Adopting or Buying a Dog

Should You Buy or Adopt a Dog?

Every year, in the United States alone, almost 400,000 dogs are euthanized due to pet overpopulation, according to the ASPCA. Clearly, adopting a pet from an animal shelter is a way to save the life of a pet. There are plenty of puppies and older pets looking for a home so why buy a dog? 

Why Buy a Dog from a Breeder? 

Despite the benefits of adopting a furry friend, many people continue to choose to buy a dog from a breeder because they want a particular look, size, or personality which has been honed and guaranteed due to years of precise breeding. 

The following reasons are often given for buying a dog from a breeder:

  • Meet the parents
  • Know the breed’s characteristics such as size and fur type 
  • Breeder assistance
  • Health guarantee from the breeder

If you do opt to buy a dog instead of adopting a canine companion, then be sure to purchase from a reputable breeder. Do not purchase from a puppy mill or pet shop which often sell sick animals. The puppy mill industry has become a lucrative business that is only focused on money and not the health of the puppies. The dogs are often kept in unsanitary conditions and are sold sick - some even die after purchase 

Reasons to Adopt a Dog

Adopting a dog from an animal shelter or rescue is often a remarkably fulfilling experience. You can pick between a puppy or an adult dog that desperately needs a home.

Many people list the following reasons for why they adopt a dog: 

  • Adoptions are usually very affordable, and the pup is usually already spayed or neutered.
  • You are saving a life if you adopt a dog from an animal shelter.
  • Helping to reduce pet overpopulation.
  • Not supporting puppy mills or unscrupulous breeders. 


Many new pet owners hesitate to adopt a dog from a shelter because they fear that the animal might have emotional or mental issues from being abandoned. It’s true, many pets are traumatized after being relinquished to a shelter. The animals often have trust problems, and it can take time for them to warm up to their new owner and home. However, with patience, the dog can quickly become a fantastic companion.

Ways to Help Dogs in Need

If you do decide to buy a dog from a breeder, you can still help to support your local animal shelter by volunteering or making donations of food, toys, beds, or money.  Many people also foster puppies from a shelter until they are old enough for adoption. With fostering you help ensure that the dogs find a loving home without making the complete commitment of adopting.  Contact your local animal shelter to learn about various volunteer opportunities.

Whether you choose to adopt or buy a puppy, welcoming a furry friend into your home is always an exciting experience. Once your dog becomes a trusted and loved member of the family, it really doesn’t matter if the pet came from a breeder or an animal shelter.

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We had a few dogs during my childhood but always had to give them up, which broke my heart. As an adult, I brought home a puppy produced by my college landlord’s two dogs, and he lived to age 15. Since then my husband and I have adopted three more dogs, one at a time, the first and third from shelters, the second from a neighbor who had adopted him from a shelter. The first two were wonderful, loving dogs who enjoyed a long life with us. We have had our third, a pit bull mix, for six years after adopting her knowing little about her except she was a stray picked up on the street. We can’t imagine life without her. She is gentle and loving. With so many animals abandoned and in need of homes, we would never consider a breeder. All of our mutts have been gems and cherished family members!

Jeanmarie Andrews

All dogs, cats, horses, etc., deserve a loving home no matter where they come from. There are some fantastic breeders out there but, unfortunately, bad breeders as well. Everyone should do their homework before getting a dog from anywhere, there is a reason there are breed specific rescues. I will add this, it is said that dogs may have the intellectual capabilities of a 3 year old child. I am in rescue and I can say that rescues are incredibly grateful to finally have a loving, forever home.

Char Miller

I’ve been watching the rescue postings for a few years. All my dogs, my entire life have been rescues, along with cats, horses, donkeys etc. NEVER EVER having more than I could provide for. Now 82, I have a rescued golden retriever, now 7, 2 horses, 2 donkeys, all older and don’t plan on any new additions as I worry about future care when I die. That background. However, I’ve been watching for a smaller older dog, as I think my retriever would enjoy the company. I have indoor cats all older hopefully will live long enough to see their demise. The older new dog has to be one that a family member would take if something should happen to me. So, needs to be small, etc. income level doesn’t allow for a dog needing constant medical attention, as well. That’s my status. I’m a very healthy 82 year old, managing my ‘farm’, livestock and chickens, all by myself, I sell my free range eggs, do all my own maintenance work, fence repairs, etc. but, my clock is ticking. I tell you all the above as I’m probably not a first pick for a small dog but I’d appreciate any comments back you might have. I definitely wouldn’t want to take in an additional pet and have it returned because of something happening. I’m thinking I should just accept the responsibilities I currently have and drop the idea of adding another dog. Possibly fostering is a possibility

Renee Dorrance

I have adopted two very troubled dogs, one from a puppy mill. It was so rewarding to watch these abused souls gain confidence and blossom. Dog breeders are in it for the money. Don’t ever purchase a dog.

Sheila Anderson

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