It’s that time of the year when dog owners across the U.S. sit glued to their TV for two days, eagerly awaiting to see who will be crowned “Best in Show”. That’s right; it’s time for the 138th annual Westminster Dog Show on February 10th and 11th. For those who haven’t heard, this year also features the 1st annual Masters Agility Championship which will air on Saturday February 8th. For more details click here.
I love watching the Westminster dog show. I also know the politics behind it and like I said earlier one of these days I’ll post about the ins and outs of conformation dog showing. However, I thought that with Westminster right around the corner it would be a great time to tackle an issue I often see debated; where should you get a puppy/dog from?
In 2012 a Forbes contributor authored a great piece about the issue. The article, “Westminster, ‘Show Dog,’ and the Battle Over Purebred Puppies” is still a pertinent read 2 years later.
In this article he summarizes much of my own feelings. In fact, there is one quote in his article in which I swear I’ve written myself. The quote comes from Josh Dean, author of “Show Dogs: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred”. I haven’t read the book but promptly placed it in my Amazon Wish List and will do a more thorough review once I’ve read it. His quote succinctly sums up the reason that people get a purebred dog from a breeder even if it does make the issues seem very black and white:
“They know the breed so well that they know what the puppies are going to turn out to be: Size, temperament, lifespan, how much they’re going to shed,” explains Dean. “They don’t sugar coat it at all. They’re very honest, because their worst fear is having an owner who’s unhappy. If you go to a pound, you have no idea what you’re going to end up with.”
The issue isn’t as simple as ‘black and white’. He makes it sound like all breeders are honest. Are all breeders honest? The good ones are. This doesn’t mean they all are.
However, the issue is much more complicated than simply ‘purebred’ vs. ‘rescue’. The issue is very much all shades of grey. After all, you can get a ‘purebred’ from a rescue. Also, in today’s day you can sadly get a non-purebred from a ‘breeder’ (and I use the term ‘breeder’ loosely here); Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, or whatever other crazy combination people are ‘designing’ now-a-days.
What it comes down to is personal choice and personal preference. In the end it’s about getting a dog that becomes a member of your family and gets treated with kindness and love until they pass over the rainbow bridge.
With that said, there are some types of ‘breeders’ or places to buy/adopt dogs that should absolutely be avoided at all costs. I think we all know what those are and I’ll get into more detail later on. I just wanted to make sure I throw it out there so that you know I don’t think just any place is okay to purchase / adopt your dog.
Over the next few posts I’m going to discuss the various avenues for getting a dog. Like I said, the issue is extremely complicated and I want to make sure I give enough time and attention to each venue. Below is a rough ‘pros and cons’ list of getting a dog from a breeder vs. a rescue.
I just did what I said was a ‘no-no’ earlier; I made it black and white. The issue isn’t. The reason? There are numerous types of ‘breeders’ where you can get a dog and there are numerous types of rescues. Below are the various types of people / places you can purchase / adopt a dog / puppy from.
Each of these also has their own pros and cons as well. However, I wanted to start off looking at the big picture. Over the next few posts I am going to be discussing each type in much deeper detail. As with all things you need to do your own research, for your own opinion and make an informed decision. No one can make the decision for you as getting a dog is a serious decision. What I hope to do is enlighten you and give you some information to get you thinking and to jump start your own research.
Below is when you can expect me to tackle each of the types of places / people you can get a dog/puppy.
- Part 2 – Responsible breeders: Conformation / Performance Breeders
- Part 3 – Backyard breeders, Puppy Mills, and Pet Stores
- Part 3a – Rescues Overview
- Part 4 & 5 – Municipal Shelters, No-Kill Shelters, Not for Profit Shelters and Breed Specific Rescues
Check back on Tuesday for Part 2.
I also wanted to give a huge shout out to Amy for suggesting the topic. It’s a huge topic to undertake but well worth it. I hope I do it justice Amy!