To Buy or Not to Buy, That Is the Question!

Where Can I Buy a Dog?

This may surprise you, but one question we have trouble answering is “Do you know where I can buy a (insert your favorite dog breed here)?” Why is this question difficult? One reason is the American Kennel Club recognizes 178 breeds! Knowing responsible breeders for all these choices is a challenge.


Jackie and her adopted family!

The second reason, and probably the most important, is we try to promote adoption of animals from reputable shelters or rescue groups. Many wonderful dogs (and cats!) are in need of forever homes. Often these terrific animals end up being euthanized because they are not able to find a home in time. We encourage you to consider adoption and save a life at the same time! We have come to believe one of the best kept secrets is an adult dog up for adoption.

But I Really Want a Purebred!


Dr. Taylor and Jade.

Everyone has their favorites, many of our staff included. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a purebred or an “almost” purebred at various shelters and especially breed specific rescue groups. To that end, just because a dog has “papers” doesn’t guarantee he is any better than a dog without.

Papers can be just that—paper. You need to see, meet, and spend time with any dog you are considering bringing into your home. What is his temperament like? How will he fit into your family and your lifestyle? Can you afford a dog for the next 15 years? Those are likely more important questions than whether or not a dog is AKC registered.

Seeing is believing

If you would like to buy a dog, please do your homework first and make 100{cc651acb8fd21d18461bab90e3951e117ad976e0f5f2bec6fa2ec763fee94208} sure you are working with a reputable breeder. This handout on finding a reputable breeder covers the issues well.

Always Consider:

  • Can you meet both the mother and the father (or the mother at minimum)?
  • Are you allowed access to all areas of the facility, not just a show room?
  • What are the parents’ living conditions and socialization like?
  • Are the puppies clean, active, and friendly?
  • How many breeds do they work with? How many dogs do they have? 1 or 2 is plenty!
  • Puppies should not always be available—constant puppies can mean too many dogs.
  • Responsible breeders should never sell to someone without meeting them in person first and they should not be willing to ship a puppy somewhere.
  • A solid breeder is knowledgeable about the breed, the temperament, and genetic concerns.
  • A reputable breeder will provide you with a contract, vet records, and breed-specific paperwork. They should also provide references from other people who own one of their puppies.
  • A responsible breeder should ask many questions about you (see paragraph below)

Expect the Third Degree

Responsible breeders should have substantial paper work for you to complete. The same goes for shelters and rescue groups.

Requirements vary from group to group, but you should expect to be asked about your history, family, house or apartment, references and intentions for having a pet. If an organization or private individual asks nothing about you or why you want to buy a dog—this is a red flag. You want the organization you are working with to responsibly adopt out pets in their care and not give pets out to just anyone.

Adopted Dogs Are Problem Dogs = Big Fat Myth!

Finding a pet through a shelter or rescue group does not mean the pet has a problem. Responsible shelter and rescue organizations are going to thoroughly evaluate any pet for temperament concerns (e.g., doesn’t do well with kids) and disclose known health issues before adopting them out (e.g., allergies). They may foster an animal for a period of time to see how it acts in a variety of settings.

Reputable adoption organizations do not want to knowingly adopt out pets with serious issues that would cause you and/or your family harm. No one can tell what the future holds for a pet’s health—even if you get a purebred!