Buying a Puppy: Breeders vs. Pet Shops vs. Animal Shelters

What You Need to Know About Breeders and Pet Shops When Buying a Puppy

I recently found myself buying a puppy. How? My wife's mother asked her what she wanted for her birthday. This year, it was a Brussels Griffon (don't even ask). So while my wife's parents agreed to foot the bill (thank God) we were left with the actual responsibility of finding and buying the puppy. And that, my friends, is when I got my eye-opening education on the world of pet stores vs. breeders vs. Animal Shelters. Wondering which one is best? Even if you think you know this one, the answer might surprise you.

You Have To Consider The Facts

I thought I knew the answer to the "breeders vs. pet stores vs. animal shelters" question when buying a puppy. However, I have quickly learned that an animal shelter (as noble as it may be) is not always an option and it does NOT make you a bad person if you buy from a breeder (or even a pet store sometimes) when buying a puppy.

If you want a specific breed of puppy, an animal shelter or rescue may not have what you need and if they do, you don't know what type of breeder the dog came from and bad breeders can equate to health problems in the future. Don't get me wrong, I fully support rescues and shelters for mixed-breed or older dogs, but there is nothing wrong with researching breeders and even the rare pet store when you have a specific puppy in mind.

If Shelters Aren't an Option

If an animal shelter or rescue doesn't meet your needs when you're looking for a specific type of puppy, you're going to have to do some research into the breeders and even some pet stores in your area. However, when buying a puppy you need to understand that not all breeders are created equal, and neither are all stores.

When it comes to breeders, they run the gambit. There are the hard-core, dedicated breeders who have a single purpose in life and that is to better the breed of the dogs they are dedicated to. Then there are the hobby breeders. Those who take great care of their dogs and breed great pets, but not necessarily champions for the show circuit.

In the breeding world, the only breeders you need to run away from are the puppy mill breeders. These are the scum of the scum, the low of the low. These breeders could care less about the dogs they breed and only care about profit. They are known to produce puppies with health issues and emotional impairments. Never, under any circumstances, buy a puppy from a puppy mill.

And that brings us to the pet stores. Pet stores have gotten a bad rap over the years because many of them get their puppies from puppy mills. There are, however, exceptions.

If you have a small locally-owned pet store in your area, they may buy their puppies from local hobby breeders. Some even provide free vet care, health guarantees, etc. If this is the case, buying from them is not the cardinal sin of buying a puppy. That being said, it will be expensive. These stores have to make a profit. They pay a quality breeder, and you pay a markup on top of that.

So if you're going to be buying a puppy in the future, consider the above information. Rescues and shelters are wonderful places to get a pet, but sometimes breeders and even pet stores can be a viable option.

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