Adopting Dog vs Buying from Breeder

adopting dog vs breeder

adopting dog vs breeder

Whether you should buy a dog from a breeder or adopt a dog depends on what your circumstances are.  The average pet owner should at least consider adopting a dog. However, if you are interested in breeding or conformation showing (the pageant pagent style of dog show such as Westminster), you should purchase a dog from a reputable, ethical breeder.

The advantages of buying from a reputable breeder include the following:

The dog should come with a contract stating guarantees of health and/or temperament and may include a “take back” policy.

The dog (or his parents in the case of a puppy) should have been screened for common genetic defects such as hip dysplasia minimizing the chances that the dog will have health problems.

The reputable breeder is the only possible source for “show quality” dogs and puppies.

At least one parent, if not both, will be available for you to see and meet.

That said, there are some good reasons for most of us to consider adopting a pooch:

From an ethical standpoint, you are saving the life of a dog which is already here.

A reputable rescue individual or group will have screened the dog for temperament issues and will not put questionable dogs up for adoption.

The costs of adopting a dog are generally much less than buying one and generally cover having the dog spayed or neutered and brought up to date on health care such as vaccinations, worming, and heartworm testing/prevention.

You should be aware that there are many ways to adopt a dog:

You can adopt directly from a shelter

You can adopt from a rescue individual or group

You can find one through the newspaper


READ ALSO: 9 Steps for Rehoming a Dog


Most folks would benefit most from working with a reputable rescue group.   Not everyone who rescues dogs is ethical, though their hearts are probably in the right place.  There are some basic things you can do to help ensure that you are dealing with someone who has your best interests at heart as well as those of the dog:

Expect to fill out an adoption application which will ask questions (sometimes a bit personal) about your family and lifestyle as well as references.   Most often, you will not be permitted to meet the dog until and unless your references have been contacted and you seem to be an appropriate “match” for the dog in question.

There should be an adoption contract which spells out your responsibilities as well as the individual giving you the dog.  What is the procedure if you can’t keep the dog?  Most rescues have a 2 week “trial period” in which you can return the dog for a refund or replacement if you aren’t happy with it.   Most rescues also have procedures or policies about dogs which are unwanted after the trial period expires.  The contract should be in writing.

The rescue person will be able to give you accurate answers to questions you may have about the dog’s behavior.  They should be able to tell you if the dog jumps on people, gets in the trash, is housebroken, likes other animals, etc.  Keep in mind that some of the larger groups may have one person who coordinates the calls and others who actually take care of them – but they should be able to get the answers for you.  Your contract should also contain a signed statement that the adopter knows of know incidences of the dog biting anyone.

Ask how long the person has been doing rescue.  Don’t be afraid to ask for references.

That said, the caveat is still “adopter beware.”  People who are anxious to “get rid of” their dogs are often less than totally honest about their dog’s history and problems.  It is not unusual for people whose dogs have nipped/bitten/threatened them to think that their dog can find a new home so that they don’t have to face the prospect of putting a dog to sleep.  If you are adopting from a shelter or private individual, it would be worthwhile for most people to hire a trainer to go with them to evaluate the dog.  If the dog makes you uncomfortable, nips, bites, growls or otherwise threatens you, choose a different dog.

Shy dogs are also undesirable.  It takes a lot of hard work to socialize a timid dog.  If the dog is in a shelter, you can and should ask to take the dog out of the kennel area to evaluate it.  Many dogs simply are frightened in that environment and will show their true personalities in a quieter area.

The vast majority of puppies and dogs are suitable for adoption and make good family pets.

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