Shelter vs Breeder


Photo by Mandi Pratt |

One of the biggest decisions you will make is whether to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group or buy a puppy from a breeder. Please choose not to support pet stores by purchasing a puppy from them – learn more about pet stores and puppy mills.

For those of you who are still undecided, find below the benefits and downfalls of adoption versus purchasing a puppy.

Adopting a Shelter or Rescue Dog
The stigma that all shelter dogs are unpredictable and come with behavioral issues is simply not true. Many dogs are surrendered to shelters because of a change in family situation, not because of the dog’s behavior, and may shelter dogs have already had some training.

The Benefits:

  • You are saving two lives – the life of the dog you adopt and the space that opens up for another dog in the shelter or rescue.
  • Most dogs will already have all of their vetting completed, including a microchip and spay/neuter.
  • If adopting from a rescue group, they will be able to tell you all about the dog’s personality so there are no surprises when you bring the dog home.
  • Many adult dogs are already potty-trained, saving you a lot of time and training.
  • Private rescue groups will generally take the dog back if the dog is not a good match.
  • Mixed breed dogs tend to have less inherited genetic health problems.
  • The love and gratitude you will receive from a shelter dog is unlike any other.

The Challenges:

  • If adopting a dog straight from a shelter, you may not know much about how they will act in your home. It is very important to know how to pick the right shelter dog.
  • You may not know exactly what breed the dog you pick is mixed with, although there are many purebred dogs in shelters.
  • The cost of adopting from a shelter is much lower than the cost of purchasing a puppy from a breeder.

Buying a Puppy from a Breeder
If you are considering buying a puppy from a breeder, it is important to choose the right breeder. You need to be sure that your entire family is prepared for the 15-20 year responsibility of raising a healthy, well-balanced dog.

The Benefits:

  • You will be able to see your puppy’s mother and see the environment they were raised in.
  • Reputable breeders will provide genetic health testing to make sure your dog is not likely to carry any inherited genetic problems.
  • You will have the opportunity to mold your puppy into the perfect pet—as long as you are patient and consistent with positive training.
  • You know exactly what you are getting in terms of breed—make sure you find the right breed for your family.

The Challenges:

  • There are millions of dogs dying in shelters each year. Rescuing a dog will save one of those lives.
  • Puppies are a LOT of work. Are you prepared for the guaranteed puppy woes--cleaning up accidents, whining, and chewing?
  • You are responsible for training your puppy, and an untrained puppy quickly grows into an out-of-control adult dog.
  • Purebred dogs tend to have more health problems.
  • Buying a puppy from a breeder can be extremely expensive, and you will be responsible for all its vetting.

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