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Where do most people get their dogs?

Where did you get your dog?

I’d love to hear from you.

  • Do you have a mixed-breed dog, or a purebred dog?
  • Where did you get your dog?

I own a black Lab mix, and some people are under the impression that most mixed-breed dogs come from shelters. I’ve had people look at my dog and say to me, “Oh, bless you for adopting a rescue.”

But my dog is not a rescue dog. Like most mutts, he’s never set foot in a shelter.

Where did you get your dog?

There are currently about 83.3 million pet dogs in U.S. households, according to the Humane Society of the United States [1].

Like my mutt, most of these dogs will never go to a shelter.

An estimated 6 to 9 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters each year, according to the HSUS.

Even if we take the worst-case scenario of 9 million, we have to assume cats make up at least half that number.

That leaves us with 4.5 million dogs entering shelters each year on the high end. That would be about five percent of U.S. pet dogs entering shelters each year.

Of those dogs that do end up in shelters, 30 percent will be claimed by their owners, according to the HSUS.

So where do most people get their dogs?

According to a 2011 study by PetSmart Charities, the most common way for people to acquire a dog is from a friend or family member [2].

The study also found that 19 percent of dog owners do get their dogs from adoption organizations like shelters or rescues, and 17 percent get their dogs from purebred breeders. Other sources listed included taking in stray dogs or keeping a dog from a current dog’s litter.

I adopted my dog directly from his previous owner, and I know this is how many of us obtain our pets.

Sometimes we connect with these owners through friends and family members. Sometimes we use Craigslist to adopt dogs.

Sometimes we find our dogs as courtesy listings on rescue sites.

Adopting a dog directly from his previous owner worked out perfectly for me because I got to skip the adoption process – the applications, home visits, references and fees. I got a free dog, and his previous owner got to be the one to approve me. I’m forever grateful to her.

So how about you?

  • Do you have a mixed-breed dog, or a purebred dog?
  • Where did you get your dog?


1. Humane Society of the United States. “Pets by the Numbers.” 2013.

2. Campbell, Kelly. 2012. “Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter: Understanding Public Perceptions by the Numers.” PetSmart Charities. Page 11.


Thursday 12th of December 2013

19 and 17 is pretty close. I got Maya from someone on craigslist. You saw my post about how the person who posted her on craigslist originally adopted her but realized she couldn't handler her. And I found Pierson at Pierson Park in Kansas City.


Wednesday 11th of December 2013

I've had two dogs in my life, both of whom were strays that never left.


Tuesday 10th of December 2013

I have three mutts! Neeko is from an oops litter, Bruce is from a local rescue group who pulled him from shelter, and Faolan is from a local shelter.


Monday 9th of December 2013

I have two purebred Lowchens. One I bought directly from the breeder, the other was through a private adoption that my vet actually set up. The previous owner wanted him to go to a home that knew about the breed (since they are not that common) so they called me. Turns out that both dogs came from the same breeder. I couldn't be happier with my dogs. I had been visiting shelters in the hopes of finding a companion for my first dog but hadn't been able to find a small dog (they were mostly large breeds at the shelter we went to and we don't have the yard space for a big dog). I would have happily taken a 'mutt' but am very lucky to have found my boy to adopt.


Monday 9th of December 2013

I have 3: a purebred Shiba Inu who came from a breeder, a purebred GSD puppy that I just got in September who also came from a breeder, and a GSD/Husky cross who I rescued from a local shelter. They are all equally loved and spoiled. I tried to go through a rescue for my newest GSD, but honestly had a bad experience. In the end, I'm glad I went with a breeder for her as I decided I want to compete in various AKC trials with her.