Reputable Breeders versus Rescue

Everyone loves a rescue story, and a rescue dog seems “affordable” compared to buying a puppy from a reputable breeder - until it’s not. An owner of a puppy from my stud dog has just shared a Go Fund Me post from a young 20 something friend of hers - their 2 year old rescue GSD has dysplasia in both hips and now a torn CCL. So they are fundraising for $6500 to support 3 surgeries to try to make this dog sound.

Not sure why he was in rescue to begin with - they “rescued” him as a 1 year old. So, it is likely that he was intentionally bred by someone, and then his first home either couldn’t manage him, or they couldn’t afford his upcoming health issues (which were apparent at age 7 months). I don’t know if these people thought they could manage the symptoms, or if the planned to crowd fund to pay for his care? To be honest, I think $6,500 is pretty low for what they will need, so maybe they are paying the rest.

Please hold breeders to a higher standard. Don’t buy from breeders who don’t health test parents before breeding. It only supports their craptastic programs and their puppies go to “rescue” - while they are still free to produce more crappy dogs. Dysplasia isn’t entirely avoidable by testing, but a dog who needs bilateral hip replacement surgery at age 2 is probably not from tested health lines.

I know $1500-2000 sounds like a lot for a reputable puppy…but not necessarily compared to significant health issues that could have been avoided.


(Should anyone want to donate I will PM you the GoFundMe Link. I don’t know the owner, so I am not suggesting anyone donate.)


I doubt you would find a quality companion German shepherd puppy for $1500 from a reputable breeder right now.

Plus there are a lot of other reasons to rescue besides price. Maybe they just wanted to give this dog a chance.


This is so sad. Poor dog.


I don’t fault anyone for rescuing, they aren’t the ones who set the dog up to fail.


There’s so many sides to this argument of “Buy or Rescue”. I’ve rolled the dice twice on rescuing GSDs. First one lived to 16, was well bred, but eventually succumbed to DM which is now testable by reputable breeders. My second rescue I had DNA and health tested as soon as she came here. Fortunately she is free of the almost 200 medical defects tested for, including DM.
WHEW. I knew the chances when I went to rescue again.
Both rescued GSDs had stellar temperaments which is also a major risk when rescuing, especially with poorly bred dogs.
Many, many purebred, registered dogs go into rescues. So it’s not as though they’re all junk dogs. Life circumstances change and sometimes people need to re-home them or they get careless and dog ends up straying and is picked up.
My current rescue even had a collar with ID, owners name and phone number when she was scooped up as a stray by animal control. Owner didn’t want to pay to retrieve her.
I’ve wanted to rescue because I have a perfect place/farm for large dogs. And I really enjoy improving the dog’s life as well as training the blank slate.
If I didn’t have a bum leg I’d probably have a pack of rescue dogs as they are forever grateful and appreciative of whatever love and care you give them.
PS/ My first few dogs were all registered, well bred dogs and I grew up in a home where my parents raised and bred show dogs.


Well, neither do I in theory. But because “Adopt Don’t Shop” is so popular, people are actually shamed for buying a dog instead of rescuing a dog. And the proliferation of rescues has essentially propped up the bad breeding market. There are rescue organizations out there to recover all those poorly placed, poorly bred puppies, and some of these “rescues” are actually not really rescues, but buying puppies from bad breeders.

The issue is that people feel that they should rescue rather than support reputable breeders; or people buy from a bad breeder. Because it’s too expensive to buy a well-bred puppy.

That said, I am not really a big supporter for people who rescue dogs and then crowd fund for medical expenses. It appears that in this case the defect was known before the adoption took place - so the rescue organization should have been the one crowd funding for money to fix it, not the next owner.

Makes me question the reputation of the “rescue organization.” (Or, did the 2nd owner just “rescue” the first owner from the bad decision they made? And by calling it a rescue, people are more sympathetic.)


That’s an interesting question. The going rate in my breed for a well bred puppy is $1500-2000. Some highly specific litters are are going for $2500. In some areas I’m sure you can still get a well bred puppy for $1000.


Reputable and KNOWLEGEABLE breeder would be my choice over a “rescue” any time. I spent considerable time researching for my last three dogs (all over the rainbow bridge now due to old age) and adored each as they came to me sequentially --all related by stud-line --cousins, sort of --the temperaments were delightful, the trainability similar in each --and the breed isn’t known for its trainability – my breed of choice was English Mastiff --the really big boys. At the time, the kiddo wanted to try dog showing --confirmation and obedience – probably because she remembered on some level I’d taken my first dog to dog shows (she was 2 or 3 and came to watch with her dad). When my dog passed, she wanted one, “just like him,” and we returned to the breeder (she’d had the dogs’ mother, grandmother at Westminster!) The breeder really knew her stuff and went to extremes to breed healthy, good minded dogs . . .not cheap . . . we had to wait two years for our puppy.

Great dogs, all three of them --and relatively long living (Mastiffs have a short life span, but ours defied the rule).

I would NEVER buy a rescued Mastiff --the potential genetic problems are numerous --and inbreeding is rampant ----really hard to avoid too as there just are not that many Mastiffs and certainly not that many that test “clean” of genetic defects. One really needs to see the papers and research to make sure, or as sure as possible, that the dogs’ ancestors are not carriers of something nefarious --anything from certain cancers to overly droopy eyelids can show up in certain lines --breed two that carry “that” and the puppy will not be what one hopes --resulting in huge vet bills (and trust me, not all vets will treat a dog that weighs over 220 pounds) or early death.

No one in his/her right mind breeds “pet quality” Mastiffs --there is limited demand for dogs that weigh over 200 pounds. If someone can’t sell a litter --well, now what are you going to do with the puppies? Six Mastiff puppies take up a lot of space on the couch.

Enough of my ranting --the question was reputable breeder or rescue. Clearly I’m on the reputable breeder team.


It’s always hard no matter how you do it.
I have dogs from a reputable breeder, but they had an environmental illness and damage as a result. I spent a fortune - I could have had to euthanize, but was able to do it.
I’ll never breed a litter, but there are no guarantees. I wouldn’t pay for a puppy that wasn’t well-bred, but I might take one on.

It’s not just the cost of well bred GSD, it’s getting in line with a good breeder as most puppies are
reserved as soon as they’re born. That’s if the breeder even calls you back. Even good breeders
import their stock from Europe. The reason there’s so many pet quality back yard breeders of GSD is that there’s a HUGE market for them. Any schmo can breed a litter, unregistered, and get
$800-1,000 for each puppy on Craigslist. That cute puppy may end up being a nervy, aggressive, reactive dog that’s likely to live a not so great life or may be re-homed through shelter or rescue. It’s a huge problem with this breed because so many want a “protection dog”.


I agree with you that no one should be shamed for choosing to purchase a puppy from a breeder. However, I disagree with the anti-mutt and anti-rescue attitude prevalent in this forum. Just like with horses, you choose your dog and you roll the dice about its future health. Buying from a reputable breeder does not take that risk away. I’m sure we’ve all heard of purebreds who develop problems. Likewise, rescuing a dog does not guarantee that you’ll have issues.

I’m on largish mutts #4 & 5. Two were from county shelters, two from rescue orgs and one from neglectful neighbors. I got them all between 8 weeks and 1 year old. None of them were/are purebred anything. None of them have developed any issues that breeders would have tested for. No musculoskeletal issues at all, and nothing needing supportive care. My current 10 year old with 30% boxer grows small bumps like boxers do. My youngest one now is almost 2 years old and so far shows no signs of issues (other than stealing socks and eating paper). The three who died were 13.5, 15 and 14.5 and all lab or retriever mixes of some sort. They were relatively trouble free until their final decline.

I’ve got nothing against buying a puppy or purebreds. There may or may not be one in my future (I had a great golden retriever as a kid). I think no one should shame another for their choice of pet.


Some are reserved before they are born. I waited a year for my breeder of choice to ave a litter, and even then we weren’t sure that there would be a pup that fit what I wanted.

The whole “I want it NOWWWWWW” crowd just don’t have the patience I think to research breeders, talk to people at competitions, pick a breeder and then wait.

Here is the dog I waited for. He is ten months old now (this picture was taken yesterday). He is not my first GSD, but he is my first working line dog. We will be competitive in rally and herding. We have trained up one wall and down another and he is fabulous.

Now, all that said…I also am involved in rescue and have adopted before (our little Dachshund/poodle mix came from a rescue in Montana and I will pick up a Pomeranian to foster next week.

You can do it both ways and have great outcomes. Just do your research and know the breeder or rescue and their record.


I don’t even like to use the word ‘rescue’ anymore, it’s become so generic. It used to mean dogs in a kill shelter, then it was no kill shelters with street dogs/strays, which I could also get behind. But now, it seems like every rehomed dog is called a ‘rescue’, even if it’s a well bred well trained well loved golden retriever who gets a soft landing through a well funded, well greased network. The word ‘rescue’ just has no meaning anymore.


I don’t disagree with you. And I agree that crowd funding to pay for vet bills is tacky.
But I’m also not going to shame someone who got a dog from a rescue.

If we have to pick sides than sure I’ll pick a reputable breeder. My mom was a small scale breeder of quality labs. She only ever had one bitch at a time, and each bitch only had 2-3 litters. A laundry list of criteria before a breeding ever happened, and she always had a waiting list via word of mouth. Usually friends, or friends of friends who hunted with my parents, or people who knew my mom from field trials.
I also grew up hunting with a couple GSPs that my grandfather bought as pups from a good breeder. I fell in love with the breed and have been casually following several breeders, next dog is still a few years away though.

Saying all that, current dog is from a rehoming situation. Aussie x Bernese, she’ll be eight in March. Got her when she was 1.5yo. She hasn’t had a single health issue knock on wood. Pre-pandemic she was a certified therapy dog with St. John Ambulance, and we’ve dabbled in obedience, agility, skijoring, shed hunting, and tricks training.

I would shame people who buy puppies without asking questions. I’ve openly told acquaintances that I think their breedings were selfish. The world doesn’t need another bernedoodle or another LGD raised in a townhouse.


I disagree with that statement, as it pertains to all the (working line) breeders I know, respect.
US breeders have cultivated some superb dogs/lines here in the states.
At this point there really isn’t any better lines to be found by importing.


I’ve been on the search for a show prospect GSD for months. A decent dog is $2,500 +/-, depending on the breeder and/or location. I’ve found “okay” for $5k, and “okay” for $1500. But all from reputable breeders who health test, title, etc.

Even Covy Tucker Hills, who bred the only GSD to win Westminster, asks $3500.

I chose a litter, waited for the birth, sent a deposit. Somehow they got herpes virus and all the males died (last I heard that was the suspected cause, they didn’t have confirmation yet). So disappointing and devastating for breeders.

I decided on a local breeder, and my puppy comes home Monday. Meet “Neeko” (I can’t figure out how to attach a pic)


But, if it is anything like Maine coons (#notadog), there are excellent outcrosses from foreign imports. There’s absolutely value in that. We have great lines here but we aren’t the only ones good at this stuff. A little outcross that opens up the gene pool is never a bad thing, especially if you are taking about a quality example of the breed standard.


Mhmm. I know a “rescue” that focuses on a certain breed of lap dog. They regularly go to auctions and buy dogs and then flip them. Sure, some are surrenders or shelter pulls but the majority are just culls from mills. It’s interesting for sure.


it all depends. If I am looking for a dog with a purpose, I would prefer one produced by a reputable breeder.
And quality costs.

Then there are disreputable ones.
They can produce cheaply, because they don’t test. And what does not sell in the cute phase, rescues fall over themselves. to pick up the pieces. It is not the dogs’ fault.

And of course there are the dogs that have uncertain parentage.
They might be perfectly fine to decorate the couch.

But frankly, just because the animal can be operated on, do we have to?
And if I can’t afford the bill, asking the rest of the world to subsidize my ambitions…seems odd.
It is ok to put an animal down, too. Not all have to be kept alive.


I think the mutt versus breed rescue raise different issues.

The breed rescue from what I’ve read on this thread may carry a risk of poorly bred purebred dogs with genetic issues. Indeed there might be a higher than average chance of that as owners are more likely to want to surrender and rehome dogs that are going to cost a fortune in medical.bills to keep going.

Mutts on the other hand often have hybrid vigor, or at least their disparate parentage might keep the genetic issues recessive. But there aren’t a lot of true mutts being born in our urban areas. Folks are importing Thai and Mexican street dogs or off First Nations reserves in the North. These dogs often need a lot of training and socialization to become suburban family pets. Different from getting a homebred mutt puppy 50 years ago out of someone’s “lab cross” bitch and mystery father.

I put “lab cross” in scare quotes because 40 or 50 years ago, every medium size mutt of unknown lineage with floppy ears and kind eyes was “lab cross” to the SPCA. Kind of like “grade QH mix” in back country horse ads.

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