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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Avoid the backyard breeders – they follow substandard breeding methods and often sell their puppies to the pet stores.
- Make sure that the health and well-being of the dog are above all other factors such as price and so on.
- 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.