Whether you are considering adopting your first dog, or your sixth, here are some things to consider regarding getting a dog from a breeder or a shelter.

Adopting from a Breeder


You have a human who you can answer your questions for life

Your dog will have good bloodlines (no genetic flaws, you can foresee its temperament)

You will be able to have your choice from a litter

You can meet and interact with the puppy’s parents

Your dog will be registered (usually with the American Kennel Club)


You usually have to adopt a puppy from a breeder (vs. an adult dog) which means training, training, and training for you and your family

Breeders charge a premium price (anywhere from $500 to $1000 for the average pup)

Purer bloodlines means stronger instincts in your dog. For example, if you get a Labrador from a breeder, your dog will expect to have a job and be hunted with.

Having your pick of the litter can backfire (your dog can be too active or too slow for your lifestyle).

Adopting from a shelter


Cheaper adoption costs (usually $50 to $300)

Includes your spay/neutering costs and surgery

Many different breeds. Sometimes you think you want a Yorkie, but you find your soul mate in a German Shepherd.

Age variety from puppy to senior

If you don’t find “the one” you can return in a week and see a new batch of dogs


People can be driven by emotions when they walk into a shelter. They can end up adopting a dog that’s about to be euthanized just because they feel sorry for it and end up having a problem dog on their hands

Often you don’t know much about your dog; age is an estimate and breed is a guess

It’s hard to get a feel for the dog’s temperament at a shelter. The dog may become somebody new when you take him out of a cage and put him in your home

Some shelter dogs are rescued from desperate situations like a puppy mill and may need a lot of confidence building

You can’t see the dog’s parents to see what it might be like as it matures

The rarer the breed of dog you desire, the harder to find it in a shelter

I always encourage the average family looking to adopt a dog, to try to find an adult shelter dog.  In next week’s post we’ll discuss the benefits of adopting a puppy vs. an adult dog.