Where Should You Get the Canine Love of your Life?

Written by: Jill Jones

If you decide on a purebred puppy, look for a rescue organization of reputable breeder.
Photo by Daina, Missoula

After much thought, and, ideally, a lot of homework, you’ve made the decision: you’re ready to get a dog! But where? There are two good options (unless you have a friend who happens to have a recent litter of puppies on hand): a shelter/rescue organization or breeder.

Puppies, Puppies Everywhere
Speaking of puppies, you need to decide whether that’s what you want or whether you would prefer an adult dog. As cute as puppies are, they are a lot of work and require a great deal of time and attention, not to mention sleepless nights. Moreover, as everyone knows, they can also be really destructive. So, if you’re someone who cares about your designer-shoe collection or your home full of valuable antiques, it would behoove you to get an adult dog. Older dogs, long past the tiresome teething stage, who have already been house-trained and more, are readily available.

On the other hand, if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort and aren’t too worried about potential damage to your stuff, adopting a puppy allows you to train and socialize her exactly the way you want, from the beginning. In addition, if you have children, conventional wisdom suggests that it’s nice to get a puppy so they can ‘grow up together’.

Purebred vs. Mutt?
The other major decision you need to make is whether you have to have a purebred dog or whether a mixed breed is preferred. This may be a matter of health and safety. For example, if you or someone in your household suffers from pet allergies, you may be forced to adopt a hypoallergenic breed, such as a Poodle. The advantage of adopting a purebred is that you will know what you’re getting from a behavior, temperament, and size standpoint. On the other hand, purebreds can suffer from genetic health problems, due to close breeding. Once again, you need to do your homework.

Pedey is a three-year-old rescue dog. We think he is a Poodle-Cairn Terrier mix.
Photo by Phil Monahan

Which leads us to the question at hand: Where to adopt your dog–from a shelter/rescue organization or breeder? By the way, it used to be that pet stores were considered a good source for a new dog, but that was before it was widely understood that these stores acquire their “merchandise” from Puppy Mills, where dogs suffer in deplorable conditions. Though some pet stores still exist, we don’t recommend purchasing your dog from one.

If you are happy adopting a mixed breed, there is no question. You will find a plethora of potentially wonderful mixed-breed puppies and adult dogs available from either a rescue organization or local “brick and mortar” shelter. There are pros and cons related to adopting a dog from each of these community shelters.

If you have your heart set on a purebred, you should try to find an appealing puppy or dog from a breed-specific rescue organization before embarking on a search for a breeder. If you do decide to go the breeder route, we recommend that you find a reputable one who provides a health guarantee. Adopting a dog from a breeder may require patience while you wait for an available litter.

Searching for the right dog or puppy to adopt takes time and care. We recommend that you do a lot of research in advance and be prepared to ask a lot of questions as you conduct your search. Once you think you’ve found THE ONE, try and spend as much time as possible with her, just to be sure, before signing any adoption papers. Congratulations and good luck!

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