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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’”

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6 Days ago

I used to buy into all that "adopt don\'t shop" nonsense up to about a year or so ago. I actually find that mantra rather offensive. What happened was that my rescued collie mix passed on. We had him for 14 of his 17 years, and when we were ready for another dog I began scouring shelters and rescues in my immediate area.

I applied for every dog that I thought might be a good match only to be either ignored or turned down. Usually the turn downs were for really odd reasons that had nothing to do with the info on my app. After being disappointed locally, I expanded my search to the nearest large city and got more of the same. The reasons for being turned down became even more bizarre. I got everything from "we don\'t place in your town because one of our volunteers was mugged there." "You don\'t have enough general dog exp, long hair exp, large dog, high energy, herding etc.... when I used to be a Vet Tech, had a large, long haired high energy collie mix. " "Your acre 6 ft wood privacy fenced yard isn\'t adequate." "you have too many or too few other pets, when I had one dog and one cat and I live out in the county." "no kids under 6 even though my youngest is 12." It was becoming apparent to me that no matter how wonderful the app I turned in was, I had been blacklisted somewhere by all the rescues for reasons I don\'t know or understand.

Needless to say after trying and failing to adopt my next dog for nearly 9 months, I gave up. I started talking to breeders, hoping to get a dog that might have been returned, or the ugly puppy no one wanted. Guess what, a week later I found someone that still had the runt of the litter. He was at an age where the cute puppy charm was wearing off and his breeder wasn\'t sure what to do with him. I worked out a deal with her and I now have a wonderful dog. He\'s nearly full grown now and about 20% smaller than his breed standard, but that\'s just fine with me. I don\'t need the perfect dog, I just wanted a friend. I wish that I could have adopted, but after how I got treated, I doubt that I\'ll consider rescue again.

Muriel Servaege
11 Days ago

My father in-law had a female Malinois shepherd. He could buy it because she was too tall. I must say it was extraordinariily clever.
I have always wondered how the breeder managed to have the right amount of dogs.

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16 Days ago

This blog is very uninformed. There is a lot more to reputable breeding then just being careful about what female to breed to what male. Reputable breeders only have a few litters a year and is only a small part of the over population and very few puppies/dogs from a reputable breeder ends up in a shelter because a reputable breeder doesn\'t leave all the research up to the customer. There are just as many downsides to adopting a dog from from a shelter as there is in getting a puppy from a breeder and there is just as many upsides to getting a puppy from a breeder as there is to adopting a dog from the shelter. The A.K.C isn\'t prefect but the reason a lot of A.K.C breeders keep their dogs similar to puppy mills is because of all the laws the ASPCA puts on them claiming to trying to stop puppy mills when their true agenda is to stop pet ownership in general.The real truth is if breeding was stopped all dogs and cats will be extinct in 20 years.

Cenk Tekin
16 Days ago

If a species don\'t breed they go extinct. I hate people like Corrine Henn who wants the extinction of all domestic animals.

The question to ask "Where will future generations of dogs will come from?"

Nancy Raymond
18 Days ago

As far as I am concerned \' Breeder\' is just a fancy name for \'Puppy Mill\'.

Pat Bostwick
22 Mar 2017

I don\'t think that is a true statement. I know many breeders of different kinds of dogs and not one of them could be considered even being close to a puppy mill. A lot of them will find homes for their dogs who have gotten their championship & have had 2 litters of puppies. Breeders only have a low number of puppies a year. They aren\'t in it for the money but for the love of their dog breed.

22 Days ago

Agreed, breeding dogs is selfish, unncecessary and dumb. Go adopt a rescue dog (or cat) if you want a companion animal

Tom McClara
06 Mar 2017

Mongrels are best dogs to have. My Cat Lulu came from a feral cat colony and she is a great little cat who loves to play and eat and she considers me her pet.

10 Mar 2017

A dog\'s life span makes it very necessary to continue ethical breeding and only unethical breeding is selfish and dumb. Regardless of what this blog claims there are just as many downsides to adopting from shelters as there is in getting a puppy from a breeder.

25 Days ago

i am just one person that like dogs there are thousand that love dogs so the people that don\'t love are messing it up for the people that do because if you love dog you would took care us them as tack of dogs

25 Days ago

bog are here to bring joy and happy and there can your best friend you so be mean or treat them bad there your should love them not hate them and if you do hate dogs then don\'t get they hate you to.


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