Rescue vs Breeder


So you’re thinking about adding a furry friend to your family. Should I adopt through a Breeder or Shelter is one of the most important decisions that many individuals struggle with. To help you decide what may work best for your situation, I have included just a couple of the pros and cons for each side of the adoption coin:

Adopting from a Rescue or Shelter:


•Knowing you have saved a life leaves you with a tremendous feeling of pride, plus you have also opened up a kennel for another dog who is hopeful of finding his forever family.

•The cost of adopting through a shelter or rescue is minimal. The average adoption fee is $200, and unless he’s a young pup, your dog should come to you fully vaccinated, microchipped and sterilized.

•You should have the opportunity to spend some time with the dog before you sign the adoption contract. If visiting with an adult dog, you can request to walk him on leash past other dogs and people to gauge if he may need additional training. Be aware though – not all dogs show their true personality with new people and/or in a high stress environment, so don’t take everything you see here as verbatim.


•It is rare to know exactly who you are adopting until your new furry friend has lived with you for a couple of weeks. Every dog reacts differently during the rehoming process. Some may act shy and shut down while others may act goofy and anxious until they become comfortable in their new environment.

•While some rescue dogs may come with a history, many are brought to the shelter as strays. Rescue organizations have to make an educated guess on breed so the likelihood of knowing his true breeds are slim. Without this knowledge it can prove somewhat difficult to gauge his temperament adult size if he’s a pup and his needs for exercise.

•Your rescue dog may have missed out on some socialization as a puppy or learned bad habits while living with his previous owners or fending for himself on the streets. Although this is not always the case, you should be financially prepared to hire a professional dog trainer to assist you, should behavior modification be required.

Adopting from a Reputable Breeder:

PROS: •A wise choice if you have decided on a pure breed and are more comfortable knowing he has had a good start to life, however don’t forget about the endless Pure Breed rescues out there too!

•You will have the opportunity to meet Mom (sometimes Dad), which will provide a more accurate insight to the temperament, size and energy level of the adult version of your very cute puppy.

•Many reputable breeders test their puppies for genetic deficiencies that can be detected at the age of which they are sold.

•A wise choice if you are looking for a canine companion to carry out certain tasks, like hunting, herding, service work etc, although again, I know many rescue dogs that can carry out these tasks just as well.C ONS

•Acquiring your puppy through a reputable breeder can be costly, with the average puppy costing $800 and some as high as $1500.

•Not all breeders are reputable! Be sure to do your research on the breeder before you place your deposit. If possible, you should visit the facility and make sure it is clean and puppies and mom appear happy and healthy. The breeder should be extremely choosey about who their puppy is going home with and should have extensive knowledge about the breed.

You should never feel pressured into rescuing a homeless dog for the fear of being labelled uncompassionate. While adopting through a shelter or a reputable breeder can both prove awesome choices, I would caution you on purchasing a puppy via an independent pet store or internet without doing extensive research. The majority of these puppies are supplied through Puppy Mills, which is a very ugly industry. The conditions that these puppies are raised in are unsanitary and cruel with many pups suffering from emotional and physical issues. So although it may be tough to pass by those sad puppy eyes staring at you through the window, the Puppy Mill industry will never be eradicated if it continues to be financially supported by uneducated animal lovers.

Our next column will look into the pros and cons of adopting a Puppy Vs Adult dog.


Nikki Finn Loudenslager is a professional dog trainer and offers personalized dog training through her business, On The Right Track Professional Dog Training.

For more information, visit her web page or call 970-389-7411.