Pets are, of course, wonderful companions, but they also count as status symbols. Owning a rare or expensive pet sends a message about your social status, your dedication to luxury and your tastes. With those factors in mind, here are some of the most expensive pets you can own.
Dogs and Pedigrees
A dog’s price depends on multiple factors, including the rarity of the breed and the individual animal’s pedigree. For instance, a German shepherd pup may sell for anywhere between $1,000 to $24,000, depending on its parentage and ancestry. If you’re looking for a smaller animal, a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can cost up to $14,000, although most sell for much less.
The king of all dogs, at the moment at least, is a red Tibetan mastiff by the name of Big Splash. The 180 lb dog sold in China for a staggering $1.5 million US.
Domestic / Wild Cat Mixes
Crossing domestic cats with wilder relatives has become very popular — and quite lucrative if you’re a breeder. The Bengal cat, for instance, is a smart, water-friendly cat created by crossing domestics with Asian Leopard Cats. A kitten costs somewhere in the range of $4,500.
If you prefer a little more bulk for your buck, consider a Savannah cat. A cross between a domestic and an African Serval cat, Savannah cars are highly intelligent and can reach weights of up to 30 lbs. They’re also difficult to breed successfully, and so come with a $22,000 price tag.
If money’s no object, of course, you could but a rare white lion cub for $138,000. Bear in mind, however, white lion cubs grow up to become white lions, with all the danger and liability of owning a full-grown predator.
The Parrot Factor
The larger parrots are impressive birds with long life spans and high levels of intelligence. The largest of the macaws, the hyacinth parrot, is $10,000 worth of bright blue feathers and a beak capable of cracking upon macadamia nuts. Even more expensive is the Black Palm cockatoo, at $16,000.
While often used as ornamentation in luxury resorts, bear in mind parrots require constant attention and stimulation to avoid behavioral problems such as screaming and feather mutilation. A screaming cockatoo could drown out the noise of commercial power washers. Texas residents, and other residents of temperate climes, also need to worry about their prize bird coming down with avian malaria or West Nile virus.
Monkey See, Monkey Do-do
Exotic animals have been considered status symbols sine the time of the Pharaohs, with different animals rising and falling in popularity throughout history. Recent fads for monkeys have led to the sale of capuchin monkeys for $10,000, and smaller marmosets for a few thousand.
Unless you’ve got the space for a zoo-level monkey enclosure, primates make less than ideal pets. They’re smart enough to get into trouble, usually cannot be house-trained, and deliver a nasty bite.