It may be true that all dogs are created equal. But some fetch a very high price. Behold some of the most expensive dog breeds on the planet. What makes them so pricey? Where did they come from?
Many of these “high-end” breeds climbed the social ladder along with their owners. The Tibetan Mastiff is popular among Chinese royalty, and the Toy Pomeranian is the result of a craze sparked by Queen Victoria’s dog in the 1800s. Other breeds look ultra-adorable, robust, or simply quite rare. Here’s the full scoop on some of the world’s most expensive dog breeds.
The Tibetan Mastiff, as the name suggests, is native to Tibet, Mongolia, India, and Nepal, and was originally used by nomadic tribes to protect herds of sheep from predatory tigers, bears, and leopards.
The Tibetan Mastiff is considered a “primitive breed,” because it still possesses the characteristics needed to survive in its native region. Like most herding dogs, these big tough softies are intelligent, stubborn, and deeply loyal. They’re considered a status symbol among China’s elite, and the most expensive Tibetan mastiff, named Hong Dong (“Big Splash”), is owned by a coal baron and was priced at $1.5 million.
That said, you’re more likely to pay $2,000 to $7,000 for this exotic breed.
Also called Toy Pomeranians and Mini Pomeranians, these tiny, adorable puff-balls are descendants of Icelandic sled dogs. The name Pomeranian is derived from a Slavic word meaning “seacoast,” and refers to a region that is now part of Poland.
These dogs. which were originally larger, were popular among European royalty as early as the 1600s. In the 1800s, Queen Victoria owned a smaller version of the Pomeranian, her subjects took notice, and a breeding trend was born!
During Victoria’s reign, the Pomeranian’s size diminished by half. Teacup Pomeranians now range from eight to eleven inches tall and four to six pounds. They can be possessive and loyal, and even territorial when it comes to their owners. Paris Hilton reportedly paid $25,000 for a pair of Teacup Pomeranians, but you’re more likely to pay about $1,000 for a puppy.
The Pharaoh hound is one of the oldest breeds in existence, dating back to 4000 BC. They’re known in their native region as Kelb tal-Fenek, meaning “rabbit hunter,” and they were indeed bred to hunt small game.
They’re now only bred in Malta, and the first pair of Pharaoh hounds was imported to Great Britain in the 1920s at a time when the West was fascinated with new archaeological discoveries in Egypt. These medium-sized dogs come in a range of red and sandy tones, and they’re excellent jumpers—you need a six-foot fence to keep them in your yard!
Because they’re only bred in Malta, a Pharaoh hound puppy can cost about $5,000.
European fisherman spotted these large black and white dogs on the island of Newfoundland about 200 years ago. They adopted them as working dogs and companions, using them to drag nets from the bay and to rescue potential drowning victims.
The dogs became the regular subject of a painter named Sir Edwin Landseer, and their popularity became forever linked to the man who depicted them on canvas time and again. Landseers are cheerful dogs and excellent swimmers, and they sell for about $2,000.
This double-coat breed originated in the mountainous regions of northern Japan. There are two common strains of Akita—the Japanese strain (referred to as Akita Ken, Akita Inu, or Japanese Akita) and the American strain (referred to as Akita).
The Akita’s ancestors were used to hunt bear and wild boar, holding the game at bay until hunters arrived to make the kill. These dogs are independent, powerful, and hardy. They’re sometimes aloof around strangers, but affectionate with owners. Certain breeds of Akita can cost as much as $4,500.
Löwchens are also known as “little lions” and served as companions to the upper-classes in pre-Renaissance Europe. Ladies groomed their fur to resemble a lion’s coat and used the little dogs as footrests and foot-warmers!
The breed’s population declined dramatically after the turn of the century, following the two world wars that devastated Europe. In fact, at one point, the Löwchen was considered the rarest dog in the world. These little cuties are friendly, active, and intelligent—and they don’t bark much. They can sell for between $5,000 and $10,000.
This medium-sized breed takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. Nomadic reindeer herders in the region bred these snow-white dogs to pull sleds and help manage the herds.
Samoyeds are playful, alert, competitive, and strong. They’re also a high-maintenance breed, so after the initial cost of $4,000 to $11,000, you’re like to spend more keeping the dog well-groomed.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Like the Pomeranian, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is named for its most famous owner, King Charles II. The king was depicted with his dogs in a portrait by Sir Anthony van Dyck, and breeders set to work replicating these toy-sized spaniels, which still look much like hunting dogs.
The breed was popularized again in the early 2000s when Charlotte York, on “Sex and the City,” adopted a King Charles Spaniel, which she named Elizabeth Taylor. A show dog quality puppy of this breed costs about $3,000.