Let’s just say this up front, we don’t take sides on this timeless debate. I have had wonderful dogs that came to our family from a variety of sources: rescued, breeder, it’s all good. In the end, choosing and adopting a dog that is the right fit for you and your family is so personal. Everyone’s journey will be different. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where a dog came from, as long as it is loved and properly cared for by its human family. If you are thinking about getting a dog, it may be helpful to consider the pros and cons of each.  Here, we are looking at breeders. Next month, we will take a look at shelters.


Responsible breeders can be a wealth of information and support for dog owners. They are completely dedicated to their animals and take their jobs very seriously. The process is not simply the pairing up of a male and female dog. The best breeders have an understanding of the dogs, their genetics, temperaments, and challenges. They are also careful about the placement of their dogs and in making sure that each dog makes a good match with its family.

PROs of adopting from a breeder include

  • Fewer (or no!) surprises – you can see the parents and you know the genetics
  • Adopting a dog as a puppy means you can train and teach your dog from the very start.
  • Puppies will probably already be socialized and comfortable with people and the general noise and traffic of a human household.
  • Many breeders offer genetic health testing so you can be proactive about certain known hereditary problems.

CONS of adopting from a breeder

  • Puppies are a lot of work! From the potty training, chewing, feeding, and exercising, raising a dog is just about as intense as raising a child
  • It’s expensive! Breeders fees typically start at $500.
  • Vet bills – you will be responsible for almost all of the vaccinations, vet checks, and sterilization in your puppy’s first year.


In any discussion about adopting dogs, I feel it is important to make this point. Most dogs in pet stores come from puppy mills. These businesses are, quite simply, awful. Dogs are often kept in cages for their entire lives. Their basic needs are met (maybe) and not much else. It is estimated that there are around 10,000 puppy mills in the United States. If you are thinking of adopting from a pet store, do your research first to ensure that they don’t purchase dogs from puppy mills.


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