Dog Ownership, Dog Rehoming

Adopting a Dog from a Shelter vs. Breeder


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Let the controversy begin. People go back and forth about whether adopting a dog from a shelter or breeder. Emotions can get high for either side. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of both, and then hash it out in the comments.

Adopting a Dog from a Shelter or Breeder

When trying to decide if you should adopt a dog from a shelter or breeder, it’s a good idea to consider the pros and cons of each. 

Pros and Cons of Adopting a Dog from a Kill Shelter

The advantages of adopting a dog from a shelter are:

  • Dogs in a shelter don’t have a home. They are being cared for by a shelter, which may be a kill shelter leading to the dog being put to sleep.
  • Shelter dogs are sad and lonely. They want to desperately have a home to call their own and humans to love as much as they love them.
  • Dogs in shelters don’t have all of the comforts of home. They are in small areas with cement floors and possibly a bed. It’s much like a prison for dogs. Unfortunately, they didn’t do anything to deserve that type of living environment.
  • Adopting a dog from a shelter means saving a dog’s life and giving a dog a good life.
  • Many are already potty trained, so you don’t have to deal with that training.

The cons of adopting a dog from a shelter vs. a breeder are:

  • You don’t know the dog’s history. Dogs who have been abused may have lingering personality traits that could cause them to be dangerous.
  • Shelter dogs may come along with bad habits, which will require intense training to break.
  • Dogs in shelters are older, so they may not be part of the family for as long as a puppy would.
  • Since most shelter dogs are older, they may have medical issues that could be expensive to treat.
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Adopting a Breeder Dog

People turn to breeders to adopt or purchase a dog for the following reasons:

  • Good breeders are careful with the entire breeding process to ensure puppies are healthy and well-adapted as soon as they are born.
  • It’s easy to know the history of the puppy.
  • Puppies are highly trainable.
  • Breeders usually offer to help after purchase.

It’s not always a good idea to adopt or purchase a dog from a breeder.

  • Some breeders, often called backyard breeders, are not good for their breeding dogs and their puppies.
  • Puppies can have medical issues if not cared for properly.
  • Breeders charge hundreds or thousands of dollars to purchase a puppy.
  • You’re encouraging breeders to breed more puppies when there are so many in shelters.
  • Shelter dogs need homes more than breeders’ puppies.

My Experience with Four Dogs

I’m not tied to either side of the fence when it comes to adopting a dog from a shelter or breeder. I have two dogs we adopted from a shelter and two dogs from a breeder. The difference? Not much except I had to train the breeder dogs to use the bathroom outside since they were babies. Besides that, I can’t say there’s much difference in how they act or behave. We may have just been lucky.

One of our dogs, we bought from a breeder, and that’s the one we bought as a gift for my mom. Read the story about why you should never buy a pet as a gift for more on that.

Also, since I do have four dogs, which many people think is too many, I wrote How Many Dogs Is Too Many and Is 4 Dogs Too Many for you folks who have a multiple-dog household or considering one.

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Deciding on Adopting a Dog from a Shelter or Breeder

When deciding to adopt a dog from a shelter vs. a breeder, consider what you want from your new dog. If you’re choosing to adopt a shelter dog, ask the shelter staff questions to get as much information as possible. Spend as much time as possible before the adoption is final with the dog. This will help you decide if the dog is best for you and your home.

When leaning towards choosing a breeder, do your research on the breeder. Spend time with the breeder and the puppies. Pay attention to where the breeding dogs are housed and where the puppies are kept. It should be clean and the breeder should be knowledgeable so ask a lot of questions.

See also: Rescue Dog Meet and Greet

What are your thoughts about adopting a dog from a shelter or breeder?

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