Think You Need a Breeder for a Perfect Pup? Think Again

“We wanted a small-breed puppy with a good temperament, so we went to a breeder!” 

This is a sentiment shared by thousands of dog owners around the world. People falsely believe that going to a breeder is the only way to get a dog with a stable and predictable personality, and that to find a puppy you need to go to the source. Many hopeful dog owners have also bought into the myth that you can’t find small dogs in shelters because they are “too desirable.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Think You Need a Breeder for a Perfect Pup? Think Again

Approximately 3.1 million dogs enter the shelter system annually, and many are puppies, adolescent dogs, and small breeds. Shelters are constantly dealing with overcrowding, and there is no shortage of dogs available for adoption. Adoptable dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and breeds—if you’ve never visited a shelter, you’ll be shocked to see mixes and purebred dogs waiting for homes. 

Before we bust some myths about adopting dogs at shelters, let me clarify one thing: it is perfectly fine to buy a dog from an ethical breeder. However, if you are opting for a breeder because you think that is the only option to find a small dog or puppy with a good temperament, you should think again. 

@animalhouseshelter So many sweet souls just waiting for a chance to finally find a place to call home.Come meet these sweet babies at Animal House Shelter in Huntley Illinois💜🤍#illinois #huntley #adopt #nokillshelters #dogsoftiktok #shelterdogsneedlove #shelterpetsoftiktok #nodogleftbehind #longtermresidents #adoptfosterrescue #volunteer #donate #nonprofit #fyp #foryoupage #adoptme #shelterdogs ♬ My baby my baby – FrankOceanLover911

Do Dogs From Breeders Have Better Temperaments? 

When you bring a puppy home, you can never be sure what its adult temperament will be. Whether you get a puppy from a breeder or at the shelter, their personality will be shaped by their genetics, how you raise them, and their life experiences. There is no way to guarantee what your puppy’s adult temperament will be, even if you meet the parents and discuss them heavily with a breeder

Think You Need a Breeder for a Perfect Pup? Think Again

Dogs from breeders can just as easily have temperament issues as shelter dogs. Assuming that shelter dogs have less stable temperaments is both wrong and a good way to set yourself up for failure with a breeder dog. 

If it really matters to you what your dog’s adult temperament will be, you won’t choose a puppy. Adopting an adult dog can give you a far better idea of what their personality is like, and shelter staff can easily help you choose a dog that will be a fit for your lifestyle. When choosing a puppy from a breeder, you will have far less control over whether they will be the right dog for you. 

Finding Small Dogs At Shelters

Think You Need a Breeder for a Perfect Pup? Think Again

Another myth of the animal adoption world is that rescues and dog shelters only have medium and large dog breeds available. 

Many shelters indeed have more medium and large dogs than small dogs, but small breeds still enter shelters at an alarming rate and are constantly looking for homes. The Chihuahua is one of the most frequently abused, abandoned, and surrendered dog breeds, and the second most euthanized breed in the country. Small breeds like Chihuahuas are often overbred, leading to large populations of small dogs without homes. 

A quick search for your local shelter or a visit to an animal adoption website like RockyKanaka can help you locate a small breed for adoption near you. I myself have found all three of my small dogs (all under 15 pounds) at shelters and private animal rescues. I browsed thousands of small dogs before finding the right one for me, and not once did I need to turn to a breeder because of a lack of small dogs.