Small dog breeds as a whole are more popular than large ones in terms of the level of demand for them among puppy buyers, and the number of dogs of different size categories owned in the UK across the board.
All of the three most popular dog breeds in the UK are small breeds – the French bulldog, Chihuahua and pug respectively – and the reasons behind why any given puppy buyer chooses a dog of any specific breed comes down to a wide range of factors and preferences, but size is often a large part of the decision-making process.
Small dogs tend to be more in demand that larger ones for a variety of reasons. First of all, if you live in a small home or an urban area, the chances are that you will find it easier to accommodate and care for a small dog than a larger one. Many people who might otherwise choose a large dog breed if all things were equal are somewhat limited in terms of the size of dog they can realistically pick and accommodate, and the large and diverse number of small dog breeds overall means that there is a lot of choice available.
Whether you wish to own a tiny lapdog or toy dog or a small, plucky dog with an outgoing nature and great temperament for working roles or canine sports, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Pricing is of course a factor when it comes to choosing a dog breed, and there can be a wide range of variance in terms of the average purchase prices for dogs of different breeds.
There is of course also a reasonable level of variance between the prices of any two dogs of the same breed too, but it is entirely possible to work out broad averages for the sale price of individual dogs of different breeds if you have access to the right data.
Pets4Homes is the UK’s biggest and best pet classifieds and advice website and forum, and we host more adverts for dogs for sale each year than any other pet classifieds website in the country.
Using data provided by advertisers on the asking price for the dogs and litters they offer for sale, we have worked out which small dog breeds are the most costly to buy in the UK, and looked into the reasons behind their high prices.
In this article we will tell you more about the UK’s most expensive small pedigree dog breeds, and the average sale prices commanded for dogs of these breeds.
Read on to learn more about the most costly small dog breeds to buy in the UK.
Before we get to our list of the most expensive small dog breeds in the UK, let’s explain how we reached our conclusions.
Throughout the 2018 year, Pets4Homes collated data on the number of dogs of each breed advertised for sale here, as well as how many of them were Kennel Club registered pedigrees versus unregistered dogs. We then collated information on the average asking prices for each type of advert, to return figures on the number of dogs and their prices for each breed, divided up into pedigrees, non-pedigrees, and both totals combined.
We then produced a secondary list containing the information outlined above for small dog breeds only, and discounted any that are not eligible for pedigree registration with the Kennel Club in the UK.
In order to ensure that our average pricings for small dog breeds reflect the true state of the market within the UK, we then removed any breeds for which a very small number of total adverts were placed in 2018, to ensure that enough information was available on the prices of a large enough sampling of individual dogs to establish a reliable average cost across the breed as a whole.
Once we’d done this, we were left with a total of eight small pedigree dog breeds with an average advertised sale price in 2018 of over £1,000 – and this is the list that you will find below, in reverse order from the lowest to the highest average cost.
Read on for our list of the eight most expensive small pedigree dog breeds to buy in the UK.
The Havanese dog is a small, longhaired dog breed from the Kennel Club’s toy grouping, and they’re the 103rd most popular dog breed in the UK overall, out of a total of 244 different breeds and types. This means that the breed is not very common in the UK, although neither are they vanishingly rare either.
The Havanese is the 8th most expensive small pedigree dog breed to buy in the UK, based on advertisement data from 2018 – here’s the figures.
Havanese dogs might be small, but their long, silky coats require a significant amount of grooming and attention to keep them in good condition, and dogs of the breed also don’t tend to take well to being left alone for very long at a time either.
However, they aren’t overly challenging in terms of their need for exercise, and are renowned for being very easy to train. They’re very affectionate and loving little dogs and are popular lapdogs, but the fact that their coats are very high maintenance and that they need company with them for the main part of the day means that they’re not a good fit for all people who might wish to own a toy dog, which means that demand for dogs of the breed is not as high as it is for many other small dogs.
A limited number of dogs of the breed bred each year (just 154 in total advertised here on Pets4Homes last year, across the whole of the UK) does however mean that puppy buyers who have decided that a Havanese is a good fit for them may have a lot of competition from other buyers, which serves to increase the average prices per dog.
The Italian greyhound is a small, lean and very lithe sighthound from the Kennel Club’s toy group, and the 87th most popular dog breed in the UK overall. Whilst they’re not hugely common within the UK, the Italian greyhound is a good choice of dog to consider by people who love all of the sighthound personality traits, but that are unable to accommodate a larger dog of this type.
Italian greyhounds have the usual sighthound prey drive and high running speed, but they are also real lapdogs that love their home comforts and the company of their favourite people!
The Italian greyhound is the 7th most expensive small dog breed in the UK overall, and here’s how the figures add up:
Italian greyhounds are very personable, friendly and loving dogs, which are almost cat-like in their behaviour, and very finely built and delicate in terms of conformation. They’re great company and often quite entertaining to have around, but unlike most of the other sighthound dog breeds and types, they’re also quite fizzy and excitable, with high energy levels.
Whilst all sighthounds can run very fast and need to be able to stretch their legs and work off their excess energy every day, they tend to be quite sedentary outside of these times, and don’t require overly long walks. Italian greyhounds need more exercise than most, and this means that they’re not a good fit for small dog buyers who are looking for a quiet, sedentary breed.
They’re also reputed to be reasonably challenging to train and aren’t always great with children, although this varies depending on each dog and child themselves!
All of these factors mean that the Italian greyhound is not one of the most in demand small dog breeds, and people looking for a lapdog type will find that there is more to the Italian greyhound than just great cuddling skills!
A limited level of demand for dogs of the breed results in a limited number of breeders producing litters to meet it, which means that demand for the litters that are bred each year tends to be quite high.
This in turn results in high average sale prices of well over £1,000 per dog for pedigrees, and over £800 per dog for non-pedigrees.
The Coton de Tulear is also sometimes known as the Coton or Cotie, and this is a small, fluffy and shaggy-looking dog breed from the Kennel Club’s toy grouping.
The Coton de Tulear is the 86th most popular dog breed in the UK overall, which again, reflects a breed that is not hugely common and not one of the first breeds that people looking for smaller pups will consider.
The Coton de Tulear is the 6th most expensive small pedigree dog breed to buy in the UK – here’s the stats.
Coton de Tulears have a lot to recommend them to prospective puppy buyers who are looking for a small toy dog breed; they are easy to train, above average in the intelligence stakes, and generally good with children too, which is a trait not shared with all small dog breeds.
However, the Coton de Tulear coat is quite high maintenance to care for, and they need to be brushed and groomed more or less daily to keep the coat in good condition. On the flipside, their coats don’t tend to shed heavily, which means that they may be a viable choice of pet for people who are otherwise often allergic to dog dander.
Given the breed’s popularity ranking being a fairly long way down the list, demand for this breed isn’t hugely high, and many people seeking a small dog for their next pet aren’t even aware of the breed at all.
As is the case for the 7th and 8th position-ranked breeds, this reasonably low level of demand for puppies means that only a limited number of Coton de Tulear litters are bred each year, which again, means that demand for them (and particularly for very good quality specimens) tends to be high, reflected by a high average purchase price.
The Pomeranian is also sometimes known as the “pom” or “pom pom,” and this is a very fluffy and densely-furred small dog breed of the spitz type, which is recognised within the Kennel Club’s toy grouping.
The Pomeranian is the UK’s 12th most popular dog breed overall, and the first of our most costly small dog breeds that is also very popular and with a large number of dogs of the breed around in the UK. The Pomeranian is the 5th most expensive small dog breed in the UK overall.
Here are the average prices for Pomeranians offered for sale in the UK:
The Pomeranian is one of the best-known toy dog breeds in the UK, and they have been hugely popular lapdogs and pets here for many decades now. They’re very small in size, reasonably sedentary and so not in need of huge amounts of exercise, and above average in the intelligence stakes too.
However, they’re not hugely tolerant of being left alone for long periods of time, and the breed’s general health isn’t great either, with a fairly long list of hereditary health problems found within the Pomeranian breed as a whole.
This means that the business of breeding Pomeranians is quite costly, with a wide range of variables. As well as the purchase price for breeding stock, responsible breeders have their dogs tested for the markers of all relevant hereditary health conditions prior to breeding, to ensure that their litters have the best possible chances of being healthy. Pre-breeding health tests can be quite costly when several are involved, and there is then the additional cost of removing dogs from the breeding pool that are not suitable, and providing for their care as pets for the remainder of their lives.
Litters produced that contain pups with hereditary health problems often result in those pups being kept by the breeder or given away/sold for a very low price reflecting their health issues, and all of this adds up to contribute to the total costs of producing a litter, which are reflected in the prices charged for dogs for sale.
There are a significant number of Pomeranians bred each year to meet the high level of demand from people who wish to own a small dog of this type, and yet despite this, sale prices remain high.
This is partially due to the cost of producing each litter factoring in the potential complications above, but also results from the breed’s well-established popularity, the fact that they are well known and so, on the list of small dogs people looking for a new pet will consider, and Pomeranian pups that are healthy and of a reasonable quality rarely have problems finding homes.
The Pembroke Welsh corgi is one of two recognised corgi variants, both of which are recognised as individual pedigree dog breeds in their own right. The Pembroke Welsh corgi is placed in the Kennel Club’s pastoral grouping, and is the 100th most popular dog breed in the UK overall.
The Pembroke Welsh corgi is the 4th most expensive small dog breed to buy in the UK, and here are the average prices:
Pembroke Welsh corgis have shorter legs than most dogs, which helped them in their original working roles as cattle herding dogs. The corgi’s low profile to the ground means that they have less chance of being injured by a kick from one of the cattle they work with. The breed’s short legs result from a type of canine achondroplasia or dwarfism, which gives them a cute and somewhat comical appearance too.
Whilst Pembroke Welsh corgis are small, their working history mean that they’re not toy dogs or lapdogs, and the breed maintains a number of working dog traits; including high intelligence levels and high energy levels too. They’re also good with children, but not very tolerant of being left alone at home for too long at a time.
The Pembroke Welsh corgi fits within the parameters of a small dog breed in terms of size, but they maintain a lively, quick-witted and inquisitive nature that reflects their working origins, and so many people looking for a small dog breed as a domestic pet discount them early on in their research.
This means that demand for dogs of the breed is not as high as it is for many others of a similar size, and there are a limited number of buyers seeking a new Pembroke puppy each year. Only a small number of new litters are produced each year reflecting this, which means that demand for said litters tends to be high, reflected in a fairly high average sale price per dog.
The miniature Dachshund is an even smaller variant of the regular Dachshund, which is another small dog breed itself, although the length of the body of dogs of the breed often surprises those that think regular Dachshunds are very small!
Miniature Dachshunds get their unique, low to the ground sausage dog appearance thanks to the same genes as the regular Dachshund, which like the Pembroke Welsh corgi, is a type of canine achondroplasia.
The miniature Dachshund is classed within the Kennel Club’s hound grouping, and is the 15th most popular dog breed in the UK overall. They’re also the third most expensive small dog breed overall, and here are the average price details:
The miniature Dachshund is an appealing choice of pet for people who are looking for a small dog, particularly those that have fallen for the undeniable sausage dog charms. They’re low-shedding and don’t need much grooming, but they are also very intolerant of being left alone, and can also be challenging to train.
Additionally, whilst every dog is different, the breed as a whole doesn’t have a reputation for being particularly good with children. However, they are reasonably smart dogs, and need a moderate but not onerous amount of exercise.
The long body and short legs of the miniature Dachshund can cause health problems for some dogs of the breed, generally those whose back-to-legs ratio is particularly large. This can result in a condition known as Dachshund paralysis, which has huge implications for affected dogs’ quality of life and mobility.
Whilst the miniature Dachshund tends to have a fairly long average lifespan, there is also a long list of miniature Dachshund hereditary health issues that anyone considering buying a dog of the breed should be aware of.
The often-complex health of the breed, the cost of paying for health testing, and caring for dogs that are not up to scratch in terms of health to breed from, all helps to keep the sale price of miniature Dachshunds high.
Despite the large number of dogs of the breed offered for sale here each year, demand for miniature Dachshunds remains high, as is reflected by their 15th place ranking overall in terms of dog breeds ranked by popularity.
The breed’s complex health and high level of demand among puppy buyers all adds up to reflect an average purchase price of well over £1,000 for individual dogs of the breed.
The French bulldog really needs no introduction – as the UK’s most popular dog breed bar none, Frenchies of all types are hugely popular as pets all over the UK. French bulldogs are also the most populous breed in the UK based on the number of new pedigree puppies of the breed registered with the Kennel Club each year, first taking that position in 2018.
The French bulldog is placed within the Kennel Club’s utility grouping, and is also the second most expensive small pedigree dog breed to buy in the UK. A lot is said about the often-high purchase prices of French bulldogs, and the most expensive dogs of the breed change hands for several thousand pounds each – but what are the average prices for dogs of the breed? Let’s take a look.
As you can see, well over 22,000 French bulldog dogs and litters were offered for sale on Pets4Homes alone in 2018, which is a huge number of new dogs of the breed and more than any other dog breed or type in the UK. Given this huge level of available puppies for sale across the breed, what makes French bulldogs so expensive to buy? There are a range of different factors that contribute to the French bulldog’s high sale prices.
Before we look at the harder to define elements of Frenchie pricing relating to market demand and other variables, let’s look at the cost of breeding French bulldog litters, and how this adds up.
It would be impossible to talk in a meaningful way about breeding French bulldogs without first mentioning French bulldog health. This is a breed that is plagued by conformation exaggerations and hereditary health issues within many breed lines. The modern trends for very flat faces and narrow nostrils, demand for so-called rare French bulldog colours that can also be detrimental to health, and a lack of research on the part of many puppy buyers mean that many dogs of the breed have some form of hereditary health defects or conformation issues.
Breeding French bulldogs is a costly process, particularly for responsible breeders who concentrate on producing breed standard dogs of a good quality and in good health. The initial purchase cost of excellent quality, healthy parent dogs is often prohibitively high, and even stud fees for desirable Frenchie sires can be several hundreds of pounds, or even more in some cases.
Next, responsible breeders will undertake a full range of DNA health tests on their prospective parent dogs, to ensure that their litters have the best chances of being healthy. This means that prospective parent stock with hereditary health defects that they may pass on to their young are removed from breeding schemes, but still require a lifetime of love, care and attention, as well as veterinary treatment, which can be very expensive.
The process of actually mating French bulldogs itself isn’t always cheap or simple either – you might think that putting a dog and a bitch together and letting them do what comes naturally might be straightforward, but male Frenchies are not always able to mount females, because the breed has particularly narrow hips. This means that assistance may be required for Frenchie matings, or artificial insemination may be used instead.
When it comes to delivering their litters, the vast majority of French bulldogs require caesarean delivery. This is once more due to the narrowness of the breed’s hips, coupled in this instance with the large heads of the puppies. Planning and arranging a caesarean requires regular visits to the vet, and can be very costly, even if everything goes to plan and the caesarean takes place without a hitch.
Frenchies also tend to have reasonably small litters, of around three or fours pups, although this can be quite variable. This means that all of the fixed costs of breeding need to be spread across a smaller number of pups and so, are passed on to their buyers in the final sale price.
The Kennel Club also places a limit on how many litters from any one dam can be registered in a dog’s lifetime too, and this is set at four litters in total. This means that even an excellent quality Frenchie bitch whose pups may be in great demand and sell for high prices can only produce four pedigree litters in her lifetime.
Additionally, other than in exceptional circumstances that need to be approved by the Kennel Club and advised upon by a vet, any dam that has already had two litters delivered by caesarean section cannot have any further litters registered with the Kennel Club, due to the welfare implications of multiple caesarean deliveries.
Because well over three quarters of all French bulldog dams require caesarean delivery, this means that for most breeders of pedigree Frenchies, the effective number of pedigree litters any one dam can produce is limited to just two.
This all adds up to increasing the cost of each individual French bulldog puppy offered for sale.
All of these factors relate directly to Kennel Club registered French bulldogs that fall within the breed standard and are produced by responsible breeders who have the best interests of the dogs and the breed as a whole in mind. However, even when it comes to non-pedigree French bulldogs, costs remain high, so it is worth explaining this in a little more detail too.
Not every French bulldog buyer is determined to buy a pedigree dog of the breed, and there is a high level of demand for French bulldogs of all types – but often particularly those that are unusual or uncommon-looking, traits that are often described as “rare” or “unique.”
There are a variety of French bulldog colours that have been introduced to the breed via outcrossing, but that are not recognised within the breed standard. Whilst some of these colours can be registered with the Kennel Club, they’re registered as “colour not recognised,” and the merle colour, which comes with a high risk of health issues for pups that inherit it, cannot be Kennel Club registered at all.
However, these so-called rare French bulldog colours like blue, chocolate and black and tan often result in higher than normal prices, which sometimes exceed even those of registered pedigree French bulldogs in standard colours.
Additionally, because the French bulldog is such a popular breed that is widely featured in the media and advertising campaigns, it is also one that many people choose to buy on a whim without doing much research. Not all prospective puppy buyers are aware that some Frenchie colours are not accepted within the breed, may come with a risk of health issues, and do not warrant an overly high sale price.
In terms of supply and demand, there are a huge number of French bulldog puppies bred each year and yet demand for them still remains high; however, it has fallen noticeably over the course of the last three years too.
In 2016, the average advertised price of French bulldogs was £1,552, dropping to £1,500 in 2017 and finally, £1,272 in 2018; this is a significant fall within just a couple of years, and whilst this trend may continue, bargain priced French bulldogs aren’t likely to be flooding the market any time soon.
Because the fixed costs of breeding Frenchies remain high even when demand is low, there is a price floor for every breeder, below which producing and selling litters becomes uneconomical. This is likely to result in rather fewer Frenchies being bred in future years and a level of price stabilisation, but French bulldogs are never going to be cheap to breed and so, to buy.
Many Frenchie breeders make a loss on their litters, or only just break even – despite the comparatively high sale prices of pups of the breed.
Many dog lovers will be surprised to learn than the French bulldog isn’t the most expensive small pedigree dog breed to buy, but that position is held by the Japanese Shiba Inu.
The Japanese Shiba Inu is a spitz-type dog from the Kennel Club’s utility grouping, and the 105th most popular dog breed in the UK. This means that Shiba Inus are not very common in the UK, but how many dogs of the breed are sold each year, and how much do they cost?
This means that even non-pedigree Shiba Inus cost more to buy than the vast majority of even pedigree dogs of other breeds – but why?
First of all, Shiba Inus are not a common sight within the UK, and only a small number of breeders across the country specialise in producing Shiba litters. Shiba Inu prices have actually been rising year on year for the last three years too, and yet the number of dogs of the breed produced year on year isn’t growing at the same rate.
Here are the total number of Shiba Inus that were offered for sale in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively, along with their average prices:
As you can see, there were actually a few less Shiba Inus bred in in 2017 compared to 2016, but during this time, the price per dog increased steeply, by over £250 per dog within just one year.
In 2018, there was a significant jump in the number of Shiba Inu litters bred compared to the prior year – an increase of almost 50%, in fact. This is likely to be due to the fact that demand for the breed exceeded supply during the prior year, reflected in the large jump in price and incentivising more breeders to consider producing litters of their own.
However, just 132 individual dogs and litters offered for sale over the course of a year is still a very small number, and the average sale price of the breed jumped up once again, reflecting the seller’s market at the time.
Based on the current trend, the number of Shiba Inus bred and offered for sale in 2019 is likely to reflect another notable jump in the figures, and the prices are likely to remain high or increase once more too.
So, why has the Shiba Inu become a much more in-demand and so, expensive dog breed to buy compared to previous years?
As ever, there are likely to be a variety of factors in play here, but there is one in particular that deserves a mention, and that is the power of social media and our love of dog-related memes and humour.
The Japanese Shiba Inu has rocketed to internet fame in the last few years largely due to the fame of one dog of the breed who became the subject of a popular and widely-shared meme that still does the rounds today. A Shiba Inu named Kabosu, widely known across the internet-at-large as “Doge” thanks to the meme that made her famous, may well be the origins of the breed’s surge in popularity in recent years.
Whilst the original Doge meme was first circulated in 2010, its wider impact took a few more years to become apparent, and began with a huge uptick in interest in the breed as a whole, which was naturally followed by a higher level of demand for dogs of the breed.
Prior to this, the Shiba Inu was a relatively unknown breed in the UK; but now, most dog lovers know of the “Doge” meme, even if they are not sure about the dog breed involved, and the quirky, fun-loving natures of dogs of the breed, along with their small size, has resulted in a high level of interest in them within the UK and further afield.
The main element of the Shiba Inu’s high sale price comes down to the disconnect between demand for dogs of the breed compared to the available level of supply, and as long as demand continues to outstrip supply, prices will remain high.
However, this is likely to top out at a certain level over the coming years, and the chances are that this will result in year-on-year increases in the number of dogs of the breed produced, matched by incremental increases in the average advertised cost until demand and supply match up more evenly. At this point, prices (and the number of dogs bred each year) is likely to plateau, and then prices tend to fall, followed a year or two later by a fall in the number of dogs bred each year too.
This gradual fall in prices as ever-more breeders get in on the game can be demonstrated above in our French bulldog figures – watch this space, and we will update you next year to let you know if the Shiba Inu breed follows the same pattern!
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