When it comes to getting a new dog, you have the option of either adopting or buying from a breeder. It can be a hard choice between the two. There are millions of dogs in shelters and rescues all over the U.S. in need of a home. There are also thousands of breeders with puppies that also need homes. With this decision, you must be brutally honest with yourself and what you want. There is no right or wrong answer as long as you are. Adopting or buying a dog is a very personal quest. It is important to go over the lists of pros and cons for both options and to do your home work. With the excitement of picking out your new dog, always take your time in searching for what you would like as it may be a 15+ year commitment.

There are a lot of general stigmas that surround both groups such as all dogs from shelters are unpredictable or all pure breeds have more health problems. These generalizations may throw you off one group or another. Remember, these are generalizations. No shelter dog is the same, no dog of the same breed is the same. A great dog can come from anywhere. Both groups have the same basic two rules: they will do what ever we allow them to do and what we teach them to do.

Buying From A Breeder

Although this analogy may seem insensitive, buying a dog from a breeder is much like buying a car. Just like any investment, we want to make sure it is the best option and in working order before we purchase the car. This means doing research on the car to be aware of known issues with the car, factory recalls, engine details, price, having a mechanic look over the car, reviews, etc. We ask others who own the same car about what they like about it or don’t. We even look into which dealerships are good and trustworthy. The same research and investigation should go into finding a good breeder with healthy puppies. We never should rush in especially with such an emotional purchase no matter how cute their puppies might be. When looking for a good breeder, always ask to see the parents and if they have had hips, elbows and other breed related health problems checked for by a veterinarian. Responsible breeders do not breed a dog that carries a known genetic defect. The parents should also be registered meaning that their lineage can be traced back for several generations. Ask to see the puppies to make sure they are active and social. The puppies should not be allowed to leave the mother before eight weeks to allow proper social and physical development before leaving for their new home. They should also have had their first round of shots either by a vet or breeder by this time.

A bad breeder or “back yard breeder” typically does not provide this information or allow potential buyers to see both or even one of the parents. The puppies may also be a result of an accidental coupling. Be cautious of puppy mills or breeders that have stock piled dogs for strictly breeding purposes in copious amounts. These breeders are not as concerned with the health and temperament of the puppies as they are about making as much money as they can off of the parents. Finding a truly reputable breeder that cares more about quality than quantity can be difficult. Again, it is important to do your research to find the best breeder for you.

Some of the pro’s of buying is that you basically get a blank slate with your puppy, you can teach and train them into the perfect dog for you. If the puppy comes from a good breeder, they will already of had some socialization that you can then continue to build upon. Responsible breeders will have also bred for temperament, meaning that the parents and grandparents were breed due to their good nature. With picking a pure bred, by definition they have common ancestors and certain distinguishable characteristics, dispositions and mannerisms. This may help some potential owners in choosing which dog would be best for them and their life style.

Now for the downside of buying from a breeder. When you buy, for the most part you are buying a two to three month old. It is rarer to buy an adult dog from a breeder due to puppies selling faster. For some potential owners, puppy hood is not something that they want to go through. There is the potty training, high energy levels, chewing, etc. This phase of development can be challenging for some. Another con, is that for example, you buy a golden retriever puppy. You may have owned a retriever before or several in the past. This new puppy may not act the same way as your other retrievers in the past. No dog is exactly the same, even within the breed.

Again, this is personal preference and there are no right or wrong answers as long as you are honest with yourself. In an upcoming blog, we will discuss adoption as an option for next dog. We will review the pros and cons of adoption, what adoption agencies look for when considering a family and what to look for when you meet the dog you are interested in adopting.

Eric has been helping owners regain their lives and enjoy their companions for 10 years. Eric's experience runs from rehabilitating aggressive dogs, tackling the toughest behavioral challenges, and training service dogs, to training narcotics dogs and hunting dogs. As well as anything in between. A Michigan native, Eric learned his craft apprenticing under two long time trainers in Colorado and went on to teach dozens of other trainers as well as countless pet owners.

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