Adopt or shop?

December 21, 2023   |   By David Jackson

It's that all-important question that goes through our minds when thinking of adding a four legged friend to our family. The Adopt vs Shop discussion is a hot topic which many people are very passionate about. However, choosing between buying and adopting a dog is a significant decision, each with its own set of pros and cons. Understanding these can help you make a choice that aligns with your preferences, lifestyle, and values.

Adopt or Shop

Buying a Dog from a Breeder.



Breed Specificity:

This allows for selecting a specific breed to match your lifestyle, needs, or preferences. For instance, if someone has allergies, they can opt for hypoallergenic breeds like Poodles or Bichon Frises.
Size and temperament can also be significant considerations. Smaller breeds are more suited for apartment living.


Knowledge of the dog's lineage can provide insights into its future size, behaviour, and temperament, aiding in preparing for its long-term care. Understanding breed-specific traits helps in anticipating and managing potential health issues.

Health Screenings:

Reputable breeders conduct thorough health screenings and genetic testing, which can minimise the risk of hereditary diseases, such as hip dysplasia in large breeds or heart issues in some small breeds.

Early Socialisation and Training:

Breeders often initiate early socialisation, exposing puppies to various stimuli, which can lead to well-adjusted adult dogs. Some breeders start basic training, making it easier for new owners to continue the process.



The purchase price for purebred dogs can be high. With a quick scroll through Pets4Homes you can see some of the most popular breeds such as Cockapoos and French Bulldogs puppies priced at a whopping £2,500.

Supporting Unethical Practices:

  • There's a risk of inadvertently supporting puppy mills or backyard breeders who prioritise profit over the health and well-being of the dogs.
  • dog in cage
  • The research from The Kennel Club as part of its Be Puppywise campaign shows a three-fold increase in people buying pups on social media since 2017, with almost a third (31%) of people paying before they even see the puppy in real life. Furthermore, nearly a quarter (23%) had their puppy delivered or picked it up from a neutral location - a common practice during lockdown - enabling duplicitous sellers to disguise horrific breeding conditions and the true background of the puppies sold to unaware owners.
  • Three in four (72%) puppy owners also weren't asked about their suitability for ownership in the first place, indicating an increasing likelihood of impulse pup purchases, without buyers understanding the full responsibilities and commitment of ownership.

Waiting Lists:

Popular breeds or puppies from highly reputable breeders may have long waiting lists, requiring prospective owners to wait months or even years.

Adopting a Dog from Shelters or Rescues.


Saving a Life:

adopting dog

Adoption provides a loving home to dogs that might otherwise face an uncertain future. It's a compassionate choice that can be incredibly rewarding.


Adoption fees are generally lower and often include initial veterinary care like vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and microchipping.

Reducing Overpopulation:

Adopting from shelters helps alleviate the problem of dog overpopulation and reduces the burden on these facilities.


Unknown History:

adopting dog

Many shelter dogs have unknown backgrounds, which can pose challenges in understanding their health or behavioural needs. Most rescue dogs need extra time spent settling them into a new home.

Limited Breed Availability:

Finding a specific breed, especially a rare or highly sought-after one, can be challenging in shelters.

Potential Behavioural Issues:

Some rescue dogs may come with behavioural challenges due to past trauma, neglect, or lack of training, requiring additional time, patience, and possibly professional training to address. Re-homing a dog with special needs can be extremely challenging and not for the un-experienced.

Meeting The Dog's Criteria:

A lot of rescue centres house dogs who need to be re-homed to dog and child free homes. This can make it tricky to find a dog suitable for many peoples circumstances.

Both options, buying from a breeder and adopting from a shelter, come with their own sets of advantages and challenges. The choice ultimately depends on individual circumstances, preferences, and the capacity to meet the needs of the chosen dog. Whether opting for a breeder or a shelter, the key is to proceed with compassion, responsibility, and a commitment to providing a loving and stable home for the dog.


Links we have used in this article:

  • Dogs Trust Annual Reviews: Link
  • Cost Breakdown of Owning a Dog: Link


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