Should I Adopt from a Shelter or Buy from a Breeder?

This is a choice a lot of dog lovers face. It can be a really difficult decision for some because there are definitely pros and cons to both options. We’ve compiled a list of both to help you make the decision that’s best for you and your family.

Adopting from a Shelter


  • Shelters tend to have more adult dogs which don’t need to be let outside as often as puppies.
    • Because shelter dogs tend to be older, it’s usually safe to assume they’re house trained.
  • When you adopt a dog from the shelter, you won’t wonder about many if any personality traits because they’ll be obvious.
  • Dogs in shelters generally aren’t still teething so you won’t have to go through that with your rescue dog.
    • The dog might still have behavioral issues, but we’ll talk about that later.
  • Dogs in the shelter are generally neutered (also known as spayed) especially the longer they’ve been there.
  • Adopting a dog from the shelter is far less expensive than getting a dog from a breeder.
  • If for whatever reason you become unable to properly care for your dog the shelter will take it back.
    • In a lot of cases, they require you to sign paperwork saying you will if you can’t care for it.


  • The dog may have behavioral issues/trust problems from being abandoned, neglected, and/or abused.
  • You won’t know much about the dog’s background like where they came from or what traumatic triggers they may have.
  • You may not find the breed of dog you want.
  • You may not be able to immediately adopt the dog you want.

Buying from a Breeder

You always want to go visit the breeder, this way you can see what conditions the dogs live in. You want to avoid getting a dog from a puppy mill at all costs. As the name suggests, these places simply want to pump out as many puppies as possible with little to no regard for the health and well-being of the puppies.

As a result, puppy mills tend to be dirty cramped spaces with nowhere near the amount of supplies or care it takes to appropriately raise puppies. If you come across a puppy mill you should leave as soon as possible and report them to the local Humane Society.


  • Dogs from breeders can be raised with the personality traits you want in your dog. 
    • This is much more difficult or even impossible with a shelter dog.
  • A lot (but not all) breeders provide support and information after you purchase your dog. 
    • This is generally on feeding, training, and how to best care for your new dog.
  • A good breeder will be able to give you the dog’s parents’ history and let you know any health conditions the dog may experience later in life.


  • Dogs from breeders are significantly more expensive than dogs from shelters.
  • While you know the dog’s parents background, you don’t exactly know how the dog will turn out.
    • They may also develop some health problems their parents didn’t have.
  • Breeders don’t take back puppies so if you become unable to properly care for the dog, you can’t drop them back to the breeder and get a refund.
  • You need to pay for additional procedures like getting them neutered (or spayed) and all their vaccinations.
  • In some ways, puppies are like human babies, they essentially need constant care. They usually eat about four times a day and need to be let out about once every hour or two to use the bathroom, and this includes through the night.

Call Today

Whether you adopt a dog from a shelter or buy one from a breeder, we offer dog training, grooming, boarding, and more. If you want to learn more, call us today at (517) 657-4300.