Finding Your Dog

So you've decided what breed is right for you--congratulations! But your work is not yet done. Where you go to get your dog is just as important as what kind of dog you get. The AKC provides searches for two sources of purebred dogs--Breeders and Rescue Groups.

Responsible Breeders

The American Kennel Club believes that breeding programs should be undertaken responsibly for the purpose of preserving breed characteristics and producing healthy, well-socialized puppies. Responsible breeders are expected to give careful consideration to health issues, temperament, and genetic screening, as well as to the individual care and placement of puppies in responsible homes. AKC supports and promotes these and other responsible breeding practices through breeders' education programs, and commends those who offer similar guidance.

The AKC strongly opposes the breeding of dogs by those who do so without regard for the dogs' welfare. We support scrupulous enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act, and state and local regulations governing the humane care of animals. We further believe that USDA and other enforcement agencies should be given appropriate resources to ensure that regulations are met.


Rescue Groups

Every AKC breed is represented by one or more Rescue Groups, formed to help purebred dogs in need of new homes. Dogs find their way into Rescue for a variety of reasons. Some may have been accidentally lost or abandoned. Others may have been given up due to their owners' illness, death, or other change in circumstance. All Rescue groups carefully screen the dogs in their care for health and temperament before offering them for adoption. The dogs are often already housebroken and know some basic obedience.

Rescuing a purebred dog is a wonderful option for some families. Rescue is a great source for older purebred dogs (although puppies are often available too). You may not be able to know the history of the dog you adopt, but you will still bring home a fine companion--one who is grateful to you for giving him a second chance at a home and happiness.

Questions to Ask

Whether you go to a breeder or a rescue group, you should be prepared to ask lots of questions about the puppy or dog you hope to acquire. Here are some questions to ask:
  • How big will the dog get?
  • How old will he be before he acts like an adult dog?
  • How protective will the dog be?
  • How often will the dog need to be groomed?
  • How does he get along with other animals?
  • How long can he be left alone at home?
  • How much exercise does the dog need?
  • What are the best training methods for this dog?
  • What possible health problems might this dog develop?
Your contact should be willing to answer all of your questions fully. He or she should also ask questions about you, your lifestyle, and your family. If a contact doesn't respond to your inquiries, or doesn't show any interest in the life the dog will lead after it leaves his or her premises, you may want to look elsewhere. A responsible breeder or dedicated Rescue Group member is committed to making a good match between prospective owners and the dogs in their care; that's the kind of person you want on your side as you make the journey into dog ownership.

Start Your Search

Every breed recognized by the American Kennel Club has a National or Parent Club that was formed for that breed. The parent club is responsible for the preservation, protection and welfare of that particular breed. The AKC believes that the Parent Clubs are the best contacts for anyone looking for information on a particular breed or purchasing a puppy of that breed. They can direct you to breeders of the individual breed in your state or region. They also have an abundance of excellent information and important facts that all owners of that breed should be aware of. Use the Breeder Referral search to find the Parent Club contact for the breed you're interested in.

Parent Clubs and local breed clubs also sponser Rescue Groups for purebred dogs in need of new homes. Use the Rescue Group search to explore this option.