LEAST PRICEY POOCHES
For many kids, a puppy is at the top of the "Mommy, I want" list. But before snapping up the first Fido they spot, shoppers should keep in mind the many factors that go into selecting a dog — including long-term costs of ownership. While the cheapest choice is a mutt from a shelter (and saving a pup's life is certainly priceless), some may prefer to pick a specific breed based on size or ease of care. One way to do that for a bargain price: Ask the local shelter if any dogs waiting for homes have one of these 10 budget breeds in their genes.
The short hair on this cutie means very little grooming is needed, other than an occasional washing and brushing. With most rat terriers weighing about 35 pounds and growing no taller than 2 feet high, food costs are reasonable. Breeder fees can be as low as $200, which is on par with the cost of getting a dog from a shelter, but expect to pay between $400 and $600. While the breed is not as susceptible to the genetic health problems usually found in other small breeds, be aware that smaller rat terriers are prone to hip dysplasia.
TOY FOX TERRIER
The short-haired coats of toy fox terriers are low maintenance and the breed typically reaches about 11 inches at shoulder height, which means these small dogs don't require much food to stay fit and healthy.
An easy-to-maintain coat and a weight of about 25 pounds makes the beagle another good bet for cheap care. Owners can feed this breed for less than $10 a week, and the dogs don't require much grooming thanks to their short, smooth coats. The beagle is known for being a healthy breed; life expectancy is between 12 and 15 years.
While this breed can be pricey when purchased from a breeder (between $200 and $1,000), Chihuahuas account for up to 60 percent of the shelter dogs in some parts of California. In some cases they're shipped out of state by rescue organizations, so be sure to check the shelter near you. This pint-size pup is considered a healthy breed, and the short coat and small size mean lower costs for grooming and feeding, as well.
AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG
While this breed has a somewhat shaggier coat than others on this list, only occasional baths and brushing are needed to keep this working dog looking neat. An average weight of 35 pounds means the Australian cattle dog isn't going to require huge orders of kibble. This dog presents relatively few health issues, but don't expect to lounge on the couch — cattle dogs are very active, high-energy animals. Use inexpensive dog toys to keep them occupied.
This popular, loving breed has an easygoing temperament, but purebreds can be hard on the wallet — $800 to $3,000 from a breeder — so check a shelter first. A Labrador mix may have lower vet bills, as purebred Labradors are prone to ailments such as hip dysplasia and heart and eye problems. Also note that some members of this breed tend to be hefty eaters and, if not given enough exercise, have a tendency to get fat. But don't be scared off — these loyal, sweet-natured dogs can lower owners' stress levels, and that may be priceless
This pup's small size means a lower food bill, and its short coat means little spent on grooming, although its close-to-the-ground stature may require frequent belly scrubs. In later age, health problems are possible for this breed, as serious spinal problems affecting 1 in 4 dachshunds can result in paralysis, but initial costs are low.
Much like the other terriers on this list, the mini pinscher has an easy-to-clean coat and doesn't weigh much — usually about 11 pounds. Dog food for this breed should cost less than $200 a year.
If you crave a big dog without the big maintenance price tag, an English foxhound might be for you. This dog weighs in at about 65 pounds, but due to an easy-care coat, good temperament, and slimmer body shape than some dogs (meaning food bills won't be huge), this dog could be a budget-friendly buddy.
Sometimes lost time adds up to lost money, and there are a number of breeds that require so much exercise and attention that numerous toys, a dog walker, and doggy daycare can factor heavily into the price. While basset hounds can weigh about 60 pounds at full size and are good eaters, the animals are so low-key that they don't demand nearly as much in the way of energy-burning accoutrements as some other breeds. This dog also has a short, easy-to-maintain coat.