How much does a Chow Chow cost?


How much does a Chow Chow cost?

Chow Chows are one of the more expensive breeds out there. They usually cost between $1,000 to $4,000. This is because they are so large. It takes more food, space, and vet bills to properly breed a Chow Chow, who gets roped into the cost of the puppy. 

Purchasing a puppy from a shelter or rescue will significantly decrease the cost. Usually, rescues only charge $100 to $300 for these dogs, depending on the amount of care they need. Puppies are usually more expensive than adults, as they require more basic vet care before they are adaptable. 

You’ll also need to consider things like puppy equipment and the annual costs of owning a dog. Bringing a dog home is often more expensive than just the dog’s upfront cost, as you’ll need to purchase things like dog beds. Ensure that you include these costs in your budget.

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How much is a Chow Chow?

Chow Chows are a bit rarer, which often makes them more expensive. They aren’t typically available at most animal shelters simply because there aren’t many in the area. Furthermore, they’re larger dogs that require more upfront investment to breed. This leads to a higher price tag than other dogs. 

However, where you adopt your Chow Chow from matters. Often, breeders offer the highest quality puppies because they follow the best breeding practices. They also price their puppies higher for this reason. They put more money into their dogs and therefore have to charge a higher price for them. 

Shelters and rescues are often not-for-profit, so they charge less for their dogs. However, finding a Chow Chow puppy at a rescue is rare.

Backyard breeders and puppy mills also occasionally sell Chow Chows. They usually don’t do the proper health testing or correctly socialize the puppy, though. Therefore, their dogs are lower-quality and more prone to both behavioral and medical problems.

chow chow

Getting a puppy from Craigslist

It is often easy to find puppies of all sorts on local marketplaces like Craigslist. The problem is that these puppies range a lot in quality. Some professional breeders advertise on Craigslist, though they typically have their website as well. At the same time, puppy mills usually also advertise on craigslist. It takes a bit of detective work to determine where the puppy is coming from. 

Puppy mills are illegal in most places. These establishments aim to produce as many puppies as possible for as cheap as possible. This often means avoid vet bills and feeding low-quality foods. Their dogs are often overbred, with the puppies usually being removed from the mother very early. Most aren’t socialized properly. All of this leads to puppies with a higher likelihood of medical and behavioral problems. 

Backyard breeders typically sell puppies through Craigslist. These breeders are not professionals. They are either brand new to dog breeding or wanted to breed their own Chow Chow. Some of them have accidental litters, though this rarely results in purebred puppies. While some of these breeders perform the proper health testing, others do not. 

It is essential to ask reputable breeders plenty of questions about their dogs. Ask to see certificates of the parent’s health tests, as well as the puppy’s veterinary records. If these are lacking, you may want to reconsider adopting a puppy from this source. 

Backyard breeders charge anywhere from $500 to $1,000 for their puppies, while puppy mills charge even less. However, you may end up paying more in the long run in vet bills. 


Getting a puppy from a rescue

While it is rare to find Chow Chow puppies at local rescues, it is possible. Breed-specific rescues are more likely to have the type of puppy you’re looking for. Because these aren’t for-profit businesses, they often sell their dogs for anywhere between $100 to $300. The price depends on the amount of care the dog needs upon arrival, as well as the rescue’s policy. 

Typically, all puppies at rescues receive the proper vaccinations and vet care. Most will undergo a vet check shortly after the rescue obtains the puppy and will be treated for any underlying problems at this time. You usually don’t have to worry about a puppy from a rescue having medical problems like parasites, as they have usually been tested and treated. 

With that said, you also have no idea where these puppies came from. They usually aren’t bred by professional breeders, which means that parents probably did not undergo the proper health testing. Sometimes, it’s even difficult to tell if a dog is a full-blooded Chow Chow. For this reason, they are usually lower-quality than dogs from professional breeders. 

At least you can be assured that the puppy was vet checked and vaccinated, though, which isn’t always the case when you purchase a puppy from Craigslist. 

Getting a puppy from a breeder

Often, puppies from breeders are the least prone to health problems. Chow Chows need lots of specific socialization from a very young age. Breeders specializing in this breed know that and provide it, which means that the puppy is less likely to develop behavioral problems later. These puppies are often more adaptable and used to the average household since they were raised in one. 

Most breeders perform health testing on every dog before breeding them to ensure that they aren’t going to pass genetic conditions onto the puppies. While this usually isn’t fool-proof, it can lessen the chance that the puppies will develop health problems later down the road. 

Many also get their puppies vet-checked and vaccinated before they allow them to be purchased. This decreases the chance of you receiving a sick puppy and lowers your vet bills for the first year. 

However, all of these extra services come at a cost. Vet bills and medical testing are not cheap, after all. Most breeders will charge between $1,000 to $4,000 for their puppies. Those at the upper end usually have parents that are show ring champions and may show promise for the show ring. They aren’t necessarily better pets, though, so don’t feel the need to purchase a show-quality dog if you just want a companion. Other factors, like breeding rights, also come into consideration. 

The average puppy is just over $2,000 when purchased from a breeder. 


Costs of health test

A reputable breeder does health tests to ensure that their litters are as healthy as possible. All breeds, including the Chow Chow, are prone to specific health problems. Typically, these have a genetic component. By testing the parents, you can help prevent these genetic components from being passed on. They are essential to the breeding of healthy puppies, but they can also be quite expensive. 

The OFA runs a database of canine health tests. They work with breeders for each breed to determine which health tests need to be done before a dog is bred. Then, they keep records on their website of each dog’s test results, which anyone can look up. It is best to ask a breeder for a dog’s CHIC number, which will allow you to look up their testing results. Chow Health lists the official guidelines for this breed. 

An eye examination is recommended to identify any possible eye conditions. A board-certified Ophthalmologist must perform this. Usually, these tests must be performed annually, as conditions can develop over a dog’s lifespan. The exam usually costs anywhere from $200 to $300, though this can vary by location. It usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes and requires a variety of tests. More comprehensive exams are recommended for some dogs. 

Elbow dysplasia testing is also recommended, as these dogs are also genetically predispositioned to this condition. This condition is characterized by the dog’s elbow joint not fitting together correctly, which causes pain and lameness. There are varying grades of elbow dysplasia. Dogs are usually not tested until they are at least two years old. Dogs are usually sedated for this procedure, which bumps the cost up to a few hundred dollars. 

Hip dysplasia is also tested for. This is relatively similar to elbow dysplasia but is located in the hips instead. Testing for this disease is done through x-rays, where the hip joint is measured for alignment. There are also different grades of hip dysplasia, depending on how much the alignment is off. Testing also costs a few hundred dollars, though it may be cheaper if hip and elbow dysplasia are tested simultaneously. 

Hypothyroidism must also be tested for by a certified laboratory. Typically, this involves a simple blood draw and test, which is usually cheaper than $100. It may be even less expensive if other conditions are tested for at the same time. Dogs are certified as healthy at 12 months of age, but retesting is required every year until the dog is four. This is because hypothyroidism can occur later in life, but most dogs show clinical signs by the time they are four. 

Patellar luxation is common in large breeds, including the Chow Chow. Therefore, testing is recommended for this condition as well. This condition can often be tested for by a quick examination, so this is typically one of the cheapest tests to perform. 

Annual costs of owning a Chow Chow

Because these dogs are so large, they often require quite a bit of upkeep. Their equipment is often more expensive because of the size. You’ll need to invest in sturdy, more giant toys, for instance. Their bed will also need to be quite large, which means that it will likely cost more. 

It is essential to budget for this breed’s usually high costs. The first year is often the most expensive, as you’ll be making many one-time purchases and spending more on vet care. For the first year, you’ll probably spend around $5,000 when you include all necessary supplies. After that, the cost will decrease significantly to about $1,900 a year. 

Vet expenses

The first-year medical expenses usually cost around $600. This includes necessary vaccinations and examinations. Usually, your puppy will need three visits the first year. However, many breeders take them to their first vet visit, so you may not have to pay for the first one. Each trip will cost $50 to $150 for tests, examinations, and vaccines. 

If desired, flea prevention will cost more than $75 a puppy, while heartworm prevention will cost about another $75 per person. Some other vaccinations may be recommended depending on your location. For instance, Lyme vaccinations are recommended if you live in a forested area and expect your dog to come into contact with ticks. This vaccine usually costs around $70 for the two necessary dosages. 

Spaying or neutering will likely be done unless you plan on breeding your puppy. Typically, this costs $150 to $450 since this dog is so large and requires large doses of medication. Some clinics may charge as little as $50 to $100, so check for not-for-profit options near you as well. 

A gastropexy procedure may be recommended to prevent bloat, a deadly disease that often affects larger dogs. This can cost between $200 to $400, though it can be cheaper if it is performed simultaneously with their spay and neuter. 

After the first year, your vet costs will probably remain around $125 to $265 for an annual vet trip. Typically, your dog will need booster shots and a physical examination. If your dog gets sick, you’ll likely end up paying much more. 

Diabetes is common if these dogs become obese, which isn’t rare for this breed. This can range from $1,000 to $3,000 to treat. Dogs with complications often fall at the higher end of this range, especially if they need hospitalization. This is one situation where an early diagnosis can save you money.

Glaucoma is possible, but the price varies from $300 to $1,500. Sometimes, medications may be all you need to treat the problems. Other times, the whole affected eye will need to be removed.

Food and toy costs

Because these dogs are large, they go through a lot of food. This often means you’ll be spending more to feed them yearly than you would a smaller dog. However, we highly recommend high-quality dog food to prevent problems like obesity. 

You can expect to pay about $450 a year for adults, while puppies will only cost about $300 a year. Puppies are smaller and eat less, hence the lower price. Be sure to purchase a puppy food specifically formulated for large breed dogs, as these are necessary to prevent problems like hip and elbow dysplasia. 

Purchase in bulk to save a bit of extra money.

Toys will often cost you as much as $50 a year. These are pretty active dogs, so toys are necessary. However, they are also large and tend to be rough chewers. You’ll often have to purchase larger toys made of more durable materials, which can quickly increase the price. 

Training costs

Chow Chows require quite a bit of socialization and training to be well-behaved. They tend to be territorial and a bit protective, leading to aggression if they are not properly trained at a young age. Professional training is recommended. Group classes are a great option, as they provide the dog with socialization as well. 

Group classes typically cost $100 to $200 for a few sessions. Usually, classes will range from “Beginner” to “Advanced.” You will pay for the whole series of classes at once. Puppy classes usually work the same way, though they may not be labelled as “beginner,” just “puppy.”

Private lessons are usually much more expensive, especially since you’ll need to work with a trainer that can handle Chow Chows. Usually, you can expect to pay around $1,300 for a series of 7-10 private sessions. These usually occur weekly, and purchasing this many classes upfront often allows you to work through many of your dog’s problems. 

Though you will be paying for training classes, it is essential to remember that much of the training often occurs at home. You will need to practice what your dog learns to get the most out of each class. Preferably, you should over-practice commands so that your canine can quickly move onto the next one. Chow Chows will benefit from regular socialization, so plan to take them to the park and similar public places a few times a week. 

Treats are recommended for training (and often required by trainers). These will cost you an additional $100 to $200 a year. These dogs are big, so they often need larger treats. They also require more training than other breeds, which increases the number of treats required.

cost of a chow chow

Factors influencing the price

Because Chow Chows tend to be rarer than other breeds, their price can fluctuate with the demand. If there is only one breeder in your area, you may be charged more than usual for your puppy. Sometimes, their popularity can surge suddenly and cause the price to rise. Often, you’ll need to sit on a waiting list for a bit before you get a purebred Chow Chow, as there usually aren’t enough puppies to go around. 

A puppy’s pedigree will also influence the price. If the puppy has champions in their bloodline, they will likely be far more expensive. This is because the dog has a higher chance of winning in the show ring, which would make that dog’s puppies more valuable. Those who show dogs often go after these puppies, which increases the demand for them. 

Some reputable breeders will charge more for their puppies simply due to their experience level. Like with any service, you’re going to pay more for the experience. 

If the puppy can be registered with a kennel club, they will likely cost more. This proves that they are the breed stated by the breeder and allows them to be shown in dog shows. 

We recommend that you stay away from “panda” Chow Chows. These are simply normal Chow Chows that have had their hair clipped and dyed to resemble a panda. Some people looking to make a quick buck will advertise them as a rare breed of Chow Chow, which can cause their price to go to as high as $8,000. However, they’re just normal Chow Chows.

Price considerations

We highly recommend budgeting for the price of a Chow Chow before deciding to adopt one. After all, these dogs can be pretty expensive. Your upfront cost will likely be higher than with most breeds due to the puppy’s rarity. However, the annual cost will be higher than average as well. These dogs are large and therefore tend to be more expensive overall. 

They’ll eat more food, ring up higher vet bills, and require more extensive equipment. You’ll need to invest in durable and large toys, which costs more than buying toys for a small, dainty breed. They also tend to cost more to train, as they require higher levels of socialization than other dogs. You may need to start with private classes and then move into group classes – instead of jumping into group classes like you can with other breeds. 

Be sure you understand the total price of these dogs before you purchase one. 

The bottom line

Chow Chows are well-known dogs, but they are typically quite rare in the western world. This drives up their price substantially. Most puppies will cost between $1,000 to $4,000 from a qualified breeder. Rescues charge less, but finding a Chow Chow at a shelter is rare. 

Their start-up cost is also quite expensive. When you consider all the supplies and vet care you’ll need in the first year, you’re looking at spending about $5,000. After the first year, the cost lowers to about $2,000. That assumes your dog doesn’t get sick or injured. If they do, you’ll likely be adding a few more thousand to this number. 

While these dogs are more expensive than most, they can make great pets for the right family! They are an excellent option for owners who want a one-person dog, especially if you’re looking for a guard animal. Just ensure that you budget for all their associated costs!