You’ve all heard the saying, “Adopt don’t Shop’? It sounds so plausible, but the reality is: If there were no breeders there would be a significant shortage of dogs.
In the U.S there are between 70-80 million dogs with homes. In shelters and rescues 3-4 million dogs are dropped off each year, however not all of these can be adopted. Some are surrendered for bite histories and have to euthanized, some are ill.
If the only source of dogs were from shelters and rescues we would have to limit the current dog owners to half.
Many shelters, unfortunately, have dogs that are not suitable for families and are “Pit Bull Types” If there were no breeders, it would be akin to saying the 70% of dog owners have to own a Pit Bull type dog. Dog owners should have the right to pick a suitable dog for their family.
I am a big supporter of shelters. They offer an incredible service, find good homes for many animals, help in spaying/neutering dogs that should be pets, and never bred. I will continue supporting shelters with food drives and fundraising.
Dogs enter up is shelters because the breeder didn’t screen the buyers. They also end up in shelters because they don’t have the support of the breeder at the first sign of trouble. Puppies can be overwhelming, and simple training suggestions could make all the difference and prevent families from surrendering the puppy to a shelter.
These problems are solved by having MORE responsible breeders, not less. The AKC registers about a million dogs a year. Now, just because a dog is registered, does not make them necessarily better bred. The AKC registry is just that, merely a registry of purebreds. But for argument’s sake, let’s just say that all one million AKC registered dogs ARE adoptable, combined with the shelter dogs that would make on the higher end, 5 million dogs a year. The demand is 7-8 million dogs a year. Guess who fills that demand? Puppy Mills and backyard breeders that breed dogs over and over and sell them off to brokers and pet stores, or on the cheap in the classifieds.
We need to stop the support of unethical breeders. We need to disguise what makes a responsible breeder. One that is proud of their tireless works. That breeds holistically, always putting their dogs first and working towards bettering their line with great temperaments and superior health. The breeder genetically tests all their adult dogs, and does testing on hips and elbows. We need to stop demonizing the breeders that go above and beyond to raise healthy puppies that will have permanent, loving homes.
Find a breeder that will not release the dog until 8 weeks of age. Be discerning. If they are offering you a puppy, and it seems inexpensive, ask yourself why it is so inexpensive. A reputable breeder can easily spend $4000 on a stud fee, and $2000 on progesterone testing and artificial insemination per litter. A good breeder will spend hundreds of dollars on supplies, premium dog food, and supplements. They’ll spend many dollars on testing of the adult dogs, not to mention a registered dog with breeding rights can go for $10 000! Add all that up, on top of 8 weeks of caring, raising, and training the young pups, exposing them to a puppy curriculum for the best disposition, now how could that puppy possibly be so cheap? Corners have to be cut, and you are likely buying from a backyard breeder out to make a quick buck. When it comes to puppies, for the most part, you get what you pay for. A puppy that costs $1200? That doesn’t even cover the costs of raising a puppy. So ask yourself if it worth purchasing a dog that could be unhealthy and cost you thousands down the road, or a dog that is aggressive and not suitable for a family.
So yes, there are many lovely dogs in shelters, and may they all find loving and happy homes. There is also a need for breeders with the intent to raise healthy, socialized dogs that follow the protocol to ensure healthy, stable dogs in the future.