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AKC Facts and Stats

The Cost of Owning a Dog

Bulldog on a lead with its owners standing behind.

While the benefits of pet ownership far outweigh the costs, every responsible dog owner knows that along with love and companionship comes financial responsibility. An online survey of more than 1,000 visitors to determined what responsible owners can expect to pony-up for their pooch: 

  • One-time costs such as a crate, spaying/neutering or emergency vet care, ran an average of $2,100. (see breakdown below) 
  • Annual costs averaged $2,500 for a dog’s food, grooming, vet check ups, pet-sitting fees, etc. (see breakdown below) 
  • Over 40 percent (42.7%) owned a large dog (Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd); 22.5% owned a medium dog (Cocker Spaniel, Corgi), the same number a small dog (Boston Terrier, Shih Tzu) and 11.7% a tiny dog (Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier). The smallest percentage (6.7%) owned a giant dog (Great Dane, Mastiff). ¾ Not surprisingly people in rural areas and small towns were more likely to have a large dog (53.4% and 52.7% respectively) while slightly fewer (43.8%) urbanites had large dogs. ¾ The price of owning and caring for a dog decreased with the size of the dog, no doubt mainly due to food consumed. Giant dogs cost the most ($3,321) to care for annually, vs. small dogs, which cost $1,831. The only exception was medium dogs, which cost slightly more to care for annually ($2,628) vs. than their large counterparts ($2,569). 
  • Forty seven percent said the cost of dog ownership would not deter them from getting another dog. Less than 14% said the cost deterred them “significantly” or “quite a bit.” ¾ People in city/urban areas  – more than any other area – felt the cost might deter them from getting another dog (40.6%)  
  • Nearly 68% said the costs of dog ownership were about what they expected.  Twenty nine percent said costs exceeded expectations, vs. only 3% who said it was less than anticipated. ¾ Only 60.4% of people in city/urban areas felt costs were about what they expected (vs. 68.8% in the suburbs, 70.2% in small town, and 75% in rural areas).

    Dalmatian picking out a new bowl.


  • Purchase/adoption fees $646
  • Spay/neuter $160
  • Emergency Vet Visits/Surgeries $631 
  • Training Fees/Supplies $340
  • General Supplies: bowl, crate, leashes $350

TOTAL: $2127.00 



  • Food $446
  • Vet Care (check-ups, shots) $423
  • Travel $279
  • Grooming $190
  • Pet sitting, walking, boarding $223
  • Toys/treats $217
  • Ongoing Training $254
  • Dog events $457

TOTAL: $2489.00 

Explanatory Notes

  • The survey was conducted by the American Kennel Club during a two-week period in July 2004.  A total of 1,001 surveyors responded voluntarily to 11 questions.
  • Respondents were primarily females (76%) between the ages of 35-54 (47%). Many lived in a suburb (34%) or urban area (28%).
  • Self-selecting methods were used in recruitment for this study. AKC does not guarantee that these statistics are scalable to the overall population. This data is for anecdotal purposes only.