Getting a new dog is no easy process. From buying all the food and toys, to deciding what sort of breed to get, and even picking a name! With all the ins and out of dog purchasing, it is important to not forget dog insurance. Veterinary care is not cheap (we’ve written multiple articles explaining why this is), and unforeseen trips to the vets can run into the thousands. Insurance can help you fund the care they need. When looking for insurance, you might be querying why a purebred dog costs significantly more than a mixed breed to insure. Today we will look into why this might be.

Pedigree or Purebred or Mixed? What is my dog??

The differences between pedigree, purebred and mixed dogs have been explained in previous articles. In short, a purebred dog has parents both of the same breed (a Labrador mum and a Labrador girl for example). While a mixed breed has different breed parents (a Labrador mum with a Poodle dad). A Pedigree dog has purebred parents of proven lineage with a registered club, commonly the UK Kennel Club in this country. Again, we’ve discussed some issues with that previously, but those are the common definitions. 

However, insurance companies often have different definitions. For example, some recognise breeds that the Kennel Club doesn’t, such as Puggles (a mix of a Pug and a Beagle). This means that there can never be a Kennel Club pedigree Puggle, but an insurance provider would class a Puggle with a Puggle mum and dad as a ‘purebred Puggle’. Others differentiate between crossbred (a mix of two distinct breeds) and mixed breeds (a mix of more than two breeds). This may mean that your dog could be unexpectedly classed as a more expensive purebred. However, never mislead insurance providers as it could lead to increased premiums or even the insurance being voided. 

Get a quick quote from one of the UK’s leading pet insurers…

Learn more about them on our Pet Insurance page

Health of Purebred Dogs

The main reason why purebred dogs tend to be more expensive to insure than mixed breeds is the apparent increased incidence of health conditions in purebred dogs. We’ve written a blog on this before, so check it out for more detail.

A number of conditions are more prevalent in purebred dogs. This is because purebred dogs are more likely to be inbred; resulting in uncommon diseases being more likely to be passed onto their puppies. Over time in relatively small populations, the practice results in genetic diseases being very common in certain breeds. Many are quite severe, resulting in high vet bills and thus high payouts for insurance. This is why insurance companies raise the premiums for purebred dogs. Some common diseases include heart and brain issues in Cavalier King Charles spaniels, hip dysplasia and arthritis in German shepherds, and breathing issues in pugs and Frenchies. Some conditions are so severe that they require intense management or surgery at a young age. 

In that article, we discovered that some genetic diseases are actually less common in purebred dogs compared to mixed breeds, while others are equally common in pure or mixed breeds. Furthermore, careful breeding, genetic testing and breeding schemes are helping to reduce the incidence of certain diseases, such as the Kennel Club’s hip dysplasia scheme. However, insurance providers do not take this into account, and a blanket policy of purebred dogs being more expensive is standard. Their policies unfortunately do not always reflect the science.

Type of Dog

This next point is a little anecdotal, but certainly could explain further why purebred dogs are more expensive to insure. 

It is quite popular to breed purebred dogs, either because of a particular interest in the breed or because purebred dogs tend to be in higher demand. For many insurance companies, dogs that are not neutered are more expensive to insure than spayed or castrated dogs. This is because unneutered dogs are more likely to get serious diseases, such as mammary cancer, pyometras or uterine cancers in females, and testicular and prostate cancers in males; all of which require expensive testing and treatment. Furthermore, unneutered dogs are more likely to wander and get into fights or accidents. So an owner of a breeding purebred dog is likely to be more expensive than a neutered crossbred. Of course, unneutered mixed breed dogs are more expensive to insure than neutered mixed breeds too.

There is some good news. Female dogs are usually cheaper to insure than males. So owners of a breeding bitch will likely pay a little bit less than the owner of the stud!

Other Factors

There are a number of other factors that affect the cost of insurance for dogs, but they aren’t too applicable to purebred vs mixed breed dogs. In fact, one insurance comparison website found that size was the biggest factor that affected insurance.

And indeed, the larger the dog the more insurance costs. This is for various reasons. Larger dogs tend to require more medication at the vets, which costs an owner more. This means a larger payout is needed, so insurance providers have to raise prices to accommodate. Furthermore, larger breed dogs often have reduced health and life expectancies versus smaller dogs. This means they are more likely to need veterinary care in later life. 

Age is important too. A young dog is unlikely to get seriously ill and need expensive cover, while an old Jack Russel may have multiple issues and is likely to get more – opening new insurance at this age will cost a lot. The older the dog, the more likely they will get ill so the higher premiums will cost. However, remember that life expectancy in dogs varies breed to breed. An 8 year old Chihuahua can be considered middle-aged and thus correspondingly cheaper to insure than an 8 year old Great Dane which is considered elderly. 

Finally, there are non-dog related factors to consider, such as the type of cover needed (we’ve lots of articles on this too), your location, the company you insure with, and individual circumstances.

Summary

In conclusion, it isn’t good news for owners of purebred dogs. They are at greater risk for a number of serious genetic conditions, tend to have a shorter life expectancy, are more expensive to purchase and to insure. Luckily, not all genetic conditions are more common in purebreds than mixed breeds, but insurance is still generally more pricey. 

The cheapest dog to insure, therefore, will be a young, healthy, mixed-breed (according to the insurance provider), neutered, female, small dog. But remember that purebred vs mixed isn’t the most significant factor in raising insurance prices, and size matters more. If you’re looking to save on insurance, get a smaller dog!

Further reading: