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Buying a Puppy: Pet Stores vs Dog Breeders

Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Friday 17 May 2019
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
pet stores vs dog breeders
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When set about buying a puppy, the first question that strikes you is where to buy them from. Now, the two basic options you have are pet stores and dog breeders.

Both have their share of advantages and disadvantages. Some might prefer buying a puppy from a pet store while others might look for dog breeders depending upon suitability and other factors.

In this article, we are going to compare the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.

Pet Stores

Let’s start with pet stores – they are loved by families who enjoy wandering in them on weekends. They are ideal for impulse buyers but offer very little information about a puppy’s background.


Buying a puppy from a pet store can seem to be an easy option because of the following reasons.

Accessibility of stores

The most obvious advantage of buying a puppy from a pet store is that you can access it anytime you want. This is because most pet stores are just a few minutes of drive from your home and they are open throughout the week for long hours. Not only are there several options for buying a puppy but also the promise of in-store services such as grooming, a health check-up by a vet and so on.


The low price of the puppies is a dominant reason why many people prefer buying a puppy from the store. This is due to an abundant supply of the puppies from several breeds. Because there are no waiting lists, screening processes or even formal applications, the buying process takes only the money required. Pet stores, in this respect, are good for impulsive buyers – but one should never buy a dog on an impulse!

Flexibility of dog visits

Buying a puppy from a pet store is all about convenience and heightened flexibility. If you are a casual buyer and you visit a pet store at any point in time, you will find several options to choose from.

In fact, even if you are not sure of which breed to buy, you will typically find a number of them, thereby, helping you take an instant decision and bring a puppy home.


Buying a puppy from a pet store is quite disadvantageous at the same time and the risks can be quite glaring as mentioned below:

Lack of staff knowledge

A pet store has a lot of puppies from different breeds altogether. This might bring you more options but on the flipside, it implies that the staff members have little to no knowledge about the individual puppies.

As a result, when buying a puppy from a pet store, you have to rely on your own instinct and observation to understand anything about the puppy. It is a huge task for the young, often part-time staffs to gain proper information and knowledge about each puppy.

Consequently, there are risks of buying an unhealthy puppy with certain adverse conditions, at times.

Health of the dogs

The biggest challenge in buying a puppy from a pet store is that you are unable to find out if the puppy is at all healthy enough or has some genetic illnesses, behavioral problems and so on.

The origin of the puppies is unknown because they are most often brought from the mills and not responsible breeders. Also, the staffs at a pet store have little understanding about the puppies they are selling.

As a result, many puppies from the pet store bring along injuries and health problems. The vet conducts a brief wellness test, which, however, cannot detect serious diseases, genetic disorders, and parasites. For instance, diseases such as brucellosis are common in puppies brought from the unhygienic puppy mills.

With a pet store, you might also end up buying a puppy with serious psychological issues. The puppy might turn out to be aggressive or develop tendencies of escaping. This is mainly because of the isolated conditions in which they have been born and raised.

Unknown origin of dogs

Buying a puppy from a pet store leaves you in dark about the real origin of the puppy. The pet stores usually claim that their puppies are from well-known breeders but the fact is that the puppies are brought from large commercial facilities referred to as the puppy mills or even local backyard breeders. These mills hardly take any care of the well-being of the animals. The puppies, as a result, are born and raised in extremely overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. They are, at times, kept in separate cages also.

A responsible dog breeder does not sell puppies to a pet store. That is why there is also no proper way to know if the puppy you are buying is from a puppy mill.

A so-called breeder is just someone who brings two dogs together and let them mate. This, however, does not justify their sense of responsibility or the ability to care for the animal. Even a USDA certified breeder can house several breeding dogs in small wire cages and unsanitary conditions.

A Puppy Mill in Missaukee County
Picture of a Puppy Mill in Missaukee County.

Dog breeders

While pet stores are great for impulse buyers, dog breeders are the top choice of responsible and ethical dog owners. The journey of buying a puppy from a breeder takes time, and often, the future owner needs to prove himself or herself to the breeder.


Buying a puppy from a reputed breeder is, in most cases, a good decision. Following are some of the specific advantages of doing so that you should take note.

Breed specific knowledge

Buying a puppy from a breeder prepares you with the knowledge of practically everything that you need to know about the breed. In fact, a well-versed breeder will often counsel you on your expectations, family, and lifestyle to guide you on the breed that you should go for.

Breed-specific knowledge and information are important because it helps you know about the temperament and overall behavior of the dog. As such, you will be completely aware of how the furry one will behave and will be able to handle accordingly.

A good breeder will never force you to buy a certain puppy without solid reasons.

Knowing where your dog is from


One of the most welcome advantages of buying a puppy from a breeder is that you know where the dog is from. The breeder will, as such, inform you about the puppy’s father, mother, and relatives and you will get to know about their health history in details. They have the dog’s lineage on paper.

In fact, the breeder might also let you meet the puppy’s parents if they happen to be on the premises. Taking a look at them or even their photos and videos will give you a complete idea of how your puppy will look and act when they grow up.

Health guarantee

Buying a puppy from a breeder not only implies getting a healthy puppy but also one with a health guarantee. This is because breeders are genuinely concerned about their dog’s health and, therefore, offer this health guarantee for each puppy. Now, the terms of the guarantee might vary depending on the breeder so it is necessary that you inquire about the specifics.

The breeders are also aware of the genetic diseases common in each breed and, therefore, they conduct a genetic health testing, which is a big plus point. Knowing all these will also help you deal with your dog better in future in situations of illness and so on.

In general, a health guarantee covers a puppy for diseases covered by the agreement. As such, if your puppy is affected by certain diseases, you might receive a refund on the price, a replacement of the puppy or a certain amount of money for the medical treatment of the puppy’s health issue.

Well-socialized dogs

A puppy that is raised by a responsible breeder is well socialized and knows the concept of a homey home. As such, buying a puppy from a breeder will eliminate chances of the dog behaving awkwardly once you bring him/her home. The dog will grow up to be friendly and affectionate towards people and especially kids, will not be scared around guests or sudden noises, etc.

When you buy a puppy from a breeder, you know for sure that the little one will always have a home even in the worst case scenario where you cannot raise them owing to some dire circumstances. Socialized dogs know of other dogs, cats, noises, street stimulations, and so on.

Specific needs

Oftentimes, your whole purpose behind buying a puppy is to buy a very specific dog, a working dog, or a rare breed of dog. For instance, if you want to buy a poodle mix, your only way to get one is by contacting a breeder who specializes in Maltipoos or Yorkipoos.

You might also want to showcase the puppy by making them participate in competitions. In such situations, you would need documents like a pedigree certificate to be allowed the opportunity. Consequently, only a proper, responsible breeder can provide you with these documents. Buying a puppy from a breeder, therefore, meets your customized requirements.

Dog breeders who suddenly showcase an enormous passion for their breed because they have a litter are pathetic.
Dog breeders who suddenly showcase an enormous passion for their breed because they have a litter are pathetic.


Although it is a no brainer that any buyer should use a dog breeder, there are still a few disadvantages. However, you need to go past them and never give up until you find the right breeder for you.


The price of buying a puppy from a breeder is undoubtedly high, compared to the price offered by a conventional pet store.

However, in return for the high price that you pay, you receive a puppy that is healthy, free of genetic disorders, psychologically sound and most importantly, from well-known pedigrees. Considering this, price hardly remains a disadvantage as such, unless it is a real constraint for you.

Difficulty of finding a good breeder

One of the primary challenges in buying a puppy from a breeder is finding a breeder itself. This is due to the fact that unlike pet stores that are normally nearer to your home, finding a reputed and responsible breeder takes time, often months of research.

Indeed, you need to be especially careful and avoid the backyard breeders because their breeding standards are dangerously low. However, once you find a trustworthy breeder, you will realize that buying a puppy is an experience that you will treasure and that will be totally worth all your efforts.

Waiting lists


Even when you find a trusted breeder in your quest of buying a puppy, you might have to spend some more time in actually bringing your favorite puppy home. Owing to their reputation, good breeders have waiting lists.

Their puppies seem to be in great demand and they don’t take shortcuts in offering you with a puppy that is unsuitable for you and your family. So, you will find yourself in the waiting lists for months, more so, if you are buying a puppy from a specific breed or mix.

In short, responsible breeders are not for uninformed and impulsive buyers who hardly care about anything else other than buying a puppy as quickly as possible. If the prospective owner is in a hurry to get a puppy, a breeder is perhaps not the best option for him.

Is it okay to buy a dog from a breeder?

Yes, it is ok and always a better option to buy a puppy from a breeder. But, there are a few factors that you must consider.

  1. Avoid the backyard breeders – they follow substandard breeding methods and often sell their puppies to the pet stores.
  2. Make sure that the health and well-being of the dog are above all other factors such as price and so on.
  3. Even after the breeder informs you well enough about the puppy’s parentage, ask as many questions as they come to your mind because buying a puppy is a crucial task.

Also, make sure that you keep visiting the breeder occasionally to learn more about the puppy, his/her behavior and also if a health problem crops up. Getting in touch with a local breed club that is recognized also helps a lot in the matter.

So, whether you prefer buying a puppy from a pet store or a responsible breeder will largely depend on the factors that you prioritize. For instance, how fast you want to bring the puppy home, how healthy you want the puppy to be and also, how informed about the breed you want to be. With both, you have to be careful about certain aspects to be able to make the right choice.

6 comments on “Buying a Puppy: Pet Stores vs Dog Breeders”

  1. Roxanne Rowen (Roxie's Pups)

    Thank You for this article on, Where to buy a puppy- pet stores or breeders.
    I’ve noticed these last few years prices the pet stores were getting are much higher than what I was charging& my pups are healthier, better looking then some & I have both parents even the Grandma’s. I’m very choosey though & want the best home for them. So far my customers send me updated pictures & I’m excited they are happy. But to take care of clan to keep them healthy it cost money. Maybe with responsible happy customers there won’t be as many rescues.

  2. Ann

    sorry didn’t know this was here for a comment. I have replied to your email.
    I do want to mention, back yard breeder, would I be classed as back yard breeder. This would be (if I go for it) litter number two in 3 years, they would arrive in the lounge, for my comfort as l will sleep downstairs with them for 3 weeks, with mummy and me, with two other dogs, and a cat. Then as they get active, move to the breakfast room, which will have a pen to prevent escapees. As they get to 8 weeks weather permitting they will have a wander on the patio, and try out the lawn. They will go for a few short car rides, and visitors will be encouraged to come and play for short periods, including children. In turn they will be separated for short periods, when each will get a brush with a baby brush and have claws and ears touched, by the time they go each will have had short periods of time on their own, last time no one fussed about being left. I was surprised that mum left them asleep and got up to return at the exact time that they woke. The first few days she just rushed out and back again. But wanted to come on the walk after about three days. Although I had read and read about the subject, I thought she would be protective, not at all, was quite happy for us to handle them, and after a day let our other dog (not the daddy) sniff them. It was an amazing experience. I would want to buy a puppy from me. I did in fact, and got a very good discount. But must not again. I think my husband will want that in writing, signed and witnessed.

  3. Christie

    My local pet store isn’t cheap. $3000 is the cheapest dog. The bull dog in the store is going for $8000!!!

  4. Jaime & Irma

    I think Cvid has increased the demand and the Pet Shops have increased their prices to take advantage of this demand. The sad thing is that Pet Shop puppies are hit and miss in terms of illness. We younger I got stung with a parasite infested puppy. I spent lots of money trying to save the dog but it was too late. The Pet Shop said not our problem and back then no one cared. Take your time, find a good breeder, research the breed you want and be patient. This little babies take a piece of our hearts and we want them healthy and around for as long as possible. Waiting on our second Mini Schnauzer (Barking in Stereo) but we love.

  5. Prasanna Gollapalli

    Need lab male puppy for 8000 below tq

  6. YesNoSpin

    I think it’s important to get a puppy from a reputable breeder, rather than a pet store. There are a lot of scams out there, and you don’t want to get stuck with a sick or unwanted puppy.

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