Where Can I Get Free Puppies?

You might find puppies offered free at an adoption event, by a friend or on the Internet, but are free puppies really, truly free? Let's take a closer look.


One of the 20th-century’s greatest literary voices — I can’t remember off the top of my head whether it was Flannery O’Connor or Stevie Nicks — once wrote that there’s nothing cheaper than free. This statement may be true in theory, but puppies are not theoretical. They are living, breathing creatures who will depend on you for everything, from food and shelter to love and exercise. If you’ve come here today asking, “Where can I get free puppies?” and are looking for definite answers about getting free puppies, you’re out of luck. You will surely get some vague ones, along with some useful alternatives.

A litter or a group of puppies.
Are free puppies truly free? Photography ©LivingImages | E+ / Getty Images.

Free puppies — some facts upfront

Why would we deny you certainties when it comes to free puppies? The answer is simple. Yes, it is possible to locate and bring home free puppies that cost you nothing upfront. But there are always costs associated with pet ownership. Whether the friend you seek is a cute puppy, lizard, fish, or dwarf hamster, any pet you adopt has needs and providing for them always incurs costs, both financial and otherwise. For puppy ownership, you can expect to lay out money on:

  1. Vaccinations
  2. Spay or neuter operations
  3. Food
  4. Bedding
  5. Toys and other accessories
  6. License/registration

There are other costs tied to adopting a new puppy that aren’t strictly financial. These include investing the time, effort, and patience required for:

  1. Training
  2. Housetraining
  3. Regular exercise
  4. Grooming and bathing

The myth of free puppies

First, we should investigate what motivates people to go in search of free puppies. Is it the initial investment that drives people to inquire about free puppies or cheap puppies or low-cost puppy adoptions? Is it the assumption that getting a dog involves a major one-time price tag that can potentially run into hundreds, even thousands of dollars?

The popular or highly visible dog breeds that we see participating in televised dog shows, commercials, television, or movies drive these notions. This is reinforced by the strange idea that purebred dogs are somehow superior to mixed breeds, mutts, dogs with previous owners, shelter or rescue dogs. And then there’s the idea that adopting a puppy is a better or more authentic experience than bringing home an adult or senior dog. None of these assumptions are quantifiably or objectively true.

The real financial costs of free puppies

Even if you do acquire free puppies, raising live creatures involves substantive investments. Caring and feeding any dog requires money. There are also significant costs in terms of your time, energy, and patience. From a strictly financial perspective, an article by the American Kennel Club details the two veterinary students’ efforts, Kelly Giffear and Brittany Scott of the University of Pennsylvania, to determine the real costs of dog ownership.

This study differentiates between costs of owning a dog based on size and lifespan, ranging from small dogs right through to giant breeds. Expenses were further broken down by dogs’ most basic needs, from food and essential veterinary services to bedding and toys. They determined that the average cost of dog ownership in the first year alone comes out to $3,085. This amount, it goes without saying, puts the lie to the very notion of a free puppy.

  Related: How to Stop Toy Guarding in Puppies

On average, Giffear and Scott estimated that the lifetime expenses associated with raising a dog come out to $23,410. Other sites have attempted to calculate the cost of dog ownership, such as this one from 2011, which has a much higher total, factoring in dog health insurance costs. As far as my own research can find, Giffear and Scott’s findings are the most current systematic and rational attempts to truly price out the real costs of dog ownership, both in the first year and over the life of the dog.

Yes, you can technically get free puppies

Technically, of course, if you are not insistent on a particular breed or mix, you can find free dogs of all ages and sizes. “Where can I get free puppies?” you ask?

Keep an eye out for adoption-fee free events at your local shelters. This is the most responsible way to go about getting free puppies.

You can also ask your friends, coworkers and general acquaintances to keep their ears to the ground for you. Someone’s dog is bound to have puppies eventually, and those puppies will need new homes after they wean, around the age of 8 to 12 weeks.

You might also thumb through a daily or weekly newspaper published in your area. Whether that’s a paper with a wide regional circulation, or a local alt-weekly, these publications typically contain at least one page of classifieds. Among them, you’re very likely to find a section dedicated to, or featuring, dogs in need of adoption. Some ads are literally labeled, “Puppies free to good home.”

Craigslist is another potential venue to locate free, cheap or low-cost puppies. However, you should be especially careful when researching free puppies on the internet, on something like Craigslist.  If you choose this route, read the listing in full and ask as many relevant questions as possible. Why are they giving the dog away? Is he vaccinated, spayed or neutered?

Valuable alternatives to free puppies

Are you a first-time or prospective dog owner? There are options and alternatives to free puppies that can acclimate you or your children to the experience of living with a dog without incurring the obligations associated with adopting a baby puppy. For example:

  • Fostering a dog: You can work with a local shelter or rescue and take a puppy or dog into your home on a limited basis. This can give you a taste of dog or puppy ownership without the lifetime commitment.
  • Visit or volunteer at a dog shelter or rescue: There are many nonprofit, no-kill shelters nationwide that are always looking for dependable and devoted volunteers. The fact that there are rescue organizations dedicated to specific breeds means that you can get exposure to the minutiae of a dog breed without leaping headlong into ownership.

Engaging in time-limited activities with reputable organizations like these in your area can prepare you for the responsibility and investment involved in the long-haul of puppy or dog ownership.

And, bottom line, there are truly no free puppies!

Top photograph: ©Photology1971 | Getty Images.

Originally published in 2015. 

Read Next: Will Your Puppy Outgrow These Bad Behaviors?

295 thoughts on “Where Can I Get Free Puppies?”

  1. christine marie hignite

    i live in new mexico and i am for a free small breed dog….i will give him or her lots love and care please concact me at cutepanda1442@gmail.com

  2. Not sure if my first comment made it so here goes, I’m in great need of a free male puppy I’m not real particular about the breed as long as it’s great with kids and doesn’t get too big, I have a great love for all animals dogs especially but I was always too busy working and my dogs were left alone a lot, now I am disabled and home all the time so at this point I need the puppy as much the puppy needs a good home please call me should anyone need to find good homes for your puppies I have a great home. 2342373596 Thank you ??

  3. I am looking for a female german shepherd puppy between 8weeks-5months. I am willing to pay at least £60-£150. I live in a house with 3 kids and no other pets. I have experience with other pets like cats but this is my first time having a dog. Contact me at savannahgeorge421@gmail.com

  4. I got 9 weeks Labradors pups the are wormed vacations up to date microchipped and vets checked ready to go to there forever home , whatsApp: +1 5307126360 . email: drtazi@dr.com

  5. I would like a free puppy that look like a teddy bear. When one comes available please notify me as soon as possible. Thank you Diana Bell

    1. Wormed vacations up to date microchipped and vets checked ready to go to there forever home , whatsApp: 5307126360 email: drtazi@dr.com

  6. hi sir, I am a retried mother and grandma.all the kids is out of the house.am looking for a dog or puppy to keep me busy and to fill the loneliness a small dog or puppet Yorkshire.my apartment accept small pets.t can’t buy one.my number 973-230-8653 pls call…. thank you.

  7. I’m interested to have a labrador retriever but I’m not interested to buy them I have Indian puppies near my home so any one have retriever puppies plz give them

  8. I am looking for a small breed puppy Chihuahua or Yorky something small no more than 10 pounds and I don’t care if it’s a mixed breed but it’s got to be a puppy that stays small under 10 pound . Thanks Rae

  9. Akiela Atkinson

    I was wondering if you had any miniature puppies that’s not going to get any bigger even as an adult pit bulls Rottweilers

  10. Kathleen Anderson

    I had to put sandy down july 1. She was 18 it was a very hard day looking for a small .potty training

  11. My name is Lisa and I need a puppy to 6 months old Lab or Retriever, any color, to train as a Service Dog. I know puppies are a handful but he has to be one that is calmer than others. I need a large dog to train as a balance dog. I have a Dachshund that detects Hypoglycemia and calms me when I have PTSD but I now have a balance issue and need to find a dog to train. The waiting list for Service Dogs is up to 5 years and I can’t wait that long.

  12. Looking for a puppy to grow up with the family we have more love than money so please contact me if you can

  13. I don’t know how many people I’ve contacted right now in search of retriever puppy, gender isn’t a barrier for me. This site is a hope now. Please contact me if you get one 9820313519. Waiting for the earliest reply.

  14. I would love to get a free small to be friends with me 2 years old jack Russell very lonely can you heap me ?

    1. Oladosu Damilare

      I am Damilare by name, am a Nigerian and I really love pets alot. If I can see any type of breed from you, I will be so happy ??

  15. Pingback: Where Can I Get Free Puppies? – Selective News

  16. Hi…
    I’m ready to adopt small puppy ( Cupdog ) anyone wants to help me kindly contact on below mail Id
    Thanks for your ASAP response. Feel free to email me

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