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March 2024

Adopting a Dog From a Breeder or a Shelter

Friday, April 14, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Here’s an article written several years ago by on the pros and cons of adopting from a breeder or shelter. This article present comprehensive guidelines

Adopting a dog from a shelter or purchasing a puppy from a breeder is a matter of personal preference. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. has put together a guideline that can make this important decision a little easier.

Pros of Buying from a Breeder

  1. You can see your puppy’s parents and have a good idea what your puppy will look like as an adult. You’ll also be able to see the environment where the pup spent the first few months of life.
  2. You know exactly what you’re getting in terms of the dog’s breeding and linage. No surprises!
  3. You will have the opportunity to mold your puppy as it grows.
  4. If you’re buying from a good breeder, the puppy will already come socialized, be comfortable with household noises and traffic, and may even know some basic training commands.
  5. Many breeders offer genetic health testing to confirm that your puppy is unlikely to develop any inherited diseases.
  6. Most breeders not only breed for conformation, but for solid temperaments. While this doesn’t guarantee your dog won’t grow up to be a nut, it improves your chances they will be a solid adult.
  7. Breeders are essential if you plan to take your dog to the show ring. They must be papered to compete.

Cons of Buying from a Breeder

  1. You’re buying a puppy. They are a lot of work, just like a human baby. Prepare for the perils of potty training and corralling little life forms whose sole purpose is to poop, pee and chew all over your home. They will also need to be fed multiple times per day and taken out at all hours.
  2. You are responsible for the training of your puppy. They are a blank slate; be sure that you know what to write on it.
  3. Breeders are usually much more expensive than getting your dog from a shelter. Depending on the location and breed, most breeders run from $500 to $1500 for a pup.
  4. Puppies need multiple vet checks and vaccinations during their first year of life. In addition to this expense, you will need to cover the cost of sterilization. This means that you could pay higher upfront costs just getting your puppy to adulthood.
  5. Finding a truly reputable breeder that cares more for about quality than quantity can be difficult.

Getting Your Dog From a Shelter

In an ideal world, there would be no need for shelters and every pet would have a loving home. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats that enter US animal shelters each year.

While many of these animals go on to find loving homes, 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are not so lucky and are euthanized each year because there is no space or money to house them.

Pros of Adopting a Shelter Dog

There are many good reasons to adopt a shelter dog.

  • You are saving two lives. You’re saving the life of the dog that you adopt and the next dog that needs that space in the shelter or rescue by opening up a new kennel.
  • Most adult shelter dogs have all of their vaccinations up-to-date. You won’t have to go through that expensive puppy year, unless you adopt a puppy. Also, shelters usually spay or neuter all of the dogs leaving their facility, saving you those extra expenses.
  • It’s much less expensive to adopt than purchase from a breeder. Most shelters charge $150 adoption fee. This covers the cost to house and feed the dog, have them sterilized and microchipped, and have their medical evaluation and necessary medications. That’s a pretty good deal by today’s rates!
  • Some shelters also give you a voucher for a reduced or free first vet visit.
  • Many adult dogs have lived in a home previously and are already potty trained. Some may even have more advanced levels of training.
  • Shelters and private groups often will take the dog back if it’s not a good match for your home.
  • When you adopt an adult dog, you have a good idea of their temperament and size. With a puppy, their future is a gamble.
  • Most shelters give a temperament evaluation before placing the dog. The staff can advise you of a personality that would best fit your family.
  • Most hereditary issues show up in dogs before their second birthday. If you adopt a dog after this time period, you have less of a chance of having hereditary illnesses.
  • While it hasn’t been fully proven, most vets attest that mixed breeds often have less inherited diseases. However, this isn’t always the case. Mutts can get dealt a bad DNA hand as well.

Cons of Adopting a Shelter Dog

  • Just like people, dogs react differently when going through traumatic situations based on their personality. Some pooches just roll with the punches while others suffer emotional scars from their abandonment or abuse. Many shelter dogs come from very bad pasts. More sensitive dogs may require extra patience to bring them out of their shell.
  • You may not know the exact breed of your dog. However, this is only a bad thing if you plan to show. Mixed breed dogs are just as smart, capable and beautiful as purebreds. In fact, one shelter is creating a fun campaign to celebrate the one-of-a-kind nature of mixed breed dogs – giving them unique breed names.

Thanks again to  for providing this very useful information!

Remember, pets are family!

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