Unless you are very well off and/or could potentially lay your hands on several thousands of pounds to cover veterinary care if you needed to, pet insurance is the best choice for most owners, in order to have a safety net in place if something should go wrong. However, pet insurance can also be expensive both over the course of a year and in the long term, and ultimately insuring your dog is like making a gamble that you will hope to lose-in terms of never needing to call on your insurers for help.
Cost is of course a large factor for people when it comes to deciding whether or not insurance is viable for their own dogs, and a lot of different things affect the cost of a policy, from your postcode, the dog’s age, any preexisting health conditions, and a range of other variables too.
One thing that has a large influence over how much your policy will cost like for like is the breed of your dog, and there can be a huge amount of variance in the cost of providing the same type of coverage for various different breeds.
If you have ever wondered why this is, or simply why some dogs are very costly to insure while others are much cheaper, in this article we will explain some of the factors that dictate cost by breed. Read on to learn more.
First of all, the breed status of the dog itself affects the insurance cost-a pedigree dog with papers will cost more to insure than one that is not a pedigree, a cross breed will be less costly than a pedigree, and a mongrel with lots of different breeds within their mix is usually the cheapest of all, based on the breed alone.
The larger the dog breed, the more costly they are likely to be to insure-everything costs more for larger dogs, from the standard things like flea and worming treatments, to surgery fees, medications and other treatments.
Generally, smaller breeds come up quids in when it comes to policy cost compared to larger breeds.
Known propensity to problems
Virtually all pedigree dog breeds each have a slightly elevated propensity to certain hereditary health problems, which have often become prevalent in the breed due to selective breeding and inbreeding.
This means that if the breed that you own has a higher than usual risk of needing to be treated for a hereditary health condition, the cost of their policy will reflect this additional risk.
Pedigree breeders are often encouraged to have their parent dogs health tested for common breed-specific conditions, and to make a decision not to breed from dogs that have a high chance of passing on problems. In some breeds for very widespread conditions, testing is actually a condition of registering the dog with The Kennel Club.
If the dog that you own has been health tested and come up clear, and/or the parents were tested and proven to be healthy stock, this can lower the policy price compared to untested dogs of the same breed. In fact, some insurance companies offer policy discounts in association with testing companies, in order to promote testing and good health.
Purchase cost of the average dog or puppy
The cost of buying a pedigree puppy can vary considerably across different breeds, with less common breeds or those that are so popular that demand exceeds supply often commanding premium prices.
The purchase price of the dog goes some way to indicating their financial value, and of course, the higher the purchase price, the more expensive for the insurance company it would be to pay out in the event of the pet’s untimely death.
As well as potentially predictable health conditions that come about due to hereditary defects, many breeds have certain conformation traits that are potentially more likely to cause problems than others. Insuring a dog with a brachycephalic face (like the pug) generally costs more than one with a normal length muzzle, and breeds with unusual dentition (such as a primitive mouth in the Chinese Crested) may require corrective surgery. If the breed requires veterinary care for things like mating and delivery (some breeds must be delivered by caesarean section in the majority of cases, due to their large heads-the French bulldog is a classic example) this is all taken into account too.
Average breed lifespan
Finally, the average lifespan across the board for different dog breeds can be quite variable, with some breeds rarely living past the age of seven or eight, such as the Dogue de Bordeaux and many giant breeds.
Breeds with shorter lifespans are more likely to suffer complications in their comparative old age, such as various cancers, diabetes and other issues that in other breeds, might not arise in great numbers until past the age of ten or twelve. This too is factored into the cost.