Are you combing the internet to find a dog for sale to welcome into your family? You may be looking for a certain kind of dog who will be happiest in your home, whether that’s based on size, temperament, or type of fur. The good news is that you never need to buy a dog. You will always be able to find a dog who is up for adoption and fits into your household. Here are 10 reasons to stay away from all breeders and adopt instead:
1. Breeders treat female dogs like breeding machines.
A female dog’s reproductive system doesn’t exist for others to profit from. That’s basic feminism. Impregnating dogs and selling their babies for profit is exploitation akin to The Handmaid’s Tale. Dogs have feelings. Forcibly impregnating them and putting them through the physical discomfort of carrying a litter for months and the pain of giving birth, followed by the joys of nursing their pups and bonding with them, only to see them taken away, and then to make them do it all over again is unquestionably cruel.
2. Dogs in shelters are already waiting for homes.
When you buy, a shelter dog will die. About half of the millions of dogs in shelters are euthanized each year because of a lack of good homes. Buying from breeders destroys the chances of a dog in a shelter getting to live and to experience being part of a loving family. Millions more dogs die in the streets, sometimes after being rejected by a “no-kill” shelter that was full. “No-birth” is the solution. The only real, sustainable, and humane way for communities to end the euthanasia of healthy animals at shelters is by cutting off the supply of homeless animals. That’s where you come in.
3. When you adopt, you have the chance to change someone’s life.
When you’re ready to bring a dog into your life, it’s an opportunity to give an individual who may have been neglected or abandoned a second chance at life. Maybe someone got a dog as a gift and lost interest once the novelty wore off. Or maybe the family moved and left the dog behind. Or maybe they had kids and realized that they didn’t care about the dog anymore. You can make that dog feel loved, cared for, and safe again—or for the very first time—and your bond will be unbreakable.
4. You can adopt any kind of dog.
If you want a puppy, a dog of a specific size, or one who is “hypo-allergenic,” you can find one to adopt. If you’re concerned about temperament, you can foster before committing. If you’re determined to have a dog of a specific breed, see number 8, and also be aware that one in four dogs in shelters is a “purebred” and there are rescue groups trying to find homes for dogs of just about every breed. But every dog is an individual—don’t judge dogs by their looks.
5. There is no such thing as a “responsible breeder.”
Be it your neighbor, friend, coworker, or someone posting on Craigslist, anyone who breeds dogs is adding to the overpopulation problem. It’s not always someone running a whole enterprise. Exploiting animals and adding to the estimated 70 million homeless dogs and cats is wrong—plain and simple. And unlike good animal shelters, most breeders don’t screen their buyers; they just hand over a sensitive, thinking being to anyone with a credit card. There is no follow-up to make sure the dogs haven’t been neglected, abused, or abandoned once the novelty wears off.
6. Given the chance, dog families would spend their whole lives together.
Most animals, including humans, are hardwired to care for and nurture their young—and dogs are no different. Plus, they’re pack animals, meaning that they would probably stay with their families for their entire lives if they had the choice. They have memories and they love and look out for each other. Deliberately breeding them only to separate them demonstrates a complete disregard for their emotional needs.
7. Breeding dogs is harmful to them!
Spaying and neutering are some of the most important things anyone can do to protect companion animals and help them live longer. Altered animals are less likely to contract deadly, contagious diseases that are spread through bodily fluids. Spaying eliminates the stress and discomfort that female dogs endure during heat periods while also eliminating the risk of cancers of the reproductive system. And neutering makes male dogs far less likely to roam or fight, prevents testicular cancer, and reduces the risk of prostate cancer. A breeder’s business model is designed to disregard all this.
8. Purebred dogs are more susceptible to genetic disorders.
Fetishizing certain breeds leads to inbreeding. It’s estimated that one in four purebred dogs suffers from serious congenital health problems.
- French bulldogs are prone to suffering from ear infections, diarrhea, pinkeye, skin fold dermatitis, and brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome.
- Cavalier King Charles spaniels often suffer from an excruciating condition called syringomyelia, which is caused by having a skull that is too small for their brains. One veterinary neurologist described the condition as being “like a size 10 foot that’s been shoved into a size 6 shoe.”
- German shepherds are at higher risk of chronic pelvic pain, at least eight different heart conditions, and hip dysplasia.
- Beagles have a higher risk of glaucoma, herniated discs, and dementia.
- Labrador retrievers are more likely to suffer from eye cancer, skin allergies, and joint pain.
- Golden retrievers are at a higher risk of suffering from melanoma of the eye and mouth, deadly kidney dysplasia, bone cancer, and at least five different heart conditions.
- Bulldogs are more susceptible to breathing problems, skin issues, and many types of cancer.
We could keep going. These are just a handful of the health problems that dogs experience because of humans’ pursuit of “designer” dogs.
9. Selective breeding is canine eugenics.
Does the idea that one breed is better or more desirable than another remind you of any dark corners of history? Breeders believe that dogs with pedigrees are superior, and they churn them out to look a particular way at the expense of their health and well-being—and people who buy them support this warped practice. Promoting certain breeds denigrates mixed-breed dogs, and with millions of dogs—mutts and “purebreds”—already in need of homes, every puppy sold by a breeder means a lost opportunity for a dog waiting for a family.
10. Dogs are unique and sensitive individuals, not status symbols or fashion accessories.
If you are buying a puppy because you think doing so will provide content for your Instagram and rake in more likes, if you think a puppy will make a great novelty gift, if you want a “plaything” for your kid or to “teach your child responsibility,” or if you want your neighbors and friends to know that you’re well off enough to afford a French bulldog, do not get a dog. There are plenty of humane ways to bolster your social media, surprise someone on a special occasion, teach children life lessons, and display your socio-economic status.
Dogs are a long-term commitment and a huge responsibility. They depend on you for everything and can be expensive, high-maintenance, messy, and loud. They’re not toys you can put away when you’re done playing with them. They’re your companion, who requires your attention, affection, and care even when it’s inconvenient. They can also make you laugh, keep you company, brighten your day, and fill your heart with unconditional love. If you feel you are ready to make a dog your number one pal, then adopt—don’t buy.