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Despite the fact that nearly 62 percent of Americans have a pet, there are still more than 70 million homeless dogs and cats living in the U.S. Of these 70 million needy animals, only around six to eight million enter shelters each year. Although they only take in a fraction of America’s homeless animals, these shelters are mostly packed to capacity and strapped trying to function with limited funds. Yet, regardless of this wealth of pets looking for loving homes, only around 20 percent of Americans adopt their dogs from shelters.

So where are the other 74 percent coming from? Well, breeders.

You can find virtually any breed of animal in your local shelter – purebred or mixed – but consumers continue to pay hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars for dogs from breeders.

Some believe that by purchasing their dogs from a special breeder they will somehow be getting a “superior” pet, however, not only is this false but there are a number of other reasons that breeding dogs is irresponsible and harmful no matter how good their reputation may be.

The Myth of Purebred Superiority

Consumers looking for a new family pet are willing to pay exorbitant amounts for a purebred dog because they’re told that the puppy has been raised in a loving environment and will grow up to have a friendly disposition with minimal health problems.

However, there is no way to really tell because in many cases, it’s dependent on the individual dog. While there may be breeders that take precaution to avoid inbreeding (which often leads to significant health issues), and are selective with the dogs they do breed, making sure to raise them in loving environments, there is no definitive “rule” that guarantees these animals won’t suffer from health or behavioral problems early or later on.

You can never forget that breeders are still trying to run a business at the end of the day, so it is only in their best interest to advertise the benefits to owning a purebred, and even perpetuating the myth that certain positive attributes cannot be found in shelter dogs. Ironically, the Humane Society estimates that 25 percent of dogs in shelters are purebred.

What Distinguishes a “Reputable” Breeder

Now, when we refer to “reputable” breeders, it’s merely to differentiate between those that breed their animals “responsibly,” and those that don’t. A lot of consumers don’t do research prior to purchasing their new four-legged family member, and as a result, end up buying their new best friend from cruel puppy mills. Others rely on the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) inspection certification to ensure that the dogs they purchase are both purebred and don’t come from an abusive background. However, an exposé into the AKC’s inspection program revealed that many of these certified breeders subject their dogs to puppy mill-like conditions as well.

Although the AKC is considered the highest authority on purebred dog standards, Ed Sayer’s, the President of the ASPCA, stated in the New York Times that a number of the raids his organization has carried out involved commercial breeding facilities that were registered with the AKC.

Many puppies who come from puppy mills suffer from serious health problems as a result of reckless breeding. For example, the New York Times highlighted the story of one woman who purchased a puppy from an AKC breeder only to find out the puppy suffered from a number of abnormalities as a result of reckless breeding practices; the breeder had passed AKC’s inspection only two weeks prior. Two months later the facility was raided and all of the dogs were removed from the breeding facility.

When a representative from the AKC was questioned as to just how many breeders have AKC registered dogs in the country, they admitted that they did not have those figures. While the AKC may not believe they’re responsible for all breeders, their approval of these substandard facilities is deceiving to consumers and frankly, they should be held accountable for the breeders they certify.

The Question of Overpopulation

Reputable breeders have a passion for breeding dogs and many do genuinely love the animals they care for, but that does not address the very real problem of what breeding pets does to the existing pet overpopulation problem.

According to the ASPCA, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized in shelters every year because of lack of space, resources, and people who are willing to adopt these animals. No matter how you look at the issue, the idea of producing more dogs to meet the “demands” of people who are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a purebred pup while there are hundreds of thousands of purebred dogs waiting in overcrowded shelters is incredibly irresponsible.

The fact is, all dogs deserve a loving home, but when these dogs become commodities who are bred for profit, it doesn’t matter how well-meaning or qualified the breeders are. If we wish to put an end to the gross pet overpopulation problem and provide loving forever homes for dogs who truly need it, there is no real justification for the perpetuation of dog breeding.

So please, be a Green Monster and always adopt, don’t shop!

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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226 comments on “Why Breeding Dogs is a Problem, Even if the Breeder is ‘Reputable’”

Click to add comment
5 Hours ago

end the overbreeding of dogs now while great animals wait for homes at the shelters.

teresa b
5 Days ago

funny how nobody ever criticizes the jerks who let their dogs breed unchecked and cause the overpopulation in the shelters and rescue groups in the first place, no we\'d rather attack breeders who actually care for and love dogs. And if you\'re so in love with the idea of a controlled population where every dog born is loved and wanted, maybe you should lobby for mandatory sterilization of all dogs and cats with waivers only for people who will commit to keeping the puppies. not interested in that? then shut up.

26 Feb 2017

No, we\'re attacking breeders who actually do NOT care for and love dogs. Responsible adults will spay/neuter their dogs to prevent overpopulating.

Like the article says: "No matter how you look at the issue, the idea of producing more dogs to meet the “demands” of people who are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a purebred pup while there are hundreds of thousands of purebred dogs waiting in overcrowded shelters is incredibly irresponsible."

Take a trip through Pennsylvania and just see how irresponsible and uncaring the many, many puppy mill breeders truly are in that one state alone.

26 Feb 2017

Breeders are in it for the money not because they love dogs! If they loved dogs so damn much why would they charge so much for their puppies? Please you need to shut the fuck up!

1 Months Ago

I can\'t even wrap my head around someone choosing to go to a breeder. If you love animals enough to want one how on earth could you possibly turn a blind eye to the animal holocaust as stated in the stats of this article.


7 Months Ago

Your 70 million needy animals is incorrect. If you are going to slander breeders at least fact check. http://realanimalwelfare.com

Yaya Bassart
1 Years Ago


Rashmi Jc
1 Years Ago

Runsha Thomas

Diane Gnage
1 Years Ago

Never buy a dog from a breeder. Shelters are where to get one.

Carole Pixton
1 Years Ago

I would never buy a dog from a breeder. There are too many dogs desperate for a forever home.

Rennie Frank
1 Years Ago


Emalee Johnson
1 Years Ago

Caroline Kirby


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