This is not an easy question to answer. Some people consider that buying a dog from a (reputable) breeder is safer because you get to know exactly what to expect, while adopting a dog from a rescue shelter has a larger potential for health and/or behavioural issues. Let’s talk about some of the main aspects to consider when trying to decide which option is best for you:
Stating first that a dog’s individual personality matters more than their pedigree, if you purchase a purebred from a reputable breeder, you can obtain information about the dog’s parents and ancestors, common behavioural characteristics and most common medical problems.
If you adopt a mixed-breed (aka mutt) from a rescue shelter, since they have more variation in their lineage, they are less prone to breed specific genetic diseases. A mutt may look like this or that breed but it is not all in the eye of the beholder. Some breed specific characteristics may only be revealed on a DNA test, so basically more likely than not, no one can be 100% certain of all the breeds mixed in a mutt!
Purchasing a purebred puppy will provide information about the generic traits of that particular breed and that puppy’s genealogical tree, but there’s no guarantee on how that puppy will finally turn out to be since again, it all comes down to the individual. Also, unless the breeder is a reputable one, whether that particular breed ends up being a good match for your lifestyle will be of no concern for the seller whatsoever.
A puppy/dog on adoption may not have any background or information but most of them will have been examined by a vet, undergone some behavioural assessment, been vaccinated and more importantly largely observed by the rescue shelter’s staff with plenty of experience in matching dogs with the right families.
I don’t think price should even be mentioned here (how do you put a price on a life?), but more often than not, “purebred” dogs come at a very hefty price. A rescue shelter’s adoption fee however normally includes vaccinations, spaying or neutering, micro-chipping and much more.
4.Potential to get stolen
Unfortunately, pet theft is on the rise. Purebreds are targeted by dognappers more often because they can be sold for a higher price. The so called “designer breeds” such as: Cavapoos (cross between Cocker Spaniel and Poodle), Malshis (cross between a Maltese and a ShihTzu), Yorkipoos (cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Poodle), Labradoodles (cross between a Labrador and a Poodle), Puggles (cross between a Pug and a Beagle), etc. unlike mutts are more likely to be stolen. (By the way...aren’t designer breeds mutts too? Just a thought...)
5.Second Chances & Uniqueness
I would advise against buying into the myth that "because a dog ended up in a shelter, she/he may be unhealthy or must have had some sort of behavioural problem/s". I disagree, in many cases dogs are either the unfortunate victims of particular circumstances or come with inappropriate behaviours that could have been largely prevented or turned into appropriate ones with simple training. Offering a much deserved second chance to a dog in need may be your calling in life! What's more, mixed-breeds are more unique. You’ll have a dog that is special to you and doesn’t look like anybody else’s dog!
Whatever your choice is, please do your homework well in advance. Do your research on the breed, on the rescue shelter, on whether you are better off bringing a puppy, an adult or an old dog home. Reflect on the reasons why you want to welcome a furry family member, on how much time and money you can commit and on whether you can provide that dog a safe and secure life for many years to come.