Want a Purebred Dog? Avoid Supporting Puppy Mills

Looking to add a particular dog breed to your family? Many people don't realize that by buying a dog, they might be supporting the cruel puppy mill industry. Learn why it's important to avoid purchasing from puppy mills and how you can still adopt purebred dogs who deserve a second chance at a loving home.

Why to avoid puppy mills

Most puppies for sale in pet stores and online are born and raised in factory-like, inhumane settings called puppy mills, which value profit and maximum production over the health and welfare of the animals. In puppy mills, dogs live in crowded cages that are often the minimum legal size allowed (only 6 inches larger than the dog on all sides). And female dogs are bred as frequently as possible to produce as many puppies as possible for the pet trade. 

Because puppy mill pets are raised in deplorable conditions with little human interaction, they run the risk of having significant behavioral issues that might not be apparent to the buyer until the new pet is brought home. In addition, puppies for sale from mills have a high chance of suffering from physical health issues due to malnourishment and poor health care. In fact, many purebred dogs from puppy mills and non-reputable breeders end up at shelters when people aren't prepared to manage the issues that can arise.

Adopting a purebred dog

A common misperception is that the only way to welcome a purebred puppy into your home is by purchasing from a dog breeder or pet store. However, there are many loving purebred dogs at animal shelters and rescue organizations — including organizations that are dedicated to finding homes for specific dog breeds. 

If you have your heart set on purebred dog:

  • Research and adopt a purebred dog from a rescue organization that specializes in a particular breed.
  • Adopt a purebred dog from a local animal shelter or rescue group. Contrary to popular belief, finding purebred dogs at shelters is not uncommon.
  • Learn about the behavior and health issues associated with your desired breed, and be committed to fostering the dog's health and happiness, regardless of the possible challenges.

It's true that most adoptable dogs in shelters are of mixed breeds (a combination of different breeds). And as advocates of adoption, Best Friends Animal Society encourages people to adopt the dog whose personality best fits in with your family, rather than choosing a dog solely on breed. Your next best friend could be a purebred — or a one-of-a-kind mixed-breed dog.

Give Snickers a bright future

When you sponsor an animal like Snickers, or any of the animals here at Best Friends, you’re providing them with the love, care, and healing they need for a bright future.

How to Choose a Dog: Find Your Match

What to know about 'designer' dog breeds

Purebred animals are already at risk for many health issues due to inbreeding and poor conditions at puppy mills. But perhaps one of the biggest consumer fraud issues is the "designer dog," created when breeders cross two purebred dogs and give the resulting mixed-breed puppies a cute name.

Designer dog breeds like "puggles," "schnoodles," "cockapoos," and "goldendoodles" not only come with just as many health concerns as other puppies from mills, but they're also the most expensive mixed-breed dogs around. Designer dogs can have high risks of genetic diseases and other problems because people tend breed them for cuteness over health. And unfortunately, the public's obsession with designer breeds — and a desire for the newest one — has led to puppy mills coming up with different mixes that are given a fun name and marketed to new audiences.

However, like with purebred dogs, if your heart is set on a designer dog breed, you can still save a life and adopt. Designer breeds aren't uncommon to find in shelters and rescue groups in part due to their popularity and prevalence. Not to mention that shelters are full of all types of mixed-breed dogs that are just as fun of a combination as any schnoodle or doodle — and you can go ahead and give them that "designer" label if you want.

The fight against puppy mills

We've made a lot of progress in the fight against puppy mills, but we still have more work to do as puppies are continually mass-produced in a manner that most animal-loving, compassionate people find unacceptable.

The solution to the problem is simple: Stop buying what the mills are producing. Any money spent on mill animals at pet shops or online only keeps the perpetual cycle of puppy mill cruelty going.

So when it's time add a new pet to your household, look for the humane solution. Find adoptable pets at animal welfare organizations or pet stores that offer animals for adoption. These stores relieve the burden on shelters and rescue groups by showcasing homeless pets in retail settings, where they have a greater chance of being seen by the public. 

Also, educate yourself on puppy mills and spread the word to family and friends. Together, we can bring about at time when this cruel industry no longer exists, when adoption is the first choice, and when there are no more homeless pets.

Learn more about the no-kill movement for pets

Logo Icon

Be our Best Friend

Best Friends Animal Society is working with you to save the lives of cats and dogs all across the country, giving pets second chances and happy homes.

Just a few short years ago, cats and dogs were killed in staggering numbers in this country simply because shelters didn't have the community support or the resources to save their lives. That number is now less that half a million per year, but there's still work to do to ensure a bright future for every dog and cat in America.

Best Friends operates the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals and is committed to saving the lives of homeless pets by working with shelters and passionate people like you. Together, we will bring the whole country to no-kill in 2025. Together, we will Save Them All.