Dog Adoption -
Where to Find the Perfect Dog

Dog adoption is where the “rubber meets the road.” By now you should have decided that you’re in a position to give a dog a good home.

You should also have an idea of the kind of dog you’re looking for.Will you be looking for purebred? Or, are you a fan of the mixed breeds (as I am)?

Are you open to getting a male or female, or do you have a definite preference?

Where NOT to look for a Dog Adoption

This is as important as where you should look. Many people naturally turn to their local pet store to adopt a dog. Please don’t be one of them. Most pet stores get their dogs from “puppy mills” rather than from legitimate breeders.

There are many reasons to avoid buying dogs that come out of puppy mills:

  1. These poor puppies have not had the kind of nurturing that you’d want for your dog.
  2. They have probably been raised in unsanitary conditions.
  3. They probably have not had proper medical care.
  4. They certainly have not had the kind of human attention and affection that you’d expect.
  5. Because of the above conditions, your new puppy could have serious medical and/or emotional issues.

Buying a puppy that came from a puppy mill only keeps the system going. If people can make money with these practices, they will continue doing it.

Please don’t support this horrible system by adopting a dog from a pet store.

Dog Adoption from Breeders

If you’re looking for a purebred, then you should be working with a “reliable” breeder. What makes a breeder reliable?

  • They love what they do more than the money they make.
  • They demonstrate a commitment to the breed they sell. You’ll see pictures of the breed throughout their home and their dogs will have the run of the house.
  • While you’re checking them out, they will be checking you out. In other words, they are going to be particular about placing their puppies. It’s more important to them that their puppies find good home, than for them to make money.

What to ask a breeder before you adopt a dog from them...

Here are a few simple questions that help you make sure that you are dealing with a reliable breeder. If the answers aren’t to your liking, or the breeder seems uncomfortable answering your questions, find another breeder.

  • Ask to see the mother. If the mother isn’t available for your inspection, something’s wrong...find another breeder.
  • Ask to see the father. The best breeders will go outside of their kennel for the fathers. Don’t be surprised if the father isn’t available...consider it a good sign.
  • Do the puppies live inside with the family? These puppies make better pets than those raised in a kennel. The more human contact young puppies have, the better.
  • Have the puppies been seen by a veterinarian. They should have received a “clean bill of health” before being offered for sale.
  • Ask when the puppy will be available to go home with you. Eight weeks old is usually considered the ideal age for puppies to leave their mother. If the breeder suggests anything earlier, there’s something wrong. Slightly later is usually fine.

Dog adoption by answering an Ad

While it’s possible to find a great dog by answering an ad in the newspaper or online, you must be very careful. Some people posting these ads will be reputable breeders like the ones mentioned above.

Some, however, will be people just trying to make a fast buck by turning their dog in a puppy-machine. Purchasing a puppy from such people only encourages more of this despicable activity.

Be careful in these situations and be very thorough in your questioning to make sure they are reputable breeders.

Dog adoption from someone you know

This is a very popular way of finding a dog to adopt and it can be a very successful way. Is your friend (or relative) someone who loves his dog and is treating their puppies in loving and responsible manner?

If so, chances are very good that the puppy you get will be a wonderful addition to your family.

Dog Adoption from a shelter or pound

There are hundreds of thousands of mature dogs in America that need good homes. Most of these can be found at shelters and pounds. Some are strays, while others have just been abandoned by their owners. Saving one of the poor dogs is a wonderful thing to do!

At a shelter you will find that:

  • Many of the dogs are mixed-breeds; fewer are purebreds
  • The majority will be males (more males are given away then females).
  • The majority will be under 1 year old.
  • All the dogs will be used to socializing with other dogs (that’s a good thing).

Check out to see what dogs are currently available at local shelters.

Adopt a retired working dog

When you adopt a retired assistance dog (like a guide dog for the blind), you’ll have yourself a wonderful dog. These dogs have been carefully selected for the tasks required.

They are guaranteed to be attentive to your wants and needs. And, they have demonstrated an ability to be trained and to bond with their owner.


A dog adoption is serious business for you and for the dog. Here are my recommendations for finding a dog to adopt:

  • If you’re not too particular about the kind of dog you get, please go to your local shelter and give a home to needy dog.
  • If you must have a purebred, work with rescue association for the breed you’re interested in.
  • If you won’t be happy without getting a puppy, work with a reputable breeder or get a puppy from someone you know and trust.
  • But, never get a dog from pet store. You’ll only be perpetuating the sad lives of those poor dogs trapped in puppy-mills.

What's Your Best Dog Adoption Story?

Do you have a great story about adopting a dog? What prompted you to look for a dog? Where did you look? How long did it take? What did you finally adopt?

Tell us about it!

Return from Dog Adoption to Choosing a Dog

Return from Dog Adoption to the Homepage

New Dog Owner? Check Out These Pages First...

Selecting a Dog

Type of Dog

Choosing the right Dog

Naming your new Dog

Finding the right Food

House Training your Dog

General Dog Care Tips

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