Is it wrong to buy a dog? What if you’re buying a dog from a breeder – does that make it right?
Last updated 8/11/23
First bark first, YES – it is WRONG to buy a dog. It doesn’t matter if you have allergies, are drawn to specific traits of a certain breed, or want a dog breed that’s “good with children,” buying a dog is still morally wrong – on all grounds. Why? Because you’re perpetuating dog breeding. The truth is that this world doesn’t need more dogs.
It doesn’t matter if you buy a dog online, from a pet store, backyard breeder, or “responsible” breeder – the fact that you’re spending money to buy a dog increases the demand for dog breeding. As long as dogs are intentionally bred for profit, dog homelessness will continue to be a problem (yes, a big PAWblem).
5 Main Reasons Why People Buy Dogs, and Why They Really Should NOT
#1 Ignorance: Unfortunately, many people buy dogs simply because they’ve always bought them and don’t know any better. They grew up in a household where they would go to a pet store or breeder, so that’s what they know. However, such ignorance hurts dogs because these people consistently drive up the demand for breeding purebreds, especially at large scale levels like evil puppy mills.
As long as there’s a demand, puppy mills will continue to thrive. And yet, these unsuspecting dog lovers have no idea how their action (even if it’s just one time) negatively impacts dogs because they are unaware of the behind the scenes cruelty in breeding operations. Dogs suffer in deplorable living conditions where they’re locked up in small filthy wire cages without access to clean water, and only let out to be bred repeatedly during their heat cycle.
#2 Allergies: One of the most common reasons for buyig over adopting is because people have (or claim to have) allergies and need to find a “hypoallergenic” dog. But here’s the deal – If you are allergic to dogs, DON’T GET A DOG! It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if your husband is allergic, but you really want a dog; unless everyone in the household is onboard, don’t bring one home for the dog to suffer and eventually get surrendered or neglected. I know you’re thinking – but hey, there are hypoallergenic dog breeds like Yorkies out there, I can just get one of those.
However, as a dog pawrent, you should allow your dog to interact with other dogs – whether on walks or at a dog-friendly park. Even if you’re not allergic to the dog you have, you’ll expose yourself to other dogs who may not be hypoallergenic. If you think you can deny your dog socialization and exercise, please do that dog a favor and NOT bring one home to suffer.
Also, keep in mind that no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic. If you or your children suffer from allergies, it’s best to treat and remedy your health conditions before bringing an innocent dog into your lives. Establish a foundation conducive to a successful dog adoption first and foremost.
#3 Specific Traits: Most people who buy a dog simply want a specific type of dog, whether it’s the dog’s physical or personality traits. Again, when you want a dog to look a certain way, you’re increasing the demand for unethical inbreeding that causes the purebred dog to suffer a lifetime of health issues. To achieve specific traits, breeders must breed dogs related to each other – those with one or more relatives. Frenchies are notorious for such cruelty, in which the average inbreeding is close to a disturbing 30%! From breathing difficulties to skin fold dermatitis, Frenchies are born with numerous genetic issues. Yet, Yorkies aren’t far behind with being genetically predisposed to collapsed trachea and sensitive GI issues like pancreatitis.
Need I bark more? It’s just WRONG and unnatural to perpetuate certain traits that will cause dogs to suffer. As long as the breeding continues, dogs (including purebreds) will end up being abandoned with surrender and irresponsible dog guardianship – as history continues to repeat itself. This means you could find a purebred at shelters or rescue organizations. There are even breed-specific or size-specific (e.g. small dog) rescues nowadays – if you look a little harder.
Besides physical traits, people may also want dogs that fit their lifestyle. For instance, small dogs make good choices for apartments in a big city like San Francisco or NYC, whereas big dogs are better to have homes with yards. Some may have physical or emotional disabilities who prefer specific breeds with a history as “working dogs.” However, the truth about physical traits is that adoption is always an option – whether you’re looking for a small or big dog. Additionally, any dog breed (even mutts) can be trained as a service dog according to the ADA (American Disabilities Act).
What if you want a “teacup” puppy? Defined to be less than 4 lbs at maturity and standing less than 17 inches tall, these expensive “teacup” dog breeds are being created through selective breeding of the runts of the litter. In so many barks, it’s the intentional breeding of dwarf dogs. Or dogs with abnormalities in size. To meet the demand of buyers who find these tiny 4 lb. or even 2 lb. dogs irresistible, teacup dogs are bred smaller and smaller. Sadly, teacup dogs live shorter lives and are born with even more health issues than their regular-size counterparts. Therefore, you should NOT support such cruel breeding practices.
When you buy a “purebred,” “designer dog,” or “teacup puppy,” you are perpetuating inbreeding, which leads to painful deformities and inherited diseases that the dog has to endure for human satisfaction and amusement. Such consequences are indisputable, whether or not you choose to ignore them.
#4:”Kid-Friendly” Dog: If you’re looking for a dog who’s “good with children,” you need to recognize the first step towards a healthy dog-child relationship is establishing boundaries and respect, which starts with YOU, the parent. Treating the dog and child as equals is KEY. No dog, regardless of the breed or size, should be subjected to emotional or physical abuse of your children, whether intentional or unintentional. Find out 16 reasons why dogs hate children and learn to foster a healthy relationship between dogs and children.
As a responsible pawrent and parent, you must dedicate time and patience in teaching YOUR KIDS boundaries and respect for a dog, regardless of the breed. Dogs are not toys, but are sentient beings who can feel human emotions. Simply put, the breed doesn’t necessarily matter when you invest the time in teaching your child respect and boundaries for the dog (and vice versa).
It’s always easier to blame “the dog” instead of taking accountability when you didn’t try hard enough to make it work and conclude that it’s not a “good fit.” Genes only contribute so much to a dog’s behavior, and it’s all about nurturing. For instance, the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met are Pit Bulls, a breed banned in many countries due to its reputation for “aggression” and dog fighting. Dogs don’t bite for no reason, but only out of fear and stress. No dog is ever born aggressive! They are merely conditioned to behave a certain way based on how they were treated by humans.
#5 Puppy Craze: People are obsessed with puppies! They want to raise a puppy, and they want them young – as young as PAWsible to build a strong foundation from the beginning. Somehow they believe that puppies can only be bought, not adopted from a shelter – this is completely untrue. When rescue is involved, the mom and her puppies are saved together. Many female dogs are also brought into the shelter pregnant. Pet stores and breeders often sell puppies under eight weeks to meet the demand of buyers who want them young. And yet, such cruel practice generates detrimental consequences for the puppies who are separated too early from their mothers.
Is it really wrong to buy a dog from a breeder?
OK, so we know that purchasing a dog from a pet store supports evil puppy mills that are for-profit, large-scale commercial operations that breed dogs without ANY concern for their well-being. GRR, it’s upsetting to know that the existence of puppy mills is PAWfectly legal in many states. As barked earlier, dogs from puppy mills are consistently caged in filthy, deplorable conditions. Females in heat are bred over and over again until they are unable to produce. Deaths, diseases, urine, feces, starvation, contaminated water (if any), matted fur, emotional and physical trauma are common heartbreaking sights.
If the mom isn’t present at the site, the puppy “on sale” is most likely from a puppy mill. Any “dog lover” will not (or should NOT) consciously support businesses that treat dogs purely as commodities. Better yet, any dog lover should NEVER knowingly buy puppies under 8-weeks-old since they should not separate from their mother and littermates before then. Separating puppies from their mother before the 8-week minimum (when they are not fully weaned) can lead to both irreversible health issues and behavioral problems.
*Chihuahua puppy for sale at a pet store in Osaka, Japan
BUT how about a “responsible” breeder or a “backyard” breeder where you can meet the parents and littermates of your new puppy and see where they live? What if the breeder genuinely cares for the dogs, ensures puppies are fully weaned at eight weeks (again, NO LESS), and even has an indefinite return policy (should you ever need to return your dog for any reason)?
ARF course, opting for a responsible breeder is better than supporting evil puppy mills, if one truly exists. If you would only consider buying a dog, then yes – PAWS DOWN, please choose a responsible breeder over a pet store. However, before you jump online to find the “best” Yorkie or Maltese or whichever hybrid breeder, I urge you to sniff out 6 reasons why you should NOT buy a dog from a breeder, regardless of its stellar reputation:
#1 Dog homelessness is a global issue
The truth is dog (and cat :() homelessness is a worldwide phenomenon. Stray dogs, street/feral dogs, and shelter dogs are ubiquitous. Sure, some countries have a better handle on the stray population than others, but the truth is there are hundreds of millions of homeless dogs globally. In the U.S. alone, 6.3 million companion animals enter the shelter every year – 3.1 million dogs and 3.2 million cats.
So the real question is, how can we support breeding when hundreds of millions of dogs need homes? Increasing the demand for breeders can only worsen the problem of overpopulation (or in my barks, over-pawpulation).
*Homeless dogs in Athens, Greece
With the rise of “pandemic puppies” that paved the way for breeders, pet stores, and evil puppy mills to charge ridiculous prices to meet the demand, dogs are overpopulating the shelters, once again. It is indisputable that there’s an enormous amount of neglect, surrender, and often, abuse as the novelty of having a dog wears off and the world returns to normal.
Even if a “responsible” breeder is contractually obligated to take back a dog who “didn’t work out” with the humans who made the purchase, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the breeder isn’t contributing to overpopulation. Just think about all the resources and time squandered to bring new furry lives into this world to be sold for profit, and now having to care for them as they are brought back. And, realistically, how many dogs can the breeder “take back” and keep in good care? If only such commitment and resources were redirected to help homeless dogs in need, many lives would not suffer. All we need to do is end the demand for intentional dog breeding – easily barked than done, right?
#2 Millions of dogs are KILLED/EUTHANIZED each year
Each year, millions of homeless dogs (and again, cats) are killed or euthanized at overcrowded shelters. Although the adoption rate has increased in the U.S. over the years, an estimated nearly a million shelter animals are still euthanized annually, which breaks down to roughly 390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats. That is A LOT of lives lost.
In dog and cat lovin’ Japan, a whopping over 80% of the country’s shelter animals are gassed to death every day. 🙁 Dogs, cats, and other abandoned pets in trend (e.g. hedgehogs) die a slow, agonizing death for 15-minutes in gas chambers known as the “dream box.” The “dream box” is a nightmare for animals that leave them dead at the end. In failed, desperate attempts to escape, dogs howl in fear and cats bang their heads against walls.
*Homeless dogs in Taipei, Taiwan
When you purchase a dog or breed dogs on your own, you’re essentially taking a potential home away from a dog who desperately needs a home. Perhaps you can say that you would have never adopted from the shelter anyway. Nonetheless, your support for the breeding demands only increases the overpopulation of dogs, resulting in more dogs surrendered, killed on the roads, in shelters, or euthanized.
Some of you may attempt to use the same argument for human babies – why should couples have their own children when there are hundreds of millions of orphans? Adopting a human baby is complicated – it can literally take years before your application is approved. Adopting a shelter dog is much simpler. Although you may have to get on a waitlist, you can find a shelter dog easily – if you could be more open to different breeds or ages, or traveling to shelters at a different location.
Most imPAWtantly, while orphans are subject to poverty and poor health, they are NOT killed/euthanized like animals. As animal rights are lagging even in the most progressive countries, homeless animals face death and cruelty significantly more than humans. Nonetheless, it’s indisputable that the problem of dog overpopulation is created by humans, not dogs themselves.
Consistent breeding, abandonment, and irresponsible pet ownership over the years have directly contributed to the suffering of hundreds of millions of dogs. GRRR, if you think dogs can’t feel “human” emotions, THINK AGAIN.
#3 There is no “guarantee” on health
No one can guarantee anyone’s health period. Any “health guarantee” on genetic defects or specific ailments should be met with skepticism. Seriously, think about this for a moment. How can anyone guarantee the health of any living being? If that’s the case, humans would have no health issues! Yet, it doesn’t matter how long that person has “studied” the breed or has had experience preserving AKC-defined characteristics.
Most argue that mutts are generally healthier due to their diverse gene pool, compared to “purebreds” who often suffer from genetic defects caused by generations of inbreeding. So, why shouldn’t you buy a dog from a breeder? Dogs from breeders aren’t necessarily healthier, period. The often fabricated, “papers” to prove the bloodline tell you nothing about a dog’s health.
#4 It’s better to give your money to support non-profit organizations than for-profit
If you’re going to spend your money on getting a new furry family member, why not support non-profit animal organizations that help animals? Sure, not all breeders may be “bad” or “evil,” but it’s still a breeding BUSINESS, meaning they are making money from breeding live beings and directly contributing to overpopulation. Yet one can say that not all non-profits or shelters are equal, which is also true. Thus, it’s crucial to research thoroughly before adopting an animal or donating to any non-profit organization. All in all, it’s still better to put your money towards a legitimate good cause than contribute to businesses that profit from breeding animals. Plus, it’s cheaper to adopt than to purchase!
*Stray dog at the vet after being rescued
#5 “Purebreds” and puppies can be found in shelters and rescue organizations
If you’re looking for a “purebred” puppy, you can find one without purchasing from a breeder or pet store. As long as the breeding of purebred dogs continues, some of these dogs will also face abandonment or irresponsible guardianship and end up on the streets or shelters.
While it’s true that mutts dominate shelters, an astounding 25-30% of shelter dogs are actually “purebred.” If you must get a specific breed, please research rescue organizations dedicated to rescuing your desired breed. Since there are numerous businesses posing as rescue organizations, you MUST do your due diligence before committing.
If you’ve exhausted your search with local shelters or rescue organizations, please consider adopting a shelter dog (like a Pitbull or Chihuahua) before going to a breeder. I sincerely beg you to ask why you MUST get a specific breed. Please try to visit at least three shelters before turning to a breeder. I am confident (and hopeful) that you will fall in love with a shelter dog desperately waiting for a loving home. Dogs will love you regardless of how YOU look, so why should you judge a dog by his appearance?
#6 You SAVE a life. PERIOD.
*ME finally living the good life in my forever home after being given up TWICE.
My very first family cruelly surrendered me due to the arrival of a newborn. Shortly after my adoption, my second family surrendered me, not giving me enough time to transition. Nevertheless, I spent most of the time inside a crate in a two-car garage before finding my furever home. 🙁 Dogs are NOT toys to be tossed aside or given away whenever you’re done playing.
JUST A BARK: Whether it’s an 8-week-old puppy or a 10-year-old senior dog, dogs will need time to transition into any new environment. Inevitably, they will be confused, stressed, and sad being separated from their old families.
Now, with the third time’s the charm, I have the ENTIRE run of the house and my own King bed. WOOF, did I bark that I’m also a world traveler?
Honestly, is there a reason better than this? Simply bark – ADOPT, DON’T SHOP.
ARF, hope you are convinced by all these reasons why you should NOT buy a dog! Please don’t ever buy a dog from a pet store. And, please don’t buy a dog from a breeder. SAVE A LIFE.
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob