Should I Feel Guilty For Buying A Dog (Purebred) Instead of Adopting?

If you are a regular visitor to Our Dogs World 101 you would realize that I love my dogs!

There are no boundaries when it comes to the size, breed, pretty dogs, ugly dogs (Is there even such a thing!), mixed breeds or pedigree, to me I love them all.

I remember a time when the “IN THING” was to own a purebred, it didn’t matter what breed that was just as long as you could say they were purebred.

Thinking about it now, back then it was fashionable and had somewhat of a status symbol attached to it.

Move on a little and it was the adopted dogs that were the fashionable thing and even more so if they were a rescue dog.

As someone who owns a purebred Mastiff, I often have people ask me should I feel guilty for buying a purebred dog instead of adopting one and I can understand that question, I mean who doesn’t like rooting for the underdog?

In this article I am going to try to answer the questions I get most asked from my customers (I am a dog trainer), family and friends when it comes to deciding on buying a purebred dog or adopting one.

Should I feel Guilty For Getting A Dog From A Breeder?

Remember at the beginning of this blog I said that it was now the “IN THING” to adopt or rescue a dog, well with that came a lot of backlash and negativity against buying purebreds from reputable breeders, not the puppy mills we hear so much about.

Here at Our Dogs World 101 we encourage the “Adopt Don’t Shop” philosophy and I have always worked closely with my sister who works at a dog refuge center here in Western Australia to promote this.

But what we really need to remember is that without reputable dog breeders, the dogs we have grown to love, have fun with and witness their ultimate loyalty over the many, many years could one day cease to exist!

The scariest thing of all is that there are already some dog breeds that are already categorized as being an endangered breed.

I have two pure-breeds, 1 pure-breed Mastiff who I bought from a breeder and a pure-breed Black Labrador who I rescued from a rescue shelter.

So many of us with pure-breed dogs feel we need to explain ourselves on why we bought a pure-bred when there are so many dogs in shelters looking for homes.

And trust me, there have been many occasions where I have been asked if my two dogs are rescues, and I have often thought of lying and just saying, most definitely, I mean why buy a dog when there are so many looking for homes.

Of course, I don’t, however I always feel I then need to justify myself on why I went with pure-breeds.

Is It Wrong To Buy A Dog Instead Of Adopting?

I am probably going to be shot down in flames here, but it needs to be said that not everyone will choose to rescue a dog and trust me that’s OK.

Are there some great dogs, purebred or mutts in our dog shelters that will be the perfect addition to your family? Most Definitely there is!

However, are there good quality, healthy, properly weaned and socialized purebred puppies in these shelters? More than likely not!

Good breeders don’t produce litters only to send them off to animal rescue shelters and if it is a purebred puppy that you have your mind set on then a registered breeder is where you will need to buy them from.

Golden Retreiver puppies in a basket with mum and dad in the background

The best advice I can give you here is to thoroughly research on whether you really want to spend the time, money and sometimes very trying times raising a puppy which I have covered in Before You Get A Puppy – Everything You Need To Know, or if you would prefer to skip that and go straight to the grown up stage.

It especially important to do your research on older dogs in regard to any behavioral issues, training they may have had, and if they were indoor or outdoor dogs previously.

Do this research for a rescue dog and who knows you may just have found your new BFF (Best Furry Friend) in an animal rescue shelter.

Are there good dogs from dedicated and professional breeders? Again most definitely!

Again it will all be in the research you do regarding this breeder.

Most countries have a dedicated breeders register where you can find reputable breeders who pass all the requirements and have a long breed history.

So whatever you decide to do your new dog or puppy will still take some time to settle in and through training and some patience, purebred or mutt you will have a friend for life.

Is It Wrong To Want A Purebred Dog?

Did you knows that the ASPCA have said that nearly 1.2 MILLION dogs are euthanized in animal shelters every year?

All dog activist groups advocate that you should be adopting dogs over buying purebreds whenever you can as it is a lot cheaper, a lot of the dogs are already house-trained, spayed, neutered and have had all their vaccinations.

They say that by adopting a dog from a shelter helps fight the battle against puppy mills and by adopting a dog from a shelter you are helping to create room for the next.

#DontJudgePurebredBuyers

As an owner of two purebreds I personally think the whole #AdoptDontShop thing has probably gone a little to far.

There are legitimate reasons for buying purebreds, and mine personally was for the love of the two different breeds.

I am sure this is the reason a lot of other purebred owners purchase the purebred dog they have.

A group of 5 purebred puppies sitting together

If you are simply looking for a pet and are not crazy for a specific breed then I reckon you would be better off adopting your BFF from an animal shelter or rescue center.

Outside of my reason a lot of owners buying purebreds are looking for working dogs with a certain specific temperament or characteristic.

There is nothing wrong with anyone buying a purebred dog as long as it is done for the right reasons and done responsibly.

Police dogs, military bomb and search dogs, drug sniffer dogs, cattle dogs and service dogs just to mention a few all must have come from careful breeding to make sure they produce consistent results.

Don’t get me wrong, as an ex-military vet I have seen some great bomb dogs that were a mixed breed, but trainers and workers of these dogs, who will end up investing thousands of dollars into these animals, are not going to go randomly looking for any old puppy.

So if, you are the type of person that is willing to put in the many hours of training your dog then a well-bred dog from a working line breed will definitely make your job a lot easier.

Is It OK To Buy A Dog Without Papers?

Whether your new puppy has registration papers or not doesn’t change the actual make up of their genes or DNA inside of your dog.

I knows of many purebred dogs that don’t have papers, and unfortunately during my career have seen many dogs with registration papers that are not actually purebreds.

This is why it is so important that if you have decided that you will be getting a purebred puppy to do your research.

I have listed some of the best research tools to find reputable breeders below and urge you to look at these if a purebred dog is what you have your mind set on.

  1. American Kennel Club (AKC)
  2. Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)
  3. The Kennel Club UK
  4. DogzOnline Australia
  5. Dogs New Zealand

The only real way to be assured that your new puppy is actually a purebred is to get their DNA tested.

You will find that any good breeder will have already submitted these to one of the organizations I have listed above, and a copy will come with his registration papers.

If you are buying a dog or puppy without papers I honestly think you are better off getting your new BFF from a shelter or rescue home.

Breeders who don’t offer papers in my opinion are either hiding something within the breeding line or they are simply in the business of making quick money, and for me that is no different from running a puppy mill.

Puppies in a caged puppy mill

How Do You Get Papers For A Dog That Doesn’t Have Papers?

Taken directly from the Continental Kennel Club, Inc. they have said that people often ask is it possible to register a dog without papers and they say they have a couple of ways to do this if that’s the situation you find yourself in.

They also state that if your dog is not a purebred then the “Non-Purebred Canine Registration Application” might be the better APP for you.

However if your dog is a purebred, and you would like to have it evaluated, you can use their “CKC Paw Application”

How To Complete and Submit a Paw Application – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7Dq7X44Ka4

How To Take Pictures For A Paw Application – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA9cuUmD-Vw

The Continental Kennel Club, Inc. say The Picture and Witness Program, or PAW Program, is a dog evaluation program unique to CKC.

It was put into place to allow valuable lost genetic lines to be reintroduced to a breed population in an effort to combat dwindling gene pools and population bottlenecks found in many pure breeds today.

What To Ask When Buying A Puppy Privately

So what should I ask?

This is regarding questions to ask a breeder before buying a dog and not relative to getting your dog from a shelter.

How Long Have You Been A Breeder? – Like any career (And yes reputable breeders consider this as a career) the more experience you have in your field the better you are at it, well it’s no different to dog breeders. Your breeder should be a wealth of knowledge regarding their specific breed.

Can I View The Parents? – A good breeder should be able to show you both the Mum and the Dad together, or at the very least the mum. When watching the puppies parents take good notice of their overall temperament and general health as this will be a great indication on what your pup will grow up to look like and behave like.

Have The Pups Been Socialized and How? – Do a google search on Puppy socialization and you will soon see how vitally important it is in those first 4 – 16 weeks to introduce them to other dogs and humans. This time period will shape the future of your new pup and should have been started by your breeder within the litter.

Vaccinations and De-Worming – You need to make sure that the breeder has taken you new puppy to the vet and gotten all the necessary shots etc and they should have all those records available to you along with the contact details of the vet. Make sure you fully understand what shots are still required and when they are due before taking your puppy home.

What Do You As A Breeder Do If My Puppy Becomes Sick Or I Can’t Look After Them Anymore? – If your new puppy becomes severely ill, and by that I don’t mean has a sniffle what will your breeder do? Some breeds are knows for inherited diseases or medical conditions.

If you purchase a puppy that falls into this category make sure your breeder can show you tests to confirm it hasn’t effected their line. I purchased my Mastiff, Saffron as an 8-week-old puppy, and this breed are known for hip issues due to the fact they are classed as a Giant Breed.

My breeder was able to provide me with both hip and elbow scores from both parents which showed a healthy line of breeding.

Mastiff puppy sitting on the floor in front of a chair

This is Saffron at 8 weeks old.

You also want to knows what your breeder will do if you can no longer take care of your dog.

My breeder will always take back any of the dogs from their breeding line if this is the case, as would any good reputable breeders.My Dog Saffron on a beach with her tongue hanging out and enjoying life

This is Saffron who is now 2 years old.

Do You Have Any References? – A good breeder will have a list of previous buyers and vets that they will happily let you speak to regarding their credibility and reliability as a purebred dog breeder.

My advice would be to call these people and get some feedback on their dealings with the breeder and how their puppy is going.

When I bought Saffron I spoke with people who had bought puppies from the last two litters and had nothing but positive feedback from them all, this is what you are looking for when you go to purchase yours.

Being Able To Call The Breeder Once You Have Taken The Puppy Home – A good breeder will always be contactable and in most cases will request that you keep in contact with them regularly to keep them updated and to ask questions if needed.

Breeders think of their puppies as their own children and as such love to knows how they are progressing.

In fact, with the ever growing and popular social media presence a lot of very good breeders actually have their own Facebook groups and pages and these are often great places to keep in contact and send updated photos of your puppies development.

Saffrons breeder has their own Facebook group which is Kara’s Babies. Kara is Saffrons mum.

I also have a Facebook group if ever you would like to have a look which is Our Dogs World.

What Would You Like To Know About Me? – A reputable breeder will want to be sure that their breed suits you. In my case before I even got to meet the breeder and my future puppy I had to fill out a questionnaire regarding me wanting to own one of their dogs.

I had to outline my knowledge of the breed, my lifestyle, if it was to be an indoor or outdoor dog, what kind of yard I had, my previous experience with the Mastiff breed and a lot more.

If your breeder doesn’t ask questions, I would be very concerned!

The Best Day Of Your Life Has Arrived – When Can I Take My Puppy Home? – All puppies should stay with their mother and sibling until they are at least 8 weeks of age.

This allows them to be properly weaned and socialized.

A good breeder will never allow a puppy to go to their new home until they are between 8 – 12 weeks old.

My Final Thoughts

I hope this blog has helped answer the question, should I feel guilty for buying a purebred dog instead of adopting one? and assist you in making that decision.

As I have mentioned earlier in this post I own two purebred dogs, one which I got from a reputable breeder, the other which is my Black Labrador, Narla.Black Labrador with bright red collar laying on the beach at dusk

The above picture is Narla and while she has no papers, I got her from a great shelter where my sister works and because of this knew that she was healthy, had all of her vaccinations and was a great temperament.

So if, a purebred is what you are after, then the biggest piece of advice I can give you is don’t rush in, do your research and use this article as your guide and I can guarantee whether it’s a rescue dog from a shelter or a purebred from a breeder you will have a BFF (Best Furry Friend) for life!

If you have anymore questions on buying a purebred dog or would like to share your experiences buying from a breeder please leave your comments below or contact us at mark@ourdogsworld101.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Once again I leave you with our quote, “May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair”

Mark

Founder of Our Dogs World 101

 

 

 

23 thoughts on “Should I Feel Guilty For Buying A Dog (Purebred) Instead of Adopting?”

  1. This article is amazing and will make so many people feel at ease about buying a pure bred and not to feel guilty. I personally support shelter/rescues BUT i will share this with many people I know who have that ‘guilt trip’ about buying a certain breed they have been wanting to buy – love this.

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  2. This is such a valid question. I have a friend who purchased a husky some months ago and she was feeling so bad, but at the same time so happy. The conditions that the breeder has the dogs were not good and she decided to give that husky a second change in finding a stable home with better conditions. Personally, I felt like adopting was something I wanted to do, so I did. I adopted my pup Olivia before the pandemic hit and I have no regrets in doing so. I really thing that it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re giving the dog a stable home then you’re already saving them from whatever their future might’ve brought to them in a unstable environment. 

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  3. Hi Stephanie,

    Great comments and I agree 100% in regards to giving a great home to a dog, whether that be a purebred or a rescue dog.

    Mark

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  4. I was having these struggles with this. I like pure breads. But I am completely against puppy mills. However, your post has put things into perspective for me. And taken away the label of criminal that I had place on anybody that bought a pure breed. I will adopt, however. I feel it’s the best thing.

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  5. I had purebreed and rescue dogs too and my opinion is (I loved all my dogs) that rescue dogs are just a tad bit more loyal to you than one you get from a breeder. That’s just my experience. But you’re right there is nothing wrong with buying your puppy from a breeder. The main thing is when it comes to dog ownership, no matter where you get your dog from, make sure you will be a responsible owner and can take care of that baby, because you know, dogs aren’t just for Christmas.

    Thank you for your post,

    j.

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  6. I’ve had dogs from breeders: a Rhodesian Ridgeback, an Australian Shepherd, and a Basenji. More recently, my dogs have been rescued crossbreeds, believed to be a Bassett Hound-Blue Heeler and a Sheltie-Papillion. I would go either way again in the future, for reasons you point out.

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    • Hi Rosana,

      Aren’t the Australian Shepherds great dogs, I actually had one of theses as a teenager, Axle was his name and he was such a great dog.

      I have also owned rescued mixed crossbreeds in the past, my most recent was a Staffy X called Choco who quietly passed in her sleep at the age of 15 about 2 years ago.

      I to am like you and would happily go either way.

      Thanks for your comment Rosana.

      Mark

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  7. Good article, indeed. It is unfortunate that a lotta people I know wanna get the purebred dogs from a breeder. I can understand, because at least you would have a  far lower chance of mixed breed preexisting conditions, like a German Shephard with their bad hips combined with, say, a Pug being brachycephalic (Interesting mixed breed, and I have NEVER seen that before). Still, with proper vacciantions, socializations and understanding of breeds, it may turn out even beter than a purebred dog, at least to me.

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    • Hi Nicholas,

      Some great points made here, and it really is up to each individual as to whether they would prefer a purebred dog or a mixed breed from an animal rescue facility.

      Either way you are giving a dog the perfect home!

      Mark

      Reply
  8. Dogs are a perfect companion animal for humans and they really add a lot of joy to a household. Personally, I couldn’t care less whether someone gets their dog as a rescue of if they spend thousands of dollars for a purebred, it’s their choice and absolutely none of my business. I can understand the animal rights point of view, but I simply don’t subscribe to it. I have had dogs and loved them all through my life, they have always been rescues, however, if I had the money to do it, I would love to get a pure-bred Boston Terrier because they are so damn adorable. No one should guilt anyone because they chose to give an animal a good and loving home, no matter where it came from.

    Reply
    • Hi Al,

      Some really great points you have made here!

      I to think the animal activists have gone a little to far with all the animal rights thing, but like you I don’t really buy into it.

      Thanks again for stopping by our website and for some really great comments.

      Stay in touch.

      Mark

      Reply
  9. I have gotten all of my dogs from either a shelter or a friend’s litter and once from a pet store who only sold dogs from “private home” litters.  That being said, I don’t think that it’s wrong to want a purebred dog instead of adopting an unknown breed.  I, for example, have never had success with adopting an adult dog.  They often come with their own issues and I’ve come to discover that I don’t have the time or patience to try to resolve them. I have the greatest respect for those who can take this on.  

    Now on to puppies. As you have said, when someone adopts a purebred, they know what to expect in regard to temperament, size, health challenges, energy levels, shedding, allergies, etc.  For some people, these things are important for many different reasons.  Of all the puppies I have ever adopted, I’ve never gotten what I thought I was getting because the shelter can never say for sure what the history and parentage are. (Although it’s always turned out well)

    I say this:  To each his own.  And everyone else should mind their own business!

    Reply

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