Now that you have decided that you are ready to bring a dog into your life, you need to decide where to get your new furry friend. Your two main options are either buying from a dog breeder or adopting a rescue. Within both of these options there are subgroups to choose from. We will look at the pros and cons of each.
What are you looking for in your new dog?
First you need to know what you are looking for in your new dog. To help you decide we put together a series of questions for you to answer. Remember to answer them truthfully. This is all about finding the right dog for you.
- Do you want the satisfaction of knowing you saved a life?
- Would you prefer a dog that is already trained?
- Are you interested in adopting an adult dog?
- Do you want a puppy?
- Do you have the time and patience to train a new puppy?
- Are you looking for a dog to be a certain size and look?
- Are there particular traits you want your new dog to have?
- What about their personality? Do you have an ideal personality you are looking for?
- Are you ok with spending a thousand dollars or more on your perfect pup?
- Are you willing to wait for your puppy to arrive?
Which should you choose?
If you said yes to most or all of questions 1-8, then adopting your dog from a shelter or rescue group might be the best option.
Why dog adoption is the right choice
Adopting your new dog from a shelter or rescue group has a lot of benefits. Here are just a few:
You Know What You are Getting
When you adopt an older dog you know exactly what you are getting. Most dogs don’t change much in regards to look and size after a year old, but they still have plenty a play in them without the need to be house train or go through teething. Their personalities are pretty much set too. You will be able to see if they are a high energy dog or a couch potato.
Tip: Don’t overlook a shy dog. Shy dogs will often come out of their shell once they feel comfortable with their new surroundings.
Shelter and rescue groups often have older dogs that are already house trained and in need of a home. Our purebred Golden Retriever we adopted from a shelter was a 100% housetrained and new all the basic commands.
Dogs that are adopted from reputable shelters and rescue groups are examined, vaccinated, spayed or neutered and microchipped. This ensures the dog is healthy and ready for adoption. They may screen the dogs for specific health conditions related to their breed. The dogs temperaments and behaviors are evaluated to make sure each adoption is the right fit.
You Will Save Money
Adopting a dog from a reputable shelter or rescue group is much less expensive than buying a dog at a pet store or through a breeder. Plus you will save on the cost of vaccinations, getting them fixed and micro-chipped since this costs are generally included in the adoption cost.
A Life Will be Saved
According to the Human Society of the United States 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States each year. These dogs often find themselves there through no fault of their own. In fact, most animals are given to shelters or rescue groups because of “people reasons”. Divorce, a move, lack of time, unwanted litters and financial constraints are among the most common reasons pets lose their homes.
Wide Selection to Choose From
Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue does not mean you can only get an adult dog or a mixed breed. There are a wide range of dogs available for adoption. Mix breed puppies are commonly available for adoption at most local shelters. If you have your heart set on a purebred dog, you can find purebred dogs available for adoption at breed specific rescue groups. We found our purebred Golden Retriever at our local animal shelter. He was 5 years old and full of life.
We found our current “designer” breed dog at the local humane society. She was a 9 week old Poodle and Rat Terrier mix that was surrender with her mom and two siblings at 3 weeks old. We believe she was the result of an unwanted litter. We wanted a poodle mix, but didn’t care what the mix was. With some patience and time we found exactly what we wanted for the bargain price of $250. It beat the $3,000 and up price tag breeders were asking for. Plus it made room for another dog to be saved.
Now that you have decided that adopting a dog is right for you, you need to decide from where. In our post Dog Adoption – Where to Find Your Perfect Pup, we go over the differences between a local shelter and private rescue groups. We also provide tips and resources on how not to get scammed by fake or dishonest groups.
If you are looking for a popular type of dog like we were, you can find tips on how to find your perfect pup at Dog Adoption – Tips on Finding One
If you said yes to all or most of questions 4-10 then getting your puppy from a breeder may be the best option.
Why might a breeder be the right choice?
Buying your new dog from a reputable breeder has some benefits:
A reputable breeder wants the best for their dogs. Because of this, they will ask many questions about you and your lifestyle. They will counsel you on what to expect from the breed and help you decide if the breed is the right match for you. Also reputable breeders will take back the dog for any reason. Because of this it is in their best interest to make sure you are the right match for their breed.
Reputable breeders follow a strict breed standard. This is the written description of the ideal physical and temperamental characteristics of the breed as determined by the governing body. The breed standard dictates the look, color, size and personality of the breed. This ensures that the puppy you buy grows up to look and act as you expected.
Meet Your Puppy’s Parents
When you buy from a reputable breeder you should be able to visit the breeder and their dogs. This will give you the opportunity to meet the mother and possibly the father before purchasing one of their pups. Meeting the parents will give you an idea of what their future pups will look and act like.
A reputable breeder will know and understand the common health issues for their breed. They should know the health history of both parents and their pedigree. It is the standard for quality breeders to perform specialized health testing on their dogs to avoid breeding dogs that might pass on faulty genes. This information should be readily available to you. All of these health checks mean the puppy you buy will have a lower chance of developing a genetic condition later in life.
A reputable breeder will want to stay in touch with you. They should be available to offer you advice as needed throughout the life of your dog.
Where to buy a puppy?
There are a number of places where you can buy a puppy.
The puppy store is the easiest place to get a puppy. They often have 10 or more puppies ready to leave with you the moment you walk into the store.
This is also the worst place you can get your puppy. These dogs are generally bred with no concern for the parent dogs or the offspring. Have little to no human interaction and are not taught puppy manners. They are taken from their mothers too soon and shipped across the country to start their life in a puppy store. The lucky ones are purchased quickly but the others will languish in crates. These dogs are harder to train, and come with a ton of health issues.
It is tempting to purchase a puppy online from the comfort of your chair. Those perfectly poised pictures can pull you in. But beware many on-line sellers are scams or the puppies are coming from a puppy mill.
To learn more about why you should never buy from a Pet Store or Online Seller read:
- ASPCA – Why You Should Never Buy a Puppy Online
- The Humane Society of US – 7 Ways to You Can Stop Puppy Mills
Tip: To avoid getting scammed check the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker before considering buying from a pet store or online seller.
Backyard breeders are people who decide to get into breeding to make some money off of the family pet. Backyard breeders are sometimes confused with quality breeders because they breed their dogs at home. Don’t make this mistake. Backyard breeders are just a step up from puppy mills. They are often not knowledgeable about the breed or breeding in general. They give little to no though to health issues of the breed or the health of the puppies. These puppies will cost less up front then a quality breeder but you may end up spending a lot more on health issues down the road.
A quality breeder is the only choice you should make if you are looking to buy a purebred puppy and they are hard to find. These breeders will have only one or two litters at a time. They are very knowledgeable about the breed and often are involved in dog shows. A quality breeder is happy to meet you and answer all your questions. They also ask many questions. If you find a breeder that does not ask you questions, they are not a quality breeder.
In the end you need to decide which is best for you. If your main goal is to find a loving, faithful companion then adopting a dog is the way to go.
To learn more about adopting a dog check out this posts: