As humans, we’re typically pretty willing to pay for the things we love or want. Nothing is a better example than shelling out cash for breed preference. After all, folks can be pretty particular about their four-legged buddies. Some purebreds will only cost a few hundred dollars, even for optimal breeding. But as you can gather by the title, these dogs are not in that category. Far from it.
So which breeds are 20 top-dollar dogs? Some of these may surprise you, others may not—and some may be dogs you’ve never even heard of before. Let’s look at the canines that are the costliest and see what’s so special about them.
The 20 Most Expensive Dog Breeds in the World
20. Lakeland Terrier – $1,100
Lakeland Terriers come from the Lake District in England. These dogs are mostly hypoallergenic, curly-haired bundles of energy. Like many terriers, they are spunky and entertaining with an innate ability to learn quickly. They may be a bit selective on who they do and don’t like—and won’t be afraid to show it.
While upfront costs of $1,100 may not seem too steep, the real expense for this breed is in grooming. If you take them to a professional groomer, you will have to spend an average of $65 with every visit. That can really add up after a while.
19. Bergamasco Shepherd – $1,200
From the Italian Alps, the Bergamasco Shepherd worked as a herding dog. Since then, it has become a beloved family pet, and a rare one as well. These dogs resemble mops, with their seemingly dreaded locks of hair, making them incredibly unique.
These dogs are fiercely intelligent and determined. They may be smaller, but they have a larger than life mentality. Their clumps of hair are known as “mats”, and they fully form when they reach three years of age.
18. Irish Wolfhound – $1,500
Irish Wolfhounds are massive sighthounds that were initially bred in Ireland to pursue wild game in hunting. With their wide stride and graceful agility, this thoughtful, calm dog is one of the largest breeds of all. They are excellent companion animals and guard dogs.
Sadly, not only are they costly, they have very short lifespans as well. They only live an average of 6-10 years. You can’t put a price tag on the amount of love you will receive in that time.
17. Bedlington Terrier – $1,500
Originating in Northeast England, the Bedlington Terrier costs a pretty penny to purchase. Not only are their initial costs steep, so is their upkeep. Because of their lamb-like coat, they will need regular brushing and grooming maintenance.
They are very physically capable and have a history of dog racing. That can make them tricky to catch, so training them to behave is critical. They have a shy disposition for a terrier, so socializing them is essential. Otherwise, they may be too backward and perhaps even develop nervous tendencies.
16. Pharaoh Hound – $2,000
These majestic dogs were bred in Maltese to hunt rabbits. They are agile in rough terrain and have a sleek, athletic build. While they may be high energy and relentless when they are hot on the trail, they are quite happy to lounge around.
They are intensely intelligent but also stubborn. They can take to training with a selfish outlook, wanting to ensure they get something out of the deal, too. They bore easily, so you will need to make sure to adequately entertain so no destructive tendencies or lousy behavior begins.
15. Azawakh – $2,250
This West African breed is another sighthound on the list. They are impressively nimble and aerodynamic. They can run with remarkable speed up to 40 miles per hour. They have an abundance of energy and will be incredibly tireless playmates.
While they may be athletically impressive, they aren’t the best with strangers. Due to their naturally on-guard demeanor and keen senses, they will be wonderful watchdogs. They are generally welcoming of newcomers once they understand you are no threat.
14. Belgian Malinois – $2,400
From Belgium, these incredibly hard-working, remarkably intelligent creatures arose. They are stunning in both physical and mental abilities. They are exceptionally responsive to training, learning new tasks efficiently and clearly. They love to be active and are not lap dogs by any means.
Because of their immeasurable loyalty and sharpness, they make wonderful companions or working dogs. They’re costly no matter what. However, if you buy a specially trained Malinois, you could pay upwards of $10,000 and beyond—depending on the duty they are assigned.
13. Black Russian Terrier – $2,500
This beautiful terrier is from the Soviet Union in the 1800s, created to be military dogs. They are quite impressive, with a broad stance, making them one of the largest terrier breeds that exist today. They have changed in looks quite tremendously from their early days on earth. They are rather uncommon, which is likely linked to their pricing.
They are highly affectionate and loving towards their family. They are surprisingly needy and require lots of attention. If they are left alone frequently, they may develop unhealthy behavioral habits. They are very wonderful with kids and non-dominant animals.
12. Neapolitan Mastiff – $2,600
These gorgeous mastiffs have Italian roots. They are so incredibly intriguing that they may not seem real. They have the most drooping jowls and loose, wrinkly skin of all other mastiff breeds. While their average cost is $2,600, they can cost up to a whopping $10,000 depending on pedigree. Most of them are still found in Italy, making them extremely rare in other areas.
These dogs may look like wrinkly teddy bears, but they are rather reserved. They make amazing companion animals for families of all sizes, but they aren’t always so crazy about strangers. They will guard your home relentlessly and act possibly indifferent toward anyone they don’t love directly.
11. Saluki – $2,600
These proper lady-like and gentlemanly dogs are another sighthound breed on our list from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. They were also bred for their astonishing speed and skill. They can run as fast as 43 miles per hour.
Looking quite poised and supple, their personalities often reflect their looks. They tend to be very quiet and mild. They can be a tad on the anxious side and may not take well to new people or situations. They need exposure to many different people and places early on to avoid timidity.
10. Xoloitzcuintle – $2,600
These dogs certainly are a unique breed that started in Mexico. They are mostly completely hairless and, therefore, hypoallergenic. However, they can have coats and hairless born in the same litter. They don’t just come in one size, either. They are available in toy, miniature, and standard sizes. Colors vary as well.
This breed is typically very accepting and friendly. Because of their hairlessness, they do not pant the same way a normal dog does. They sweat through actual glands and paw pads, which require washing up regularly. They will also need protection from extreme to moderate weather and sun exposure.
9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – $2,650
This adorable English breed has a very recognizable face. Who isn’t a sucker for those long poufy ears and big doe eyes? These dogs have really worked their way up into fame in the United States, as they rank #18 on the AKC popularity chart.
These beauties are adaptable to their owner’s lifestyle. That means they can be a very physically active breed, running around as much as you wish. Or, they could be very calm and willing to laze about the house. They are independent and free-spirited but also compassionate and caring towards people and children.
8. Lagotto Romagnolo – $2,700
This breed is a water dog from Italy that is used for retrieving small game and seeking out truffles. They resemble fluffy, prissy dogs, but they are anything but. They are exceptionally hard-working with great endurance. They are also the only purebred dogs who specialize in truffle hunting.
They are very happy-go-lucky pets who are approachable and eager to please. They excel just as well cuddling on the couch as they do scouting for woodland goodies. They are pretty plentiful in Italy, but in America, they are much rarer. That leads to costing more than the average purebred.
7. English Bulldog – $3,000
Spawning from the United Kingdom, English bulldogs are a very recognizable breed with so much personality to offer. They are quite expensive, but not without reason. They have extremely large heads which leads to complicated deliveries. Because of that, breeders opt for C-sections in place of natural births.
Bulldogs are muscle-bound and may look like ruffians, but they are very agreeable. They’re generally very goofy, playful, and lovable. They may run you even more in additional costs, however, as they are prone to a wide variety of health issues.
6. Puli Dog – $3,100
This is another breed on the list which looks like they have dreadlocks. The Puli originates in Hungary and was bred for herding purposes. Because of their breeding, they have a very high prey drive and will love scurrying around to chase smaller animals as an instinctual delight.
Pulis are great pets, but they tend to have a mind of their own. They will rule the roost if you allow them to, so you must have a firm hand when training. They need to know you are the boss. Otherwise, they are entertaining, affectionate, and faithful companions.
5. Tibetan Mastiff – $3,200
From Tibet, these mastiffs are not for the faint of heart. They are as fierce as they look—widely known for their lion-like appearance and ferociousness. Their job consisted of protecting people from large predators like bears, jaguars, wolves, and tigers—so they needed to be relentless and physically able.
Because of their strong will and alpha mentality, they aren’t for inexperienced owners. If you don’t lay down the law, they will believe they are your master instead. While they are typically loving to their families, they don’t share this affection for strangers. In fact, great caution is advised when dealing with a poorly socialized dog of this breed.
4. Portuguese Water Dog – $4,000
From Portugal, this water dog is very similar looking to our beloved Lagotto Romagnolo. While they share the common ground of being water retrievers for fowl and other small game, they are very different in other ways. They are black and white and have webbed feet to help them swim effortlessly.
They are known for being exceptionally wonderful with children and owners. They have a decent outlook for strangers, too, being hospitable and warm. These dogs are so expensive because of all the health tests parents must undergo to be acceptable for reproduction.
3. Rottweiler – $5,200
These German dogs have skyrocketed in popularity since their creation. It’s really no wonder, as they are faithful, noble, and protective with their people. Because they have such solid bloodlines, you can pay tremendously for the quality. You can also, however, get a healthy specimen in the price range of $1,000.
While they are sweetly loyal to their keepers, they aren’t the type to take a lot of time pondering before acting if they feel they need to. This can lead to biting or aggression if they pose a threat. The bad reputation they have is incomparable to their true good nature. A well-socialized and properly trained Rottweiler should show no abnormal aggression to note.
2. French Bulldog – $5,700
These infamous little bat-eared Frenchmen can cost you an arm and a leg. While they are super common, their breeding is particular and pricey. Mothers must undergo artificial insemination, and the puppies are delivered via C-section. All things considered— this is one of the most expensive dogs because of the complexity that goes into their creation.
Most owners would agree they are worth every penny. They are fun-loving, excitable, and goofy. This is one breed who has a very strong love for attention no matter who you are—stranger or familiar.
1. Löwchen – $6,500
Finally, here is our number one. Lowchen is German for “little lion” and these dogs fit the bill quite nicely. They are fiercely loyal, brave-hearted, and share the same hairdo. They once held the title for being the rarest dog in the world, and they are still teetering in scarcity today.
They aren’t your typical little dog, either. They are very social, friendly, and they don’t have a high barking tendency. They love attention and thrive when they are always at the center of it. This bubbly little dog is the priciest one to date, not to mention costs of general maintenance that follow.
Would You Pay Up?
Worth is a relative term. It will vary from person to person, depending on what is important to them. That includes paying several thousand dollars for a dog. But always keep in mind, many purebred dogs wind up in shelters or at rescues. If you simply want the pleasure of owning any of these exotic breeds, always remember to search locally. Chances are, there is one who could use someone like you.
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