If you talk to any dog lover, chances are they will be able to tell your their favorite breed of dog. Even if they don’t have one themselves, most people have a certain kind of dog that they think is the most attractive or most desirable, for any number of reasons. Be it a Husky, a German Shepherd, a Chihuahua, a Pug, or an Australian Shepherd, there are hundreds of various dog breeds and each one has a different temperament.
Some people are extremely particular about the breed of dog that they want for a companion animal and many of those people turn to breeders to fill their need. The truth is, though, if you are searching for a purebred dog, a great place to start is your local rescue organization.
Rescue a Purebred
You may be surprised to hear me say that. A rescue organization? Don’t they typically adopt out pound dogs and mutts? Well, yes. But if you think about it, a dog who ends up at the pound had to start somewhere. As nice as it would be if things were this way, not all dog owners are responsible, whether they have a shelter dog or a purebred dog. All dogs are vulnerable to being taken to the pound and the chances that you can find a purebred dog at the shelter are actually much higher than you might think.
According to the Humane Society, approximately 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred dogs. Compound that fact with the fact that many rescue organizations focus on rescuing a specific breed of dog and the chances of you finding the specific breed you are looking for without going to a breeder or a pet shop go up drastically.
More and more dog rescue organizations are being started and many are breed-specific rescues, meaning they only take in a certain breed of dog. Border Collie rescues, Rat Terrier rescues, Husky rescues, they all exist. It’s just a matter of locating them. If you live in a big city or a highly populated state, it will likely be fairly easy to find the type of dog you are looking for in a rescue. All it takes is a little online research and some scouting around and you might find exactly the dog you envisioned.
Purebreds and Health
There’s no guarantee the dog you find will be 100% purebred. If the dog is adoptable from a rescue organization, the likelihood of having accompanying bloodline paperwork and information is quite low (but not nonexistent!). This is when the factor of health comes into play. Many purebred dogs have serious health problems, either as a result of breed genetics or repeated inbreeding. Purebred dogs with a strict lineage may have just the look you want, but the health aspect can often be devastating to both the pet and your wallet.
Larger dogs are more prone to hip and leg problems, pugs are prone to breathing and hip problems, and other breeds are prone to brain, spine, or heart conditions. According to Scientific American, “half of all Cavalier King Charles spaniels will develop mitral valve disease, a serious heart condition that leaves the dogs susceptible to premature death. By the same age, up to 70 percent will suffer from canine syringomyelia, a debilitating neurological disorder in which the brain is too large for the skull, causing severe pain in the neck and shoulders, along with damage to parts of the dog’s spinal cord.” These spaniels aren’t alone in their health woes.
Cost of Buying a Purebred
Many purebred dogs will experience similar health problems as they age, putting them at risk of dying much younger than their mixed breed counterparts. So unless you are adopting a dog to be a show dog or a breeding dog, 100% breed purity shouldn’t be a concern. In fact, adopting a dog who has a little bit of mixed blood might actually be a better idea. Veterinary costs for these types of conditions can be astronomical, often up in the thousands of dollars. If the dog has frequent problems, those bills can add up quickly.
Besides the health problems of truly purebred dogs, buying one from a breeder or a pet store is also much more expensive than adopting from a rescue. Buying from a breeder or pet store can cost thousands of dollars, and you often don’t get the same benefits that you will from adopting from a rescue. Nearly all rescue organizations require that their dogs be spayed/neutered and fully vaccinated before being adopted out, which means tied into the few hundred dollars you pay is the cost of expensive health bills that you no longer have to worry about. With dogs from pet stores or breeders, that is often not the case. You are typically responsible for vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery on your own.
It’s understandable that people want certain kinds of dogs. Personalities, looks, and skills are often dependent upon the breed, but before you race off to spend thousands of dollars on a purebred dog, look around at your local shelter and rescue organizations first. You might just be surprised at what you find.