South Africa’s five most expensive puppy breeds

Business Insider SA
Photo: Jenny Canning
  • A pedigreed puppy can cost you up to R70,000 - even more if it's imported.
  • When buying a pup from a breeder, it is best to do your research and ask questions.
  • Here is a list of the most expensive breeds in South Africa right now.

The love and devotion of man’s best friend may be beyond price, but breeding healthy pedigree puppies is most definitely a costly business. Here is a list of what could be the five most expensive puppy breeds on offer in South Africa today.

French Bulldog

Photo: Lori Thornhill

Highly adaptable and the absolute companion dog, the French Bulldog is the clown of the dog world. This fashionable breed is currently in demand and fetches among the highest prices in the land.

Puppy prices range from R20,000 to about R70,000. Puppies in normal colours go for R25,000 to R30,000 in Cape Town and R30,000 to R50,000 in Johannesburg, with highly prized exotic colours (sometimes involving dodgy breeding practices) fetching far higher prices.

“Sadly, higher price does not equate to better quality,” says Cape Town breeder Lori Thornhill, who is the chairperson of the French Bulldog Club of the Western Cape. Do your homework before buying a puppy, never ever buy a puppy unseen and be sure to contact breeders with positive referrals from a vet, a French bulldog owner or another breeder, advises Thornhill.

She warns that the Frenchie’s popularity has resulted in numerous breeders whose only aim is to make as much money as quickly as possible.

The best owner for a French Bulldog is a dog lover, a family with children or a retired couple able to spend “the max amount of time” with their dog. “Frenchies are not a good breed to leave home alone, or to live outside in a kennel,” says Thornhill.

The Neapolitan Mastiff

Photo: Linda Janse van Rensburg

This majestic breed hails from Italy and is the preferred dog of the notorious Mafia. It boasts a history of over 4,000 years and its Italian name, Mastino Napoletano, means mastiff from Naples.

Prices of breeding puppies range from R23,000 to R65,000 depending on coat colour, parents and other factors, says Pretoria-based breeder Linda Janse van Rensburg. Neutered puppies are priced from R15,000 to R30,000 while export puppies easily go for between R40,000 and R80,000 each. Mahogany and tawny dogs are extremely rare and sought after, so you can expect to pay more for a pup in one of these two colours, says Janse van Rensburg.

A guard dog par excellence, the Neapolitan is also a fighting dog and not a breed for the inexperienced. The prospective owner must be prepared to be the alpha dog as highly intelligent Neapolitans need to be dominated by their “pack leader”, says Janse van Rensburg.

She warns: “Make very sure that you don’t buy from backyard breeders as you will need backup on medical, health and behaviour issues.”

English Bulldog

Photo: Barry Canning

A properly bred English Bulldog has a wonderful temperament and an endearing character. It is also an excellent guard dog.

Good show quality puppies currently cost between R15,000 and R20,000, depending on the breeder, says Cape Town breeder Jenny Canning, who is the president of the Cape Bulldog Club. If the mother or father is an import, prices could go up to between R30,000 and R40,000 and even more. 

A good starting point if you want a puppy is to contact any of the specialist bulldog clubs in the country, suggests Canning, who advises steering clear of classified websites.  

A bulldog needs a good daily walk and regular grooming, and should not be left on its own during the day. “The owner should be prepared to take care of the bulldog as if it were one of his own children,” says Canning.  

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

Photo: Pam Wilhelm

The charm of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is definitely its temperament, says breeder Pam Wilhelm, who is based in Cape Town. “They are extremely friendly to all including children, other dogs and cats and are seldom one-person dogs.”

Puppies cost between R18,000 to R20,000 each. Wilhelm’s prices reflect the fact that she has imported six Cavaliers from top show breeders in the UK at a current price of R80,000 a pup.

It is very important for these “attachment dogs” to have companionship during the day, says Wilhelm. “The kind of person that should not buy a Cavalier is someone who is at work all day, and expects the Cavalier to sleep outside and be a guard dog.”


Photo: Warren Sim

Pugs may be a toy breed but they pack a powerful punch. This robust and sturdy dog is lovable and loyal, with a squishy face that gives it a goofy charm. 

You can find Pug puppies on Gumtree for as little as R2,500, says breeder Warren Sim, but potential owners need to understand that you get what you pay for as this is a breed which is predisposed to health issues. Sim, who has only had three litters in 10 years, sells his puppies for R15,000 – and he has a waiting list. 

“Pugs snore, fart, shed their coat 365 days a year and their eye folds need daily cleaning to prevent infection. They are needy - they want human interaction as this is what they were bred for.” 

Do your research on the breeder, ask questions, visit them at their home and meet the puppy’s parents, urges Sim. 

The best Pug owner is someone who is home a lot and likes to take their dog with them to the beach, to the shops, and for rides in their car. “A pug is an indoor dog and will be miserable and probably destructive if left alone outside,” says Sim.


Breed specific rescue organisations sometimes have pedigree pups up for adoption at a fraction of the prices mentioned above. 

Or you can save a life and give a wonderful dog - pedigreed or not  - a wonderful home by adopting one from your local SPCA or other animal shelter.

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