Dogs are excellent companions, but they don’t come free. If you want one, you might need to pay a breeder, a rescue home, or an adoption agency. Apart from the initial payment, there are maintenance costs to consider. Some high maintenance dogs, due to their inherent nature, can cost more to look after than others. It could be that they require more grooming, must eat special diets, need professional trainers, or are prone to ailments.
We asked various owners and experts about the factors affecting the cost of maintaining a dog and came up with 4. We then used the information to list 5 high maintenance dogs and 5 low maintenance breeds. If you are thinking of bringing home a furry buddy, you can use this list (and the guidelines) before making a decision about your preferred breed.
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Dog Ownership Cost Factors to Consider
The cost of maintaining a dog varies with its unique needs. The following factors can help you project whether a dog will be a low or high maintenance pet:
If you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue home, you may be off the hook when it comes to paying for procedures like neutering, dental care, parasite control, and vaccinations. But you will still incur healthcare bills due to expected and unexpected issues.
Canines susceptible to conditions like hip dysplasia and other chronic ailments will cost more to maintain as they will require more vet visits.
Health issues can also be mental. A dog that suffers from separation anxiety and responds by chewing or gobbling up anything and everything, can be more expensive to maintain. Your dog could swallow a dangerous item like a pen, for example. The plastic case could block the digestive canal, requiring emergency surgery (a hefty cost), or it could end up being fatal says Aisling O’Keeffe, MVB.
Dogs’ feeding habits vary with age, size, and health status. If your dog thrives on ordinary pet food, that would be a relief. However, if your dog must eat a special diet such as human-grade dog food due to a condition, an allergy, or its age, the maintenance costs could skyrocket.
A dog’s personality affects its trainability. Some breeds are eager to please and are quick learners. You will not spend too much time, effort, and money on training. However, strong-willed breeds often require more time, persistence, and skill. You may need to bring in professional trainers who are not cheap!
Boarding and Grooming Needs
Such needs also affect maintenance costs. Some dogs require special quarters and boarding equipment. For example, if you live in California and own an Alaskan Husky, your furry buddy might need an air-conditioned room, especially during the summer.
Other breeds, like the Afghan Hound, have flamboyant coats and shed plenty. They require more frequent grooming and significantly inflate the maintenance costs.
That said, here are 5 breeds of dogs that we regard as high maintenance and 5 dog breeds that are generally considered low maintenance. You can use this as a guide to decide on a furry buddy to take home.
High Maintenance Dogs
1. Afghan Hound
Afghan Hounds are not the most popular dog breeds in the US, but not due to the name.
They are described as the most eye-catching dog breeds because they have a magnificent, silky coat that flows with the wind. However, the breed requires meticulous care. Besides the top-notch shampoo and grooming accessories, you will also see invoices from the groomer, pet sitter, trainer, and occasional billing by the stylist.
From a dog with stunning looks to one with an exceptional personality. The Japanese Akita Inu is one of the most beautiful dog breeds. It is also one of the most intelligent dog breeds.
However, despite its striking looks and above-average intelligence, this dog breed is well-known for its stubborn personality and highly assertive nature. It is extremely independent and does not mingle with other dogs very well. The dog will not tolerate poor or inexperienced handling and can be aggressive.
You will spend more cash training the dog and getting it to master acceptable behavior. The Akita Inu is not a good choice for first-time dog owners.
3. Chow Chow
Like the Akita and the Afghan Hounds, Chow Chows are strong-willed and have hairy coats. You will have to deal with the worst of both worlds. The dog requires daily brushing to avoid matting, and you will spend some cash to get it to master acceptable behavior.
Grooming costs will take up a chunk of maintenance costs if you opt for Poodles. Besides daily brushing, the dog requires frequent trimming and clean-ups.
Poodles are extremely intelligent, but they are also very playful. The combination of intelligence and playfulness means that Poodles need plenty of physical stimulation. It often translates to messed-up coats.
You will pay the groomers a little more than what you anticipated.
5 Cocker Spaniel
Last on the list of high maintenance dogs combines all factors. Cocker Spaniels have thick hairy coats that require daily brushing and monthly grooming. But that’s not where the problem lies. The dogs have big floppy ears that make the inner ears prone to infections and parasite attacks.
Cocker Spaniels are also infamous for separation anxiety and are susceptible to hip dysplasia and eye infections.
If you opt for this breed, vet visits and calls by the groomer will be on your weekly routine.
Low Maintenance Dogs
If you want a furry buddy to be your companion, but don’t have too much spare time or deep pockets, consider the following breeds.
Also known as the cats of the canine world, Greyhounds are independent and don’t mind hanging out alone. They are also intelligent, have easy-going personalities, and have short-hair coats, thus, low grooming needs.
Greyhounds can comfortably hang out with strangers and other pets.
Chihuahuas are small but have big personalities. They are confident and adaptable but can be a bit saucy.
The best thing about Chihuahuas is that they are sturdy. With proper care and diet, you will hardly visit the vet. They also have an easy-to-maintain coat (even furry varieties only need occasional grooming) and like to please the owner. Thus, training is not such a difficult undertaking.
Although these dogs have flamboyant silky hair, they don’t shed as much, nor mat frequently. However, daily brushing is recommended.
Maltese love to please. They will get instructions and commands with ease. This is a big plus for grooming since Maltese can sit up still for the entire time. Maltese can also hang out in the yard or on the couch. They don’t demand as much energy and exercise as it seems.
These large breeds may seem intimidating, but they are excellent low-cost companions. For starters, most Mastiffs thrive on ordinary pet food. You will not need to diverge to special diets.
They also are eager to please, have short, easy-to-maintain coats, are calm, and mingle well with other pets.
However, they can be protective, and if not well-socialized, they can be aggressive.
5. Lab Retriever
America’s most popular dog breed is also one of the least expensive to maintain. Despite frequent shedding and high energy demands, Labs are loved for their personality more than anything. They easily mingle with people and animals and are also extremely intelligent. They can master instructions and acceptable behavior without much trouble. You will not spend much on training them.
A lab retriever is an excellent choice, especially for first-time owners.
Now we have looked at both high maintenance dogs as well as low maintenance dogs. You can weigh up the pros and cons of these classifications based on your living environment and your available free time.
Regardless of your final decision, or breed preference, I’m sure you will find dog ownership so very rewarding.
Even though it costs money to maintain a furry buddy, what you spend will seem like a drop in the ocean compared to the love and companionship you will receive.
So, check out different dog breeds and their maintenance needs, and see which one you can pamper the most and go for it.