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I have been looking at a few different dog breeds. However, recently, I've been feeling almost guilty, lately, about not rescuing or adopting a dog.
If I could afford it, I'd get a puppy from a breeder and adopt a dog. However, I can't afford to do that at the moment. I have legitimate reasons for wanting a well-bred puppy but as all of you know, there are so many dogs out there that need homes, that I am torn, at this point.

One of my fears about rescuing is that I don't have any history, as far as possible genetic issues and illness and, also, an adult dog may be more difficult to train. I realize that there are no guarantees but I've had a lot of traumatic things happen with dogs that I've owned in the past. Those dogs were not from reputable breeders. Unfortunately, I didn't know what I know now.
My last dog was from a "reputable" breeder but he still had a lot of problems and, although we loved him very much and he was like a member of the family, I wasn't able to really enjoy him. In this case, the breeder steered me away from the puppy i wanted in the litter because that dog was a better show prospect. I ended up with a dog with a temperament that I couldn't handle. So, I couldn't do the typical things that people do with their dogs because, despite LOTS of training, his behavioral issues were formidable.
So, while I'd like to give myself the best chance of having an enjoyable experience this time around, I sort of feel like I'm depriving another dog, perhaps in a shelter, who may be euthanized, a home, by getting a puppy.

Did anyone else have this kind of dilemma?
 

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Coming from someone who just adopted an urgent shelter dog that's around 2 or 3 years old, I can assure you, she's completely trainable. This is a dog that knew NOTHING when I brought her home. Now she knows a ton of tricks (sit, down, stay, beg, paw, roll over are just some) and she's only had one accident since I brought her home, and that was over a month ago.

Puppies are ADORABLE and of course it's easy to want one. But older dogs are much easier to train, and to take care of in general. Besides, if you want to rescue a dog, no one is going to make you take the first dog that comes along. Take your time. Ask the shelter if you can spend some time alone with the dog of your choosing. Make sure the dog is the right one for you. So many people just go in and grab the cutest dog they see, and then instantly regret it. You don't have to be one of those people. And who knows, you may even find a puppy at the shelter, if that's what you really want. But then again, you may find an adult too that just melts your heart. You just never know. But I would definitely go with shelter dog over breeder. As long as you go about finding the right dog for you, you'll end up being happy.
 

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August and September are rich treasure troves for those looking to adopt purebred dogs in shelters.
In December, tons of well meaning but not well thought out people buy Christmas puppies for mucho dinero as family puppies.
They are small and cute and pretty easy to take care of until they reach 7-9 months when they are much larger, chew stuff, and without proper training will destroy furniture, piddle on carpets, you name it.

So the 'not well thought out' comes home to roost, and poor Fido is shipped off to the shelter, purebred or not. All good dogs, just untrained.

I do not think you should feel guilty because you have good reasons for your choices. But if you have time and inclination to train, you can sure get some prime young dogs right around now from shelters or on Craigslist or in rescues.
 

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I'm not following you here... You've had nothing but terrible experiences with buying dogs. This happens, even amongst reputable breeders. My neighbors got a lovely GSD that had been screened to death for hip problems. Hips were guaranteed. Now at 2 he's looking at a $12,000 double knee replacement. A client of mine got a lovely German Rottweiler from the states. He isn't even 1.5. I got a text yesterday, his ACLs are toast. A colleague of mine adopted a stunning sporting-quality Aussie, her first top-line agility dog. By age 2, a flukey seizure disorder killed off most of the litter.

Not trying to scare you, but poop happens. Often, it happens as the dog hits adulthood. Want my advice? Look for a dog between 1 and 2. When you find one you like, take it to a vet you trust for a thorough exam. If the dog is structurally/temperamentally sound and all systems are in good shape... That is pretty much the closest thing you can get to a "health guarantee" IMO.
 

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There's nothing wrong with getting a dog from a breeder instead of rescuing a dog from a shelter/rescue. I don't even think there's anything inherently wrong in getting a dog from a less-than-spectacular breeder that doesn't health test/doesn't hold up to everyone else's standard of being "reputable". Get a dog where you want to get a dog, for the reasons you want. There will be people out there that say "oh but there are so many rescue dogs that need homes!" Yes, there are, but that doesn't mean you're obligated to be that home and are immoral if you get a dog from a breeder.

If you're wanting to go to a breeder specifically because you want a lower risk of health and temperament problems, I would suggest being very thorough in your selection process. Looking for someone who has been doing it for decades may give you a better chance, since people who have been breeding the same lines for more than 10 years are going to have a more realistic idea of what their lines produce. People who are newer to breeding dogs aren't going to be able to give you the same depth of information about their lines, and a lot of the information you get will be second hand information from the breeders of their foundation stock, likely. Doesn't mean that you shouldn't be buying from newer breeders, either, though, just that those who have been working on their lines longer have more familiarity with their lines. Find out what the "recommended" health tests are for you breed and decide which ones you think are absolutely mandatory and which you're OK with a dog not having, and be sure the breeder is doing the ones you feel must be done. Also be sure that the breeders is valuing the things you want them to in their breeding plan.

Getting a dog from a breeder that health tests isn't a guarantee that that dog will have a stellar temperament and/or physical health and nothing will ever go wrong. You can't test for every genetic disorder ever, and sometimes they pop up unexpectedly. Sometimes, dogs injure themselves- IMO to blame an ACL injury entirely on a breeder is ridiculous. Sometimes, parents with good joints throw pups that got the short end of the genetic stick. Sometimes, pairings throw unexpected genetic diseases that can't be tested for and/or that the breeder wasn't testing for because to expect a breeder to run every available genetic test is a little extreme, IMO. Sometimes, pairings between two wonderful, well tempered dogs from lines of wonderful, well tempered dogs throw puppies with fear/reactivity/aggression issues. It's unfortunate, but true. A few litters that didn't turn out how the breeder hoped doesn't mean that they are producing bad dogs all around, just that they didn't match the right two bloodlines/dogs together. Again, a breeder who has been involved in breeding their breed longer will have more of these in their past that they've learned from and hopefully be producing better litters in the present because of it.

You are sort of flying blind with a rescue dog. You can make guesses about possible health risks based off of apparent breeds in the dog, and if you're getting a puppy you can make guesses about likely adult temperament based off of apparent breeds, but you're not going to know. If you get a 1-3 year old dog, you will have a better idea of adult temperament but there is no way to know if the dog will eventually develop health problems, as there's a lot of later onset conditions that aren't going to apparent in the dog as a 1-3 year old. If you get a 1-3 year old dog, there are going to be things that need to be untrained/retrained; the dog is unlikely to be 100% perfect and isn't as much a blank slate as a puppy. A rescue puppy is more a blank slate, but you also know less about the adult temperament because how a young puppy acts isn't really indicative of its adult temperament. You can shape them how you want a little bit better, though.

IMO, getting a purebred from a rescue is even more risky than getting a mutt if your main concern is physical health, because the likelihood is that that dog came from someone who was not health testing (IME, breeders that health test have contracts that include a right of first refusal in the event the dog is rehomed- those tend to go hand in hand, because the breeder is sinking a lot into their breeding program if they're paying for health testing and is more likely to be staying in touch with puppy families to check in about the dog's health/temperament).

At the end of the day: it's your choice where to get a dog, and the reasons for getting that dog are your own. There are a lot of wonderful dogs in rescues, and there are a lot of dogs that aren't perfect that were produced by reputable breeders. There is no "right" place to get a dog, and you aren't obligated to be rescuing a dog just because there are dogs in need of homes.
 

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There's nothing wrong with getting a dog from a breeder, however, if you feel that strongly, I would just adopt one. I've known many a well bred dog that was health checked and everything else, with major health problems and attitude problems. And plenty of mutts that live crazy long lives and are very trainable. But also the opposite. If you find a young dog in a shelter, even a puppy, it will still be very trainable. You can also sometimes find purebreds in the shelter.
 

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Here's one idea... Adopt a dog that has been returned to the breeder. As I mentioned, the bulk of health/temperament issues make themselves apparent before the dog turns 2. A client of mine adopted their dog's sister after it was returned to the breeder (onset of MS made the previous owner incapable of caring for the dog). It's a lovely dog.
 

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Don't feel guilty. If you want a purebred dog, and want to start with a puppy, and that's your dream--go for it.
But if you're looking for certainty, I'd be going for a young adult dog that 'check out', you like the look, you then spend time at the shelter or rescue with this dog, brings some treats, a ball, a toy. Walk him or her on a leash, see what happens, how do you feel, be hard-hearted (as in ready to walk away) and trust your instincts.
I've had four dogs from shelters now, and basically, I got exactly the dog I saw (good & not so good--what I love in a dog is often also what is most difficult to deal with, and my 'easiest dogs' are what I declare 'boring').
A very mellow, very nice, border collie/beagle (for my inlaws).
A very mellow, placid, shepherd/golden mix.
A high drive working line shepherd (we named her Dynamo based on her 1st hour with us, whirling in excitement at the end of her leash)
And current our bc/street dog mix, who looked alert and high drive in his pics but also very affectionate, and well, yep, that's what we got--crazy dog, now shaping into crazy fun dog who is, yep, very cuddly.
You can train 'em, but you can't change what they basically are, so an adult dog is easier to judge.
But don't feel guilty about a purebred. The only reason I never got a purebred from a breeder is that Dynamo showed up before I found a breeder. She was my dream dog...exactly what I wanted at that time in my life.
 
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