In Animal Shelters, Puppies, Responsible dog breeders

To rescue or buy from a breeder?

I strongly believe in saving dogs from shelters, though there is a place for responsible breeders.

To rescue a dog or buy from a breeder?  There are pros to each avenue, it really comes down to your needs, your beliefs, and what fits with your lifestyle.  Let’s dive in! ????

The pro of a shelter dog first and foremost – you save a life!  How amazing is that?!  The gratitude you get from that dog will be like none other.  I rescued my first dog, Kya, from the pound in Denton, TX and that dog would do anything for me.   Now that I think about it – I would for her too.  We had a special bond and her ashes will be spread with mine.  If you rescue from a shelter you have the support of the shelter and you will save hundreds of dollars because spay/neuter operation and vaccinations are already taken care of.

To rescue a dog or buy from a breeder?  Rescue = saving a LIFE!

It’s incredibly important to make sure you pick the right dog. Some dogs will be incredibly timid at the shelter, but once they have been in their new home for a while a ‘different dog’ may appear.  When the dog feels safe and confident their true personality comes out – which could be a good thing, however, sometimes it presents challenges.

I had a dog walking client who adopted a dog with severe fear aggression — which I believe was caused by whatever happened to the dog in the past or lack thereof (IE. socialization).  I used every method I knew of over the next several weeks but had to refuse to walk him to save myself from being bitten.  It was the first, and to this day, the only time I ever turned away a client. The owners were so sweet and tried other walkers, trainers, everything.  They ended up having to medicate the dog to alleviate the problem.  Most dogs can be rehabilitated.  It takes a lot of time and work, but is worth it in the end.  Some dogs can’t and you have to manage the behavior.

In contradiction to that – some dogs have already had some training and are housebroken which is a huge bonus.  Some shelters will have some background for the dog, but not always, so size and behaviors are unknown.

Pros to getting a puppy from a responsible breeder.

One is predictability – you will know the breed’s temperament, size, and appearance.  You will even be able to meet the parents of your puppy.  If you have an affinity for a specific breed it can be hard to find one in a shelter, so going through a breeder is your best option.  There are breed-specific shelters too, but again many times there are waiting lists.

Responsible breeders have a passion for their breed and work hard to achieve high standards with their litters.  They search for champions, test for potential problems, and examine family trees to make sure inbreeding does NOT occur.

You get a puppy with a CLEAN slate to mold, guide, and teach from the very beginning.

A responsible breeder will start the potty training and socialization from day one and will help you prepare your home.  This is setting you up for success, though no doubt about it – a puppy is WORK!  Many times our dog walking service is hired to help with the potty training.  As they say – it takes a village!  A responsible breeder will be your support system and help you in every way they can throughout your dog’s life.  Since they know the breed so well they can tell you things to watch out for ie. sunburn easily, love water, or are prone to eye infections.

“It’s important to understand that responsible breeders do not contribute to the situation of homeless pets in shelters. In fact, they support breed-rescue efforts that help those dogs and are often actively involved in transport, fostering, and placement of rescued dogs.” (SOURCE)

A responsible breeder will take one of their pups back, and/or help you find a new home if it is necessary.   “Responsible dog breeders do not cause pet overpopulation. Irresponsible dog owners do, whether they breed their dogs deliberately, or don’t bother to neuter their dogs in the first place.” (SOURCE)

Make SURE you are not talking to a puppy mill!!  Read our Fed Flags of a Puppy Mill article here.

To rescue a dog or buy from a breeder? Some say there are enough dogs out there – why breed more?  I used to be one of those people, but after 10 years in the pet industry, I’ve seen a lot and have had many experiences.  I respect responsible breeders and believe they have a place.  They foster the integrity of the breed and share their history.  I’ve always loved the Great Dane and the American Bulldog and when I see them running full speed I sometimes imagine their ancestors working on the farm and in the fields.

Ask yourself what it is that you want in a dog, what situation works best for you.  Then do the research, enjoy the process, and find your forever furry friend.

Happy tails and trails,
Amy Fiala

Kya – my Great Dane mix rescue – RIP


Betty my American Bulldog from a responsible breeder


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