Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of just how much a Rhodesian ridgeback will cost you. I’ll cover all upfront costs as well as the monthly maintenance costs of raising a gorgeous Rhody.
I know, no one really likes to ponder too much over money, but when it comes to getting a dog it’s something we can’t skip over. It’s not fair on our dogs if we don’t fully know and budget for the costs that they incur.
How Much Are Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppies?
In the USA, Purebred Rhodesian ridgeback puppies cost between $1500-$2500. This is the standard price range for an AKC registered ridgeback puppy. Price varies depending on bloodline, breeder, availability, appearance, location, and gender.
As to be expected, ridgebacks from a rescue typically cost much less and range from $300-$600 depending on their age, health, and behavior.
Sometimes, pre-trained ridgebacks may be available for sale for working purposes (likely guard dog duties). Depending on the service and their level of professional training, an adult ridgeback may cost upwards of $6000 or more.
|Rhodesian Ridgeback Cost||Price|
|AKC registered puppy||$1500-$2500|
|Pre-trained service dog||$6000 or more|
Factors That Change The Price Of Ridgebacks
As mentioned above there are several factors that can change the price of a puppy. These are important to be aware of as it will help you understand how much you should pay, and why a puppy may be more expensive or less expensive.
Blood lineage and pedigree quality can make a big difference on the price of a ridgeback. Ridgebacks that come from a long line of show dog ridgebacks will typically cost much more than those that aren’t. This is mostly down to meeting desirable appearances (a perfect ridge being the most notable desirable trait).
The quality and reputation of the breeder themselves can also have a huge impact on price. Breeders that gain a big following or are known around the country for their high-quality and healthy pups, will absolutely push their prices up because of this.
Rhodesian ridgebacks are a desirable breed yet they aren’t all too common. They definitely aren’t scarce, but there simply aren’t many of them being registered every year. This desirability mixed with basic supply and demand is why a ridgeback puppy starts at no less than $1500 (much more than other breeds). If you come across a “purebred AKC registered puppy” costing less than this, it could be a warning sign.
Appearances will definitely play a part in the pricing of ridgeback puppies. The beautiful ridge along the back of every ridgeback comes in all different lengths, shapes and some are symmetrical and others aren’t. If a puppy has a “perfect ridge” its price will almost certainly be higher. Ridgebacks should also fall into one of three recognized colors by the AKC (wheaten, red wheaten, light wheaten), this doesn’t usually push the price up, but if the ridgeback doesn’t quite match the normal colors, then it could push the price down.
Some states just charge more than others for the same breed. The breed may be more popular, trendy, or desirable in certain states and are therefore more expensive. Or, you’re in California, and everything is expensive, just because… lol! (bad joke).
Although this isn’t always the case, some breeders will charge more for female puppies. Female puppies are considered by some to be more desirable due to their ability to produce offspring (which could be sold for profit). This isn’t always the case but it’s worth keeping in mind.
Good health should be a given, and all puppies should have their health certificates ready for you to see (and the parents!). Good health does not mean the price can be higher. Bad health or puppies that haven’t got their health certificate could result in a suspiciously low price. I’ll cover this more later, but it’s important to be aware of.
Puppies are most expensive between the ages of 8-12 weeks old. After this, their price may start to decline slightly. Keep in mind that puppies typically go quickly so if you find yourself looking at a single remaining puppy that’s a lot older than usual and with a low price, you’ll want to ask the breeder further questions and ensure the puppy’s health.
Upfront Costs of Buying a Ridgeback
Let’s start by covering the total upfront costs, then below I’ll run through the monthly costs of raising your Rhody.
Initial costs include the following: averages*
- AKC registered puppy – $2000
- Initial vet bills – $800 (first year)
- Accessories – $200
- Transport (if transporting the pup across state) – $300
Total upfront costs without transport $3000 (with transport $3300).
Transport: If you’re collecting the puppy yourself then transport costs will be low. If you’re buying your Rhody from out of state, breeders will charge anywhere from $200-$600 for professional transport (vehicle or flight) depending on how far away it is.
Vet bills: Initial vet bills change dramatically depending on which state you live in. $500 usually covers puppy vaccines, deworming, flea & tick prevention, and microchipping. But you also have to consider spaying/neutering (comes later but still first-year expense) Spaying a female is typically a lot more expensive than neutering a male and prices can range from $100-$500 with $300 being the average.
Accessories: Initial accessories are one-off costs including your puppy’s crate, bed, harness, collar, leash, ID tag, toys, multiple bowls, pet-friendly cleaning products, and poop bags. All in all, this is around $200 but can be considerably more if you splash out on cute ridgeback gear (guilty!).
Monthly Costs of Owning a Ridgeback
On top of the upfront costs, you’ll have monthly costs that will start right from the beginning.
Let’s run through what it costs every month on average to own a Rhodesian ridgeback.
On average it costs $145 per month to own a Rhodesian ridgeback. This includes the costs of premium kibble, insurance, treats, toys, dental care products, and other miscellaneous items that usually come up.
- Premium kibble – $55
- Insurance – $35
- Treats – $15
- Toys – $10
- Dental care – $15 (toothpaste & chews)
- Misc – $15 (poop bags & other random purchases)
These are the basic costs that most ridgeback owners incur every month.
If you start including extras like professional training, alternative diets or require pet sitting, then your monthly costs can be dramatically higher.
Expensive potential extras that you may require:
- Professional training – $150-$700
- Pet sitting – $200-$400
- Raw food diet – $300
- Human-grade kibble $200-$400
- Future vet bills – $50-$XXXX
The main takeaway is to know that the basic costs are around $145 give or take. However, if you require professional services like training or pet sitting, and want to feed your Rhody a raw food diet or superior kibble, your monthly costs could be several hundred dollars in total.
Potential future vet bills: Once your initial vet bills are out the way, you shouldn’t really incur high vet bills, at least not for a long time. However, it’s important to know that if your ridgeback was to develop underlying health problems, the costs can range anywhere between $50 to several thousand dollars depending on what it is and the required treatment. This is why having pet insurance is a must for most owners (but always be careful to read the policy of what is and isn’t covered).
Total Costs of Buying & Owning a Ridgeback
|Item||One-off / monthly||Price (average)|
|AKC registered puppy||One-off||$2000|
|Initial vet bills |
(crate, bed, harness, collar, leash, toys, bowls, tags, cleaning products, poop bags)
|Transport of puppy |
(if buying across the state)
|One-off||$300 (may not be required)|
|Dental care (toothpaste & chews)||Monthly||$15|
|Total||$3000 (without transport)|
|Following Yearly Totals||$1740|
How Much Should You Pay For a Ridgeback Puppy?
The first piece of advice I can offer is to keep in the mind the typical average of $1500-$2500. Unless you’re rescuing a ridgeback or buying one pre-trained the price shouldn’t really fall outside of this range. This may change over years*
Then, depending on the pedigree, bloodline, breeder, appearance, availability, and location, the puppy may range up down within $1500-$2500. This would be completely normal.
One thing to be particularly wary of is low prices. Let’s talk more about red flags below.
Main Red flags
⭐ Price too low:
A common red flag is when the price is unusually low. Reputable breeders are well aware of the going rate and will not undercharge for a healthy puppy. A puppy that’s priced too low may indicate health problems, incomplete checks, or something else you need to find out first.
⭐ Mom not present:
Ideally, you want to see the mom and ensure that she herself is in good health and interacting well with the puppies. You usually won’t see the dad but you should see the mom. Reputable breeders will keep the puppies with their mother for as long as possible, if the mom isn’t there it’s something to ask about.
⭐ No health certificates:
This is similar to the above and could result in a lower price. You want to see health certificates from an independent veterinarian ensuring the puppy’s health. This is one of the most basic requirements for breeders, so if the puppies don’t have one, it’s a sign of a dodgy breeder and you should be careful.
⭐ Selling too young:
No puppies should be sold under 8 weeks old. This is even a law in some states (but is also a globally known rule that breeders should stick to). This time period is for the puppies to stay with their mother and siblings to ensure good health and behavior. Puppies split from their mother or pack before 8 weeks could result in future problems (health or behavioral). Therefore, no good breeder will allow the puppies to be sold prematurely.
Thank you for reading!
I hope this has been helpful for your budgeting plan. If I’ve missed any information regarding the costs and pricing of buying and owning a ridgeback, please message me and I’ll get back to you.