How to Adopt a Purebred Dog

You don't have to shell out big bucks to enjoy the company of a purebred dog. Here's how to find a new best friend.


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    Consider why you want a purebred as opposed to a mixed breed. There is nothing a mixed breed puppy cannot offer you in terms of love, companionship, and devotion; and there are many mixed-breed puppies looking for homes.
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    Do your homework. Read books on the breed, paying special attention to how they will interact with your family and household. Talk to breed rescue centers. They will tell you what to look out for. No one has more experience on the breed than the dedicated volunteers and professionals who rescue the purebred dogs when they are no longer wanted. Learn how a typical dog of your chosen breed behaves and whether that is a fit for your lifestyle. Keep in mind how much room your dog will have, how much exercise you plan on providing daily, grooming needs, the drool and hair factors, and the poop-pick-up factor. Ask your rescue organization for the most common reason(s) this particular breed enters their rescue operation. Make sure everyone in your family is committed to interacting with the dog daily because the quality of life for your dog is based on healthy and constant social interaction. If your family cannot provide huge amounts of time, and if your dog is going to be home alone during the day, consider getting two dogs so that they can keep each other company. Make sure that you can guarantee a lifetime of dedication to the dog.
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    Do some research on the various kennel clubs that exist in your area. Find out how they register dogs and set guidelines for dog breeds. Some kennel clubs, such as the AKC, are controversial for their rigid and over-controlling restrictions on both dogs and their owners, so remember to shop around to find what's right for you.
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    Start your search by checking out the pounds online. (Twenty-five percent of the dogs in pounds are purebreds, and surprisingly, there are puppies!) To find a dog in a pound in your neighborhood, you can go online at Type in your area code and look at the photos of dogs in the shelters in your neighborhood.
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    Go to the special breed rescue centers. They frequently rescue purebreds from the pounds because of their love and devotion to the breed. They can provide valuable advice about your dog. If you don't find a specific breed rescue center, consider waiting. It won't take long!
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    One way to find a rescue group for the breed you are interested in is by simply going to a search engine, typing in the breed, the word "rescue" and then the region that you live in. For instance, if someone living in Montana were looking to adopt a Beagle, they would type in the phrase "Beagle rescue Montana" and the result would be a list of rescue groups with chapters local to them.
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    If you can't find a purebred puppy or dog in need of a home, look for a breeder. You will need to find a reputable breeder in order to have the best chance of a healthy dog with sound temperament. Be aware of the problems of irresponsible breeders. Many purebreds are inbred, and suffer illnesses and congenital diseases. Others are guilty of "litter stuffing"—offering puppies from another mother and selling them under the auspices of a "champion"—and charging phenomenal fees. Visit the breeder's facilities and meet the dogs. Facilities should be clean and the dogs should behave as you would want your future dog to behave. All dogs should be healthy, clean, and free of parasites. A good breeder will screen breeding stock for common health problems before breeding and will be happy to share that information with you. DNA tests should have been done on the stud and the bitch. Research the common health problems specific to the breed you're interested in and ask for proof that these screening tests have been performed (e.g., OFA certificates, degenerative myelopathy gene testing, etc.). If the breeder cannot provide proof of screening, keep looking. When you find a breeder you want, wait for a litter to become available. A good breeder will require a sales agreement that clearly spells out the obligations expected from all parties with respect to the dog. The breeder should be able to suggest books, grooming equipment, etc., for the care of your future pet.
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    If you have obtained a puppy then the ideal time to bring your new friend home is at (eight weeks) of age. A puppy that is picked-up too early will, likely, to be fearful of other dogs for his/her entire life. Get a complete veterinary exam within 24 hours of picking up your puppy. Start heart worm and tick prevention right away. Also, find a quality dog food. There are many great quality commercial products (aka dry/canned) but many owners prefer a commercial raw diet, or a homemade diet. Depending on your dog's activity levels, environment, and breed, talk with your veterinarian on what type of food you should be feeding.
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    Take your puppy (or your dog) to obedience classes. Ask your vet to suggest a facility or trainer. Establish the same expectations for your puppy that you will have for an adult dog. Make sure every member of your family is properly trained to handle the dog, and that they are aware that dogs can nip and bite when they play, but a nip is NOT an attack! Kids need to learn to be around a dog just as much as the dog needs to learn to listen to commands. Be vigilant when friends and visitors come around the dog. Small children will run up to a dog and screech in delight, however, to a dog this appears to be an attack so he or she may react in self-defense. Make sure your family is willing to walk, feed, brush, and pick up after the dog on a daily basis. No one in the family should be exempt from these responsibilities.
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    Bringing home a new puppy of any breed takes lots of planning ahead of time and plenty of puppy proofing. Before you jump head first into this big decision (please never bring home a puppy or dog on impulse) you must first evaluate your needs- your real ability to care for a dog, your household space issues, the financial ability to afford and adequately care for a dog, and the sincere readiness of ALL family members to welcome a new member into the family.


  • Understand that many animal shelters & rescue groups have a rigorous screening process &/or may accept more than one application per animal. Patience and communication with your adoption counselor not only tells a lot about your character, it is sometimes the deciding factor for adoption agencies in choosing who gets the dog.
  • Consider that if at some future time you must move to an apartment, you will need to find an apartment that accepts dogs. You might not be able to find a dog-friendly apartment community, and in that case, you're going to need to find a new family for your dog. However, this should be the last alternative. A pet is a part of the family - and the pet feels that way. Please bear in mind that 56% of dogs that go to shelters are euthanized, so if you own an older dog he or she may well become lonesome and depressed. He will have a broken heart at losing his family and could be easily overlooked for adoption. People relocating are the cause of the death of millions of dogs each year because they are simply dumped at the pound like disposable commodities, just like garden furniture that's no longer needed.
  • Bring a picture of your home/backyard to the shelter so that when you send in the application, you also have a way to show them the environment where the dog will live.


  • TRAIN YOUR DOG!!! Even an animal that was bred to have an exceptional character will be a complete nut if s/he has no concept of what rules are. This is how many dogs end up in shelters. Don't set yourself up to fail. If you have never owned a dog, consider working with a trainer.
  • Rescues and some shelters can seem picky when deciding to adopt a dog out, but keep in mind that they are trying to do their best for each dog in their care and match the right person to each dog. Sometimes it seems that if you are young (like before 30) or old (like after 65), don't own a house, have young children or may have young children in the next five years, or work full-time, many places will not consider you a good choice. Be aware of these factors and make sure that you have a good answer to how you will find the time to take care of a dog. Stress the fact that you will be knowledgeable, dedicated, devoted, and will do whatever it takes to make your dog happy.

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Categories: Choosing a Dog