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

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3 Months Ago


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4 Months Ago

My opinion is that for every reputable breeder there are at least four breeders who don\'t give a damn about careful breeding only the dollars they can get. People who want a "CERTAIN" breed of dog should first check their LOCAL SHELTERS and LOCAL RESCUE GROUPS that rescue "CERTAIN " breeds. If you looking for a Poodle lets say, you go on line and google Poodle rescue and I bet you will find at least two in your area. You could save lots of money and still get the breed you are looking for. REMEMBER ADOPT not SHOP.

4 Months Ago

This is an extreme opinion and people should be cautious to form their own opinion based on this article.

Sure, there are major animal welfare issues that we humans create and we must also solve them but a radical statement as "no dog breeding at all" is a total none-sense. If this would happen then we would see either:
1) a world without dogs
2) mutts from random uncontrolled breeding - pretty much on the streets

No one wants it, I am sure!

Also, the numbers stated in this article are not facts. They are way off. "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. "
The truth is, there are a little over 70 million dogs in the US (about 74 million) altogether. And about 58% of total households have dogs, NOT all Americans. Do your research (but don\'t base it on your own article)

I fully understand and support the fight against bad, mass breeding and for animal welfare but making false statements are not going to help. Instead of scaring people away, one should educate.

Amy Simpson
4 Months Ago

I don\'t disagree with this, but 100% adherence to it will eventually leave us with no dogs at all.

Reputable shelters and rescue organizations, as far as I\'m aware, spay or neuter the pets before allowing them to be adopted, or a contract requires the new owners to do so within a prescribed time frame. Eventually, if breeding is prohibited, there will be no more fertile dogs and therefore no more dogs at all. Who wants to live in a world without dogs? Not I.

Terry Shinaberry
4 Months Ago

ASPCA are not into helping animals. NO they fill their own pockets from donations they get by running their lies. People that read this trash don\'t fall for this trick you need to look up the ASPCA charity ratings. You need to look in to the bad things they have done to animals for money. They are known to keep funding for shelter pets they sponsor animal confiscation rackets and much worse.

30 May 2018

Absolutely right.
in addition this article is just a big lie and false facts

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4 Months Ago


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5 Months Ago

This is an irresponsible article. Of course there is a place for a well bred, purebred dog! I have been involved in rescue in Australia for many years, particularly with shar pei. This is a breed that was nearly extinct in the 70s and yet now they turn up regularly in rescue. Most of course are not well bred or socialised and that is why they get surrendered or dumped. There is a whole lot more that goes into breeding a quality pure bred dog than most people realise. Good breeders match owners and their lifestyles to dogs, they use genetically sound stock, their bitches and pups get adequate vet care, the pups are well socialised, you get follow up advice from someone with actual dog knowledge, you get advice regarding diet, desexing and future health care AND you get some post sale guarantees regarding the pet you have purchased. Oh and you get a dog raised in a home environment rather than a shed. You get none of that from puppy farm or back yard bred puppies or ones purchased in pet shops. Why would you want to discourage that or even reduce the chances of a puppy/dog having more of a chance at a happy and healthy life? And why would you want to see pure bred lines become extinct? Some people purchase certain breeds for a reason. Who gave you the power to decide which breed was valuable enough to keep in tact? The majority of dogs ending up without a family are coming from puppy farms, backyard breeders and pet shops. They get dumped because noone buys them and they are no longer cute puppies or they can no longer pump out a litter. They get dumped when they cost too much money at the vet or behaviourist. They get dumped because they weren\'t the right dog for that family in the first place. And you telling people to not support quality breeders who are concerned about genetics and health testing and sound behavioural qualities and the matching process is wrong. It\'s not a competition between shelter and quality breeder sourced animals - both have a place in our lives and hearts. What doesn\'t is the mass production of puppies being sold at ridiculous prices with no guarantees. That is what is filling shelters around the globe.

6 Months Ago

Quoting Ed Sayers, who used Oreo for fundraising and then killed her despite the fact that she had a rescue waiting is a sure fire way to make me not trust what you write.

6 Months Ago

Ah yes, because all of those dogs are wanted. Some dogs in shelters do not meet what people are looking for, a shelter dog is not liking going to be good at guarding your livestock or herding them. A shelter dog might not get along with other animals, dog, cats, small children, you name it. A shelter dog might not be able to handle human contact, a dog that has been forced to fight is not likely to find a new home do to other mental issues the dog no suffers. You are going after people that are getting a dog to suit their life, but hey that purebred husky or border collie or beagle in the shelter just needs a home regardless of who adopts it. A mutt also needs to be placed with a family that it suits, not just a place it can go. Fosters only work so well and sometimes people can\'t take in animals. I personally have two dogs, one is fixed the other is not, but are friendly animals that i make sure are cared for and feel loved. The shelter needs the option to end the suffering of animals, people don\'t take senior dogs, people want puppies. Very few people are going to step up to the daunting task of taking care of a senior animal, much less a senior dog. Animals in shelters deserve to have love and care, however people that are producing the overpopulation are the people that aren\'t caring for their animals, getting them fixed or preventing them from coming in contact with another animal to reproduce - don\'t attack breeders that take care of their animals, look at people that "release their pets so they can have a better life" this is why we have invasive species, if you want to do some good why don\'t you step up instead of blaming people and providing a spay/neuter clinic to animals in your area? Why don\'t you spend out some money to help these animals instead of placing blame? I have done my part what about you?

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10 Months Ago

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