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How dog breeds can impact pet insurance costs

Mehdi Punjwani
Written by  Mehdi Punjwani
Donna McConnell
Reviewed by  Donna McConnell
5 min read
Updated: 30 Apr 2024

Taking out insurance for your pup is a crucial part of pet ownership - but your dog’s breed can have an impact on the cost of the premiums you’ll pay for pet cover. Here’s how and why insurance costs can vary for different dog breeds.

How does my dog’s breed affect pet insurance prices? 

While doggies are unique and will each have their own personalities and traits, certain breeds do have characteristics that can affect their overall health and wellbeing, and therefore the risk they present to insurers.  

bull terrier

Why do certain breeds have higher insurance costs? 

Some dog breeds are more vulnerable to medical conditions or hereditary illnesses, and because of the increased health risk you’ll likely need to pay more in premiums to cover them with pet insurance. Additionally, other breeds might be statistically more likely to be aggressive or cause harm, which can also lead to higher costs, as well as possible cover restrictions - some insurers may even refuse to cover some breeds. 

For example, English and French bulldogs are known to have respiratory issues and Great Danes can be at a particularly high risk of heart disease. Rottweilers are often perceived as aggressive so insurers may charge higher premiums to cover for potential injury claims. 

What are the most expensive dog breeds to insure? 

While providers can vary and premiums can also be influenced by factors like your location, environment, and your pet’s age, breeds are also a significant factor. You’ll often find the following breeds are among the most expensive to insure:  

  • English bulldogs 

  • French bulldogs 

  • Rottweilers  

  • Cane Corso 

  • Golden retrievers 

  • Newfoundland 

  • Chow Chow 

  • Shar Pei 

  • Bernese Mountain dogs 

  • St Bernards 

  • Great Danes 

What are the cheapest dog breeds to insure? 

On the flip side, other breeds that are relatively cheaper to insure due to their low overall health risk or behavioural issues include: 

  • Jack Russell terriers  

  • Chihuahuas 

  • Pomchis 

  • Cockapoos 

  • Patterdale terriers  

Which dog breeds are considered high-risk for insurance? 

There are a number of dog breeds considered by some insurers as high-risk, for various reasons: 

Breeds with health risks 

Some breeds have a higher risk of genetic or hereditary conditions - in fact, research from the Royal Veterinary College suggests there are around 2,400 breed-related health predispositions across 200 different breeds. Some of these include: 

  • French and English bulldogs 

  • Cocker Spaniels 

  • Dachshunds  

  • German shepherds  

  • Great Danes 

Breeds with liability risks 

Certain breeds are also often associated with behavioural and temperamental issues that can lead to aggressive behaviour, or even just present more of a danger due to their bigger size. This can include: 

  • Pit Bull terriers 

  • Rottweilers 

  • St. Bernards 

  • Chow Chows 

  • Mastiffs  

Pedigree breeds 

Pedigree dog breeds are often seen as a higher risk than mixed breed dogs due to selective breeding for certain desirable traits which unfortunately comes with side effects - inbreeding can sometimes also be a factor. Mixed breed dogs benefit from a wider and more diverse gene pool, and this generally results in healthier dogs that are less prone to breed-specific diseases.  

Dangerous Dogs Act 

The Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 bans the ownership of certain dog types, so you cannot own, sell, breed, give away or abandon them in the UK. Dogs on this list include Pit Bull terriers, Japanese tosas and the American Bully XL as of 21 January 2024.  

Can I lower my pet insurance costs if I have a high-risk breed? 

Yes, there are certain steps you can take to try and cut down the cost of pet insurance even if you have a high-risk breed of dog. For example, you can: 

  • Help them maintain a healthy lifestyle: This includes ensuring a high-quality diet, regular exercise, dental care and grooming 

  • Stay on top of vet care: Stick to regular vet checkups and get them wormed and vaccinated, consider getting them spayed or neutered to prevent behavioural issues or some health concerns. Remember, it’s a legal requirement to microchip your dog too 

  • Look into training or socialisation: If your dog is considered a high risk due to behavioural issues, it may be worth considering training or socialisation from a professional to decrease the risk of an accident 

  • Get the right type of cover: When you look for pet insurance, consider paying more in excess to reduce your premiums. Multi-pet policies can provide good value if you have more than one animal in the household 

  • Compare policies: Comparing policies is the best way to find affordable cover that offers everything you need for your dog 

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