There is a much discussed debate amongst pet owners & enthusiasts of whether to get a dog from a registered breeder or from a shelter/ rescue. Everyone seems to have a very strong opinion on this subject so to make the right decision for you, it is important to look at the positives and negatives to both sides.
Buying from a registered breeder
The major benefit to buying from a breeder is you know exactly what you are getting. You can meet the parents (and even learn about grandparents!) of your potential puppy. You will also be receiving the puppy with all of their pedigree papers, genetic health testing and some of their puppy vaccinations already completed. A good breeder will tell you what specifically he/she breeds for in terms of health and temperament. Some people believe that buying a puppy from a breeder will really help you ‘mold’ your perfect pet as they go home with you at about 8 weeks so they will grow up with you and your family. Being from a registered breeder who specifically breeds only one kind of dog, you are able to really research exactly what breed is perfect for your family and being a purebred dog you will get only that breed.
One of the downsides to buying from a breeder is that purebred dogs on average have more health problems compared to that of mixed breeds. Also keep in mind how much work a puppy is. An 8 week old puppy means you will have a full-time job of introducing your dog to the world, socializing, training, bonding. Of course, getting any dog (including from a shelter) will be a lot of work, but that work feels like it’s doubled when you have a puppy.
Adopting from a rescue or shelter
The most obvious benefit from going to a rescue, you are saving a life. Not only that, you are actually saving two lives; the dog you are adopting and the space it opens up for another misfortunate dog to come into the rescue and get a chance at being rehomed.
Most of the dogs you will see at shelters will be mixed breeds (sometimes unidentifiable!) and typically mixed breed dogs have better health compared to purebred dogs. But if your heart really is set on a purebred dog, they do sometimes appear in rescues too! There are also many shelters dedicated to saving various purebred dogs. With a quick internet search, you can easily find rescues dedicated to rehoming many breeds such as pugs, greyhounds, even poodles! Most of the dogs in shelters are out of their puppy days and are fully potty-trained which is wonderful to not have to worry about. Many shelters will let you ‘foster to adopt’ so you can truly see if the dog is a good match for you and your family before committing to such a huge life change. And if you find out later on that there are some behavioural issues with the dog you’ve adopted, you can always reach out to the rescue you adopted from to get advice or recommendations for a reputable dog trainer. When you compare the costs involved in buying from a breeder vs adopting from a rescue, adopting is definitely more cost effective. Shelters will take care of costs such as up to date vaccinations, spay/neuter and microchipping before you take your new dog home. When adopting from a rescue you get the pleasure of learning all about your potential dog’s personality first as many of the staff have worked with and gotten to know the dog’s behaviours and quirks.
Keep in mind, when adopting from a rescue, as the dogs are typically mixed breeds, you may not know exactly what to expect. You can only do your best guess as to what breeds make up your dog, and then research those breeds. The biggest worry many people have when adopting a dog is the potential for behavioural issues. Although these behaviour issues may arise, keep in mind than even a purebred puppy from a breeder is not immune to having some undesirable behaviours too. It is all about how you bond and train your dog. Sometimes a mixed breed dog from a rescue will have some quirks, but you are not alone, as previously stated, you can always reach out to the rescue for help.
Whether adopting from a rescue or buying from a breeder, make sure you and your family are 100% ready for the responsibility of a dog and have fully considered how it will change your lives.