Adopt, don't shop, but...

I’ve adopted 3 dogs, it always seems like the right thing to do, but it’s resulted in 1 great dog and 2 meh dogs. I know it’s selfish because there are dogs out there that need a home, but I want a puppy. I just want that experience of bonding with a pup from the beginning and not dealing with the baggage that you get with shelter dogs.

There’s all this talk about buying from “reputable breeders” but I also feel like there’s something unethical about any dog breeding, what with all the medical issues due to inbreeding. I obviously don’t care about breed, and I’m not interested in AKC registration or anything.

Problem is that puppies don’t show up at shelters very often, and they don’t last long when they do. And all of the mixed breed puppies I see online are very likely, based on their location, from questionable puppy mills.

Is there an ethical way to find a puppy?

Sure there is, but it takes a lot of searching and patience. We found one of our dogs from 2 neighbors (we didn’t know them, they advertised on Nextdoor)–one had a golden retriever & the other had a mutt. Both were young dogs & vets recommended waiting until 1 year to spay/neuter. Surprise surprise, male dog tunneled under fence & yada yada yada, female dog had 6 puppies. We adopted one and she’s a great dog, but a word of caution: puppies are a LOT of work. :wink:

Any dog–puppy or older–has the potential to end up with a shitty life. Do not beat yourself up over your preference; you will have made the world one dog better. If you do your darnedest, that’s all that matters.

We’ve adopted three of our four dogs (and three of my four rabbits). Adopted Dog #2 was a puppy mill rescue and has taken a few years to come around, but I wouldn’t trade her for the world. YOU have to adapt to them as they adapt to you. Or something.

End of Hallmark moment

This might be more practical advice than my previous post:

Look into your local Craigslist site; occasionally there will be a puppy/young dog in the “Free” listings. Also, in “Pets.” Animals on CL are not supposed to be sold (a small re-homing fee is allowed to recover some vet costs), if you see someone selling beasties (e.g., $1200/puppy :eek: ), please flag their ad. Do your homework and keep in mind that the majority of the “Pet” ads are from rat-bags looking to make a profit and nothing else.

You might try

I follow the rescue where I got my dogs. They’re not the county shelter, they’re just one of many rescue groups that relies entirely on donations, volunteers and foster parents.

They quite often get pregnant dogs in their care and then advertise the litters as soon as they can - before they’re ready to go, but not officially adoptable yet. I’d say my little rescue gets 3-4 litters a year.

So you can very much rescue an itty bitty baby puppy, just whelped, with no horrible history of neglect. And with the added bonus of having prenatal care and infant care and socialization with its foster family.

Put in an application with local rescue groups (not shelters), have your interview and stuff, and let them know you want to be notified of any litters that come down the pike.

Look into rescue groups generally and rescue groups for breeds you are interested in. You can also volunteer for your local shelter. You’ll get some feel good time with animals, and you’ll know what will be available. There are a lot more puppies than you would think.

I would also suggest talking to your vet and letting them know what you’re looking for. They also come across more animals or owners who need to place animals, and might be able to help you out.

Let your friends and family know as well. Word of mouth also helps.

Look up the AKC breed group for the pup you’re interested in. They will help you find reputable breeders for that breed and also point you to the official rescue organization for the breed. Once you can contact the rescue organization, they will help you find a breeder in your area. You still might have to travel if you have your heart set on a rare breed. But the rescue people will know who has puppies or older pups whose initial owners fell through for some reason. Anyone who breeds dogs will inevitably have extra pups (or know of them) that they are trying to rehome.

Take your time to get the know the people involved. Visit their kennels or come see them at a show. Talk to them about your concerns about inbreeding and the health of their puppies. The more you put into it, the better it will go.

As for ethics - they’re all good dogs. The pups at the breeders and rescues need homes too. There will always be more dogs than there are homes. Adopting a shelter dog, while lovely, doesn’t change the math.

I wanted a specific breed, and none of the local shelters and rescue orgs had any, so I shopped and I don’t regret it at all.

Not all breeders are unethical. My two pugs came from a breeder who pretty much just bred for pets, from a small group of dogs she also kept as pets. Both have been wonderful doggies with no behavioral or unexpected health problems. We did lose one to cancer at the ripe ol’ age of 14, but I don’t think you can blame that on bad breeding or genetics; the other is 15 and the vet just told me there’s a good chance she could hold on for another year or two.

We didn’t so much shop as notice an ad in the local paper back when we were sorta kinda thinking about getting a puppy.

We got our dog from a shelter when he was about 4 months old. So it is entirely possible to find a puppy at a shelter if that is what you want. It may require waiting, though in our case through pure dumb luck we found our pup the very first time we ever ventured into a shelter. His mother had been a stray and she had a litter of 5 puppies.

Our dog is a mixed breed (border collie/Australian shepherd/???). He is the most amazing dog I have ever known.

Both my rescues came home as puppies. One was found by the side of the road with the rest of his litter, the other was a pregnant dog that was rescued - she was probably a puppy mill bitch and she either ran away and got knocked up, or got knocked up with mongrel puppies and the mill owner dumped her.

We’ve got one pound mutt who I got as a puppy and one purebred we got as a puppy. Both are good dogs but honestly while I like the pound mutt better I am planning our our next dog being a purebred.

Quality breeders will be preforming genetic testing on their dogs and other health tests. Also good breeders will be involved with their puppies their whole lives. This is mainly so that they know if their puppies have non genetic problems that should get eliminate them from the breeding pool. An example of this would be hunting dogs who aren’t good hunters but genetically are weak or sickly or in large dogs selecting lines that tend to be longer lived. Our purebred mastiff comes from a line where most of the dogs make it to 13-14 which is much older than a lot of other breeder’s lines.

It costs a lot of money to do the testing of the lines so breeders that do the work do tend to charge more for their dogs. Unfortunately, that tends to set the market price for a breed and a lot of unscrupulous people don’t do the work and charge the same price. It’s important to spend time talking with multiple breeders to understand what they are trying to do with a pairing and what their over all program looks like.

In general I’d prefer to rely on someone who has a history of healthy, long lived lines with personalities you like with testing to show it should continue with the puppy I’m buying then hybrid vigor and hoping the rest works out.

This especially applies to breeds that are susceptible to specific genetically-based disorders.

We adopted a shelter dog once before and have looked for one this time out, but really would prefer not to have a choice largely limited to half or full-grown pit bulls or pit mixes.

See if your area has other volunteer foster organizations. In my area, there’s probably more than a dozen that specialize in little dogs, big dogs, old dogs, certain breeds, etc. They might have more kinds of the dogs you’re looking for.

You can do a search for puppies on craigslist and then there’s an option to save the search and be notified if any future listings match the search. That might be easier than searching all the time.

We bought our dog from a breeder in what was clearly a for-profit side business, but it wasn’t a puppy mill: he had 5-6 dogs, all had large indoor/outdoor runs, he had good records for each dog, he bred each female a limited number of times, the dogs were all socialized . . and he was very, very happy to show me all this. There’s a middle between horrific puppy mill and AKC breeder that charges $1500.

It is possible to adopt puppies - they’re in shorter supply than candidate adult dogs, but they exist. Strays are sometimes pregnant when rounded up and sometimes, unplanned puppies are given up for adoption. if you’re patient, a puppy or younger dog will eventually come up for adoption.

We adopted a puppy that had been rounded up as a stray in Portugal and would (under the prevailing system there) have been destroyed after a week if unclaimed - we found an independent animal charity that rescues such animals, vaccinates and registers them, and makes them available for adoption. it worked pretty well.

I highly recommend the pregnant rescue route. My cat was actually the mom and had four kittens. The fosters reported that she was a great mom (she also nursed two orphans), which I took as a good sign of her nature. I didn’t see the kittens, but one was almost identical to her, mostly flame-point Siamese. It took a lot of self-control not to take him, too.

While this may be true, I see this comment used as an excuse a lot. The last person I know personally who wanted to buy a dog because “there are no rescues for my breed of choice” was embarrassed when I Googled and found a national rescue association for the breed had a regional headquarters a few miles from her house. That took about ten seconds to find.

Besides feeling sorry for adult shelter dogs, I’m not sure we’d be more likely to end up with a better dog raising it ourselves. Some people have a lot of confidence in their dog training ability, sometimes justified sometimes not. Like most things.

Our track record is no 1: quirky shelter dog, hound mix. One of his nicknames was ‘raindog’, canine Aspergers or something, a little bit in his own world, but then would show he was figuring things out at a jaw dropping level for a dog, a fun fellow. No. 2 was a clearly physically abused ‘pit bull’. She had bad dreams all her life, was totally intolerant of all other dogs, and the real deal as a fighting dog so had to be kept well clear of them. But once you accepted that as just who she was, she was basically a perfect dog, an arm’s length list of superb qualities, she sort of ruined it for any subsequent dog. No. 3 is actually our daughter’s dog, another ‘pit bull’ ~70% similar to no. 2: from the same shelter, similar basic appearance, also very sweet to people and actually gets along with dogs. But her behavior is not as good, more willful, some indoor wee wee issues when she gets worked up. Still rates highly though. All three did or do. We’re satisfied with the adult shelter dog route.