No matter if you choose to give a home to a shelter dog, or to a pure-bred do your homework. Ask all of the right questions so that both you and your new dog are happy with each other. A dog is a commitment of your time, an investment of your money, and a responsibility for the entirety of the dog’s life.

Most people do not see sixteen years or more stretching out before them when they fall in love with a cute puppy. They only think in the here, and now. Be aware that the beautifully groomed, and impeccably mannered dogs that you see on Animal Planet’s televised dog shows are the products of many generations of selective breeding for stable temperament, intelligence, trainability, and sound healthy body structure. The owners put intensive training, socialization, and meticulous grooming into the dogs to bring them to this example of perfection. Each breed of pure-bred dogs were developed for a particular purpose. Working dogs, sporting dogs, field dogs, terriers, and most hound breeds are high energy, and need lots of exercise.

Select a dog that suits your life style, just as you would select an automobile. If you have a large family, a two seat roadster might make your heart yearn, but it would not be a practical family car. If you have a tiny city apartment a Scottish Deerhound isn’t recommended. Consider not only your lifestyle, but also the dog’s needs. Once you have decided upon a pure-bred dog, next choose a breeder. Take your time. Look for the right person. The one with whom you feel comfortable, one who doesn’t try to rush you into a sale, but reassures you that if you are willing to wait he/she will be willing to work with you to be sure you get exactly the puppy that you want. Do not be in a hurry. Be as selective in choosing a dog as you would be buying any other large ticket item. You will be paying for the dog for the entirety of its life. Think of it as a long term investment of the heart, and wallet.

Pure-bred dogs from reputable breeders come with a registration paper, a pedigree, a shot record, a worming record, a health certificate, and a written contract/guarantee.

If you have decided to open your home, and heart to a shelter dog be just as cautious. Shelters being not for profit corporations do not have to meet the same health requirements as do private dog breeders. They can, and do import animals from China, Romania, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Mexico.(1) These dogs do not have to meet the same quarantine requirements for importation that do the dogs that are bought by private individuals from foreign breeders. In fact shelters are being shut down all over the USA from out of control diseases from imported strays brought in to fill the empty cages.(2) Rabies is a concern.

Although the Center For Disease Control issued a press report claiming to have eradicated rabies in domestic pets in the USA, an 11 year old California boy died from a strain of rabies that there were no medical protocols to treat.(3) Be sure to ask where the dog originated, and try to get proof that the dog is healthy, and has been socialized..(4) Try to obtain as much information as possible. The health, and safety of yourself, and your family comes first. Shelters do not have to guarantee the dog’s health, or temperament, or your safety.


 Pet Underpopulation: The Pet Shortage in the US by Laura Baughan

(2) Dog imports raise fears of a resurgence of disease

Outbreak of Drug-Resistant Salmonella at an Animal Shelter

Disease shuts animal shelter (Las Vegas)

(3) Rabies Treatment Saves One, Does Not Work for All,2933,267191,00.html

Human Rabies — Indiana and California, 2006

(4) 8 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Dog Shelters

ABC NEWS: 300,000 Imported Puppies Prompt Rabies Scare

Cherie Graves, chairwoman Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States

P.O. Box 1406

Newport, WA 99156