Do you own one of Britain’s most expensive dog breeds?

Pet insurance company ESure has completed a survey of 3,000 dog owners and has released a list of the UK’s unhealthiest and most expensive dog breeds.

Top of the list was the English Setter, a gun dog breed that lives for approximately 11 years and in that time is estimated to cost their dog owner almost £7,000, an average of more than £600 per year in vet’s fees.

English Setters are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia and an underactive thyroid gland is not uncommon.  Later on in life, many are vulnerable to cancer.

The second most expensive breed was the Great Dane, costing more than £6,600 in vet’s fees in their lifetime and perhaps somewhat surprisingly to some, the poodle came in third with vet’s bills over £6,500.

Other expensive breeds were highlighted, including the Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler.

At the opposite end of the scale, the healthiest dog turned out to be the mastiff, costs only £1,302 on average, followed by the Newfoundland at £1,350 and the Border Collie at £1,538.

Other inexpensive breeds include the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Old English sheepdog.

According to the report, and what is more worrying, is how owners are coping with the vet bills.  More than a quarter of those surveyed struggle with their dog’s vet bill.  Almost 20 percent said they had to use credit cards to pay the bills and 14 percent said they have used savings.  4 percent actually admitted that they had missed a mortgage payment or not paid their utility bills in order to cover the cost of their dog’s medical care.

Only one third of dog owners had pet insurance in place and of these that had cover, a quarter of them said that in the current economic climate they were considering cancelling the cover to save the money.

Head of risk and underwriting at Esure Pet insurance, Mike Pickard, said:

“Dogs are expensive pets to buy and keep.  Although dog owners will be aware of the regular costs associated with having a dog – such as food, grooming and kennel fees – many overlook the possibility of paying for unexpected veterinary treatment.  It’s crucial for dog owners to either have pet insurance or enough savings to cover what can amount to thousands of pounds of vets’ bills.

“Sickness, injury and long-term illnesses can affect any breed or size of dog, but with some more susceptible than others, owners should plan for all eventualities when it comes to their dogs’ health.”

There is no doubt that many dog owners would go without themselves to ensure their dog is looked after, but it is a false economy to cancel a pet insurance – and sod’s law that once you do, your little four legged friend will need it, however, by shopping around and checking the terms and conditions there may be room to save money on your dog insurance cover.