Is it better to buy a dog from a pet shop or a breeder?
I’ve always been an advocate for adoption. There are so many unwanted dogs out there looking for a caring home. If you’re looking for a purebreed, check out the local humane society in your area. You’d be surprised at how many purebred dogs are taken to shelters! Another option is checking into the local breed rescues. If you’d prefer to start with a puppy, then purchasing from a breeder is your best choice. Be sure to check with the AKC for certified breeders in your area. Do not purchase a puppy from a puppy mill!
It honestly depends on the situation. Many pet shops now sponsor rescue dogs rather than sell purebred puppies. This means you’ll generally find mixed breed dogs, and older puppies, adults, and seniors. Young puppies are rare and get adopted quickly. These dogs are wonderful dogs as well, of course, but will very, very rarely be purebred and may have health or behavior problems from their pasts that you will have to understand and adapt to. Most rescues will work hard to give you all the information they can on the dog’s background and test them with kids, other dogs, cats, and so on to see how they react so you have some warning before adopting them, but there will always be an element of surprise. On the plus side, you will give a dog with a rough start to life a home at a cheaper fee than breeders generally charge. However, some pet shops do still sell purebreds–but these are almost always from puppy mills rather than reputable breeders. Puppy mills keep their dogs in deplorable conditions, abuse them, neglect them, overbreed the mothers, and separate puppies from their mothers far too early. Puppies from puppy mills are almost always sold at much higher prices than a responsible breeder and are inbred and sick. If you go to a pet shop for a dog please look into where their dogs come from. Buying a puppy mill puppy only encourages mills to continue their work. There are a very few pet shops that work with breeders to showcase their puppies, but be sure to ask about where any purebred puppies come from before buying them.
A responsible breeder will sell you a healthy, socialized, purebred puppy but it will usually be at a higher price than a sponsored dog from a pet shop. You will also often have to apply and be on a wait list, as well as sign a contract stating you will do or not do specific things with the dog according to the breeder’s wishes. This could include spaying/neutering by a certain age, not breeding the dog to prevent irresponsible breeding, returning the dog to the breeder if you ever have to rehome them, etc. If you look for a breeder do your research carefully to ensure you aren’t supporting a puppy mill or a backyard breeder (a person who breeds their own pet dogs and sells the puppies at high prices without doing things such as genetic tests that responsible breeders do). A responsible breeder will genetically test their dogs for issues such as hip or elbow dysplasia, hemophilia, and other genetic conditions so that they aren’t passed on to puppies, and if a puppy does inherit one of these will help make sure their owner understands it and how to handle it. This means that unless you choose to buy a puppy affected by something like this the puppy you get will generally be very healthy, though of course this can’t be guaranteed. Puppies from breeders also often come with vaccinated, dewormed, and with registration papers, and are usually very well socialized by time you get them, as they’re raised with people, many other dogs, and sometimes other animals.
Both routes have pros and cons, just like any other decision. These are some of the big ones to consider. Also consider the breed or kind of breed you’re looking for and how easy it may be to find at a pet shop versus at a breeder. Some breeds, such as labs, golden retrievers, pit bulls, border collies, chihuahuas, and pugs are fairly common dogs to find sponsored at pet shops, while some breeds like pharaoh hounds, brittanies, cavalier king charles spaniels, and great danes are much less common and you may have to go to a breeder to get one. Whatever route you choose look for a dog that fits your personality and lifestyle, and remember that it’s a lifetime commitment. Good luck, and enjoy your new friend!
A breeder is a great way to buy a puppy, esp. if you are intent on purchasing a specific breed. The breeder will be there for you in the future if you have questions about the dog as it grows up; the dogs at breeders are socialized far better than those at pet shops. Also, breeders are generally very good about ensuring their dogs do not have genetic issues such as hip dysplasia. Getting a dog from a rescue shelter is also a lovely thing to do. However, if you’re set on a certain breed and/or knowing the dog’s background is important to you, it is not such a good option. Also, it is heartbreaking to get a rescue dog, only to feel compelled to return it to the shelter due to unforeseen problems. No matter which option you choose, train the dog from the very start, using a book such as The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete. It is a treasure.