Top 10 Cheapest Dogs

Written by Heather Hall
Updated: November 5, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Aime Martin
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Key Points:
  • Cost of ownership is not the only factor in making a decision, but it is an important consideration as it can cost thousands of dollars per year to provide care for some breeds of dog.
  • Due to their small size and resilient health, the Chihuahua is the cheapest dog breed to own.
  • Cost of ownership includes food requirements, grooming, veterinarian visits, medication, exercise needs, fencing or crating, price of initial purchase, training, and toys.

Dog ownership is a rewarding but expensive financial commitment. The average cost of caring for a dog is about $1,400 to $4,300 a year – and sometimes as much as $10,000. If you’re on a tight budget, then you can still benefit from the joys of dog ownership, but you will have to make some important choices upfront. The most important choice, of course, is which breed to buy and where to buy it from. The cheapest option is to adopt. Many popular dog breeds can be had for no more than $300 and shouldn’t be too difficult 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.

But the most expensive part of owning a dog is always the stuff you need to purchase afterward: food, toys, tools, training classes, and regular visits to the vet. Because food usually represents the largest drain on finances, the most important factor here is probably size. The cheapest dog breeds are also some of the smallest in the world because they simply don’t eat very much. Other important factors to consider include trainability, grooming needs, and activity level.

But there is one factor that’s easy to neglect and could drive up costs significantly: the health of your dog. Every breed is prone to a different set of health issues. Always do your research to make sure your dog has been already tested for common problems known to affect the breed. While it may cost slightly more upfront, it is clearly worth avoiding potential heartache and large expenses down the road.

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With all that in mind, this list will cover the top 10 cheapest dog breeds in the world, taking into consideration upfront costs, regular monthly expenses, one-off expenses, and the chances of surprise expenses from vet bills.

#10: Pembroke Welsh Corgi

This cheapest dog, the Welsh Corgi, is most well-known for its short legs.

iStock.com/Nataba

Among the most popular herding dogs in the world, the Welsh Corgi is a small breed with short legs on account of the dwarfism trait that was bred into their line. They are highly active dogs with a healthy appetite, but because they weigh no more than 30 pounds, they only need about a cup to 1.5 cups of food per day.

You should make sure the dog has received a proper hip and eye evaluation, but otherwise, the Corgi is a fairly healthy breed with a lifespan of 12 to 13 years. The coat will also need some routine maintenance and semi-regular baths to maintain good health. Altogether, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a good choice for budget-conscious owners, but they don’t quite rank among the most affordable breeds in the world.

#9: American Foxhound

American foxhounds are one of the healthiest breeds making it also one of the cheapest.

Olga Aniven/Shutterstock.com

The American Foxhound is an independent, easy-going, and affectionate hunting breed. Because it’s quite large and active, weighing up to 70 pounds, you might be spending a moderate amount of money on food. But the American Foxhound is considered to be one of the healthiest and most resilient breeds in the world, which could save you money on vet bills. Grooming is also relatively simple and easy; baths should only be done when it becomes particularly dirty. Altogether, it’s a fine budget-friendly dog for owners who want a breed with strong hunting instincts.

#8: Chinese Crested Dog

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

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The Chinese Crested Dog is almost completely hairless except for long elegant tufts around the head, tail, and legs. This means its grooming requirements aren’t too bad, but it will need a regular skincare routine to protect it from the environment. As a small dog weighing no more than eight to 12 pounds, the good news is you won’t be spending a lot of money on food. But it does, unfortunately, suffer from several health problems, so make sure your dog has received eye and knee evaluations, a cardiac exam, and a PLL and PRA-RCD3 DNA test. Overall, it ranks among the cheapest dogs in the world, but there are still some expenses you will need to consider.

#7: Australian Terrier

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

boitano/Shutterstock.com

The Australian Terrier originally descended from several kinds of British terriers brought to Australia in the 19th century. While the elegant coat might require some extra grooming, this small breed, weighing about 15 to 20 pounds, doesn’t eat a whole lot of food, and as long as it receives a full set of tests for the knee, eyes, thyroid, and hips, it shouldn’t be prone to a lot of health problems. It’s a solid budget-friendly breed that shouldn’t break the bank.

#6: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the cheapest dogs given how little it eats.

iStock.com/FotoES

Once a favorite of British nobility, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a gentle and affectionate breed that carries itself with a sort of regal bearing. As a part of the toy group, it’s a small dog, measuring about 12 to 13 inches long and weighing 13 to 18 pounds, and will only require about a cup to 1.5 cups of food per day. Because it does have a tendency to suffer from eye conditions, hip and knee problems, heart disease, and more, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should receive a full set of health tests. A fenced yard is also recommended to give your dog enough room to run around in. While the monthly cost of ownership makes it one of the most affordable breeds, it might cost a little more upfront to buy.

#5: Pug

Pugs are a cheap breed that doesn’t require much maintenance.

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The Pug is among the cheapest dog breeds in the world to own. Charming, affectionate, and a bit mischievous, this breed was once a favorite of royal houses from China to Europe. There’s a lot to like about them. They only need to eat maybe a cup of food per day. Their short glossy coat requires minimal maintenance and perhaps only a few baths per year. And while they should receive a thorough hip, knee, and eye examination (as well DNA test for encephalitis), they don’t suffer from too many life-threatening conditions – although like most flat-faced breeds they do sometimes experience breathing problems, which will need to be managed properly by the owner.

#4: Rat Terrier

Like the Chinese Crested Dog, the Rat Terrier is among the cheapest dog breeds because of the amount of food it eats.

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The Rat Terrier is a small vermin-hunting breed, weighing no more than 10 to 25 pounds, with a short, dense coat that shouldn’t be too difficult to care for. This breed should have received knee and hip evaluations, an eye exam, a cardiac exam, and a radiograph for Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, but it’s otherwise quite a healthy breed. On account of its small and approachable size, you should be able to save some money on food, making this among the cheapest breeds in the world.

#3: Dachshund

This cheapest breed, the Dachshund, is most well-known for its short legs and long body.

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Curious, friendly, and bold-tempered, the Dachshund combines short legs and a long body. The miniature version weighs no more than 11 pounds and the standard version weighs 16 to 32 pounds, so the monthly food bill shouldn’t be very high, even though it does require a lot of exercise. Disc damage can occur on account of the Dachshund’s long back, but this is otherwise a very healthy breed with a strong lifespan of 12 to 16 years. Very few health evaluations are necessary. Overall, the Dachshund is among the cheapest breeds you can find.

#2: Beagle

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

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The Beagle is an iconic hunting dog: muscular, athletic, and confident, they have a great sense of smell and strong instincts. Weighing no more than 30 pounds, they tend to get by on one meal a day and perhaps a quick snack in the evening. Combined with their reasonable grooming needs and few health problems, the Beagle is surprisingly among the cheapest dogs to own. The national breed club still recommends that Beagles should receive a hip evaluation, eye evaluation, and MLS DNA test, but otherwise, they’re extremely healthy and resilient.

#1: Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are the cheapest dog breed because of how affordable it is to take care of them.

iStock.com/Aime Martin

A national symbol of Mexico, the Chihuahua takes the top spot for the most affordable and budget-friendly dog breed in the world mostly on account of its small size. Measuring no more than five to eight inches long and rarely exceeding six pounds, an adult Chihuahua will only need about half a cup to a full cup of dry food per day, saving you plenty of expenses. They are a very healthy and resilient breed with a typical lifespan of 14 to 16 years, but make sure your Chihuahua has received a knee evaluation, eye test, and cardiac exam. Once you’ve accounted for upfront expenses, you may be paying not much more than $50 to $100 in a typical month to care for this popular breed.

Our research shows that the top 10 cheapest dogs are as follows:

  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • American Foxhound
  • Chinese Crested Hairless Dog
  • Australian Terrie
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Pug
  • Rat Terrier
  • Dachshund
  • Beagle
  • Chihuahua

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Chihuahua puppy on soccer ball
Chihuahuas are the cheapest dog breed because of how affordable it is to take care of them.
iStock.com/Aime Martin
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About the Author

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

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