dog fall into the medium-size category. According to the AKC, both of these breeds are equipped for plenty of outdoor activities—hunting is big for the English Springer Spaniel while Australian Cattle Dogs are known to be herders.
4. Poodle (Toy)
Median Puppy Price: $1,250
The Poodle is a dog that's divided into different breeds based on its size—and three of these land on the list of most affordable puppies. "This may be due to the high number of Poodle rescue organizations offering more affordable ways of rehoming poodles, bringing down the price," MarketWatch noted.
The data shows that the Toy Poodle costs roughly $1,250. According to the AKC, these pups typically don't weigh more than six pounds, which might be an important factor in deciding which dog you'll bring home.
3. Shih Tzu
Median Puppy Price: $1,099
Shih Tzus are another small breed, but they can grow to 16 pounds. They're also a breed that's more than 1,000 years old, according to the AKC.
"Buyers are often encouraged to seek out high-pedigree Shih Tzus with detailed histories and pay high prices for top specimens" notes the study. "However, this may polarize the market, making lesser-documented Shih Tzus relatively cheap—particularly since the breed is known to suffer from a range of health conditions."
2. Poodle (Standard)
Median Puppy Price: $1,000
Standard Poodles, a medium-sized dog, only cost about $1,000 to purchase as puppies. As the study explains, poodle lovers are often encouraged to go directly to the breeder, so demand is lower on classified sites, which ultimately makes this breed cheaper.
"Most Poodles live long, happy, healthy lives," says the AKC. Like any other breed, however, they do require regular health screenings and vet appointments that can cost more in the long run.
1. Poodle (Miniature)
Median Puppy Price: $800
Topping the list as the most budget-friendly puppy is the Miniature Poodle. These dogs typically cost under $1,000, which the study notes might be because "in America, the rising profile of the French bulldog and poodle mixes—the so-called 'doodle dog'— may have reduced demand for the Poodle."
According to the AKC, Miniature Poodles weigh up to only 15 pounds and can live anywhere from 10 to 18 years. "Mini Poodles are adored for their friendly, playful, and intelligent nature," the study added.
The 5 Most Expensive Puppy Breeds
3. Neapolitan Mastiff
Median Puppy Price: $3,000
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a large breed (males can weigh up to 150 pounds!) that, sadly, has a life expectancy of only seven to nine years, according to the AKC. It's also one of the priciest dogs to purchase and is in a three-way tie for the third-most expensive puppy breed.
Median Puppy Price: $3,000
The Boerboel is another large breed tied for third place. "Boerboels are calm but intimidating-looking dogs, making them a common choice for families who want a guard dog and have the time to invest in training and socialization," explains MarketWatch. "Since this breed may be chosen for work or its looks, some Boerboel puppies are sold at very high prices, pushing up the average."
Median Puppy Price: $3,000
Rounding out the three dogs that have a median puppy price of $3,000 is the Bulldog, the first of two Bulldog breeds to land high on this list.
The Bulldog is also a breed that may incur steep vet bills throughout its lifetime. In fact, according to a 2022 study published in the journal Canine Medicine and Genetics, the English Bulldog is "more than twice as likely to have one or more disorders in a single year than other dogs."
2. French Bulldog
Median Puppy Price: $3,500
French Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds in America, however, they are also one of the most expensive. Through their research, MarketWatch found ads for 17,262 French Bulldog puppies, accounting for nearly one-third of all the puppies for sale and making it the most-advertised puppy.
"The breed can partly thank its size for its popularity, as Frenchies fit into the apartments associated with modern urban living," the study said. Sadly, it also points out that, "Since this breed has small litters, exploitative puppy mills are likely catering to demand."
Like English Bulldogs, this is another brachycephalic breed, a flat-faced dog that can suffer serious breathing difficulties, MarketWatch notes.
1. Lagotto Romagnolo
Median Puppy Price: $3,850
The most expensive puppy breed, the Lagotto Romagnolo owes its steep price tag to its uniqueness. "We found only 51 ads on PuppyFinder for the Lagotto Romagnolo, the Italian 'truffle dog' that's rare to find in the U.S.," the study explains. "This rarity, along with the Lagotto's wooly coat and irresistible cuteness, pushes their price to $3,850 per puppy."
For more pet advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
- Source: Canine Medicine and Genetics