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How Pet Insurance Costs Vary For 20 Different Dog Breeds

Think pet insurance premiums are consistent across dog breeds? Think again. Sound Dollar took a look at 20 popular breeds and the factors that might influence their premium costs.

Written by Elizabeth Jackson / February 23, 2022

The food you buy, the veterinarian you use, and the care needed for when you’re traveling are just a few of the many costs to consider when adding a canine companion to your home. Another important consideration? Pet insurance.

Some of the most beloved dog breeds—purebreds, particularly—can come with a host of health problems, so if you’re thinking of getting one of these, you’ll want to consider insuring your pets to guard against potentially high out-of-pocket costs for pet care.

Further Reading: The Best Pet Insurance Providers

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, close to 3.45 million pets were insured in North America by the end of 2020, and pet insurance has been growing at an average annual rate of 23.4% over the past five years. Pet owners are becoming increasingly aware of the costs that can come with caring for their furry friends and are opting to protect themselves before health complications arise.

Since premiums for all pets aren’t alike, Sound Dollar used 2021 data from Pawlicy Advisor to compile a list of 20 dog breeds and the average monthly pet insurance premiums for each at three different ages. Additional data from the American Kennel Club (AKC) details each pet’s life expectancy and typical height, weight, and temperament. Since pit bulls are not recognized by the AKC, the data for that dog breed comes from DogTime.

Read on for a look at premiums for different breeds of dogs, along with some of the most common health complications that may relate to these rates.

#20. Chihuahua

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $47.27

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $38.45

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $38.45

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 12-20 years

  • Typical height: 6-9 inches

  • Typical weight: 3-6 pounds

  • Temperament: charming

Miniature, high-strung, social, and fluffy, Chihuahuas are the pet of choice for many small-dog lovers, but their size can cause health problems that may make insurance more expensive. Their small stature also makes them more susceptible to everything from overfeeding and obesity to collapsed tracheas. Even the smaller size of their mouths makes them more likely to get tooth and gum disease.

#19. Shih Tzu

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $48.94

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $39.00

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $39.00

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 10-16 years

  • Typical height: 8-11 inches

  • Typical weight: 9-16 pounds

  • Temperament: outgoing, affectionate, playful, charming

Shih Tzu literally translates to “lion dog,” and with the breed’s long, flowing manes of silky hair, it’s not hard to see why. However, Shih Tzus are also purebred dogs. This makes them more likely to have a range of genetic disorders, such as eye conditions like cataracts and dry corneas, and hip and kneecap issues, which makes having pet insurance particularly important.

#18. Shiba Inu

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $50.25

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $41.73

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $41.73

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 12-15 years

  • Typical height: 14-17 inches (male), 13-16 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 18-24 pounds (male), 15-20 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: alert, active

Shiba Inus are strong, natural-born leaders with big personalities. However, they do come with a high likelihood of developing an expensive medical problem. Shiba Inus have a higher risk for patellar luxations, which causes the kneecap to become dislocated from the knee joint. They also commonly have allergies that can cause ongoing skin irritation.

#17. Dachshund

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $55.70

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $45.16

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $45.16

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 12-16 years

  • Typical height: 8-9 inches

  • Typical weight: 16-32 pounds

  • Temperament: friendly, curious, spunky

Tiny, assertive dachshunds make up in personality what they may lack in stature. But this breed of dog comes with a higher than usual risk for Cushing’s disease, a condition that occurs when a dog’s body produces too much cortisol. Complications from Cushing’s disease include extreme thirst and muscle atrophy, and treatment is ongoing and expensive, which means that maintaining pet insurance may be a priority for dachshund owners.

#16. Border collie

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $58.49

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $46.22

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $46.22

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 10-17 years

  • Typical height: 19-22 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 30-45 pounds (male), 27-42 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: smart

Border collies were once sheepdogs, and are known for their intelligence. But up to 75% of border collies may be at risk for optic nerve colobomas, which can lead to serious vision damage. Ophthalmologists may have to be consulted during diagnoses, which could raise the cost of treatment significantly, making insurance a particularly good idea for border collie owners.

#15. Australian shepherd

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $61.42

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $51.86

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $51.86

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 13-15 years

  • Typical height: 20-23 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 55-70 pounds (male), 35-55 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: smart, oriented

Australian shepherds are happy and sociable dogs that were actually bred in America. However, this breed is more likely than others to experience bone and joint disorders. These musculoskeletal problems can cause serious complications if not monitored and treated right away, and they may need to be treated by a specialist in addition to a veterinarian.

#14. Siberian husky

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $64.71

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $51.30

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $51.30

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 12-15 years

  • Typical height: 21-24 inches (male), 20-22 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 44-60 pounds (male), 35-51 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: friendly, gentle, dignified, alert

Originally bred as sled dogs, Siberian huskies can withstand temperatures of up to minus 50 degrees. But just because they’re hearty in one area doesn’t mean they aren’t sensitive in others. Siberian huskies have a high-risk profile for entropion, a disorder that makes the eyeballs roll backward in the head. Treatment requires surgery, which makes insurance especially important.

#13. Poodle

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $64.75

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $51.07

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $51.07

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 10-18 years

  • Typical height: over 15 inches

  • Typical weight: 60-70 pounds (male standard), 40-50 pounds (female standard)

  • Temperament: proud, active, smart

Poodles are widely considered to be intelligent and excellent family and show dogs. They are unfortunately also considered to be at increased risk for Addison’s disease. Symptoms include decreased appetite, lethargy, nausea, and severe dehydration that can lead to fatal complications. Pet insurance can help continually monitor for signs of the disease before it develops into something more serious.

#12. Corgi

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $71.56

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $56.49

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $56.49

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 12-13 years

  • Typical height: 10-12 inches

  • Typical weight: up to 30 pounds (male), up to 28 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: affectionate, smart, alert

Friendly little corgis were originally bred to be farm herders, but are more typically found today as household pets. Corgis are also more susceptible to epilepsy than other breeds. This may cause them to have seizures, which require emergency care. Such care can be very costly, so many corgi owners often opt to carry insurance.

#11. Pug

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $72.91

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $59.22

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $59.22

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 13-15 years

  • Typical height: 10-13 inches

  • Typical weight: 14-18 pounds

  • Temperament: tempered, charming, loving

Pugs were originally bred to be lapdogs in China and are known for their adorably squishy faces. These cute wrinkles can also be the cause of serious health complications. The structure of pugs’ skulls can make it difficult for them to breathe and live a happy, healthy life. Regular visits to a vet can help treat issues at the first sign of any trouble.

#10. German shepherd

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $77.14

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $60.89

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $60.89

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 7-10 years

  • Typical height: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 65-90 pounds (male), 50-70 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: confident, courageous, smart

Confident, smart, and fearless, German shepherds are known to be particularly easy to train. However, they also have a heightened risk for gastric dilation volvulus—a dog’s version of bloating—which can cause serious health complications, including the stomach twisting and cutting off blood flow. This can require emergency care, which can be very expensive without pet insurance.

#9. Pit bull

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $78.88

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $62.30

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $62.30

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 12 to 16 years

  • Typical height: 17 to 19 inches

  • Typical weight: 30 to 85 pounds

  • Temperament: courageous, agile, obedient

Pit bulls have a reputation for being fighters, but they are actually quite loyal and loving. They also have a heightened risk for hip and elbow problems, including bone dislocation from joints. In addition to being painful and distressing, these conditions can require surgery, which can be extremely expensive for pet owners without insurance, meaning pit bull owners may want to ensure they are covered.

#8. Labrador retriever

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $82.60

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $65.36

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $65.36

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 10-12 years

  • Typical height: 22.5-24.5 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 65-80 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: friendly, outgoing

Labradors are some of the most popular dogs in America and are known for being excellent with families and very friendly. Labrador retrievers are more likely to get cancer than other dogs, particularly lymphoma. Treatment can be intense, including chemotherapy and surgery. Insurance can be more expensive for labradors the older they get to account for this increased risk of cancer and its expensive treatments.

#7. Golden retriever

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $84.90

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $67.33

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $67.33

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 10-12 years

  • Typical height: 23-24 inches (male), 21.5-22.5 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 65-75 pounds (male), 55-65 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: intelligent, friendly, devoted

Known for being some of the friendliest dogs in the world, golden retrievers are often the first choice for families. This all-American breed is more likely to experience heart problems and cataracts than other dogs, along with certain skin conditions. Their heavy coats of fur can also make them more likely to develop skin issues, especially if bacteria grow beneath their coats.

#6. Boxer

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $100.68

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $74.88

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $74.88

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 10-12 years

  • Typical height: 23-25 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 65-80 pounds (male), 50-65 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: fun, loving, bright, active, loyal

Boxers are a German breed known for being athletic and playful. They also have an entire health condition named after them—boxer cardiomyopathy. This genetic disorder involves heart arrhythmia and can lead to episodes of fainting and even death. Its sudden onset means emergency care is often required, making it particularly important for boxer owners to have pet insurance.

#5. French bulldog

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $110.52

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $86.70

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $86.70

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 10-12 years

  • Typical height: 11-13 inches

  • Typical weight: 20-28 pounds (male), 16-24 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: playful, smart

French bulldogs are famous for their big, upright ears and playful personalities. However, their signature ears can cause health issues, and makes them more likely to contract ear infections. If left untreated, an ear infection can become incurable, which means that Frenchie owners will want to take particular care to make sure they are continually monitoring and treating any signs of ear infection in their four-legged friends.

#4. English bulldog

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $118.62

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $86.69

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $86.69

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 8-10 years

  • Typical height: 14-15 inches

  • Typical weight: 50 pounds (male), 40 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: friendly, courageous, calm

Like pugs, English bulldogs are known for their lovably squishy faces, but their short snouts and compressed skulls can lead to serious breathing problems. Not only does this increase their chance for a respiratory-related health issue, but it can also make it difficult for English bulldogs to keep cool. Owners should make sure they are frequently monitoring for issues, and take pets to the vet at the first sign of any complication.

#3. Bernese mountain dog

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $122.30

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $85.45

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $85.45

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 6-8 years

  • Typical height: 25-28 inches (male), 23-26 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 86-110 pounds (male), 79-110 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: calm

The majestic Bernese mountain dog may be known for its calm and hearty temperament, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t vulnerable to certain health conditions. In particular, Bernese mountain dogs should be monitored for heatstroke. Their thick coats of fur make them especially likely to overheat in hot climates, which can require expensive emergency care if left untreated.

#2. Great Dane

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $122.45

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $84.83

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $84.83

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 6-8 years

  • Typical height: 30-34 inches (male), 28-32 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 120-200 pounds (male), 99-130 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: friendly, patient

One of the largest breeds of dog, Great Danes are known for being gentle giants. However, their large frames can cause them to have a higher than usual risk profile for bone and joint disorders including osteoarthritis, which can be painful and slow and require many trips to the veterinarian. For this reason, Great Dane owners often choose to have insurance that allows them to constantly observe bone health along with other conditions.

#1. Rottweiler

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  • Average pet insurance cost for 5.5-year dog: $128.38

  • Average pet insurance cost for 18-month dog: $88.76

  • Average pet insurance cost for 6-month puppy: $88.76

  • Life expectancy of dog breed: 8-10 years

  • Typical height: 24-27 inches (male), 22-25 inches (female)

  • Typical weight: 110-130 pounds (male), 77-110 pounds (female)

  • Temperament: reserved, affectionate, loyal

Rottweilers were originally bred in Germany for the purpose of pulling heavy carts. But just because they were bred for hard physical labor doesn’t mean these dogs don’t have their own set of health issues that need to be cared for. Rottweilers are known for hip dysplasia, which often requires surgery to correct, and it is known to get worse as dogs get older.

About the Author

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Elizabeth Jackson

Elizabeth Jackson is a journalist and writer. She covers health, politics, culture, and the arts for a variety of digital and print publications including New York Times, Vanity Fair, Vogue, W, and TIME.

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