10 Ridiculously Expensive Cat and Dog Breeds

white Khao Manee cat lying on its side atop wooden table

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In 2017, there were 90 million pet dogs and 94 million pet cats in the United States. Many of those animals were saved from shelters, costing as little as $50. Others came from pet stores at higher price tags.

Then there are pet owners looking for specific, even rare, companions and are willing to throw down thousands of dollars to get them. Some of the most expensive cats and dogs in the world are intensively bred, have interesting histories, or are simply beautiful. Whatever the reason for their high cost, the following cat and dog breeds will set you back an arm and a leg (and a tail).

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Bengal Cat

bengal cat with leopard-like fur curled up on gray towel

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The Bengal cat is a hybrid of a domestic cat and the Asian leopard cat, a small wildcat. They have been bred since the 1800s, but it has only been since the 1970s that they have been bred in any significant numbers. They weren't accepted to The International Cat Association until 1983.

Bengal cats are coveted for their wild markings, which sometimes include rosettes like those on jaguars, leopards, and other big cats. This and their rarity contributes to their high price tag — kittens can cost up to $4,800.

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Tibetan Mastiff

tibetan mastiff puppy with fluffy tan fur stands on brick path in sunlight

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The Tibetan Mastiff is a large dog that originated in the mountains of Central Asia alongside the nomadic tribes who carved out a life there. They were traditionally used to protect homes, farms, and flocks, and they could scare off or even fight larger predators like leopards.

The median price for a Tibetan Mastiff is about $2,000, though they can be as much as $10,000 depending on pedigree. At the highest end of the scale, in 2014, a Tibetan Mastiff sold for almost $2 million at a luxury dog show in China. That price made it the most expensive dog in the world, a title it still holds in 2021.

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close up of face of löwchen with shaggy white, gray, and tan fur

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The Löwchen (German for "little lion") is one of the rarest dogs in the world. Its history is somewhat debated, but what is known is that it hails from Europe as far back as the 16th century and was a companion for the lords and ladies of the time. It was (and still is) fashionable to groom the dog so that it resembled a male lion, with no trimming on the front half and a close trim on the hindquarters.

Löwchen puppies can sell for up to $6,000 dollars.

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Khao Manee

face of white Khao Manee cat with different colored eyes, one gold and one blue

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The Khao Manee cat is a rare breed that originated in Thailand. It is known for its short white coat and typically odd (differently colored) eyes, as shown above. These creatures were kept and bred by Siam royals, and they are one of the cats mentioned in the "Tamra Maeo," a book of Siamese cat poems dating back to the 14th century. They weren't brought to the United States until 1999.

Taking in a Khao Manee as a pet can cost up to $2,000.

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Canadian Eskimo Dog

Canadian eskimo dog with tan markings shows tongue and teeth

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Canadian Eskimo dogs originated with the Inuit people of the Canadian Arctic, most often working as sled dogs. They are particularly well suited to the extreme cold of the Arctic because of their thick coat that is capable of withstanding punishing weather conditions.

The Canadian Eskimo dog nearly went extinct in the 1950s and 1960s. One reason was the increased use of snowmobiles by Inuit people. There were also theories of an operation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to systematically slaughter the dogs in an effort to disrupt the way of life for Arctic natives. Investigations showed that while the RCMP did kill Canadian Eskimo dogs in high numbers, it was not for those reasons, but many remain unconvinced.

The dogs were saved by an organization called the Eskimo Dog Research Foundation, which in the early 1970s bought and bred the last remaining dogs. As of 2018, there are about 300 registered with the Canadian Kennel Club. This is part of why the Canadian Eskimo dog has such a high price tag: $3,500.

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Savannah Cat

Savannah cat sitting tall on couch with long ears perked

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The Savannah cat is a hybrid between a domestic cat and a serval, a wild cat native to Africa. The cat's most prominent features — its spotted coat; cupped, wide, erect ears; and long legs — can be attributed to its serval background.

The Savannah cat was first bred in the mid-1980s and has since become a desirable kitty choice on the luxury pet market. For an F1 Savannah cat, which is bred directly from a serval and thus is 50 percent serval, pet owners can expect to spend $16,000.

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Pharaoh Hound

tan Egyptian pharaoh hound with black collar and leash stands tall in snow

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The Pharaoh Hound is a striking breed, believed to have been the dogs of choice for royalty in ancient Egypt. They were used as companions for hunters, which continued after they made their way to the Mediterranean country of Malta, where they are now the national animal. Expected of skilled hunting dogs, they are strong, athletic, independent, and active.

Despite their long history, no Pharoah Hounds were born outside of Malta until 1963, when a litter was born in the UK. These dogs are beautiful but costly — a puppy can easily set you back $6,500.

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fluffy white samoyed dog lying on floor with pink tongue sticking out

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The Samoyed is known best for two things: its fluffy white coat and seemingly perpetual smile. The breed hails from Siberia, where it was used by the Samoyede people for hunting, herding, and sled pulling.

These dogs are highly affectionate and extremely friendly, making them a sought-after family pet. Depending on the breeder, a Samoyed puppy can cost up to $3,000, but some sources cite pups that go for as much as $10,000.

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five rottweilers in a row running on beach with mouths open

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Rottweilers are a highly skilled breed. As far back as Roman times, these dogs were used for herding and guarding. They are still used as guard dogs today, and also as police dogs and rescue dogs. Their penchant for work is evident in their physical characteristics, such as their muscular legs and broad chest.

Because the Rottweiler is such a well-known dog, you may be surprised to find it on this list. However, depending on lineage and breed lines, a puppy can cost as much as $8,000.

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Persian Cat

white persian cat lying on back on couch with fur mussed

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Not much is known for sure of the Persian cat's history, but that hasn't stopped it from becoming a favored pet breed. Loved for its looks, the Persian cat is best known for its flat face and long, thick hair. The distinctive coat requires extensive daily grooming, so expect to invest time in a Persian cat pet, not just money.

They come in a variety of colors, but the white Persian cat is the most highly prized. That's why it has the highest asking price of the breed at $5,000.