For many dog lovers, the hardest decision isn’t whether or not to get a puppy, it’s where to get the puppy from. Should you buy from a breeder and bring home the perfect puppy, or adopt from the local shelter and save a life?
There’s a lot of arguments for and against both sides. Breeding increases the sheer number of pets in the world, when there are already too many homeless dogs being put down in shelters. On the other hand, adopting can eventually lead to unpleasant surprises, like ongoing health issues or problematic personality behaviors. But at the end of the day, bringing home a puppy or dog should be about finding the right fit for you and your family, and there’s not only one right way to bring home that perfect new addition.
- Known Background – When you purchase a puppy from a breeder, you know the puppy’s parents and lineage. This means that you know if your puppy comes from a healthy line without major medical risks or difficult behavioral tendencies. Buying a puppy from a good line means minimizing your chances of large vet bills and maximizing your chances of a long, healthy life.
- The Right Breed – Dog breeds come with strong differences in personality and physical features. Whether you want an outgoing, energetic Labrador, a quiet, well-mannered Cavalier, or a hypoallergenic Poodle, choosing a breeder means you can choose your dog’s breed.
- The Right Start – Purchasing from a breeder means you ensure your puppy has had a great start in life. You can make sure your puppy has been raised in a loving home or facility, well socialized and weaned at an appropriate age. The first few months of a puppy’s life are an important and sensitive learning period, so you can increase your chances of a well-adjusted adult dog.
- BUT High Price Tag – A breeder’s puppy can easily cost you upwards of a thousand dollars. For many households that are already preparing for the long term financial costs of owning a dog, the initial price tag may just be too much.
- BUT Finding a Reputable Breeder – This is the greatest danger of buying a puppy. Backyard breeders and puppy mills heavily outnumber reputable, responsible breeders that are dedicated to the health and prosperity of their breed. You could pay thousands of dollars only to end up with an inbred puppy rasied in the isolated conditions of a mill-like facility. When you a buy a puppy, it’s not as easy as just going to the store and picking out the cutest one. You’ll have to do a lot of research to find the right breeder, if you want all the benefits that come with buying a dog. (Read more about finding a good breeder.)
Save a Life
- Rescue an Animal – When you adopt an animal, you could literally be saving a dog from a life on the streets or from a euthanasia list. Making room for a rescue animal in your home and heart could mean the difference between life or death for that dog. When you rescue, you’ll know that you saved your dog’s life.
- Support for Initial Medical Costs – Most rescues and humane societies will cover some initial vet bills, including spaying or neutering, rounds of vaccinations and micro-chipping. These covered procedures could save you hundreds of dollars. Many times, your new dog or puppy will already come will all these vet visits behind them, so you don’t even have to worry about making those appointments.
- A Proper Introduction – When you adopt a dog from a rescue, chances are that your future dog has lived in the loving home of foster parents. Because that dog has already lived as a loved pet, though temporary, you’ll get a good sense of what kind of pet they will be in your home. Foster parents will be initimately familiar with your dog’s personality and quirks, and you can hand pick your dog for their personality.
- BUT Unknown Background – You may have no idea where your new dog comes from. You won’t know what breed or mix they are, where they were born, or how they spent their first few months or years. They may have a history of abuse or neglect. They may come from a history of poor hips or clinical anxiety, or they may have developed reactivity to other dogs or humans from experiences of abuse. These issues are not guaranteed, but you will have to take your chances.
- BUT Limited Selection – When you decide to adopt, your options are usually limited to the dogs currently available at your local rescues. You may not have your pick of breed, size or age. Though they may be wonderful dogs and pets, if you have a very specific dog in mind, adopting may not be for you.
Either way, bringing home a new dog is a wonderful memory and everyone in the household should be involved and as excited as you are. There is no good answer to the ultimate debate that is Breeding vs. Adopting, but there is need for both rescuing and responsible breeding. Whatever choice you decide to make, you can be confident that you are doing what’s best for you, your family, and your future dog.