A-z - Animals

Top 10 Cheapest Dogs

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key point:

  • Cost of ownership isn't the only factor in making a decision, but it's an important consideration because it can cost thousands of dollars a year to care for certain breeds of dogs.
  • Chihuahuas are the cheapest breed of dog due to their small size and good health.
  • Costs of ownership include food needs, grooming, veterinary visits, medications, exercise needs, fencing or crating, initial purchase price, training, and toys.

Having a dog is a rewarding but expensive financial commitment. The average cost of caring for a dog is about $1,400 to $4,300 a year, sometimes as high as $10,000. If you're on a tight budget, you can still benefit from the joys of owning a dog, but you'll have to make some important choices up front. Of course, the most important choice is which variety to buy and from where. The cheapest option is adoption. Many popular breeds sell for under $300 and shouldn't be hard to find. Even from a trusted breeder, it's often possible to find many of the dogs on this list for $500 to $1,000.

dog grooming scissors
Dogs that require frequent grooming are more expensive to keep.

©Parilov/Shutterstock.com

But the most expensive part of owning a dog is always the stuff you need to buy afterwards: food, toys, tools, training sessions and regular visits to the vet. Since food is often the greatest financial drain, the most important factor here may be size. The cheapest dog breed is also one of the smallest in the world because they don't eat much. Other important factors to consider include trainability, grooming needs, and activity level.

But there's one factor that's easily overlooked and can add significantly to the cost: your dog's health. Each breed is prone to different health problems. Always do your research to make sure your dog has been tested for common problems known to affect the breed. While it may have a slightly higher upfront cost, it's clearly worth it to avoid potential heartache and big bills down the road.

With all of this in mind, this list will cover the top 10 cheapest dog breeds in the world, taking into account upfront costs, recurring monthly expenses, one-time expenses, and the possibility of unexpected expenses from your veterinary bill.

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#10: Pembroke Welsh Corgi

This cheapest breed of dog, the Welsh Corgi, is known for its short legs.

©iStock.com/Nataba

Among the most popular herding dogs in the world, the Welsh Corgi is a small, short-legged breed that is characterized by dwarfism in their blood. They are very active dogs with healthy appetites, but because they weigh no more than 30 pounds, they only need about one to 1.5 cups of food per day.

You should make sure the dog has had a proper hip and eye evaluation, but other than that, Corgis are a fairly healthy breed with a lifespan of 12 to 13 years. The coat also needs some daily maintenance and semi-regular bathing to keep it in good shape. All in all, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a good choice for the budget-conscious owner, but they're not one of the most affordable breeds in the world.

#9: American Foxhound

One of the healthiest breeds, the American Foxhound is also one of the least expensive.

©Olga Anime/Shutterstock.com

The American Foxhound is an independent, easygoing, and affectionate hunting dog. Because it's very large and active, weighing up to 70 pounds, you're likely to spend a modest amount on food. But the American Foxhound is considered one of the healthiest and most resilient breeds in the world, which could save you vet bills. Grooming is also relatively simple and easy; you should only bathe if it's getting particularly dirty. All in all, it's a great, affordable dog for owners who want a breed with strong hunting instincts.

#8: Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is one of the cheapest dogs because it eats very little.

© iStock.com/slowmotiongli

The Chinese Crested is almost completely hairless, save for long, elegant tufts around the head, tail, and legs. This means its grooming claims aren't too bad, but a regular skincare routine is required to protect it from the environment. As a small dog weighing no more than 8 to 12 pounds, the good news is that you won't be spending a lot of money on food. Unfortunately, it does have some health issues, so make sure your dog gets an eye and knee evaluation, a heart exam, and a PLL and PRA-RCD3 DNA test. Overall, it's one of the cheapest dogs in the world, but you still have some costs to consider.

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#7: Australian Terrier

This inexpensive dog, the Australian Terrier, weighs between 15 and 20 pounds.

©boitano/Shutterstock.com

The Australian Terrier was originally a descendant of several English terriers brought to Australia in the 19th century. While the elegant coat may need some extra grooming, this small breed, weighing around 15 to 20 pounds, won't eat much food, and as long as it gets a full battery of tests for its knees, eyes, thyroid, and rump, it shouldn't be prone to Many health problems. It's a solid budget-friendly breed that shouldn't break the bank.

#6: King Charles Cavalier Spaniel

Considering how little it eats, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the cheapest dogs around.

©iStock.com/FotoES

Once the darling of the British nobility, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a gentle, affectionate breed with a regal air. As part of a toy set, it's a small dog about 12 to 13 inches long and 13 to 18 pounds who only needs about one to 1.5 cups of food per day. Because it does have a tendency to suffer from eye problems, hip and knee problems, heart disease, and more, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should receive a full health check. A fenced yard is also recommended so your dog has plenty of room to run around in it. While the monthly cost of ownership makes it one of the most affordable breeds, it can be a bit more expensive upfront to buy.

#5: Pug

Pugs are an inexpensive breed that don't require much maintenance.

© iStock.com/nothjc

Pugs are one of the cheapest dog breeds in the world to own. Charming, affectionate, and a little mischievous, the breed was once a favorite of royalty from China to Europe. There's a lot to like about them. They only need one cup of food per day. Their short, glossy coat requires minimal maintenance and may only need a few baths per year. While they're supposed to get a full hip, knee and eye exam (and a DNA test for encephalitis), they don't suffer from too many life-threatening illnesses — though like most planar breeds, they sometimes experience breathing problems, This will need to be properly managed by the owner.

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#4: Rat Terrier

Like the Chinese Crested, the Rat Terrier is one of the least expensive dog breeds because of the large amount of food it eats.

© iStock.com/sjallenphotography

The Rat Terrier is a small, vermin-hunting breed that weighs no more than 10 to 25 pounds and has a short, bushy coat that shouldn't be too difficult to care for. This breed should undergo knee and hip evaluations, eye exams, cardiac exams, and radiographs for Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, but is otherwise a fairly healthy breed. Because of its small size and easy access, you should be able to save some money on food, making it one of the cheapest varieties in the world.

#3: Dachshund

This cheapest breed, the dachshund, is known for its short legs and long body.

©iStock.com/CBCK-Christine

Curious, friendly, and short-tempered, the Dachshund combines short legs with a long body. The mini version weighs no more than 11 pounds, and the standard version weighs 16 to 32 pounds, so monthly food expenses shouldn't be high, although it does require a lot of exercise. Dachshunds' long backs can cause disc damage, but this is a very healthy breed with a lifespan of 12 to 16 years. A health assessment is rarely required. Overall, Dachshunds are one of the cheapest breeds you can find.

#2: Beagle

Beagles have few health problems and have minimal grooming needs, making them one of the least expensive dog breeds.

©iStock.com/jarun011

Beagles are an iconic hunting dog: muscular, athletic, and confident, they have an excellent sense of smell and strong instincts. They weigh no more than 30 pounds and tend to eat only one meal a day and maybe a quick meal in the evening. Add to that their reasonable grooming needs and few health concerns, and it's surprising that Beagles are one of the cheapest dogs to buy. The National Breed Club still recommends that Beagles should have a hip evaluation, eye evaluation, and MLS DNA test, but otherwise, they are very healthy and resilient.

#1: Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are the least expensive dog breeds because the cost of caring for them is very low.

©iStock.com/Aime Martin

The national symbol of Mexico, the Chihuahua ranks among the most affordable and affordable dog breeds in the world, largely due to its small size. Adult Chihuahuas measure no more than five to eight inches in length, rarely exceed six pounds, and only need about a half to a full cup of dry food per day, saving you a lot of money. They are a very healthy and resilient breed with a typical lifespan of 14 to 16 years, but make sure your Chihuahua has had knee evaluations, vision exams, and heart exams. Once you figure out the upfront costs, you'll typically pay probably no more than $50 to $100 per month to care for this popular breed.

Summary of the 10 Best Cheapest Dog Breeds

According to our research, the 10 cheapest dogs are as follows:

  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • american foxhound
  • Chinese Crested
  • australian terrier
  • king charles cavalier spaniel
  • pug dog
  • rat terrier
  • dachshund
  • Beagles
  • Chihuahua

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featured image

Chihuahua puppy on football
Chihuahuas are the least expensive dog breeds because the cost of caring for them is very low.

© iStock.com/Aime Martin


about the author

Heather Hall


I'm a freelance writer with 22 years of experience. I live in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by nature. When I do my daily runs, I often see herds of elk, deer, and bald eagles. I have two dogs that take me on hikes in the mountains where we see coyotes, black bears, and wild turkeys.

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