By Patricia Leitch
Did you see those adorable puppies in the window of your local pet store? A cuddly, purebred Cavalier King Charles who couldn’t be more perfect to take home?
Or maybe you couldn’t get past that sweet dog’s face behind the cage at your local shelter: a Lab-Aussie mix whose owner moved to an apartment that doesn’t allow dogs. Kind and well-behaved, he was surrendered to be re-homed.
If you are thinking of adopting a pet, the good news is you have lots of choices. According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are about 10,000 facilities, both licensed and unlicensed, that sell more than 2 million dogs annually, while animal shelters adopt out another 4 million dogs.
Should I choose a purebred or a mutt?
When the lineage of an animal is recorded, that animal is said to be pedigreed. If you are looking for a dog with specific physical or personality traits, or you simply love a certain breed, a purebred dog can be a great option. A purebred dog’s ancestors are all members of the same breed, which results in consistent physical and behavioral characteristics.
Mixed-breeds or “mutts” are simply combinations of different breeds of dogs. Mixed-breed dogs have a more diverse genetic makeup than purebreds. When you adopt a mixed-breed, you benefit from the combined traits of two or more breeds, which results in a dog that’s less likely to have the genetic defects that are common to some purebred dogs.
Whether pedigree or mutt-i-gree, what is the best way to go about finding the dog of your dreams?
If you are looking specifically for a purebred puppy, it is important to find an experienced, responsible breeder that prioritizes health, temperament and socialization. Do your homework. Research online for the top breeders in your area. When you see dogs you like, ask the owners where they got them. You can also check vets, groomers, local trainers and kennel clubs for their recommendations. They will be able to point you to reputable breeders who you can trust.
If finding the right breeder seems daunting, purebreds are often available for adoption in local shelters and rescues. Some purebreds are surrendered by their original owners when they move, while others are rescued from puppy mills or off the streets. Consider visiting your local shelter before deciding on a dog. Most shelters have animal adoption specialists who can help find the right match based not only on your doggie dreams, but your personality and lifestyle!
Say “no” to puppy mills.
A puppy mill is a commercial dog breeding facility where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills and many come with incapacitating illnesses or genetic defects that lead to declined health. That adorable puppy in the window often has a mother who will spend her entire life in a cage, never loved, walked or petted. About 1 million dogs in the U.S. are confined to cages for most of their lives where their only job is to breed as much as possible, and many are put to death when they are to old to breed. In a puppy mill, the health, happiness or well-being of the animals are of little or no concern.
Mill puppies are also sold directly to customers through the Internet and newspaper ads. Never buy a dog from anyone whose home you cannot visit, make sure you see the conditions the dog has lived in, and meet the breeder and at least one parent dog. Therefore, new owners of puppy mill dogs often pay a very high price both financially and emotionally.
Bringing home a dog requires careful consideration whether adopting from a breeder, rescue or shelter. Take time to consider your decision before you bring a dog home and make sure you are comfortable with both the dog… and where it comes from. And when your dog arrives home, make sure to train and exercise it plenty, and create a social profile on Unikorn’s Butterfly site, so we can all see your new family member!
About Unikorn, Inc.
Unikorn is an all-in-one marketplace for pet services that provides affordable and convenient solutions to your pet needs– directly to your home! Through our easy to use website and mobile app, you too can give unconditional love to your pet through our community of caregivers and pet-centric services. Order pet food & accessories from the best stores in town, request a vet for house calls, find the best place to care for your pet while you are away, discuss your day to day pet questions with the community, and more!
*NEW!* Unikorn recently launched Social Butterfly, a social networking platform to connect with other pet lovers. Share your favorite photos of your furry friends and follow other pet parents in our exclusive online pet community.
Download the Unikorn App now!