So, you're ready to get a dog. Maybe you want a small fluff ball of a dog, like a Pomeranian. Or maybe you want a huge dog, like a Bull Mastiff. Either way, get ready for unconditional love, lots of wet kisses, and a constant wagging tail.
First of all, I know that some people are very fond of a certain breed and will always buy a purebred dog. As long as you do so responsibly, I have no problem with that. When people buy dogs online, from a pet store, or through a questionable breeder is where I have problems. To avoid supporting the puppy mill industry or an irresponsible breeder, simply adopt from a local or breed-specific shelter. Here are a few reasons why a shelter dog is miles better than any purebred:
1. You're saving a life, literally.
If you adopt a dog or puppy from a kill shelter, you're saving their life. Many of these dogs come from horrible situations and deserve much better. According to the Humane Society of America, approximately 3 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year in the United States ALONE.
2. Shelters have purebred dogs too.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, about 25% of dogs are purebred or nearly purebred. If you want a German Shepherd, look around or search on Petfinder.com. Your breed is out there looking for a home.
3. Mutts are cool.
I own all mutts and they are amazing pups. Some dogs are such a mix that it's a total guessing game on what breeds are in their DNA. They could be the size of a Golden Retriever, but have the coloring of an Australian Shepherd, but the personality of a typical Newfoundland. All mutts are the perfect mix.
4. There are tons of puppies that need homes.
Many believe that a breeder or a pet store is the only place to get a puppy. There are so many dogs that come into shelters pregnant or with puppies. There are a lot of younger dogs too that are less than a year old looking for homes.
5. Mutts are, arguably, healthier.
There is a great debate in the dog world over whether purebred dogs or mutts tend to be healthier. Certain breeds are prone to different diseases. For example, the Golden Retriever is prone to hip dysplasia. There is not enough evidence to prove the argument either way.
6. Inbreeding is a risk for purebred dogs.
A study from Imperial College, London found that 10,000 pugs in the UK had a level of genetic diversity you would expect to see in 50 individuals. This is the result of brothers being bred with mothers or sisters being bred with uncles.
That adorable smushed face or those short legs might be cute, but they can also come with a ton of unknown defects or diseases.
7. Shelter dogs are cheaper.
So many rescues and shelters offer dogs that are ready to go home for only a small fee. This usually includes all of their shots, a spay or neuter, and, quite often, a microchip. Shelters often have days or weeks where they will waive the adoption fee of all of their animals.
Instead of paying a couple thousand on a Teacup Yorkshire Terrier, you're getting a just as fluffy pup for free.
8. There really isn't such thing as "purebred."
Dog breeds were created by humans. Most dog breeds started when a certain person needed a certain dog to perform a duty.
So, they started breeding mutts until they got the perfect dog. Each dog was bred to have a job. Pembroke Welsh Corgis were bred to nip at the heels of cattle to herd them. That's why they're so small and quick, and also why they have no tail (or why it is docked as a puppy). Purebreds are simply a result of selective breeding.
9. You'll receive unconditional love.
Dogs love you no matter what. They may show you that love through your chewed shoes, but I promise, they still love you. Shelter dogs love so much because many of them did not receive such love in their early life.
10. You can find a dog as unique as you are.
Want a dog that'll play fetch endlessly? They've got that. Want a dog that snuggles 24/7? They've got that. Want a dog that'll go on runs with you? They've got that. Want a dog that loves people? They've got that. Want a dog that loves cats? Surprisingly, they've got that too.
11. You get support from the rescue or shelter.
Did your pup not work out? Maybe too big or didn't get along with the other dogs in the home? Most shelters and rescue groups will take the dog back and help you find the right dog. May have foster-to-adopt programs where you can test out your dog in your home before you officially adopt.
12. You get a new best friend.
Dogs are called "man's best friend" for a reason. There are always dogs that are looking for their new best friend. Who knows, maybe yours is at the SPCA right down the street.
So, you're looking to adopt? Check out Petfinder.com to search for breeds in your area, or simply search for the size and temperament. Consider adopting a middle age dog or an older dog instead of a puppy.
So, you're not convinced? I understand. Some people always want to have American Kennel Club champion bloodline Chocolate Labrador Retrievers or Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. All I ask is that you do your research to find an AKC reputable breeder. Check out their facility before purchasing a puppy to double check they're running a safe operation. Meet your puppy's parents. Meet other dogs born from that breeder.