From reading some of our other articles, you should have a pretty good idea of why the birthplace or origin of a dog is so important. If you haven’t read our materials on the subject, you must understand that the location in which a dog is born and raised has a tremendous influence on a dog’s health, temperament, and sociability. It’s not always easy to determine where a dog came from especially when it sits in a shelter, a rescue group, or an adoption center. So here’s an overview of the most common dog adoption sources and a description of the influence that they may have. Read it carefully before you decide to adopt a puppy or adult dog.
Professional breeders are undoubtedly the best sources for dog adoption. Why? Because through this resource, you can feel confident that your adopted dog is a healthy, socialized, purebred. The very nature of the breeding business requires that breeders live up to specific standards of the trade, and those who have successfully bred dogs for many years would never do anything to the reputations that they’ve worked so hard to build for themselves.
A significant problem that you should be aware of is the fact that breeders don’t need a license to operate. This invites unethical breeders into the field and they seem to attract as many customers as the reputable breeders do. Unethical breeders will charge higher fees for animals that aren’t AKC standard, mislead people into thinking they’ve invented a new dog breed, or withhold important health information from the people that they sell to.
No need to fret, however. We give you explicit instructions on how to avoid unethical breeders in our article about finding a dog breeder.
This resource could be called a dog’s retirement home since it adopts out animals that are “retired” from some sort of job. A few good examples are non-working circus dogs, race dogs or seeing-eye dogs. Other dogs you’ll find in this resource are the ones that didn’t perform a job as well as expected. There might have been behavior issues that prevented the dog from competently completing a function, or maybe a medical problem or the dog’s age got in the way.
What makes rescue groups a terrific resource is that almost all of its dogs are trained. As work dogs, they already know “where to do their business,” they know what “sit” and “stay” means, and they know what a crate is for (if used). Working with people and sometimes other animals give dogs from this resource a high mark for socialization. So as you can guess, the waiting lists at rescue groups can be *very* long. After all, who wouldn’t want a professionally trained dog?
Accredited shelters also adopt out dogs, but they come with a warning. Sure, an impressive number of sheltered dogs are purebreds, but the majority of them aren’t. In fact, some of them have health and behavioral problems that put them in a shelter. Some have been found wandering the streets, while others arrived straight from puppy mills. Sometimes, shelters house perfectly fine dogs that for whatever reason, couldn’t live on its own anymore. In a way, animal shelters are sort of a mixed bag resource, and you may not really know what you’re getting into when you adopt a puppy or dog from one.
If this doesn’t bother you, and you’re willing to put in the time needed for training, health care, and socialization (and you don’t mind a strange combination of breeds), then you may enjoy patronizing an animal shelter. You may also enjoy feeling pretty good about it! An adopted dog is a dog that escapes euthanasia since those that aren’t released to a family in a timely fashion is put to death.
You can, of course, adopt a dog from a pet shop, but we don’t recommend this option as a first choice. Many pet shops get their canine “inventory” from puppy mills and sell animals rampant with latent but severe health and emotional problems. We only included this resource as a last resort for the dog fan who’s willing to love a pet store animal (not to mention pay for its expensive health care) no matter what condition it’s in.
Having said that, we believe that you’ll get a better quality dog from a small pet shop instead of a large pet shop. Dogs sold from a small, family-owned pet shop may come from a local breeder or someone that the shop’s owner actually knows instead of from the dreaded puppy mill.