Dog Breeds, which is best?

Dogs are not entirely OT for METAR. About 65 million American households own a dog. The cost, care and feeding of all these dogs generates significant economic activity. Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets in 2022 (including dogs, cats and other species but mostly dogs).

The Wall Street Journal has analyzed the most economical dogs. Methodology: Cost (50%): average adult annual costs, not including insurance; monthly insurance premium, averaged over 6, 36 and 84 months old; average puppy price. Life Expectancy (25%): average of life expectancy range. Physical and Personality Traits (25%): a) Trainability, scored on a scale of 1 to 5; b) Family Life comprises the following traits, each scored on a scale of 1 to 5: affectionate with family, good with young children and good with other dogs; c) Social Skills comprises the following traits, each scored on a scale of 1 to 5: openness to strangers, playfulness, protective nature and adaptability; d) Maintenance comprises the following traits, each scored on a scale of 1 to 5: shedding, drooling and coat grooming frequency. Grades were assigned based on numeric scores.

The Best Dogs for Your Wallet

We looked at the costs and desirable traits of dozens of dog breeds to decide which breed gives the best bark for your buck, By Tom Corrigan, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 21, 2023

Breeders interviewed by The Wall Street Journal praised the rat terrier as a highly adaptable, do-anything type of dog with few health problems—a more mellow version of its popular cousin, the Jack Russell terrier. [end quote]

DH and I believe in rescue so we don’t buy purebred dogs from breeders. (We do have a purebred English Cocker Spaniel who we adopted after a sick friend died.) My favorite breed, the Border Collie, is far too high-strung to make a good house dog. BC mutts are smart and mellower. Our current dog is a 65 pound Border Collie/ German Shepherd mix who is smart, loyal and not especially friendly to strangers until introduced with the command “Friend.” (He readily accepts my female friends but is suspicious of men.) Cliff is a credible watch dog who melts in my hands when I scratch his ears. He is a herding dog to the bone and herded a group of wild elk in a nearby field before I realized what he was doing and recalled him.

Here is the table of dog breeds from the article. Most breeds were developed for a specific purpose but each dog is an individual. Dog personality and intelligence tests can be found on the internet.

I can’t imagine why anyone would add a dog to their household without thoroughly researching it. The most popular breed in the U.S. right now is the French bulldog, which is useless, expensive and ugly (in my opinion).

Rank Breed Average Life Expectancy Estimated Lifetime Cost Trainability Family Life Social Skills Maintenance
1 Rat Terrier 15 years $28,573.00 A+ A A+ A
2 Papillon 15 years $28,200.00 A+ A A+ A
3 Chihuahua 15 years $27,232.00 C D C+ A+
4 Miniature Pinscher 14 years $26,912.00 C B B+ A+
5 Havanese 15 years $29,815.00 B A+ A+ A
6 Shih Tzu 14 years $27,300.00 B A+ C+ A
7 Schipperke 14 years $25,548.00 B C+ B+ A
8 Dachshund 14 years $28,677.00 B B B+ A
9 Shiba Inu 14.5 years $28,826.00 D C+ C+ A
10 Bichon Frise 14.5 years $33,226.00 B A+ B B+
11 Jack Russell Terrier 13 years $24,353.00 C A A+ A
12 Italian Greyhound 14.5 years $30,660.00 B A B+ A+
13 Boston Terrier 12 years $25,161.00 B A B+ A+
14 Border Collie 13.5 years $31,581.00 A+ C+ A B+
15 Shetland Sheepdog 13 years $26,784.00 A+ A+ A B+
16 West Highland White Terrier 14 years $31,090.00 C A A+ B+
17 Australian Cattle Dog 14 years $33,109.00 B C C A+
18 Silky Terrier 14 years $28,809.00 B C+ A A
19 Poodle 14 years $40,601.00 A+ A A+ A
20 Lhasa Apso 13.5 years $29,160.00 C C+ B+ A+
21 English Pointer 14.5 years $40,176.00 A+ A B B+
22 Miniature Schnauzer 13.5 years $31,137.00 A+ A B+ C
23 American Eskimo Dog 14 years $32,468.00 B A B B+
24 Australian Shepherd 13.5 years $33,785.00 A+ C+ C A
25 Pug 14 years $30,887.00 B A A+ B+
26 Pomeranian 14 years $28,933.00 C C+ C+ A
27 Siberian Husky 13 years $32,484.00 C A+ B B+
28 Belgian Shepherd Malinois 15 years $42,614.00 A+ C C A
29 Yorkshire Terrier 13 years $27,761.00 B A A+ B+
30 Beagle 12.5 years $28,155.00 C A C A
31 American Staffordshire Terrier 14 years $38,930.00 C C+ B A+
32 English Springer Spaniel 13 years $31,224.00 A+ B B C
33 Maltese 13.5 years $28,234.00 C C+ C+ A
34 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 13.5 years $30,329.00 B A+ C A
35 Whippet 13.5 years $33,416.00 C A+ C A+
36 Basenji 13.5 years $27,905.00 D C D A+
37 Schnauzer 14.5 years $40,757.00 A+ A B+ B+
38 Norwegian Elkhound 13.5 years $36,734.00 B C+ A B+
39 Wirehaired Fox Terrier 13.5 years $32,083.00 B A A B+
40 Wirehaired Vizsla 13 years $34,524.00 A+ A A A
41 German Shorthaired Pointer 11 years $29,814.00 A+ A B+ B+
42 Pekingese 13 years $24,514.00 C C+ B B+
43 Brussels Griffon 13.5 years $29,730.00 B C B B+
44 Welsh Terrier 13.5 years $32,562.00 B A A B+
45 Pembroke Welsh Corgi 12.5 years $30,113.00 B B A B+
46 Labrador Retriever 12 years $34,329.00 A+ A+ A+ C
47 English Cocker Spaniel 13 years $34,525.00 B A+ C+ C
48 American Cocker Spaniel 12 years $30,895.00 B A C+ C
49 Japanese Chin 11 years $22,171.00 C A C A
50 Irish Setter 13.5 years $39,679.00 B A+ A C
51 Staffordshire Bull Terrier 13 years $34,157.00 A+ A A+ B+
52 Scottish Terrier 12 years $27,975.00 C C B+ B+
53 Bluetick Coonhound 11.5 years $33,698.00 B C+ D B+
54 German Shepherd 8.5 years $27,075.00 A+ A A C
55 Basset Hound 12.5 years $35,611.00 C A D C
56 Afghan Hound 15 years $42,011.00 D C D A
56 Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier 13 years $36,541.00 C A D B+
58 Golden Retriever 11 years $35,040.00 A+ A+ A C
59 Airedale Terrier 12.5 years $42,624.00 C C C+ A+
60 Doberman Pinscher 11 years $38,753.00 A+ A A B+
61 Alaskan Malamute 12 years $37,679.00 A+ C C B+
62 French Bulldog 11 years $34,287.00 B A A+ B+
63 Boxer 11 years $35,347.00 B B B B+
64 Shar-pei 10 years $28,674.00 C C C+ B+
65 Akita 12 years $38,688.00 C D C B+
66 Great Pyrenees 11 years $39,159.00 C C+ C+ C
67 Bull Terrier 12.5 years $40,431.00 C D C+ A
68 Rhodesian Ridgeback 11 years $35,054.00 B A B B+
69 Old English Sheepdog 11 years $36,466.00 B A B D
70 Spinone Italiano 11 years $32,974.00 B B D C
71 Rottweiler 9.5 years $40,151.00 A+ C+ B+ B+
72 Newfoundland 9.5 years $40,651.00 C A+ A D
73 Great Dane 8.5 years $35,548.00 C C+ B+ C
74 Saint Bernard 9 years $37,384.00 C A B D
75 Bernese Mountain Dog 8.5 years $35,640.00 B A+ B D
76 Cane Corso 10.5 years $44,061.00 B C C+ A
77 English Bulldog 9 years $31,995.00 B C C+ C
78 Greater Swiss Mountain Dog 9.5 years $38,924.00 B A B+ C
79 English Mastiff 8 years $30,935.00 C A B C
80 Dogue De Bordeaux 6.5 years $31,119.00 B C+ B D
81 Tibetan Mastiff 11 years $48,785.00 C C D D



I find it fascinating that the only dog that has three A+ scores is ranked 46th - and yet the 3rd best dog has a C, D, and a C+?

Poodle has a lifetime cost of $40k at 21st, 9k more than a Mini Schnauzer at 22nd?

The article is titled Best Dog for your wallet - what relevance does family life or social skills have on that metric?

Some absolutely bonkers weighting is being applied.

Fall in love factor. My first dog, a Snoodle, (Schnauzer/poodle,) was a result of our neighbor letting their 5 year old walk their in heat standard poodle, being totally incapable of doing anything when the Schnauzer in the neighborhood had his way with her. Designer pup before it’s time, with kids allergic to just about anything that moved our parents took a risk on a freebie. Great dog.

Ruined me for anything other than poodle mixes, which as an adult I fell in love with and bought after telling my son that we were only going into the store to help socialize the puppies by playing with them, and he was not to expect we would go home with one. This one was a Pomapoo, a little Napoleon who would defend his family to the last. At 3 lbs he broke away from our then 5th grader and became famous in the neighborhood for chasing a herd of deer. Youngest once came back from walking to the bus stop, wanting to take our dog with him because there was a buck in the road between him and the bus stop, pawing at the pavement in aggression. Dog maxed out at 17 lbs, if you don’t count the post-Covid Prednisone years that put another 5 lbs on him.

We were lucky for sure, but if I research a dog, am likely to never buy one. The two English Springer Spaniels I had along the way were also pretty great, but there would be fur balls the size of bunny rabbits from their shedding, not to mention the cost of antihistamines. If we get another it will again be something primarily hypoallergenic.

whose neighbor has a rat terrier mix, and if that’s mellow, God help us all…

Our first dog was a mongrel puppy that was left at my dad’s hotel in a basket or box. Margarita, as my Mom named her, found herself what must have been a Belgian Shepherd and had a big litter. I served as midwife and buried two dead puppies. My mother kept Lord and Amigo and gave away the other puppies.

Back then our dogs were free to roam. One once brought back the jaw of a burro.

The Captain


My mom took in a stray miniature poodle/? when in Arizona. He came back to Michigan with her, and moved in with my aunt when mom went to the nursing home. Scary smart dog, and the most responsive to human commands I have ever seen.


Have a 10 year old border collie; wish it only cost me as much as in that table

I would place the Labrador Retriever at the top of the list for the best dog for a family. They’re not territorial e.g., German Shepard. Although Golden Retriever is at the top of that list, shredding is a disaster.
Labrador Retriever is the most common Guide Dog because their are so trainable.
Labs don’t live long, that is part of learning about death with kids. Ive had labs around me all my life.

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Something of a liability in this household, though …especially since my daughter has become quite heavily involved with this local foster-based rescue group. We’ve had a steady parade of foster puppies through both homes with 3 foster “fails” so far. Two of them 'doodles.

Mind you, just skimming through the list of breeds, I see at least 3…Dobies, Boxers and Cavaliers…that could be seriously expensive propositions for cardiac issues alone. At least, American brwd. That’s not to say that the others arent but these 3 are just of the top of my head.

Our dear Rose … a Basenji…entered my daughter’s life in the first month of her residency when she and her litter mate were brought in to the cardiology service for evaluation of a heart murmer. Both had big ventricular septal defects. Dog producer wanted to euthanize as they weren’t show quality but that Rose defied the odds … and physiology…by living for over 12 years, 8 of those at high altitude!

Dog producers (TMF won’t let me use theword that rhymes with leaders?)…a Pox on the lot of 'em. Especially the ones churning out these 'doodles!

I can’t read the article due to paywall, what is the criteria for the lifetime cost? Is it food, medical and cost to purchase?

Medical has been a bit costly from time to time, I haven’t dealt with serious problems yet so most of my costs are self-imposed.

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My childhood dog (rescued from pound one week before I was born) was a “Shelty”, a Shetland Island Sheepdog. Years later I got another one, the runt of a litter from two famous Kentucky “barn dogs” who are bred and used in helping to train horses under the orders of horse trainers.

Not surprised that they score extremely high. I adored them both, and did they ever take care of me!

david fb

I can’t imagine why anyone would add a dog to their household without thoroughly researching it. The most popular breed in the U.S. right now is the French bulldog, which is useless, expensive and ugly (in my opinion).

Most people have no impulse control. Its always “don’t ask any questions if you don’t want to hear the answer.” I took the better part of two years before I decided to go with it.

ref French Bulldogs… I believe they are easy maintenance, tend not to make noise, don’t need a lot of exercise (I mean they have short legs and have trouble breathing.) don’t eat a lot, or need a lot of grooming. Great for apartments, condos, city homes. Highly versatile for many environments. I didn’t get my dog to be “useful” for anything. Except doggie companionship. Most people don’t, unless they are rural and actually use it to help hunt. Or maybe they have non-pet animals in their houses? Then that Rat Terrier would come in handy.

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The best dog for your wallet? The one that goes “meow.”

They self groom. For the seriously cheap, let them out daily and they’ll feed themselves. Of course, gotta get them spayed/neutered first. Pay attention around your neighborhood and babies are free.

Plus they allow you to live your own life instead of your life revolving around them. No barking in the middle of the night, nor midnight walks. They put their bodily waste in the spots you designate, and cover it up so you can clean at your own convenience.

With rare exception, they weigh less than 20 lbs, so are not a nuisance when they sit on your lap. With a bit of patience, they will accept some basic and useful training.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the dogs that go “woof.” But it takes a lot of time and effort to properly care for them. The dogs that go “meow” need much less of your time, but will still accept the time you have available for them.




Not sure if you meant shedding, rather than shredding, though both certainly apply. This breed absolutely needs to be crate trained, or you will endlessly be replacing your wood trim and furniture legs. Serious chewers.

We had tenants that really wanted a Golden puppy, after moving into the house without a dog. We had a small dog as up for consideration when they signed the lease, and while the puppy would be small, the grown dog would not. Talk about extra costs. We gave them a long list of requirements, including a loose lay of wall to wall carpet over our recently refinished hard wood floors, and of course crate training. The carpet added about $2500 to their initial costs. I was stunned when they took us up on the offer. They did a great job with that sweet dog, who gave those 4 young nurses endless comfort during the thick of Covid. The young woman who bought him was very grateful for the opportunity, even with the extra costs. I guess with all the OT they put in, $$ was not an issue.


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Uhmm, my cat definitely does not see any virtue in letting me live my own life. I do, but not without him barging in on me at any time of day or night because he wants some cuddling and petting. I do not mind.

The two dogs are more independent. But we live in the country and they like to patrol their zones…

d fb

Happy Thanksgiving!..from Groot, Sir Fur and Max. Enjoying the Good Life!


That’s a negative. I used to have Persians. Combing is required, a lot of combing. My aunt had a Turkish Van (more or less). Relatively short hair, but one May I was raking handfuls of hair out of his back.

Then there is the clawing of the furniture.

But, at least they don’t need to be taken outside in the middle of night/blizzard/torrential downpour. One night, my aunt’s poodle needed to go. The weather was terrible, raining, wind blowing. But he had to go. There was a tree near the back door of the house. My aunt turned on the outside light by the door and let the dog out. He ran to the tree, took care of business, and ran back to the house. He didn’t want to be outside either. That dog hated rain. One day, my aunt was off somewhere, so I stopped at her house to take the dog out. He was enthused about going out, walked out the door and across the back porch, which was dry. Stopped dead in his tracks at the edge of the porch. The driveway was wet, and rain could be heard on the leaves of the trees. He stood there for a moment, apparently thinking “how bad do I need to go?”. Apparently he decided “not that bad”, because he turned around, went back to the door, and looked at me “let me in”.


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Stopped eating Octopus after watching that movie on Netflix. It would be like eating a dog.

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$25,000 to $50,000 lifetime cost for a dog ??? You must be using a Park Avenue poodle surgeon for veterinary care.

I’ve owned 3 large rescue dogs (50 to 60 lbs) over the past 30 years.

50 lb bag of dog food costs $30 and lasts a month

Rabies vaccine every 3 years $30. If I need a bordetella vaccine because I need to put the dog in a kennel for a week, I’ll get one at the Feed Store for $15 and administer it myself.

Annual dog license $25

Most I’ve spent on vet care was $2,000/yr, usually it’s about $300/yr.

I’d say I’ve averaged $700 to $1,000/yr. About $10,000 for a dog with a 12 yr lifespan.



$25,000 to $50,000 lifetime cost for a dog ??? You must be using a Park Avenue poodle surgeon for veterinary care.

Martha Stewart’s dog

I’d say I’ve averaged $700 to $1,000/yr. About $10,000 for a dog with a 12 yr lifespan.


Right about $700 per year is what my dog cost.