Why choose a Pure-bred dog?

Each breed of dog was developed for a specific reason, such as to retrieve, to aid man in hunting, to guard, to herd or simply be a companion. Therefore, dogs within a breed will have not only physical characteristics in common, but will also be similar in temperament, activity level and learning ability. While each individual dog within a breed will have small differences, all dogs within a breed can be depended on to display similar behaviors. When purchasing an AKC registered pure-bred pup from a reputable breeder; you will therefore have an understanding of what kind of personality and traits that dog will possess as an adult. The future traits of a mixed breed dog are much more difficult to ascertain, as it is impossible to predict which of the breeds in the dog’s background will dominate.

Choosing a Breed

Once you have made the decision to purchase a pure-bred dog, it is helpful to think long and hard about exactly what you are hoping for in a dog. The biggest mistake people make is selecting a breed of dog for its looks, not for what it was bred to do. The best chance of success is to match a breed of dog with your particular situation.

Some things you should consider when deciding on a breed are:

  1. Your lifestyle and location. Do you live in the city, suburbs or country? Are you active or sedentary? How much time do you have available? How much financial commitment are you prepared to make?
  2. The reason you want a dog.  Are you looking for a guard, a playmate for your children, a companion, or a worker?
  3. The physical characteristics of a dog. Size, life span, health issues and necessary grooming are just a few of the physical characteristics that will impact you and your lifestyle. Not sure how successful a breed might be in your home and life? Ask! This is a great question, and breeders love to talk about this. It helps them understand you and if your home is going to be a good fit for their pup.
  4. The mental characteristics of a dog. Train-ability, and temperament need to reflect you and your lifestyle as well, and making a good match in this area is one of the most important factors to consider. While opposites can attract, a lifetime of trying to adapt to a situation that is counter-intuitive to you or your dog can mean years of frustration for you both and can exacerbate bad habits and can even lead to terrible outcomes.
  5. Your experience with dogs in general, and this breed in particular. Choosing a dog that matches your experience level with dogs will also lead to a life-long successful relationship.
  6. Understanding and respecting the cautions and drawbacks of each breed. Every breed has aspects of their physical and mental characteristics that in the right situations become drawbacks and not assets. This includes potential health issues that may not be apparent as a pup, but become more pronounced with age.
  7. Who will be the primary trainer and caretaker? Is everyone in the family comfortable with the breed? Many conversations have been had between parents and children laying out the guidelines for the care, maintenance and upkeep for the family dog, and a few weeks or months later, those guidelines are out the window. Similarly, choosing a breed that makes one or more members of the household uncomfortable or even wary is a recipe for disaster.
  8. Be honest with yourself. The more honest you can be about yourself, your lifestyle and your family needs, the better. Your happiness and the happiness of your new pup is going to rely on this.
  9. And perhaps the most important piece of advice is not to buy in impulse, but to do your research and make an informed choice on a breed of dog.

Choosing a Breeder

Once you have selected a breed, it is time to choose a breeder. Whoever you decide upon, the individual should be first and foremost someone you can depend on for advice and answers to your questions for the life of the dog.

Pet Stores

Puppies found in pet stores are mass-produced for profit on large breeding facilities, often known as “puppy mills.” The health and temperament of a dog is not guaranteed, and those who sell the dogs have little knowledge of the nuances of each breed, and will sell a dog to anyone who can pay for it, regardless of the suitability of a breed for an individual. In addition, the pet store provides no resource for problems or health concerns.

Remember: NO REPUTABLE BREEDER EVER SELLS THEIR PUPPIES TO A PET STORE. By definition, reputable breeders want to interview each person purchasing one of their puppies and to know where it is going and that it is going to have the best life possible. By selling to a pet store, they would never know who is ultimately ending up with their puppies.


Shelters are often an inexpensive source for pure-bred dogs. However, you should understand that those working in shelters often do not know the history of the particular dog, nor do they have extensive knowledge of breed characteristics and potential problems.


A reputable breeder has a wealth of knowledge of the breed and experience with problems and issues that may come up. A reputable breeder has performed health screenings on the sire and dam (parents) of their puppies lessening the chance of future health problems in the dogs. A breeder can also determine if his or her breed is suitable for your lifestyle and personality. A breeder will also select a puppy for you based on the temperament of the puppy and your particular situation. A breeder is a lifetime resource for you and your dog.

When choosing a breeder, consider:

  1. the breeder’s understanding of the breed as a whole and their own dogs in particular.
  2. the breeder’s experience. Not only how many years they have been breeding, but how long they have been actively participating in the breed with their own dogs.
  3. if the breeder demonstrates that their goals are for the betterment of the breed and selection of appropriate homes for puppies over profit.
  4. your comfort and compatibility with the breeder. Is this someone you can see having a long-term relationship with, and are they willing to serve as a life-long resource for problems and questions?
  5. the breeder’s honesty and integrity. This will be demonstrated in a variety of ways, including their willingness to discuss the advantages as well as shortcomings of the breed.
  6. the breeder’s reputation. Ask for references, and ask around at dog show and performance events.
  7. referrals from others in the breed club and purebred community.
  8. the breeder’s proximity to you.
  9. the breeder’s guarantees and contracts.
  10. the breeder’s ability to acquire and provide health clearances.
  11. the breeder’s membership in breed clubs or breed rescue organizations.
  12. the breeder’s history of participation in shows as competitions as a means to improve the breed.

And lastly, be patient. Once you have found a breeder, you may have to wait a few months or longer for a pup. It will be well worth it!

Breed Rescues

Regional and National Breed Dog Clubs provide “rescues” as a safety net for dogs in their breed who need a new home for a variety of reasons. Dogs in the rescue come from a many sources: owners, breeders, humane shelters, veterinarians, animal control facilities, etc. Once in rescue, they are screened, evaluated and placed with knowledgeable foster homes. Typically, people interested in adopting from a breed rescue are placed on a waiting list after completing an application and screening process developed and managed by the breed club. Breed rescues can be a great resource to anyone interested in both the benefits of a pure-bred dog and the desire to rescue.

NEXT — Choosing the Right Breed for You