Buying a dog: Welfare dog vs. breeder

Buying a dog: Welfare dog vs. breeder

First of all, congratulations on your decision to offer a new home to a furry little thing! You now not only have a big responsibility, but also a turbulent life full of surprises, with lots of exercise and plenty of cuddles.

You have probably already answered some important questions before getting a dog, such as the following:

  • How big can your dog be or become?
  • What characteristics and traits are important to you?
  • Do you want a certain breed or do you prefer a mixed breed?
  • Should it be a puppy, a young dog or an adult dog?
  • Will it be a male or a female?

Now it's getting serious: buying a dog is just around the corner. But which is better? Buy a puppy directly from the breeder? Or would you rather offer a new home to a dog from a shelter? There is no general answer to this question.

Buy or adopt: Where do I get my dog?

You can hardly wait until you know when your new family member can finally move in with you, the anticipation is rising - and you can enjoy it to the full. But no matter how great the longing is, take enough time to make sure that you actually get the four-legged friend that suits you. After all, not every dog is best obtained from an animal welfare organisation or reserved directly from a breeder. We will introduce you to the best-known options for getting a dog, including their advantages and disadvantages: a shelter dog or one from an animal welfare organisation and a dog from a breeder.

Dog from the shelter

A common reason for choosing a dog from a shelter or from an animal welfare agency is love of animals. After all, animal shelters are often overcrowded and overburdened. Again and again, they are joined by lost and found animals, animals that are not kept in a manner appropriate to their species or by people who have to give up their pets with a heavy heart for personal reasons. Some animal welfare organisations operate placement services, for example, to place street dogs, animals from abroad or puppies in good hands. If animal welfare is close to your heart, animal shelters or animal welfare organisations may be your first port of call for finding a new, loving home for one of these fate-stricken four-legged friends. And how quickly it happens to you when you look into the faithful, longing eyes that seem to say: "Take me with you!

If you are experienced with dogs and willing to conquer the heart of a furry nose from the shelter with a lot of patience and time, a dog from the shelter is certainly the right thing for you. If you are a beginner in dog ownership or if there are small children in the family, honest advice and the right gut feeling are often decisive for you to find a suitable candidate in the shelter with whom you can share your life in the future.

Advantages of a shelter dog:

  • Provide loving home: The shelter dog receives a species-appropriate, loving home with you.
  • Cost: The cost of acquiring a dog is lower than buying it from a breeder. You pay a fee, according to the guidelines of a shelter contract.
  • Finding an adult dog: If you are looking for an adult or older dog, you are more likely to find one at a shelter. Shelter puppies also exist, of course, but breeders in particular specialise in placing puppies.
  • Medical care: The animals in the shelter are examined before they are placed and, if necessary, rehomed. You receive transparent information from a reputable source. Most of the shelter dogs are already neutered or spayed.
  • Experienced mediators: fosterers and private individuals from animal welfare organisations often have years of experience in dealing with dogs. If you have dealt with all the important questions in detail, they can help you to assess whether you and your ideal candidate are a good match. In addition, it is usually very important to them that their charges end up in good hands. They will therefore be willing to answer all questions and will also take a close look at you - this will also benefit you, after all, you want to become a really good team with your new partner!

Disadvantages of a shelter dog:

  • Partly unassessable characters: With many shelter dogs, the previous history is only known to a limited extent. Their carers can only judge them on the basis of the time they have spent with them in the shelter. But don't be discouraged: a conversation with the fosterers and first meetings to get to know each other will already show whether you could be a good match. Most dogs are grateful for your attention and will show it in their own way.
  • Experience is often necessary: Building a bond with the animal requires patience, time and know-how in training and handling dogs. Some of the four-legged friends have grown up under unfavourable or even inappropriate living conditions and have already been through a lot in the past. A great deal of care, patience, consideration and love is required here. Some shelter dogs are therefore not suitable for beginners.
  • Costs: Some animals have been surrendered because they have health problems, for example. If they need special food or close medical care, you will have to pay extra. You should be aware of this when adopting a stressed dog.

Costs for a shelter dog: approx. 250-380 euros.

Dogs from the shelter are given away for a so-called protection fee. The idea behind this is that only someone with serious interest is willing to pay money to adopt the dog. By the way, the protection fee rarely covers the costs incurred during the time the dog is in care and is therefore all the more important.

Where can I find animal shelters and placement centres?

Animal shelters can be found in many towns and cities in Germany. They are usually run by local animal welfare associations, which in turn are members of the German Animal Welfare Association (Deutscher Tierschutzbund e. V.). The German Animal Welfare Association lists all animal shelters together with contact details.

Dog from a breeder

Dog breeders specialise in breeding a particular breed of dog. Therefore, buying from a breeder is a good idea if you want to take in a puppy of a certain breed. The special thing about pedigree dogs is that they have certain characteristics that are defined by a breeding association (one of the most important umbrella organisations is the FCI, Féderation Cynologique Internationale). Depending on how often the breed is bred, it may be worth travelling further to the breeder. An important indication that you are dealing with a serious breeder is membership in a breeding association. A good breeder will willingly show you everything, e.g. the dam, the environment, the papers.

Advantages of a pedigree dog from a breeder:

  • Certain characteristics: The parents and ancestors of a puppy from a breeder are known and therefore also their character and their characteristic breed features - you can rely on that. Nevertheless, each little ball of fur in a litter has its own personality, which will make it a very special companion in your life.
  • Getting to know your puppy: Provided you don't travel all day to get a good look at your future family member, you can get to know your puppy at a breeder and visit it several times before deciding on one of the puppies. By the way, we also have tips for you on how to recognise which puppy in the pack suits you.
  • Experienced breeder: Breeders have known their animals for generations and are specialists in the breed. They will put you through your paces to find out if you will make a good team with one of their animals and if you can do it justice.
  • Reliable contact: Your breeder will be there to advise you right from the start - no one knows the animals better, after all, they raised them.

Disadvantages of a pedigree dog from a breeder:

  • Time, patience and experience: At the breeder you usually get puppies or very young dogs that still have a lot to learn. You will need time and patience. The appropriate know-how is also an advantage.
  • Higher purchase costs: The cost of a puppy from a breeder is sometimes considerably higher, but you will have an animal with papers, whose pedigree and history are known to you if you buy from a reputable breeder.

Costs: 600 to 2500 Euros (sometimes more)

A puppy from a breeder usually costs at least 600 Euros. Depending on the breed, however, the price can be considerably higher, 2000 Euros and more for a pedigree dog are also not uncommon.

Where can I find a suitable breeder?

You can find dog breeders and their contact details at the usual breeding associations for your favourite breed or at the umbrella organisation of the numerous dog breeding clubs, the Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen (VDH).

Buying a dog - but seriously

You have probably noticed that the question of where to buy a dog is just as complex as the many other questions on your decision-making path to a dog. Another option for buying a dog are classified ad portals specialising in animal mediation, where private individuals also offer their fosterlings. Unfortunately, there is a high risk of meeting dubious puppy traders there. If a pedigree dog is offered at a particularly low price, extreme caution is advised. Illegal dog traders have many tricks up their sleeves and are not immediately recognisable. Most dogs from the illegal puppy trade are sick and come from very bad conditions. So watch out when buying a dog!

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