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Is It Better to Purchase or Adopt a Puppy?

Some people know exactly what they want. Whether it’s the best item from a mouth-watering menu or the perfect place for a weekend getaway, they already have a plan.

The same can be said for soon-to-be puppy parents. There are some who want a purebred from a breeder, and nothing else will do. Contrarily, others firmly believe in adoption and are advocates as well.

Then, there are those in the middle, who want to learn the facts and choose themselves. If you’re among the undecided, this one is for you, as we review the benefits and challenges of both scenarios.



Purchasing a Puppy from a Breeder

If you like the idea of knowing your puppy’s history and characteristics, buying from a responsible breeder might be right for you.


  • Responsible breeders will provide health testing results to warrant against inherited genetic problems appearing in puppyhood.
  • A responsible breeder will begin vaccinations and explain the next steps. They will provide valid medical records for your puppy.
  • You can shape your puppy’s behavior from the start, and help him become a well-adjusted adult dog.
  • You know exactly what you are getting in terms of breed, so you have a good indicator of their size and looks.beautiful puppies playing in the yard


  • Purebreds have inherent physical traits that you might not appreciate. Like the Golden Retriever who will shed throughout your home, need weekly grooming, and wag his long tail with enough enthusiasm to knock your Earl Grey tea off the coffee table.
  • Originally, breeds were trained to do some type of work – hunting, herding, protecting, etc. Behaviors enabled them to work successfully. Though purebreds are now our companions, the hard-wired behaviors remain. So a breed with high energy, aggression, digging, chasing, and independent thinking, could test an owner’s patience.
  • Purebreds have a higher risk of health problems. Sometimes an inherited disease doesn’t appear for months or years, even with good breeders.
  • Puppy parenthood can get expensive. There’s food, bedding, toys, vaccinations, spay/neutering – just to name the basics. Add the purebred purchase price of several hundred dollars, and you have a costly, upfront investment.

Adopting from a Shelter or Rescue

If you believe in second chances, the right puppy for you could be at your local shelter or rescue.


  • You’re saving two lives – the little pup you adopt, plus, the space that opens for another dog in need of the shelter or rescue.
  • Most shelters and rescues have screened their dogs. This includes shots, microchip, and spay/neuter when applicable.
  • You can find an awesome mix that makes your dog unique. Why have the same breed as everyone else, when you can have one of a kind?
  • You can still find a purebred at shelters. In fact, many rescue groups specialize in a specific breed.
  • You won’t support puppy mills or irresponsible breeders. That puppy in the pet store window probably has an unsavory story.
  • Shelter dogs know they’ve been given another chance. Your puppy will be forever grateful and his love unconditional.
  • The upfront costs are lower. You may incur an adoption fee and the cost of standard procedures – microchip, spay/neuter, vaccinations.


  • Where is the Love of your dreams?You won’t know your puppy’s history. The first few weeks are important for puppies, and many in shelters don’t get a good start. The mom controls 70% of her pups environment in the whelping box. The remaining percentage is controlled by the breeder or owner. So, if the mother is anxious or afraid, she passes that along to her pups. Likewise, if puppies were raised in the streets, instead of a cozy home, that affects their personalities too.
  • You won’t know your puppy’s inherent behaviors. The fourth month is a critical period for a dog’s social and intellectual growth. When you adopt, you don’t know what behaviors formed during this time. It will take patience and training to program any new ones.
  • You may not know the exact breed of your puppy. As friendly and helpful as the adoption staff may be, sometimes the mix is a mystery.

The choice to purchase or adopt a puppy is a personal one, so follow your heart and do what feels best. If you would like to go more in depth on this topic, read our adoption vs breeder article here.

Whatever you decide, it’s what comes after that matters most. Your commitment to raising your puppy in a loving, healthy, and happy home. When you are ready to make that commitment, browse our puppies for adoption or puppies for sale.

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