WOOF, do you plan to add a furry member to your family? Hear me bark out 6 reasons why you should NOT buy a dog from a breeder.
Last updated 9/24/22
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. It’s upsetting to know that the existence of puppy mills is perfectly legal in many states. If you don’t already know, dogs coming 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, then 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 litter mates before then. Separating puppies from their mother before the 8-week minimum (when they are not fully weaned) can lead to both 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 8 weeks (again, NO LESS), and even has an indefinite return policy (should you ever need to return your dog for any reason)? Of course, opting for a truly responsible breeder is better than supporting evil puppy mills. If you would only consider buying a dog, then yes – paws down, please choose a responsible breeder instead of 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 in the world. 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, 6.5 million companion animals enter the shelter every year – 3.3 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 are allowing for-profit breeders and evil puppy mills to charge ridiculous prices to meet the demand, it’s only a matter of time until dogs overpopulate shelters once again. I can only imagine the enormous amount of neglect, surrender, and oftentimes, 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 surrendered. And, realistically, how many dogs can the breeder “take back” and keep in good care? If only such commitment were redirected to help homeless dogs in need, many lives would not suffer as a result. Such less-than-ideal situation can be easily avoided if for-breeding breeding halts.
#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 1.5 million shelter animals are still euthanized annually, which breaks down to roughly 670K dogs and 860K cats.
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 living nightmare for animals; in a desperate attempt to escape, dogs howl in fear and cats bang their heads against walls.
*Homeless dogs in Taipei, Taiwan
When you purchase a puppy 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; but again, your support for the demand only increases the overpopulation of dogs, which results in more dogs ending up in shelters and 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 in the world? And yes, I support human adoption when feasible to families as the adoption process may be much more complicated. 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. While orphans are subject to poverty and poor health, they are not euthanized like animals. As animal rights are lagging even in the most progressive countries, homeless animals face death and cruelty more so than humans. Oh, if you think that 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 you guarantee the health of any living being, no matter how long you’ve “studied” the breed to preserve AKC-defined characteristics? Many even 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. 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 hard-earned money on getting a new furry family member, why not support non-profit animal organizations that help animals? Sure, not all breeders are “bad,” but they are still making money from breeding dogs and contributing to overpopulation. Yet one can say that not all non-profits or shelters are made equal as well, which is true. Thus, it’s crucial to do your research before adopting an animal or donating to any non-profit organization. All in all, it’s still better to put your money towards a good cause than to 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, such dogs can also be found in shelters.
According to The Humane Society, 25% of shelter dogs are “purebred.” If you must get a specific breed, please research rescue organizations dedicated to rescuing your desired breed. Since there are a lot of 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 (e.g. pit bull, chihuahua, mutts, etc.) before going to a breeder. I sincerely beg you to ask why you MUST get a specific breed. Please try to visit at least 3 shelters before turning to a breeder as I am confident (and hopeful) that you’d 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 its appearance?
For families with young children, their reason for buying a dog is usually to find a hypoallergenic breed that’s “good with kids.” While it’s true that certain characteristics are tied to specific breeds, finding a dog that’s supposedly good with kids doesn’t simply end with the breed. 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. 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. And, no dog is born aggressive! They are merely conditioned to behave a certain way based on how they were treated by humans.
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 adoption first and foremost.
#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. Just a week after being adopted, my second family quickly surrendered me as they were overwhelmed with having a dog and lacked the patience for transition. (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 oftentimes, sad from being separated from their old families.) Nevertheless, I spent the majority of my life inside a crate in a two-car garage in both homes. 🙁 Dogs are NOT toys that can be tossed to the side or given away whenever you’re done playing.
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 put it – ADOPT, DON’T SHOP.
ARF! Hope you are convinced by these 6 reasons why you should NOT buy a dog from a breeder! Please don’t 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