Shelter vs Breeder: Where Should I Look for my New Best Friend?

You’ve decided to get a dog! Congratulations!

Adding a dog to your family will help you all live happier, longer lives, while providing a warm, loving home to a furry best friend. But, where do you go to find your new buddy? There is a lot of information out there, and it can feel overwhelming to encounter such vehement reactions to getting a dog from either breeders or shelters. So, what’s the best route to go?

Both have perks, of course, so here are the “pros” for choosing a dog from a shelter and from a breeder.


There are a number of options when you consider adoption. You can visit your county’s shelter, privately-funded shelters, or rescues. One of the big benefits of choosing adoption is that you have a huge array of dogs to choose from—every age, size, breed, and temperament imaginable. In fact, you can even find purebred dogs at many shelters and through breed-specific rescue groups. One of the biggest benefits to adoption is that, for an affordable rate, you get a pup who has already been fully vetted. Shelters and rescues vaccinate and spay/neuter their animals before adopting them out, and many microchip them, too. The adoption fee you pay will almost always be less than the cost of those services at your vet.

Adding a shelter dog to your family can be a rewarding experience; not only are you providing a lifetime of love and care to a homeless animal, you’re making space in the rescue for them to save even more animals.


Responsible, reputable breeders focus on the health and wellbeing of the animals they breed. Though it’s impossible to guarantee that an animal won’t get sick, breeders strive to have the healthiest dogs possible. A responsible breeder will be able to give you the lineage of the puppy you’re interested in and introduce you to the dog’s parents. It’s a benefit to have the health information for your dog and your dog’s ancestors.

Of course, one of the biggest pros to choosing a breeder is that you can select the exact breed of dog you’ve always wanted and purchase a dog you can raise from puppyhood. Breeders also offer some support—training advice, feeding requirements, and so on—that can help you provide the right foundation for your new dog.

So, which is the right fit?

Either! Providing a dog with a loving home is a wonderful commitment to make for your family and for the dog. Consider both options carefully. Visit shelters and interview breeders to determine which is the best choice for your family’s specific needs.

Meet the Author: Maggie Marton

Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.

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