When looking for a dog, one of the decisions you’ll have to make is whether you go for a rescue dog or a breeder. There really isn’t a clear answer to this, and personal choice and reasoning will play the biggest part in decision making. Our tips will help you question your rationale for rescue dog vs breeder, but under no circumstances are we saying one is better than the other. It goes without saying that when we talk about breeders and rescue centres we only reference credible places that really look after and care about the dogs.

Why are you getting a dog?

First and foremost, before you even embark on whether to go to a breeder or rescue centre you must answer this fundamental question. Many people see rescuing a dog as a good deed and of course it is, but if your desire for a dog stops there then this will be a problem for you and your dog. Dogs are and should be part of your family whatever the makeup - they don’t like to be on their own for too long and need plenty of love and attention. Also bear in mind this is a lifetime commitment to your dog. How long this lifetime is depends on many factors including breed, health etc, but ultimately you want it to be as long as possible. Otherwise you may want to consider a fish rather than debating rescue dog vs breeder…

Why adopt a rescue dog?

The great thing about a rescue dog is you are potentially saving the dog’s life. Many dogs (more than we care to think about) are still euthanised. If money is an issue, then it is likely that a rescue dog is a much cheaper option than buying from a reputable breeder. When asking yourself whether you should adopt a rescue dog you should be clear on your requirements, i.e. if you have a young family you may want a dog with a good temperament, particularly towards younger children. This can be a major advantage of a rescue dog, as in some cases you can pick an older dog and have a relatively good idea of its behaviour.

Aside from cost and temperament there are many other advantages. An adult dog from a rescue centre precludes all of the usual toilet training, and you also miss the chewing phase that most puppies go through. You will also know of any health issues that usually show in maturity and so potentially avoid any unexpected breed issues (hip dysplasia for example). If you do end up with a dog that doesn’t suit you for any reason then most rescue centres would allow you to return them. It’s not ideal but does offer some peace of mind if any unexpected traits appear after getting home. All of these factors are important when asking yourself; should I adopt a rescue dog?

Why buy from a breeder?

When buying from a breeder you straight away know the breed you are choosing. This can have many advantages, for example you may need a dog that doesn’t malt (important if you or a family member has allergies). Choosing a puppy also means you have control on your dog’s upbringing and so to some extent can shape its behaviour (not its personality, it comes with that already!).

Whilst you cannot be 100% certain of health issues you can have certain checks from the parents and family line, hip scores with Labradors for example. If you want to show your dog, then the breeder can provide the necessary paperwork. A good breeder can also give you lots of advice regarding nutrition for your puppy as well as training. Like the rescue centre if you do have any major issues then you should be able to return the dog to the breeder - a very good breeder will always accept this.

The downsides of adopting a rescue dog

All rescue dogs will have a history, this history may vary and could have been extremely traumatic. This can mean that some rescue dogs may take a long time to build their confidence. It’s not necessarily a downside, but certainly a consideration depending on your family set up.

If you want a particular breed of dog then this is less predictable from a rescue centre, although there really is no downside to a mixed breed dog so this would be a personal preference. This only really becomes important if you want to show your dog as a pure breed.

The downsides of buying from a breeder

First things first, reputable breeders will be expensive and the ‘fancier’ the dog the more you will need to pay. Aside from just purchasing your dog you will then need to pay for all of the vaccinations required. This will add up in the first couple of years.

Then there is the time required to bring up a puppy (this would be the same if you happened to get a puppy from a rescue centre), confined to be around the home for roughly the first ten weeks can feel like a long time. Combine this with toilet training and the natural destruction of property, shoes etc. it can be quite a stressful period!

Training from an early age is very time consuming and not so easy, so prepare to dedicate time and energy to getting it right otherwise it can be even more painful later on.

In conclusion, rescue dogs vs. breeder isn’t the question you need to answer first. Instead, reflect on your own personal circumstances and decide which route is right for you and your family. If you ensure it’s right for you then it will be more likely to be right for your dog, and ultimately that has to be the most important consideration.


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