A sad pitbull in a shelter.

Commentary: I Will Judge You for Buying a Dog From a Breeder


In this day and age, most people have some familiarity with animal rescue. At the minimum, they have a Facebook friend (like me) who shares animal rescue information or a neighbor who rescued a dog. Or they’ve seen billboards promoting adoptions from the local shelter.

A mural at Oregon Humane Society. (Photo by Kezia Willingham)
A mural at Oregon Humane Society. Photography by Kezia Willingham.

With all the attention the rescue movement has received in recent years, you’d think 100 percent of people would choose to rescue over buying a dog from a breeder, right?

Apparently not.

The other day, when a FB friend asked where to find a certain breed of puppy, which I know is easily found in local shelters, I shared some resources. By the end of the comment thread, however, she appeared to have found a puppy from a breeder. It was then that I realized I’m not as open-minded as I like to think: I immediately thought less of the person for buying a dog instead of rescuing one.

An adorable puppy for adoption.
Cute little adoptable puppy. Photography by Kezia Willingham.

Ever since I learned about animal rescue, I’ve been passionate about supporting the cause. In fact, I think animal rescue is one of the best acts of goodwill a person can perform in her lifetime. Rescuing just one dog or cat and saving a life feels good; it’s a tangible act of service that benefits all involved.

If you’re a parent, this also is a profound way to teach your children the value of saving a life and what it means to care for an animal. Character development is best done through demonstration.

A child playing with a cute adoptable puppy.
My son Justin visiting with a puppy at Oregon Humane Society. Photography by Kezia Willingham.

My opinion on rescue vs. buying from a breeder is clear: Adopt, don’t shop.

I’d like to think that I don’t judge other people. It’s petty and immature. It’s a waste of time and energy. It does no good. And yet, here I am judging someone for choosing to purchase a puppy from a breeder as opposed to adopting one. What kind of hypocrite am I?

I guess I’m the kind of hypocrite who could pretend not to care when friends who have the intellectual ability to adopt choose to buy — but I do care, and I’ll judge them for it.

One of the author's rescue dogs.
My first dog ever, May Belle, adopted from Seattle Humane Society. Photography by Kezia Willingham.

Maybe I shouldn’t subscribe to as many rescue pages on Facebook, because every single day I see cute, adorable dogs and cats in desperate need of homes. Many have limited time in overwhelmed shelters that will kill them if they aren’t adopted, and this profoundly affects me.

I think I’ve done my part by adopting five rescue dogs (two of which are foster fails). In fact, none of the dogs we have living with us are my “dream breeds,” but I love them all for their personalities and the joy they bring into the life I share with my children. They are treasured gems who miraculously found their way into our lives.

My son Justin with our dog Magnum at the dog park. Photo by Kezia Wilingham.
My son Justin with our dog Magnum at the dog park. Photography by Kezia Wilingham.

I like Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs, and think they are delightfully cute. I confess that I’d like to have one of them eventually. I’ve gone so far as looking up breeder information online (and learned that buying a puppy from a breeder can be very expensive, depending on the source, gender, and age of the dog). I wholeheartedly agree that the Bostons and Frenchies I’ve met are about as charming as can be.

And yet, almost every shelter has many equally adorable dogs and cats for a fraction of the cost. Adoption compels me more than finding the “perfect” looking puppy from a breeder. And, since you can often find adoptable dogs from breed-specific rescue groups such as Bulldog Haven Northwest, I don’t see why I would ever go the breeder route.

Even though I think it’s morally wrong and a waste of energy to judge others, I have to be real and admit that I think less of a person who buys a dog from a breeder when so many precious lives perilously wait for their forever homes in shelters and rescue groups. These animals are everywhere, across the country. Take Villalobos Rescue Center of Pit Bulls & Parolees fame — at any given time it has close to 400 adorable, adoptable dogs looking for homes.

Me with May Belle at the dog park. Photo by Zinnia Willingham.
May Belle and me at the dog park. Photography by Zinnia Willingham.

To me, saving a life is a more noble choice than purchasing a dog from a breeder. I wish everyone felt the same way.

Do you agree with me? Or do you still give a pass to people why buy dogs? Tell me your reasons in the comments.

Read more about buying a dog from a breeder on Dogster.com: 

About Kezia Willingham: Also known as the Breadwinning Laundry Queen, Kezia works as the Health Coordinator for an urban Head Start program and lives with her family, which includes a pack of rescued animals, in Seattle. She is a regular contributor to Catster & Dogster. You can find her on Twitter @KeziaWillingham.

110 thoughts on “Commentary: I Will Judge You for Buying a Dog From a Breeder”

  1. I completely agree with what Judy Judy says.

    There’s no reason to be so definite about your judgement. I have a rescue dog and a purebred dog. The rescue dog has lots and lots of behavioral problems towards people and other dogs. I’m so sure that if we didn’t own him in our loving family, he would be euthanized at the shelter. We also have a new corgi puppy that we adopted from a responsible breeder. We had to go with a puppy so that our current dog would grow fond of her, and in fact, everything is working out beautifully. He has a dog companion for the rest of his life, and we have two wonderful dogs that are happily living with our family. And may I say–inside only dogs (even though we have a big yard!)

    It’s immature to judge anyone for these decisions. Just like others have said; because I have one rescue and one purebred, does that make me half bad? Half good? It’s ridiculous. Because to both of my dogs, I’m sure that we are their world. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  2. I have taken in several dogs that were headed to shelters if I didn’t take them….I have rescued dogs directly from shelters…..I have also purchased adults and puppies from breeders…..I currently have a happy pack of 4 purebreds….I really don’t care if others judge me or not…..I have no regrets….

  3. Some Super Mean Bottle-Feeding Shelter Volunteer Guy

    You guys here desperately wanna feel good about buying a dog rather than rescuing, huh?

    “I couldn’t find the breed I needed! / I’m allergic/etc!” For actual working dogs (recreational purposes not included), maybe valid, for the rest… tough. Short of service animals you do not NEED an animal and are not entitled to one. Keep looking, find another breed or mix, or move on. Pets are, essentially, luxuries, and you’re not going to die if you don’t get your Pomeranian. It is beyond selfish to put your desires before the very literal life-or-death needs of millions of animals.

    “The rescues were too strict!” I’m sure some are! There are poorly run organizations in every possible field. Rather than taking the small child route and throwing your hands up at discouragement, FIND ANOTHER. Increase your search radius, try shelters and humane societies which tend to be easy as pie adoption processes, even check Craigslist for people who need to rehome their often perfectly well dog before moving or etc.

    There is NO shortage of rescue groups and most of them are reasonably run. And what’s a few hour drive out of state if it gets you your perfect match for many years of love and saves a life, too?

    Again, if after a long process of BS you’re done, fine, *move on*. Pick up a new hobby, volunteer somewhere, check out other pet species. Come back and try again in some time if you want, new rescues spring up all the time and “stock” is constantly changing.

    You are not entitled to a dog.

    “I bought from an ultra responsible ethical hobby breeder!” In this country, at this point in time, there is no such thing as an ethical dog or cat breeder (short of strictly for service animals). It’s unfortunate, I love ribbon-winning Finnish Lapphunds as much as the next guy, but it’s the hard, factual truth. If there are millions of animals without homes, most perfectly adoptable, many in concrete boxes 24/7 losing their minds until they are killed scared and alone, purposely producing more of these animals is, by definition, unethical and irresponsible.

    That is, of course, if you have a solid concept of ethics, human responsibility to animals, and large-scale cause-and-effect. Give it some harder thought and rethink where you’re really coming from. We all want to believe the bad isn’t our fault, and sometimes that blinds us.

    “It’s not my fault / it’s the fault of ignorant people who don’t fix their pets!” Maybe so! But then is it really the right response to ignore or contribute to the suffering? This is about the animals, not you. They have no concept of who did anything. All they want is help and love. Will you really leave them to suffer because it’s not your fault? Surely the owners who directly put them into their situations aren’t going to help them now.

    And you, buying from the breeder, are a good person and fix your pets and won’t abandon and whatever, okay — remember, the whole litter’s not for you, so how about the rest of the pups? Will they be handled so well? Some 30% of dogs going into govt shelters are purebred and the number is higher for rescue group surrenders.

    The breeder had good luck homing the pups this year, so they’ll have another litter next year! (But of course, not you responsible breeders who go by magical ethical algorithm or something, and surely represent the actions of all/most breeders)

    So you see why you buying that one puppy is a problem? If a puppy hadn’t been so quickly homed, they might reconsider their numbers of litters. Etc. “Does the breeder puppy not deserve a home?” Of course he does, and chances are, he will be bought even if you don’t buy him. There is a whole lot of demand for purebred puppies. And I don’t know many breeders who would drop their puppies at the shelter if not sold either.

    Remember, by adopting, you save two lives: the life of that dog, and the dog that can then take his place in the shelter rather than be euthed for overcrowding. For rescue groups, when you adopt one of their dogs, they can then nab another shelter dog when that foster space frees up.

    1. You’d make a terrible lawyer

      “You are not entitled to a dog”. I know it makes you feel profound and intelligent to say that, but that’s irrelevant to the topic.

      “All they want is help and love. Will you really leave them to suffer because it’s not your fault?” Silly argument. I’ll respond with an equally ridiculous argument. What have you done for victims for natural disasters? It’s not your fault hundreds of people died in these fires, tsunami’s, etc, but by doing nothing, is it fair to say you’re intentionally leaving these humans to suffer? We’re talking about human lives here, not dogs!

      Look, a big reason in getting a dog is to enrich one’s life, and to form and experience the bond with the dog. Saving a dog’s life, which noble, is secondary. You can’t save every single dog from euthanasia, but with the right decisions, you can find the right dog (whether from breeder or shelter) that will enrich your life for years to come.

  4. I feel the exact same way! Anyone with a heart would feel that way too. Put them in the rescue groups, see the sweet, scared faces facing death through no fault of their own, just ignorant owners and greedy breeders overwhelming the shelters. I would hope they would see it our way, if not then they can truly not be dog lovers.

  5. 16 1/2 years ago, I bought a cute little Chihuahua from a pet store. It was a spur of the moment thing while out with my daughter one day. We didn’t plan on coming home with a dog, but you know what???????? Niko loved us, and lived with us for 16 1/2 years and I do not regret my decision one bit. We had to put him down the past May and my heart is broken. I feel like we “rescued” him just like he rescued us!
    I am sure that once the sadness and the sting of losing Niko eases a little bit (because it will never go away) we may consider another furbaby, I don’t know if I will buy from a breeder, or adopt. Nobody has the right to tell me what to do, or what kind of dog to love.

  6. I bought my English Cocker Spaniel from a breeder and it was absolutely the right choice for me and my family. The breeder I chose is passionate about the breed. Her dogs are all confirmation champions, have been health tested for generations, and have wonderful personalities. There is nothing wrong with buying a puppy from a reputable breeder- you will have a well-socialized, healthy dog who has had the best start in life possible.

  7. I am a breeder. I also have rescued and fixed animals. I would like to make it clear that I am NOT in it for the money. I have never been in it for money. People always think breeders are out to make a bunch of money without any regard to the health of their dogs. Well that’s not true AT ALL. Even though our puppies “cost a lot”, EVERY time I have a litter I end up in the negative dollar amount. I have never earned profit off a puppy. The reason I chose to breed is ethical and completely responsible. I breed my dogs because I am bettering the breed and ony breeding top of the line genetics. I do not breed my dogs to just any dog, there is a thorough scan of pedigree, health, etc. Different people and families have different needs for a dog and sometimes a rescue dog does not fit those needs. Think before you judge others, especially if you do not know the whole story.

  8. You’re honestly really annoying because in this article you say you judge people for buying dogs from a breeder, and then admit to looking up breeders to buy a dog yourself.
    You’re not any better than anyone else if you’re willing to do the exact same thing you chastise them for.

  9. I care about how dog owners treat their dogs — not where the dogs come from. Every day, I see people who are lousy dog owners, and I’m sure a lot of them came from shelters.

    A more thoughtful approach is to recognize that both can exist in our world. I’ve adopted cats and also bought dogs from reputable breeders who I know personally. So, let me ask: in your moral universe, does that just make me only partly bad? Half-bad, maybe? Is there an equation?

    Rescue or adoption is not the right path for many people.

    So, here’s my suggestion: spend more time worrying about what’s in your own orbit, and not what other people are doing. You don’t know anything about that pure breed dog, or the owner or where it came from. Mind your own business and spend less energy judging others.

  10. First let me say that I think its wonderful that so many people Choose to adopt their dogs. It is also wonderful to Choose to buy a pure breed dog from a reputable breeder.
    I really wish that all the judgemental shelter dog people would just shut up!!

    My reply to anyone who says anything to me about my 2 purebred old fashioned straight back German Shepherds is
    Did you breed your own children or did you adopt them ?
    You know, there are so many abandoned children. You really should adopt rather than breed your own.

    Stop being a hypocrite and get out of my face !!!!

  11. Sherelle Souverain

    I have free will and choose not to adopt or rescue. I have 3 dogs that I paid for from a Breeder. My local shelter has nothing but pits, labs and other big dogs that I won’t bring in my house. I am interested in what I am interested in. I won’t be putting in applications from rescues to only be denied because I live in an apartment and work. So as long as I work and make my own money I can do as a please. I rather pay for a Breeder that does testing and I know what I’m paying for. Don’t like it too bad. I refuse to adopt or rescue.

  12. Well, judge me then, you smug self-righteous busybody. Because everyone who sees things differently from you is wrong! People like you, judging others choices because they don’t agree with you, is at the root of what’s wrong in our society. What you folks do, is really, bullying, and it’s the bigger wrong.

  13. I am not going to lie. This article absolutely resonated with me! I agree with you 100%! I too know that judgement is unfair at times, but if we’re being real, it’s natural. It is ok to discuss our real feelings and thoughts in a public forum because I was beginning to think that I was the anomaly based on all the people in my life I know who seek out breeders. I follow and volunteer at shelters near me and see first hand all the hopeless creatures who will eventually perish due to other human beings’ failure to maintain and care for them. So the least we can do is adopt, spay/neuter, and give a soul a good life. That truly is a great purpose in this life.

  14. Throughout my life I have adopted from shelters or rescued strays. I have 2 rescued bully mixes in my home right now, whom I love dearly. And yet, my heart dog was a miniature schnauzer who I bought from a breeder – one who tries hard to improve the breed and breeds for good health – 14 years ago. Last month, after a year of crying every day, missing my beloved Lexi who went everywhere – even work – with me, I bought another miniature schnauzer from another excellent breeder, to join our pack. If no one tried to continue in a responsible way to keep these breeds going, all that would be left are mixed breeds. Maybe that’s ok, but maybe not. I feel the ideal is not to put responsible breeders out of business, but to enact and enforce spay/neuter laws with free options. Moving dogs from high dog population areas to shelters and homes in lower dog population areas is being successfully done. I have done and am still doing my part to rescue the hard to place mixes, so please don’t judge me for loving a particular breed and wanting a better chance at having a healthy puppy of that breed.

  15. I have owned a dog or cat (or multiples of either or both) for 49 years. We own our home in a village, the yard is fenced, we have a dog door from an insulated mud room out the fenced yard – though our pets mostly prefer being inside with us, sitting on the furniture. All are UTD and well love, neutered and well loved.

    People may be turning from ‘rescues’ for the same reasons that I am suspicious of them. Caesar, the Pomeranian laying next to me was offered as an 18 month old. When I met them in the parking lot of a hotel, the rescuer had a car full of cats and dogs, and was primarily concerned with handing over a clearly more mature un-neutered male and collecting her $250. Nine years later we have over come the fears, lack of socialization, and food aggression of a dog who is at least 14. I love him, but nothing they told me was true but his breed.

    Since then, trying to be part of the solution, I have tried to adopt from rescues. I have been turned down four times. I am too far away for a home visit -Offering gas money didn’t help. I already have a dog, or a cat. Yes, many animal lovers do, and I feel that animals are happiest when they have a species companion. I am too old. I have a grandchild. I don’t meet their ‘standards’ – standards they didn’t share with me. My half acre yard, almost entirely fenced with 5 foot fencing is inadequate. and on top of being a a little preachy and a lot judgmental, they want $400-$500 dollars. But not from me, because I am an unsuitable owner.
    I went to a local humane society and adopted a dog they insisted was 15, calm and well socialized with cats and dogs. I think maybe she was just depressed – because in our home, she bullied both of the dogs she had already met, chased the cats, and was very destructive….when she tried to attack one of the other dogs, who was sleeping at the time, I took her back and let them keep the fee. Our vet was also of the opinion that she was 10 or 11 at best.

  16. A dear friend with a great job, doesn’t travel, with fenced back yard, 5 y/o boy, stay at home mom in nice neighborhood was deemed unworthy of adopting. Didn’t pass the stringent rules. If he can’t adopt who can? My husband even asked him if he had some skeleton we didn’t know about??
    This might be a reason for Breeder dog.

  17. I do understand where you’re coming from, but maybe you should consider the other factors people buy from a breeder. Not all people buy dogs just as pets. For situations where someone is searching for a dog to be trained as a service dog or therapy dog, that person needs to know what to expect. The dog needs to have the right temperament for the job, has to be reasonably healthy and have a good chance to stay that way, and has to be able to learn whatever commands are needed for the job. I am speaking from personal experience, as my family has trained a service dog for my sister. I’m not saying that training a service or therapy dog is the only reason to buy from a breeder; there are plenty of other reasons to, whether it be for a need or want. Yes, adopted animals from shelters is awesome; I have two cats I’ve adopted. It’s just that everyone has their own reasons for what they do, so please don’t judge when those reasons aren’t apparent.

  18. It takes a very narrow mind to make that statement. We are not all the same, our needs are not all the same, so those who think differently are wrong. Maybe more should be done to spay and neuter the strays and back yard dogs. Should be mandatory along with the mandatory rabies and license. This business of it’s my way or no way is is an intolerant person. I will continue to buy pure bred from a professional breeder when the time comes because I know something about their health. To each his own.

  19. I am a breeder! A proud breeder of Shorthaired Pointers. My dogs are bred mainly for Show, Obedience, Tracking, agility and SEARCH and RESCUE. A lot of my dogs have excelled in these pursuits and are highly sort after for these ‘canine professions’ . Because of centuries of breeding to a Standard, my GSP’s have kind, reliable temperaments, excellent ‘noses’ for tracking and hunting, wonderful Agility for difficult terrain and the endurance to work all day. This breed is rapidly becoming the preferred breed for Search and Rescue especially, because of their tracking ability and love of people, especially children (human puppies)! The breed is also becoming the preferred breed for airport security/drug/bomb/ contraband etc detection for the same reasons. So yes! I am a proud BREEDER/OWNER of purebred dogs! (shock, horror, dismay!!!). As for selling my precious pups to PET homes …. I don’t, except on the rarest of occasions – 4 times in approx. 35 years I have sold a puppy to a ‘pet’ home. On the whole, a ‘pet’ home is the worst life that you could ever sentence your working Gundogs or Sheep/Cattle dogs etc to!! Almost always, I tell people enquiring about a ‘pet’ to go to their local pound and get themselves a nice little mongrel or preferably an older one that might be a perfect, ready-made house pet that would probably end up PTS because almost no-one wants the middle aged or older dogs! Otherwise I advise trying one of the breed rescues or contact a breeder of a breed like Cavalier Spaniels that have been carefully refined over countless centuries ….. purely as a Lady’s Lapdog or the perfect Pet Breed.

  20. I went to two different shelter before buying my dog from a reputable, trustworthy breeder; there were no dogs at the shelter.

    Also last time I went to America, I was shocked to see dogs in shops! It’s illegal where I live; in Canada. I’m not used to seeing them in such small spaces, I can clearly see how wrong it is… But I only saw young puppies? Do shops just not sell adults?

  21. I have two dogs, both of which were rescues. The 2nd was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and after falling in love with the breed, we wanted another one (esp since our one dog is very elderly and I wanted to get a 3rd so the 2nd would have his friend when that inevitable day comes for Dog #1)

    I tried going to a variety of animal rescue routes . The local shelters are all full of big dogs (mostly pits, but other bigger breeds. ) I don’t want a big dog. I tried various Cavalier groups and every time we found one we might be interested in, either 59 other people beat me to it 0r on two occasions, I was told “I wasn’t qualified” – one because I already had two dogs and apparently three is too many, and the other because our oldest dog has cherry eye which we did not have operated on to correct. My vet had told us that it was ok, that obviously he could have dry eye at some point but otherwise I was never led to believe that not surgically correcting it made me a bad pet mom. Quite frankly, a home visit would show anyone our dogs are incredibly loved and spoiled, so I’m NOT neglectful but this person acted as if I was. After trying and trying, I gave up. We currently have our third dog (a cavalier) that I got from a breeder.

    Would I have preferred to get him from a rescue? Yes. I would have. But some times they’ve made it so impossible – and the competition so great – that unless I was willing to adopt a pit, I had no real other choice. I did what I finally felt what was best. People can judge all they want – my first two were rescues, and #3 would have been as well if I wasn’t judged by others already.

    1. This! ^

      I’ve wanted a golden retriever since I was a kid. The golden rescues near me have waiting lists a mile long and I’ve yet to find a golden rescue that will adopt out of state. I also considered rescuing from Asia but the requirements are ridiculous. I volunteer at an animal shelter on the weekends, any dog that’s not a pit mix is adopted within days. I’m not allowed to have a pit mix where I live. I love animals, I eat a plant based diet, I have two rescued cats, but yes, I’m considering buying a golden puppy from a breeder.

  22. I have adopted two St. Bernard’s. My first experience I was told the dog was spayed. Well that was not true and wound up taking her for emergency surgery for pyometra. She could have died. I was then lucky to have her for 5 more years. The second rescue was an awesome dog. The most beautiful and perfect dog. I instantly fell in love. Well, about 2 weeks in my dog became very sick. So sick she spent over a week and a half in the pet ER. After about 1 month and 3 days of having her, I had to put her down. Never found out what was wrong with her. My heart was ripped from my chest and stomped on.
    I do believe in adopting, but with my situations I needed a dog that would stick with me for awhile. I did get another St. Bernard from a breeder this time. I need some time before I rescue again. I can’t emotionally take another loss.

  23. Do you judge the act or the person? If you’re making a judgement about the whole person based on one action than of course that’s lame. However, everybody judges actions, it’s impossible not to. I would think most people just feel better about themselves when they save a dogs life rather than pay a lot of money for a dog. I sure do. I adopted my son for the same reason, it’s a win-win situation.

  24. I volunteer for a local animal rescue and therefore understand your passion for helping these homeless pets. I guarantee that everyone ” in the trenches” helping find homes for unwanted dogs and cats in the shelter feels the same as you. I feel the same as you. It’s a slap in the face when my neighbors and friends go to a breeder! I just don’t understand why?? It’s heartbreaking really. I am sorry there are a bunch of people on here giving you crap for judging but they obviously have no idea the magnitude of the problem and how many pets are euthanized because they went to a breeder instead of looking at a shelter or online. I feel your pain.

  25. IMHO, “adopt don’t shop” was originally directed at pet stores the likes of Petland, etc. Well, at least that’s what the movement founders have said.

    There was a time when I was a hardcore rescuer, now with the advent of “retail rescue” I’m now stuck looking for dogs elsewhere. So now I’ve taken to purchasing older (2 years and older) from reputable breeders. I guess what the rescue scene is like now vs 10 years ago has really turned me off. Some of these so called “rescues” never complete home visits and expect you to take the dog on first introduction to resident dogs. How ridiculous! How unsafe! How irresponsible! There are also genetic health concerns. Yup, its happened to us with a dog we got from a rescue. Mixed breeders being superior health wise is an urban legend, go ask your vet and I’ll wait here. And then is then there is the potential for behavior problems. It’s happened too. Have you ever had to train a dog to accept social interaction? Having to hover over them, watching for the slightest bit of muscle tension? Finally, there are the morally self righteous and sanctimonious judgy judgersons. Make no mistake, I’m still involved in rescue… I just won’t have anything to do with retail rescuers. Have you any idea how difficult it is to find?! So many are crooked, warehousing dogs at kennels until a purchaser can be found. Ugh. And only IF you know their game, do you find out there not legit until AFTER you’ve dragged yourself and references through the adoption process a dozen times. Recently I bought a 2 year old dog from a breeder who’s primary focus is on temperament, for the express purpose of giving any rescues I bring into my home a greater feeling of stability. My purebred dog has been socialized to the nth degree, nothing ruffles her feathers. To judge anyone less than for buying from a reputable breeder is the very sanctimonious stuff that’s driven me from keeping rescues myself. Sorry, not sorry for getting fed up with the rescue scene. It’s become the same sick thing breeders were 20 years ago. Breeders have cleaned up their acts, now it’s rescues turn.

    I won’t apologize or put my dog’s breeder down, by claiming I rescued my dog from her. And I won’t apologize for buying a health tested and well socialized dog. I will however distance myself from anyone with the above moral superiority complex mentioned above. Not you, or anybody else is better or less than for getting their pet from a rescue or breeder. On the other hand, I will have a hard time not judging people who don’t take care of their pets…

    1. You ma’am are a rare gem! Thank you for eloquently putting everything and some of what I was thinking into those beautiful words. We, as a people need to stop with the judgments and overall prejudices, period! I think I’m more excited after having read your post because I wouldn’t have had the time, patience or temperament to put into words the necessary for these “perfect” beings we have in our midsts.

  26. Narrow-minded thinking. Shelter dogs are without a home for a variety of reasons. The primary problem are people who are either too poor or too ignorant to neuter or spay their dogs and cats. That’s where the main blame should rest. Another reason are those cultures which raise dogs for fighting or racing, and discard or abandon them when they’re not useful for these inhumane purposes. Serious breeders have fostered the AKC registered breeds, and many have worked hard to eliminate genetic disease from the gene pool. My first German shepherd came from a “backyard” breeder, when I didn’t know better. She needed to have both hips replaced which was very expensive. Dogs bought from serious careful breeders have been bred from breeding Champion dogs, which have been selected to minimize genetic diseases such as hip dysplasia, chondrodysplasia and early cataracts, deafness and blindness. The majority of breeders do so for the love of the dogs; as it is only for a few a money-making enterprise. The hours of work put into selecting breeding dogs, showing them to obtain their championships and breeding selectively costs a lot of money. Feeding a kennel of dogs, keeping them up to date on their shots, caring for them, are all very time-consuming and no one would choose to be a breeder unless he or she truly loved the breed. I now have two rescue dogs, from an Aussie rescue organization. For the past two years, I’ve tried to get another rescue Australian shepherd, but haven’t been able to. For personal reasons, I really was more than ready to bring home another younger Aussie, and as my efforts to adopt one had not worked out, I was overjoyed to be able to buy one from a good breeder. I refuse to believe this makes me a bad person. The second of my rescue dogs was a two year old Aussie/heeler mix who had clearly been physically abused. I chose her over another dog without problems, so she would have a good home. I resolved I would work with her and never give up on her, and adopted her because I knew her issues would take years of kindness and consistence to overcome, and most people would not commit to giving her a forever home, or even know how to do it. It has been hard work, but I don’t regret it. But who are you to judge me for buying my new puppy from a breeder? That SHOULD be the norm. No one should have to suffer the heartache of genetic diseases which can and should be avoided through selective breeding. Because many people don’t know this, and many people are too poor to afford spaying and neutering their pets, we would all be better off by promoting public policies which educate the public about these issues. Free clinics should be available, so that those who can’t afford it, can get their dogs spayed and neutered, and get needed shots for public health reasons. That’s where I would put my emphasis.

    1. That should not be a norm, to create dogs, make them free of decease and perfectly looking is like to breed people with out genetically problem and make the perfect race !! look to me like a German Nazi talking here.
      there is not such things in nature, but if we don’t interfere and “make dogs” there will be balance.
      As Nature is balance.
      Until ten please adopt caged dogs, chained dogs, if you want a dog for a specific purpose ( ??) then adopt a big dog or a small dog that has a bit of physical trait that resemble what you are looking for, then train the dog.

      Dogs need work some less then others but doesn’t mean that the pure bread one need less…
      and if you go for easy then maybe choose a cat over a dog.

      My opinion is that insecure people need to have the “perfect dog ” as they maybe buy this perfection that they seek and buy a good looking strong or white fluffy is what they really want to appear.

      Secure people are not scared to have a scruffy lovely shelter dog.

      1. Sooo what you’re saying is that you’d prefer a dog riddled with disease and malformation over one with a clear history just so you can brag about how great you are for adopting? Look adoption is great and all but what would be even better is if people like you don’t see improving a dog’s health and genes as being equal to hitler. Want to know what’s messed up? You’d rather dogs be sick or deformed than be healthy and happy. Hope you’re proud of yourself there, mate.

        Also you can’t just adopt a dog that looks vaguely like a schnauzer and expect it to hunt rats. You can’t adopt a dog that might have 20% retriever in it and expect it to fetch ducks you’ve shot. You can’t just adopt a dog that has the coat pattern and face of a pointer and expect it to point out on the field. These are not learned skills. These are genetically linked instincts. If a dog is 20% retriever then what is the other 80%? Mastiff? Those are guarding dogs not retrievers. They’d think you’re crazy if you expected them to retrieve prey in the field. Specialized jobs like that need dogs that can actually do them. Yes some mutts can and will retrieve prey or point them out but more often than not their mix of genetics does not include these traits. That’s great and all if you’re just looking for a companion. But here I am wanting a dog who can excel in agility.

        If I walk on in a shelter will any dog in there want and enjoy it? Maybe, maybe not. I’d have no way of knowing till I got the dog and tried to get it to jump some hurdles. And honestly most dogs in shelters are pit types and I’m not capable or willing to handle a dog with high probability of aggression and unpredictability. I adopt cats but buy dogs. At least most shelter cat’s biggest problem is worms and that’s quite treatable. Severe hip dysplasia? Well there goes that dog’s chance of a pain free life.

        Ps. Dogs are not products of nature. They are products of humans selectively breeding wolves for better traits aka what you refer to as ‘playing hitler’.

        Pps. I know nobody’s perfect but please at least proofread your work next time it was really hard to follow along what you were ranting on about.

      2. You’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer, are you?

        Dogs were domesticated through wolves via selective breeding. Without breeders, having dogs as a pet wouldn’t be an option in the first place.

  27. There are really three issues at hand here.
    1- People looking to add a pet to their family as companion should work with a shelter or rescue, and let’s be honest, puppies are hard work.
    2- Puppy Mills should be closed, period. A majority of the worst offenders are actually the Amish, they don’t see them as individual beings needing love and attention, they see them as livestock.
    3- I have purchased from a very specialized breeder, before my accident my dogs were working dogs. Hundreds of years breeding the right kind of traits for a specific job has given me an extremely intelligent dog and the absolute best companion.

    I’m sorry if you can’t see the value of a truly dedicated breeder trying to improve the breed and ensure it’s continued existence for generations to come.

    Tara P.

  28. For those that say “doesn’t the puppy from the breeder also deserve a home” , you are part of the problem. That is like saying, go ahead and buy that fur coat because the animal has already been killed for it anyways. Stop buying and they will stop breeding!!

    1. Excellent comment! Supply and demand folks. If it makes you feel better about yourself to have a “purebreed” dog, it is YOUR choice. But please do not call yourselves dog lovers. You probably believe it is okay to cage your dog too…oh, I mean crate.

    2. THANK YOU! As far as breeders – if there’s no demand, they’ll stop supplying. And I think it’s safe to say any unadopted would be “homeless”… that’s why so many end up at shelters.

  29. I got a dog from a breeder. I wanted a dog for a very specific purpose, hunting. You can’t tell what a shelter dog will be able to hunt. It may, and it may be very good at it, but you don’t know what you’re going to get. By getting a dog from a reputable breeder, I know I have a dog that will be a great gun dog and by getting from a RESPONSIBLE breeder, they should be healthy and well cared for dogs (I don’t support puppy mill breeders). If you are not in need of dog for a specific purpose and just want a pet, absolutely adopt. I adopted my cat. 🙂

  30. I too was committed to finding a rescue to adopt- and then I tried. I spent over a year looking every day for a non- shedding dog (my son has allergies). After being turned down more than once for ridiculous reasons (my large, beautiful suburban yard isn’t fenced- although we are considering electric fenced, one family member has allergies- that’s why I was applying for a non- shedding dog, my husband and I both work- although i work 90% from home, my son is under age 10-although he is almost nine, large for his age, and mature for his age, etc). I will also add that several of these “non-profit” rescue organizations wanted nearly as much in fees as a breeder. I was appalled that these groups who are attempting to re-home animals treated me like a criminal. In the end we carefully chose a breeder and have had a wonderful experience adding a deeply loved pet to our family. The pup is loved, and extremely well cared for, and happy.

    1. I had a similar experience with a rescue organization. Although we are a retired couple who owned bichons frises for 17 years until losing both at ages 15 1/2 and 16 during the same year. We decided to rescue a bichon from a small dog rescue organization but were turned down because the condo we own does not have a fenced yard. I explained that we had always walked our dogs multiple times daily and in all weather, that we never left our dogs off leash unless in a dog park. To say that my suggestion that such a restriction may just drive rejected adopters to pet stores and unscrupulous breeders wasn’t appreciation is an understatement. In our case, we bought an older pup from a responsible breeder.

    2. Completely agree with this response! It’s a headache buying from a shelter. Ridiculous questions about my fence and how long the dog will be outside and oh I have a 4yr old!!! Sorry can’t adopt! Oh and get adopting a hypoallergenic dog!!!! Good luck!
      Sorry I adopted a dog from a breeder! Very happy! Life is about choices and I am happy with mine. People can be very closed minded and that is sad.

    3. joelle C Ferguson

      I totally agree with this sentiment! We went through the same thing with the “rescue gestapo” attitude. We are NOT the enemy, and felt that many of the rescues we showed interest in, the people claiming to want to find homes, either never called us back or just scared us away, when it seemed more about THEM then the dog! I appreciate the strict guide lines when adopting, but don’t get carried away with it. So on that note, we found a VERY responsible breeder, (I KNOW, I SAW), and we adopted a beautiful, well cared for, older dog (2.5) for less than a rescue dog, which by the way, ain’t cheap these days! There are many, many, wonderful rescue organizations, and it has to be said, there ARE some wonderful ethical breeder’s. Maybe pros and cons on both sides.

  31. I too lost a friendship over the friend buying versus adopting. And I surprised myself even. When the friend told me I didn’t lecture or talk down to them, I guess I was just so surprised and disappointed that here I thought I knew this person and it turned out I really did not. I realize that I kind of just let the friendship fade away after that. I didn’t contact her and she didn’t contact me. And actually I wasn’t even that sad about losing this friend which also surprised me! I’m not a judge person and I’m not narrow minded ….and I for sure do not drive a Prius! I drive a giant gas guzzling SUV! But it was just something about this persons actions of buying vs rescuing that really hit my heart to the core and it just wasn’t negotiable. And yes, I absolutely agree that ever cat or dog that is born thru breeding also deserves the same love and compassion. I feel awful for that and wish I could take them all. And it’s a simple answer stop the greediness of breeder and save these animals!

  32. Once the puppy is born, even from a Breeder, does that puppy not deserve a welcoming home? If nobody adopts that puppy will it most likely end up in a shelter? Are puppies now victims of “Breeder privilege”? Let people get the dogs they fall in love with, regardless of Breeder or shelter.

    1. The breed the dogs with the intent of culling the ones that don’t fit an image and profit off of the ones that do. Which is apart of the problem.

    2. It’s supply and demand. As long as people buy from breeders, they’ll continue breeding. If you’re buying a puppy, you’re falling in love with how a dog looks, not the dog. It’s intellectually dishonest to say otherwise. It’s treating dogs as a commodity rather than as a companion.

      1. Well that’s just not true. Adopting from a breeder is not about buying a nice looking dog. A reputable breeder won’t let you have one based on that alone. Adopting from a breeder gives you the advantage of knowing what you’re getting, temperament wise. What a disappointing article, and no one cares if you’re judging them. You’re no one to them. You’re fighting the wrong fight, you’re trying to cure the illness by simply keeping the symptoms at bay. You should be fighting to help neuter and spay every dog everywhere so that pet shops and dog shelters don’t exist! Leave the breeding of animals to the pros not backyard breeders who just want money and do not guarantee the health of the dog.

  33. I wanted to be able to take care of my dog the best way I could. I don’t have a house or a yard. I have severe depression and my therapist recommended a companion animal. After careful research for what is the best option for me and the animal, I decided to go with a breeder. I was a little more that disappointed with myself at the time because I believe as you did, that adopting should always be the answer. But, I wanted to give my dog the best life I could. With my apartment, my lifestyle and my mental wellbeing, I chose a predictable “easy” breed.

    I would not change my decision for anything now. My Cavalier is worth everything to me and he had done more than any medication or therapy ever could. I could not in absolutes say that an adopted dog would have been a bad choice. But I was and am more confident in my abilities to provide and be a good pet parent when I know exactly what to expect. I feel like this was the right choice for my pet and I.

    I don’t judge people for having their own kids, buying minivans that aren’t environment friendly or living with their family to save money. Everyone needs different things. I think it’s a mistake to judge others harshly when you don’t even know their circumstances. But, do what you want. Who knows?Maybe you’ll be eating these words yourself one day.

  34. I’m planning on purchasing from a breeder after trying very hard to find a shelter dog and even fostered one for a night. The judgement is ridiculous and if anyone dares I’ll proudly respond adopt child and go get fixed. There are millions of children in the system yet you’re judged for needing a companion that doesn’t come from a shelter. It is better to buy from a shelter but it’s not the best option for everyone. My depression is getting worse and the shelter dog experience did not help at all. When i had to give the dog back because he was so depressed and sick I cried for hours. I definitely need a sure thing because my emotional health is very weak. I wish people would stop judging and just mind their own business. A better article would be about the cost and expectations of owning an animal so people really think about the responsibility they are about to take on.

    1. The difference between adopting a child and having your own is genetic heritage. Mind you, I think more kids should be adopted too, but it’s moot.

    2. Wow i feel so sad for you that a shelter dog who needed love and affection depressed you so much. Do you even understand how many healthy, adoptable pups are euthanized every day because of people who buy dogs? Take the time to find the right rescue dog for you. To actually compare adopting a child to adopting a dog is completely ridiculous. Are you carrying a dog that is your DNA? absolutely not. you have zero attachment to a breeder/dog other than you want a specific breed. nice try.

      1. Correction….healthy, adoptable pups aren’t euthanized because of people who buy dogs….they’re euthanized because of irresponsible owners and people who do not spay/neuter their dogs.

    3. This sounds like a failure on the part of the shelter and on your part in taking the time to decide what you need in a dog and communicating it. Most rescues and shelters are very familiar with the temperament of their dogs (in fact, since rescues operate on a foster basis, they often know how the dog will behave in a home). Also, buying a dog doesn’t preclude it from being sick or depressed. Plenty of breeder dogs get sick. Some puppies suffer depression being taken from their family. A breeder dog is not a guarantee of a happy, healthy dog any more than a shelter guarantees a sick, depressed dog. Your bad experience is not indicative of the typical experience with shelter dogs. As long as dogs are being euthanized in the millions, the breeding of dogs is unethical. The human comparison doesn’t hold water because we don’t kill children when they can’t find a home.

  35. Silliness.

    I suppose you also believe everyone should drive a Prius. Although driving a newer Prius is far worse for the environment than continuing to operate an old Gremlin.

      1. Richard Pasquali


        We also have an issue with overpopulation and starving children. I really hope you don’t have children of your own, cause you could’ve given a child a meaningful 60+ years of life and education.

        I also hope you are vegan, as tons and tons of livestock are harvested daily to make food you enjoy and do not have the same advantage as being seen as a household pet.

        I also hope you shop fair trade only. The laptop you’re using and the clothes you’re wearing was made by some poor, barely paid child laborer.

        I hope you don’t use mainstream, big business food suppliers, too. A Colombian kid spent 12 hours in the field 6 days this week picking out the beans to make your frappe choco latte with soy.

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