The Tibetan Mastiff is not a cheap dog at all. It holds a world record for the highest-priced dog, at $2 million. This makes the Tibetan Mastiff a status symbol for the elite in many countries. This is the reason people often raise the question of whether they should go for this breed or not.
I bought my Tibetan Mastiff almost four years ago and during this time I calculated all the costs related to this breed. I can help you figure out whether this dog will fit into your budget, or whether you should consider another breed instead.
What is the cost of a Tibetan Mastiff puppy? The average price of a Tibetan Mastiff puppy can be between $1,700 and $7,000 depending on the breeder’s reputation. Some breeders also go as low as $300 for a puppy, but you should not consider that option because such a low price might indicate a genetic disorder or certification issues.
There are other factors that play a keen role in determining the actual price of a Tibetan Mastiff puppy, such as color and kennel club certifications, among others. This means the range of initial cost really does vary a lot, compared to other breeds on the market.
Factors That Affect the Price of a Tibetan Mastiff Puppy
So what kind of budget should you be looking at if you want to buy a healthy Tibetan Mastiff puppy? This breed is known for its high price, making it a status symbol of the rich.
The price range of a Tibetan Mastiff puppy can be between $1,700 and $7,000 depending on a few factors that we can look at in more detail.
These are some of the most critical factors which will help you identify the right type of breeder to get your new puppy from:
- AKC Registration: No matter how attractive the puppy’s price and health condition, you should never go for the dog if the breeder doesn’t provide the AKC registration. Dogs registered with the American Kennel Club are considered to be the highest standard.
- Health Guarantees: It comes with an additional cost, but it is essential because it ensures the dog’s good health. A breeder with unethical breeding practices will never provide such certifications and will offer price discounts for the pup. However, puppy mills are scams and definitely not something you should consider.
- The Breeder’s Reputation: The price of the puppy often depends on the breeder’s reputation. A breeder with a good track record can demand a high price because he or she ensures you will get all the essential certifications and disease testing documents. This gives first-time buyers great peace of mind because, with this additional cost, they can be sure of getting a healthy puppy and avoid unexpected vet fees down the line.
- Bloodline: If the breeder offers a puppy with a bloodline that has won dog shows and competitions, then the price will be higher than average.
- Gender: The prices of female and male Tibetan Mastiffs are different. Usually, male puppies are more expensive compared to female puppies.
- Colors: This breed is available in different colors, and there can be a difference in the pricing of each color. The most popular colors are Black, Brown, Red Gold, Black & Tan, Brown & Tan, and Blue-Gray.
- Location: The Tibetan Mastiff originates from Tibet, Nepal. This is a low-temperature area, and bringing this dog to the United States or any other country has some additional costs. So, if you’re living in a city with a high temperature, you can expect additional puppy costs. This means location is a crucial factor in the overall pricing of the dog.
- Vaccines: Some reputable breeders prefer to sell the puppy after it has completed all its vaccinations. The cost of these vaccinations pushes up the selling price.
Now you have some idea of what factors can increase or decrease the price of the puppy. Before going to a breeder, you must prepare a list of educated questions to judge the breeder’s capability and let him or her know you are a serious buyer.
Understanding the Three Different Types of Tibetan Mastiff Breeders
Picking a breeder can be challenging, especially for first-time buyers. The term “reputable breeder” can be tricky too because everyone has their own list of requirements.
So, if one breeder is the best choice for one buyer, that doesn’t mean he or she is the best breeder for you. Therefore, you must understand the types of breeders and what practices make them reputable as well as suited to your needs.
This is a cheaper option for you because backyard breeders do not sell puppies as a business. The main reason they sell is because of unexpected pregnancies, and because they either can’t afford or don’t want new puppies.
So, you might get an excellent price from such breeders; however, the major drawback is that these breeders are not professionals. They do not follow the best breeding practices, nor provide any health guarantees or certificates. These puppies are usually unregistered in the kennel club.
The average price for a Tibetan Mastiff puppy from a backyard breeder can fall anywhere between $500 and $1,500.
This is one of the least desirable options for buying a puppy because puppy mills are involved in unethical breeding practices. The sole purpose of puppy mills is to earn maximum profit by offering low-quality puppies.
Although they are cheap, they offer no guarantees and you might end up with an unhealthy dog. Don’t expect any certifications, health guarantees, or information regarding the bloodline of the dog.
If you buy from a puppy mill, expect to pay around $300 to $700 for a Tibetan Mastiff puppy.
This is the best option for buyers because they get complete health guarantees as well as certifications for their puppy. Complete information about the bloodline and vaccinations is provided with the puppy.
However, it is still recommended you judge the breeder’s capability by asking a few questions, just to check everything is in order.
You will need to visit dog shows and interact with the breeders to find the best one for your needs and requirements. A good breeder will always be welcoming and invite you to his breeding facility.
A reputable breeder will not mind you asking a lot of questions, since they care about their dogs, and want to be sure the puppy is going to right home.
The average price range of a Tibetan Mastiff from a reputable breeder ranges from $1,700 to $7,000.
What Are the Initial Costs of Tibetan Mastiff Ownership?
Apart from the puppy’s purchasing cost, there are some other costs you will need to pay in the first month. Some of the essential items you will need are as follows:
Item Cost Leads or Harness $25 Collar $25 Training $250 Grooming Supplies $100 Crate $120 Water and Food Bowls $30 Toys $150 Vet Visits (if required) $50 Neutering/Spaying $150 Licensing $100 First Bag of Puppy Food $100 Vaccinations $100 Total $1,200
The values mentioned in the table are approximations and can vary according to your area and whether your new puppy is already vaccinated, neutered, etc.
This estimate will give you some idea though of what kind of costs to expect after bringing your puppy home. You can skip some of these items in the beginning, such as a crate or harness because a small puppy can be easily controlled without them.
However, if you do choose to buy everything in the very beginning, it will help your pet adjust well from a very early stage. The vet cost can also be minimized to a certain extent by buying medical insurance for the dog since the insurance company will cover some or all of the medical expenses.
What Expenses to Expect in the First Year Owning a Tibetan Mastiff Puppy?
The costs might seem straightforward, but there are a lot of uncertainties. I made a budget for my puppy in the first year, and I was surprised to see significant fluctuations in my estimate. The problem was that I ignored small unexpected expenses and didn’t include any buffer.
To be honest, the first year is expensive compared to the later years unless there is a major health issue.
The reduction in expenses can be due to many reasons such as getting to know your dog’s needs and eliminating the extra stuff you don’t need. With experience, you will learn to manage the expenses and get the best value for money.
I got my Tibetan Mastiff puppy for $3,000 from a reputable breeder, which I considered a good deal. However, the first year’s costs made me realize that I needed to better manage my budget and learn the exact needs of my dog. After a year, I was able to control everything within my budget.
The following table gives you a good idea of what you need to take care of in the first year. However, if there if any special dietary need recommended by the vet, for example, that will push the costs up. Here is the budget for the first year which you should try to stick to if you can.
Type of Expenses Cost Initial Cost $1,200 Food $1,100 Additional Vet Cost $200 Toys Replacement $50 Treats $200 Grooming $60 Microchip $50 Insurance $300 Training $300 Other Equipment $300 Total $3,760
So, I spent around $3,760 in the first year, which was higher than my expectation. I had to make visits to the vet several times, which was an additional cost.
This is why, after six months, I purchased pet medical insurance to avoid these costs. Doing this helped me to control the budget efficiently.
The first month of training, which cost me around $250, was not enough for the dog. So, I had to hire another trainer to instill the correct attitude in my dog, which cost me another $300.
Having a lot of long hair, the grooming cost was an additional expense that could not be avoided at all, and that was a surprise for me because I didn’t even consider it in the first place.
Other than that, the replacement of broken toys and equipment was ignored in my budget, which I had to pay later on. It is good practice to consider these expenses while making a yearly budget for your pet and expect them to occur.
One thing on which I never compromised was the highest quality of food. You can compromise on anything but never on the quality of the food you give your dog.
Being a large dog, the Tibetan Mastiff requires a lot of calories to stay active, and choosing premium quality food is a sure way to good health. This of course will increase the overall cost as well.
What Is the Monthly Cost in Later Years?
After learning from the mistakes in the first year, I better calculated a more accurate budget. This time this budget worked for me because I focused on the essential things, eliminated the extra stuff, and added a buffer for any emergency. The monthly budget is described below:
Expenses Cost Food $100 Treats $20 Toys Replacement $20 Health Insurance $50 Misc $15 Total $205
This total cost can be considered as the benchmark when you are making a budget, and monthly expenses usually fall into this category.
However, you must be prepared for any unwanted circumstances and allocate some emergency funds to cater to any situation that could arise. One of my friends also owns a Tibetan Mastiff, and he allotted the same monthly budget.
Unfortunately, his dog had to go through surgery, and the cost of owning a dog in that particular month was very high. He used his emergency fund for it, and fortunately the surgery was successful. Therefore, having some emergency funds put by is a wise idea.
Other Potential Expenses
Apart from the necessary expenses, there are some optional ones that you might or might not want to consider depending on your budget. However, you might have to perform some activities to compensate for the avoidance of such costs.
Some of the examples of potential costs are described below:
- Grooming: Being a big hairy dog, grooming is a must after a certain period. There are professional groomers who offer excellent services to keep your dog clean and healthy. However, they can charge between $50 and $100 and this might not fit into your budget. You can avoid this expense by grooming the dog yourself. You do need to train yourself first though, so you don’t end up harming your pet. I saved this cost by watching online tutorials and observing dog groomers in their facility.
- Daycare Service: You can’t stay with your dog all the time because you have to go to work and do other activities. Daycare services provide a great facility to take care of your dog while you are not around. However, this comes with a cost and can be a burden on your pocket. You can avoid this cost by leaving your dog at your friend’s place if you have a friend who also owns a dog. This breed is amiable and enjoys the company of fellow dogs, but they do not allow strangers to control them. You can teach your friends and family members to entertain your pet, so you can go anywhere without worrying about your pet. Remember, you might have to pay your friend a small amount or return the favor by watching his/her dog sometimes!
- Fancy Toys: Toys are a great way to entertain your dog and keep them busy with different activities. However, purchasing fancy toys can be very costly, and you can avoid high costs by buying good quality and simple toys for the dog. Since good quality toys are meant to last for 3 to 4 months, you can always replace them and stick to your budget.
- Visiting Dog Amusement Park: This can be a great activity and treat for your dog because it helps your dog use up extra energy and helps him fit and healthy. However, these parks can be expensive and might not fit into your budget. So, you can avoid this cost by using your backyard space. Why not convert some of it into a dog playland? This would certainly work out much cheaper than frequent dog park visits.
- Shipping: Buying a dog online is not considered a wise decision. If you have decided to buy one from an online source, make sure that it is from a reputable website. You must visit the puppy personally to make sure it is the same dog mentioned on the site. Please do not use the shipping option, because they are not trained to handle the puppies safely. You should always drive the pup home yourself. In this way, you can save the additional shipping cost and ensure the proper handling of your new puppy.
- Training: Utilizing a professional dog trainer’s services is a sure way of instilling good behavior in your dog. However, the cost of training is very high and might not fit into your budget. Group dog training classes with a professional trainer can cost $30 to $50 per class on average. Many dog experts recommend training your puppy yourself. In this way, you can save some money and develop a strong relationship with your dog. However, you need to learn about the temperament of Tibetan Mastiff and the best training this particular breed requires.
- Pet Insurance: This is a useful way of covering all the medical costs for your dog. Get insurance and you do not need to worry about medical emergencies because the insurance policy will cover most or all of it. You might have to pay around $50, depending on the insurance plan, what is covered, and how much, if any, co-pay you want to accept.
- American Kennel Club Registration: Sometimes, you get a high-quality puppy without any papers. In this case, you can always apply for Kennel Club registration at the cost of around $35.
- Dog Bed: It is essential to train your dog to sleep in a designated spot from the very beginning. A dog bed that fits into your dog crate is the best place for your dog to sleep. It will give you peace of mind and help your dog to sleep in a healthy position. Dog beds are usually around $25 to $75, depending on size and quality.
So, all these optional expenses depend on your preferences and situation. If you can afford it, then great; otherwise you can compensate by taking on some of these activities to save money.
In my case, I used a combination of necessary and optional expenses to balance my budget. It worked for me in the later years because I got quite good at managing the different costs.
Lifetime Expenses of the Tibetan Mastiff
Now you have some idea of how much you have to pay initially and then monthly in the later years. The average life span of the Tibetan Mastiff is around 12 to 15 years, and a lot of people want to know how much they are likely to have to pay in this period.
I can’t tell you exactly how much you will have to pay but I can estimate with a 10 to 15 percent error margin.
There can be a difference in the exact cost as compared to the estimated cost because of any medical issues. However, if your Tibetan Mastiff lives a healthy life, this estimate will help you as a benchmark.
The lifetime expenses of Tibetan Mastiff are shown in the below table (by assuming the dog is able to live up to 15 years):
Type of Expenses Cost Average Tibetan Mastiff Puppy Price $4,000 Initial Costs $1,200 First-Year Expenses $2,560 Monthly Expenses After the First Year $205 Total Expenses for 14 Years
($205 x 12 x 14)
$34,400 Emergency Fund $2,000 Lifetime Expenses $44,200
So, the total lifetime expense of owning a Tibetan Mastiff is around $44,200 if the dog is able to live up to 15 years. You should be ready for a 10 to 20 percent margin of fluctuation in the overall cost depending on your dog’s health and the price differences of products in your area.
However, this estimate is based on my personal experience, and I have included everything in there.
In a nutshell, the Tibetan Mastiff is a great dog and can fill your life with excitement and fun. If you can afford this dog, then you should definitely consider this as your next pet.
A Tibetan Mastiff will enhance your social status, and you will find a true friend as well. However, it is wise to have an overall idea of what type of expenses you can face when you own this beautiful dog.
I have tried to give you some idea of the overall cost. My estimates are based on personal experiences because I also own a Tibetan Mastiff.
This estimate is broken in several chunks so you can have a better understanding of it. I made some mistakes initially, which cost me a lot in the first year.
This is why I am happy to share those mistakes so you can avoid them and make better-educated decisions. You must find a reputable breeder who can provide health guarantees and essential certifications to ensure you are getting a healthy puppy.
Many people go for the cheap puppy mills option, which is not an ethical thing to do and can result in extra costs further down the line if the puppy gets sick.
These puppy mills have unethical breeding practices and do not offer any health guarantees or bloodline information.
Although the price is significantly lower than that of a reputable breeder, it can cost you a lot of medical expenses in the later years. So, always search for a reputable breeder who can offer you a good deal.
Always put aside some emergency funds to tackle any sudden medical emergency. This will help you stick to the budget and will not saddle you with unexpected bills and debts. It is wise to buy a medical insurance policy to give you peace of mind.
Other than that, never compromise on the quality of food you feed your new dog and always provide sufficient healthy activities to use up that extra energy and stay fit.
Try to buy a dog with all its certifications, especially the AKC, although you can buy it later on. Eliminate all unnecessary expenses and focus on the essential items, so you can continuously provide your new best friend with a healthy diet and sufficient physical exercise.
Take care of the grooming requirements of this dog because Tibetan Mastiffs have a lot of long hair, and bacteria can quickly grow on the skin if not well-groomed, causing issues in the later stages of life.
If everything goes well, you should expect to pay no more than $44,200 during the lifetime of this dog.