“Adopt, don’t shop!”
You’ve heard the phrase before, spewing from the mouth of any animal rights activist and probably from most dog lovers, if we’re being honest. It’s not only a catchy phrase, but there is some merit behind it. However, it does lead the future dog owner to believe that “shopping” isn’t adopting. They’re the same thing; the difference is where you get a dog. Shopping is from a breeder, while adopting is usually from a foster parent, humane society, or animal rescue.
So should you adopt a dog, or shop for you from a breeder?
Should I Adopt a Dog? Or Go Through a Breeder?
Pure-bred dogs or those with a known breeding line are fantastic pets. Rescue dogs are wonderful too. One does not produce better pups than the other — period. Breeders get a bad rep — some for good reason — but that should not reflect poorly on the dog. They didn’t ask to come from a breeder or a shelter, after all.
All of that being said, let’s look at some hard data about dog adoption.
Pet Adoption Data
Currently, no institution is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement. These are national estimates from the ASPCA.
Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.
Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats).
Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats).
About 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 620,000 are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.
Dogs in shelters need homes more than dogs who are with breeders. Breeders normally have backup plans for puppies who are not immediately sold, or they stay with their mom. Shelter dogs often don’t have that hope.
The number one reason you should adopt a dog is because you’re potentially saving their life.
Every dog, no matter their past, deserves a chance at life. They deserve to know love and companionship. When they’re at shelters, the odds of them finding that are about 50%.
Why Should I Adopt A Dog?
We don’t mean to tub on your heartstrings, but the reality of the situation is sad. It’s caused by neglect and failure to neuter, which leaves the dog to pay the price.
A shelter dog has an unknown past in most cases, but that doesn’t make them less deserving of love. You will still get the chance to meet your best friend. Many shelter dogs aren’t even adoptable until they’ve been socialized with humans, so they’ll be ready to love you and play with you.
Not sure if you’ll find the right dog? Many shelters and rescue groups screen animals for specific temperaments and behaviors to match pets with prospective owners. This means you’ll have more luck finding a dog that matches your personality and lifestyle.
You’ll Save Money
Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is much less expensive than buying a pet from a breeder. Breeders can easily charge $1000+ depending on the breed and ancestry of the dog.
To compare, adoption costs range from $50 to $200. In addition, animals from many shelters are already spayed or neutered and vaccinated, which makes the shelter’s fee a bargain. Some shelters even waive adoption fees from time to time, so be sure to follow them to know when that happens! For cats, it’s normally around kitten season — the older cats are often overlooked, so many shelters will waive extra fees!
Why Should I Go to a Breeder?
If you have your heart set on a purebred, then you’ll still get a wonderful dog. You’ll know their ancestry, and if done by a reputable breeder, they’ll have been screened for genetic diseases. Just be sure you know how our breeder operates before agreeing to purchase a puppy from them.
If you do go to a breeder, you’ll likely get to pick which puppy you’ll go home with (assuming they’re not claimed). You often won’t get a selection like this at a shelter, though it is possible during puppy season.
You’ll also be able to be a little picky. For example, you want a white husky with two different colored eyes? A breeder can make that happen, while a shelter may not have a dog like up for adoption for a long time.
All of that being said, we wholeheartedly recommend you adopt from a shelter or rescue. Those dogs need help now and they’ll love you so much for it. You may not know their past and may not know what the future will hold for both of you, but it’s so much more fun to find out together.