Getting a new furry family member can be an exciting time in your life, but one of the most challenging decisions can be to adopt a dog from a shelter or select from a breeder.
There are so many pros and cons to both, but it’s something you should think about thoroughly before bringing a canine home.
In the dog world, you will often find people are either in one group or the other. But, to help you make your mind up, we’re going to help provide insights to both sides.
After all, as prospective pet parents, it’s up to YOU to decide to find out which route works best for you.
Our goal is not to influence your decision one way or the other. Our desire is to help you be more informed and decide what will be best for you and your family.
Rescue dog vs Breeder, things to consider
First of all, Rescuing a dog is often more affordable than a breeder. This is because you’re rehoming a rescue dog to a good place. Most of the time, you only need to pay an adoption fee which covers their basic shots, spay/neuter and towards the shelter’s facilities.
On the contrary, if you choose to purchase from a breeder, you would expect to pay anything from $500 to $3000. That’s just the standard price of the dog; then you have to pay for vaccinations, spaying, neutering, vet checks and chipping on top of that. This will drastically increase the cost of your new pet.
One of the dangers of purchasing from a breeder is that you don’t know their full background; you could be getting a dog from a puppy mill. A dog could be in bad health, and they could be exploiting you for a profit.
Do you have a breed in mind? Most shelter dogs are mixed breeds. While you can certainly find a purebred dog at a shelter, they will not likely have any supporting paperwork to confirm it. Plus, if you’re looking to adopt a specific breed, it may take some time trying to find one that matches your criteria from a shelter. Therefore it’s often best to visit a dog shelter with an open mind.
If you’re looking for a family dog, you can select a breed that fits your family and try to find a shelter dog similar to or matches that breed. Often at times, mixed breed dogs have fewer health issues due to genetic diversity.
On the contrary, when you visit a breeder, you can see the puppy’s parents and see how they were raised. Be aware; if the breeder does not show you their parents or siblings, it could be a warning sign they come from a puppy mill.
But the main benefit of a breeder is you can see their parent’s temperament and puppies temperament, allowing you to have an insight before you buy. Plus, you can get supporting documents to guarantee the pure race of your dog.
Good breeders will provide you with a full breed history, story of your dog and lineage, type of food they’ve eaten since birth, routine, experiences, and socializing ability. The top breeders will have to actively work with puppies to expose them to sights and sounds.
Today many people love to have dogs from breeders by having them from birth. However, there are so many older dogs that deserved to be rehomed and loved.
Adopting one from a shelter is quite an altruistic feeling yet rewarding experience, knowing you’ve bettered a life for a hurt or neglected canine. Plus, many shelter dogs have remarkable backstories and even better, forming a bond with a rescue dog is indescribable.
Plus, anyone who has rescued a dog will tell you that there is no greater love than knowing you and your dog found each other when you both needed it most.
When you get a dog from a breeder, you get to see your puppy’s life unfold. You kind of get to try before you buy with a breeder, as you can visit a puppy regularly to know if their personality and upbringing match your needs and your families. Similarly, you have a point of contact if anything happens to your puppy, and you have full knowledge of their family history.
When buying from a breeder, you’re often getting a puppy from a young age which makes the bonding strong and less difficult as you’re training them from young. The relationship you have with them is evolving as you grow together and witness their progress from just a few weeks old into a companion for many years.
Plus, you will get more time with your dog instead of adopting an older one from a shelter. Although this is possible with a rescue dog, it is not as common to find puppies born in the shelter.
Training and behaviours
Whether your puppy is adopted or from a breeder, training is an ongoing task for the rest of your dog’s life. However, rescue dogs often have more behavioural issues. Many have come from less than ideal situations and have a lot to overcome.
Although shelters do the best they can, due to lack of resources, volunteers, money, and time, it is hard for them to provide a full life for the animals there. It is very common for shelter dogs’ social skills to deteriorate with humans and dogs while in a shelter, often resulting in worsened behavioural problems.
It is best to talk to the staff before adopting to find out as much as you can about a dog’s past and current issues. Shelters are happy to recommend a trainer that can help you and your new best friend overcome any problems.
Not all shelter dogs have behavioural problems or have experienced abuse or neglect. Some have been rehomed simply because their owner’s living situation has changed and they could no longer afford to keep them.
This means that many dogs will have already been house trained and have basic obedience knowledge. If you don’t have time to train a puppy, adopting is a great way to find a companion that already has basic commands and house training behind them.
Adopting an older dog may be a great option for someone who has never owned a dog before or wants a companion but does not have the physical ability to help a puppy or young dog meet their exercise needs.
Getting a dog from a breeder is more like starting with a clean slate. You will have to train your puppy to your liking and meet any unwanted behaviours head-on as they grow and begin to show their own doggy personalities.
This can be a fun and rewarding experience once all of your hard work has paid off. But much like shelter dogs, not all puppies from breeders come from the perfect situation, and it is always best to find yourself a positive reinforcement trainer to help you tackle any issues before they arise.
Some things to keep in mind moving forward
If you want to rescue a dog, you need to choose if the dog is right for you and if YOU are right for the dog. If you adopt a dog with behavioural problems or anxieties, be prepared to work with that dog. You may need to adapt your lifestyle, go to training classes, or plan socialization for your dog.
Try to anticipate how a dog might feel in a situation and decide if that is right for them. For example, a dog that has previously been abused may not do well with children or with other animals in their personal space. This issue can certainly be worked on and resolved over time.
However, forcing them into a situation too fast and too soon will be stressful to the dog and hurtful to you if they cannot adjust. You must be ready and willing to create an atmosphere to help your dog transition into your family.
While breeders can and should be licensed, this can sometimes be a poorly enforced area. Many under-qualified people can become breeders. This means you must be very careful in selecting a breeder. Are they knowledgeable about the breed? Do they have proof of their license?
How long have they been breeding? What kind of health are their other dogs in? How selective are they about who they adopt? A good breeder will be selective and want to ensure that you are right for the dog. “Window-shopping” for a dog is a thing of the past, and most often, these mall breeders are in it for the money and will skip steps to ensure a profit.
Beware of puppy mills, where dogs are kept in poor living conditions. They are bred and kept in cramped spaces then sold without much regard for the well-being of the dog. These breeders can make false claims about the dog’s breed and origin to sell them at a higher price.
Often these dogs will have behavioural and health issues associated with their early development in this kind of environment. If you come across a puppy mill, report it to your local animal control office, bylaw office, or police station.
You may feel the need to buy a dog to “rescue” it from those conditions, but keep in mind you will just be supporting the puppy mill with your business. Boycotting puppy mills and reporting them is the only way to reduce their presence in the future.
What to look for when buying from a breeder?
If you plan to buy a dog from a breeder, you should consider making sure the breeder has a valid license. They should be registered with proper kennel clubs and provide a full report of the dog’s parental history.
It’s always best you visit the breeder in person to see how the dog was raised and get a peace of mind your puppy comes from a good home.
Although the task of choosing a puppy can seem daunting, the preparation and research will pay off in the end. It is best to be fully informed before making any kind of decision.
This will eliminate most of the difficult transitions and the heartache of potentially having to rehome your new dog. Once you have decided the best route for you to acquire your newest family member, check back to our blog for tips on how to bring a new dog into your home.
Should I get a rescue dog or puppy?
Regarding choosing a rescue dog or puppy, we can’t decide for you. What we can tell you is that there are a lot of benefits to both. For example, if you decide on a rescue dog, you’re going to be potentially placing one that’s been neglected or abused into a loving home.
Similarly, puppies from a breeder can be an enriching experience as you’re bonding with them from birth. On the contrary, you could be paying more from a breeder than a shelter, so it’s a matter of what your budget is.
Why you shouldn’t adopt from breeders?
When you buy from a breeder, you never know how honest they’re being. You could be getting a dog from a puppy mill which means they’r
e being bred in an industrial sized puppy mill.
This means they could come with a range of health problems, and you may not be getting a fully healthy dog. Plus, you could be exploited for a profit. Similarly, if you’re buying them from a home, you only see a small snippet into their daily life; you may not know how the breeder treats the puppy when you’re not there.
Do mixed breed dogs live lon
On average mixed breed dogs tend to live up to 14 years, whereas purebred dogs live up to 10 years. It’s believed that the difference is due to a richer genetic pool from both parents than purebreds.
Do rescue dogs remember their past?
Dogs are clever animals and tend to build a collection of semantic memories that mean they remember e
vents in their lives. While we can’t read a dog’s mind, there are some indicators that they do remember their past and know they’re in a shelter.
Why is it so hard to adopt a dog from a rescue?
Dogs are often in shelters because of their neglected or abusive backgrounds. Shelters are run for the greater good and them being rehomed, so there are more checks involved.
Volunteers at the shelter want to make sure dogs aren’t going to an environment where they came from. Plus, rescue dogs often require special care and good living requirements, making the adoption process more difficult.
Why are rescue dogs so expensive?
Generally, buying dogs from a breeder tends to be cheaper. However, sometimes rescue dogs can be more expensive due to the cost of vaccines, vet bills, microchipping and money that goes towards the upkeep of the shelter. Whereas with a breeder, you’re just paying for a dog.