Getting a dog is one of life’s most enjoyable and rewarding experiences, and with so many great breeds, you’re spoilt for choice in deciding which one to choose. There are loads of factors that will help you decide which dog is right for you, including lifestyle, characteristics you want in a dog and the kind of temperament they will have, and of course, there’s the cost. Naturally, there’s the buying of food, toys, accessories and a bed for your new pooch, but it’s generally expected that one of the expenses that come with the new arrival is the price of dog insurance.
This price can be as low as £5 a month depending on the cover you choose as well as the age and breed of your dog, or it could be as high as £80 depending on the same factors.
The reason breed affects the insurance price is that often large dogs, particularly pedigrees, tend to have more mobility problems down the line. Some breeds, in particular, are more prone to illnesses because of the characteristics that have been bred in them, such as bulldogs with squashed noses or German Shepherds with curved backs. This doesn’t mean the dog won’t live a happy, healthy life, but there’s more of a risk of ailments as they get older than there is to a small mixed breed. Insurers also determine the price of how much it costs to keep your dog as well as how likely they would have to pay third-party insurance. While 99% of large dogs have lovely, calm temperaments, larger dogs are seen to cause more potential damage to another party, so third-party insurance is more expensive.
All of these factors shouldn’t put you off getting the breed of your choice because insurers are always determining the price from a ‘worst case’ scenario, and the majority of dogs will lead happy, healthy lives, but it’s still good to be aware of beforehand. So to give you an idea, we’ve created a list starting with the least expensive breeds and moving up to the most expensive, so you know what to expect when it comes to choosing your own.
A note on mixed breeds
As a general rule, mixed breeds are always healthier and more resilient to illness. This is because the gene pool is larger, and therefore hereditary disorders can usually be bred out since the mother and father are less likely to have the same defective gene. As a result of this, mixed breeds are generally seen to be less likely to develop hip dysplasia, spinal diseases, knee problems, and fewer cancers and heart problems.
But that’s not to say pedigrees can’t live a healthy, happy life, as more work goes into breeding pedigrees in a better way in order to avoid these problems and many purebreds like Labradors and terriers can live till they’re 14/15, which is a similar age to many mixed breeds.
The conditions that we list as reasons why the dog is expensive to insure is again a worst-case scenario and is rather something to be aware of instead of a reason not to buy the dog. Every breed will be vulnerable to some health concern, even mixed breeds; it’s just part and parcel of having a dog for its entire lifespan.
So let’s get started with the top five least expensive dogs to insure…
The general rule is the smaller the dog, the cheaper the insurance (except pugs and french bulldogs). Not only are smaller dogs less likely to hurt themselves, but third party insurance is lower as well because a smaller dog is seen to cause less damage. It also costs more to treat larger dogs, and they’re more heavily affected by conditions than a smaller dog is because they’re carrying around much more weight. For these reasons, smaller dogs are much cheaper, and breeding problems don’t seem to be as frequent.
Terriers are tough little things, and despite their small stature, they’re incredibly resilient. Patterdale terriers seem to be the cheapest to insure, but as a rule, you’re not going to pay an awful lot to insure a terrier of any kind, and they generally live very healthy long lives – some even reaching 17 years of age. The only things they tend to suffer is age-related conditions like poor eyesight or hearing. Cruciate ruptures can happen in some old terriers, and this can create problems in their knees.
Chihuahua’s are non-aggressive and are generally healthy dogs. They’re not that prone to accidents since they don’t tend to go on adventurous walks, and they’re pretty cheap to feed. The most common issues that could arise with chihuahuas are epilepsy and luxating or ‘floating’ kneecap, which can cause lameness – this is common in small pedigree dogs. However, this can be prevented by regular check-ups and can be rectified for surgical and non-surgical treatments.
Just like the chihuahua, Pomeranians are seen as a minimal threat and have the same small risk of epilepsy and luxating (floating) kneecaps.
Cockapoos were found to be one of the cheapest breeds to insure largely because they’re a mixed breed and therefore are much less likely to have hereditary problems. Since they’re relatively small, third-party insurance isn’t high. The only thing worth mentioning is that both spaniels and poodles can be susceptible to eye problems and hip displacement, making the chances of cockapoos experiencing it a little higher. And while this doesn’t affect your insurance, it’s worth knowing that Cockapoo or Cavapoos are notorious barkers.
5. Lhasa Apso
Multiple insurers found Lhasa Apso’s to be one of the cheapest breeds to insure, primarily because of the same reasons as chihuahuas and Pomeranians. Still, they are susceptible to eye problems, sometimes ear conditions and once again, the floating kneecap.
This category is for dogs that are a little more expensive to insure but still relatively low. This tends to be Border Collies, Spaniels, Labradors and Beagles. Again, medium sizes dogs tend to be medium-priced.
Being a healthy, medium-sized dog, spaniels are usually pretty cheap to insure. Springers tend to be the healthiest of the bunch and can live up to 14 years, but they can struggle with ear problems due to their floppy ears. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels are smaller dogs and therefore may be cheaper to insure; however, it’s worth bearing in mind that Cavalier’s are prone to heart problems, and Cockers can suffer from eye and ear infections. On rare occasions, spaniels can suffer from neurological conditions, but this is all relative, and the majority of spaniels are healthy and happy.
2. Labrador/Golden Retreievers
Labradors and Golden Retrievers are generally healthy dogs, and their insurance may be higher simply because they’re a larger breed. It’s worth mentioning that labradors can be expensive to insure because they’re prone to weight gain, adding pressure to joints, and they’re notorious for eating everything in sight, which can put a lot of strain on their intestines. Like many dogs, retrievers can suffer from hypothyroidism and joint problems in later life.
3. Irish Setter
Once again, Irish Setters are relatively expensive to insure because they’re very large dogs and, therefore, will have a shorter lifespan and will be more prone to health issues later in life. They can suffer from osteochondrosis dissecans (elbow pain) due to poor breeding or improper cartilage growth and hip dysplasia again because of their size and the fact that they’re pedigrees.
In general, dachshunds are more expensive to insure simply because of the shape of their spine. They may be more prone to getting back injuries because they don’t have the same flexibility of legs as a larger dog. And there’s a risk of Intervertebral Disc Disease (when a disc in your dachshund’s spinal column becomes vulnerable), but this happens to a relatively small percentage of them.
5. German Shepherd
Given the controversy surrounding breeding a curved back within German Shepherds, it’s probably not that surprising to find that a german shepherd can be relatively expensive to insure. Because of the way they have been bred to have smaller legs at the back and a curved spine, German Shepherds are known to suffer joint problems, arthritis and in later years, lameness. They can also be susceptible to stomach twists and Anal furunculosis, but it’s always important to remember that some condition down the line is to be expected when buying a large dog, and it can often be treated.
Most Expensive Dogs To Insure
While Newfoundlands aren’t common pet dogs in the UK, they are the most expensive to insure simply because they require so much more. Everything costs more simply because more is required from, e food and complex grooming to a more detailed vet plan. They’re also susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia as well as bloating caused by stomach twists.
A Rottweiler will tend to live between 8-11 years old, and while many live healthy lives, this breed is predisposed to cruciate ligament problems as well as digestive and heart problems. While this all sounds severe, regular check-ups and medication can either prevent or alleviate these problems so your dog can have a happy, healthy life.
3. Bull Dogs
Whether English, French or Bull Mastiff, bulldogs are generally high to insure simply because they tend to have poor health and shorter life spans. Because of the shortened nose, bulldogs can suffer from respiratory problems. The larger ones tend to suffer from joint issues, particularly in English Bulldogs where the legs are short, and the body is heavy and stocky. These dogs also tend to be very expensive, which adds to the cost of insurance as well.
4. Great Dane
Like all large dogs, Great Dane’s have a shorter life span than small dogs and therefore are more likely to be expensive to insure. Because there is so much more weight, there’s also more pressure on the joints, which can naturally lead to more pain and joint problems down the road. However, a lot of preventative measures can slow this down, like the right nutrients and supplements as well as an orthopaedic bed.
While crossbreeds are generally cheaper than a pedigree, Admiral found that Labradoodles were one of the most expensive to insure. But as with all huge dogs, it comes with joint and hip pressure and the risk of stomach twists. Labradoodles do tend to live happy, healthy lives, but they are susceptible to warts and growths, ear problems, and on occasion, even epilepsy; it’s important to remember that all these conditions can be treated.
While these conditions and the price of insurance may seem daunting, getting a good cover will ensure your dog gets quality treatment and care that will prevent or treat these conditions from really affecting your dog’s quality of life. And a lot of these conditions really are a worst-case scenario; it’s natural to expect some difficulty as your dog ages in the same way people need more medication and help as they age, but it certainly shouldn’t put you off getting a dog if you really want one.
Lots of insurances are reasonably priced, even for the large dogs with some life cover insurances starting around £23 a month for a middle-aged labrador, so shop around and check out our article on the best dog insurance providers. If you really don’t have a budget for insurance, but you really want a dog, don’t worry; it might just be worth looking at mixed breeds and small dogs instead.