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Purebred Guilt
  • Good evening and happy holidays to everyone!

    I was curious if anyone has run into the situation of someone, usually a stranger or coworker, trying to make you feel guilty about purchasing a dog instead of adopting one from the shelter? And if so, how do you respond? I never know what to say when someone tells me how "wrong" it is to pay for a dog when I could have gone to the animal shelter.

    Most people see a picture of my dog and ask the normal questions like what breed is he, how old, etc but I feel like there is frequently also that one person who has to tell me that I'm a terrible person. I just brush them off because everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I was curious if anyone else had come across this issue.
  • I just joined a group on facebook that has a lot of this. They sort of look down on anyone who buys a dog, even if it was from a reputable breeder.

    And in the same comment chain, there were many people who would support buying from pet stores. -__-
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    None of my friends in Sweden questioned my decision but an American friend, oh my god she was so upset and angry!!! We tried to explain that there are no puppy mills in Sweden, my breeder is not a BYB and that the dog shelter in Stockholm only had a few pitbulls for sale that I didn't feel capable of handling. (We used to volunteer there and most dogs were a handful). No Shibas ever show up in shelters here.
    She said we live in Lollypop land :-)
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
  • I was reading a buzzfeed article yesterday, the one with christmas puppies under the tree, and in the comments section was the exact same thing. Commenters said people need to stop buying puppies and go to shelters. And I agree that getting a puppy isn't a whimsical decision and unless there's been a lot of planning ahead of time, they should not be a Christmas present, but at the same time, we know nothing about the people who now own the puppies in that picture, it's unfair to paint them as bad people simply because their puppy was purebred.

    Whimsically getting a shelter dog isn't much better than whimsically getting a puppy mill dog because unpreparedness can send them both (back) to the shelter.

    But I got a lot of the same questions when I put down my deposit for Hamilton and now after bringing him home.

    'Why didn't you adopt from a shelter? Why do you have to have a pure bred dog? You're supporting puppy mills.'

    I always try to explain that I did my research and mulled over the possibility of getting a dog for at least a solid year consistently before putting down a deposit. I searched the local shelters and even though I want to rescue in the future, I'm not going to have an opportunity to raise a puppy again in at least five years like the one I have now. I decided to go purebred for getting a puppy because at my local shelter, many of the young dogs both mixed and purebred had behavioral problems that I wasn't sure I could work with as a first time puppy owner; I didn't want to support a mill so I did my research and settled on a breed then contacted some breeders and went from there.

    I still do know people that those aren't good enough reasons to buy a puppy, but then again, if they want to rescue a shelter dog so badly, they can do it themselves. And when I am able to (mentally, financially, physically, emotionally), I will do so too--although now that I'm raising a puppy, it might be a while before we add another member to our pack :).
  • I get asked why I didn't adopt a Shiba from a shelter or rescue. I would have, but every one I found at a rescue or shelter did not get along well with cats or children, which is a problem since we have 4 cats and plan on having kids someday.

    Most of our friends have dogs from real breeders, so its not something a hear a lot. Its strangers that are the problem.
  • Yeah I definitely don't really hear it from my friends. It is generally something I hear from people I work with or random strangers. Even today, an employee of mine told me I should have rescued/went to a shelter.

    @justifiedgaines I completely agree about people whimsically getting pets. I know I put in a lot of time and energy into researching and planning before I got my shiba. My former roommate whimsically went out and adopted two ferrets from a shelter once. She went on and on about how she researched them but in reality she researched them for a couple days. I tried to tell her she should take her time but of course I was wrong and she knew better. She gave them back less than a month later. Which I think was probably better for the ferrets as she was terrible with them. She got them these tiny water bottles and they were always out of water. It drove my crazy to see them like that so when she started mentioning that they weren't what she thought they would be, I encouraged her to take them to a ferret rescue. (While still thinking "I warned you...")
  • Rc109aRc109a
    Posts: 10
    I know this is sad(or mean), but when people ask me the same question I ask them why they did not adopt children instead of having their own. I mean there are so many homeless children out there... I want people to mind their own business and not be putting their nose in mine regarding my purchasing decisions.
  • This issue actually started a huge fight in my family which has resulted in a broken relationship with my brother's wife.

    My daughter has always been a HUGE animal rights activist - going so far as to be vegetarian (I myself was vegetarian or vegan most of my life). So when she announced her intention to buy a Shiba, my brother became very passive aggressive, saying nothing positive to my daughter (his 19 year-old niece at the time) and posting post after post about "adopt a shelter pup" "save money and a life". It finally all blew up one day because he started attacking my daughter on Facebook, I defended her, and his wife got involved and . . . well they wouldn't speak to either of us for a year, and although my brother is pretty much over it his wife pretends we don't exist.

    I personally was very proud of Jade. She budgeted and saved enough money to buy not only the puppy, but all the necessary equipment, good food, vaccinations, etc. Then she spent a year researching breeds, went to Shiba events in So Cal to speak to other Shiba owners, observe the dogs and meet some. Then she researched and interviewed breeders and finally picked a responsible breeder who was an anti=puppy mill activist herself. Then she met the breeder, met the parents, and took trips to see Fen before we brought him home. I cannot imagine any more responsible way to have Fen join our family, and I have told people this several times. We don't feel any guilt, and if other people do even after we explain, then screw 'em. =)
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
  • I usually get "omg YOU purchased a dog? I would have thought you'd rescue for sure".... thats when I explain what I wanted, a male, black and tan shiba puppy, isn't the easiest to find in a rescue and that what I want was non-negotiable. While I'll never get another shiba, I will always have at least 1 dog. The best way for me to learn was on a difficult breed from day 1. If that's not enough for them, I tell them to F*** off. Aint no body got time to be judged.

  • I've only had someone ask me that once or twice, and normally when I'm happy or calm, so my response has been pretty neutral so far... I don't know what I'd do if someone got up in my junk about it...

    My response is - "My husband was horribly bitten by a dog as a child. So (1) we wanted to buy a puppy from a breeder we trusted, so that we knew the temperament of the parents and the health history, etc... and a breeder that raised them in a loving, peaceful environment (firm believer of nature and nurture), (2) we wanted a Shiba - we wanted those breed traits, and we wanted that look, and we were prepared for them (3) we wanted to train from scratch; we didn't want a dog that came to us with problems that we were unsure of our ability to fix or cope with for hub's first dog in 20 years (being bit by a dog can really scar a kid/adult). We also wanted to train from scratch, because we know the problems inherent with Shibas and we wanted to do our best to counteract them."

    I usually then follow up with, "we plan on getting more dogs in the future, some will be rescues, some will not; it just depends on what we're prepared and ready for when it's time to bring a new dog into our family. While we didn't bring a rescue into our home now, we do donate throughout the year to various rescue organizations."

    Though, I think if I didn't have that unique situation with my husband being bit as a kid, I would probably still have bought a puppy from a breeder, because I like the breeds I like, because I'm a responsible pet owner, and because (As many others have stated) it's my business not theirs.

  • GrayJJGrayJJ
    Posts: 67
    Although my friends have never questioned me, I get this a lot when I used to go to the dog park. I totally support people who rescue, but I don't like the "holier than thou" attitude.
    I agree with the above, that for temperament reasons I wanted to purchase from a breeder. If they get snarky I'd go with the child comment from @RC109a lol but honestly I usually just walk away..
  • MitsuMitsu
    Posts: 2
    I got my shiba Inu from a breeder and eventually wanted another. One day I looked into fostering a dog and found that the dog,had someone to take him in,and the shelter had a shiba inu male! He was the same age as my female. So now I have one from a breeder,and one from the shelter! He also happens to be such a lap dog for a shiba inu,haha
  • MagMag
    Posts: 31
    I just tell them that we wanted a SHIBA and they dont have those at the pound or in the shelters in our area. I looked for 4 years and decided to find a breeder in my area that others liked and checked it out also talked to the breeders vet and we are happy with our MIKI-Natsumi
  • I've used the "I hope you adopted your children" line as well. I wasn't proud of it, but a woman lit into me with no prompting about my "fancy pants" dogs. And went ON AND ON about how irresponsible I was, etc. I told her that I had tried to adopt, but couldn't. She just continued the verbal abuse. I noticed her children and couldn't help myself. She looked stunned and shut right worked, but not my proudest moment.
  • OrangeOrange
    Posts: 123
    One day we were at the dog park with our Borzoi. One of our Borzoi actually was a RESCUE. Anyway this lady points at our rescue borzoi and tells me in he snarkiest voice possible "What a fancyyy dog, there is NO WAY that dog was adopted. She must have cost you a small fortune." Then proceeded with " All of my dogs have been adopted, and have been so wonderful and were FREE, I don't see why anyone would pay for a dog when there are so many to save."

    I then told her the story of how Evelyn was a rescue then we bought our second Borzoi, Leoben because Borzoi have a special quirky personality and she needed a friend of her own kind. She felt pretty dumb after that... then on top of that her perfect free rescue dog proceeded to attacked 3 dogs and she had to leave before her dog ate another dog.
  • MojoMojo
    Posts: 77
    Lol you guys come across some weird people.. I've never had an issue in the past or present. I really love @Croakedj's response though hahahah, she'll probably think twice before mouthing off on someone else's life decisions again(or so we can hope).
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    I don't even have my puppy yet, should be getting in about a month... But now that all of my searching has paid off and it's becoming a reality, I've started telling people like my family that we have plans to get our puppy soon. Mostly people are happy for us, but there have definitely been a couple that are like "Why don't you just go to the shelter"...

    My family knows me well, of course, and are just like me in the way that they'll do tonssss of research almost obsessively to find exactly what they want. Totally what I've been doing for about a year, when I knew I was saving up for a puppy but didn't know exactly what would fit perfectly with my lifestyle and personality. It's kind of annoying when someone seems to look down on you for not rescuing... Is there a person in the world that things rescuing a dog is a bad option?? Not meaning like if it's bad timing or a bad decision on the part of the new owner, but when someone is in the market for a new dog, I don't think anyone is saying "well you definitely should stay away from rescuing." haha. My boyfriend and I went to the humane society here probably about once a month when we were trying to decide what we were looking for in a companion pup. They have many cats, but usually only around 5 or fewer dogs. Most are pit bulls labs, I've only seen one or 2 that weren't. I think both are very sweet dogs, which isn't what I'm looking for. I don't want a "yes" dog, that would be like a master/slave relationship. Also, our apartment doesn't allow dogs with any pit bull (which is super sad and ignorant, but that's a different issue), or dogs that are over about 30 pounds.

    Then there's just what would fit with our lifestyle and preferences... active, with enough endurance to enjoy hiking and camping and running with us, but still under 30 pounds... Not overly affectionate, but devoted... Something that would be a welcome challenge... Among other things, but walking through our thoughts with every person that assumes we just don't like rescue takes a while, as you can see. I just don't even understand it haha. I understand researching exactly what you want; it's adding a new forever member to the family. It's important. I understand rescuing, I think it's admirable. I don't understand insulting someone for not rescuing... there's no motive that makes sense to me other than the other person just trying to feel better about themselves by calling out someone. Because the other option, that there are actually people that think rescuing a dog is a bad option, doesn't really seem to exist. I feel like most people would jump at the opportunity to rescue, but not every situation is flexible enough, and wanting to raise a puppy as a member of the family isn't something worth shaming at all haha.

    I'm terrible at rambling xD I'm sure everyone knows what I mean. I just get tired of walking friends and family through my thought process when they assume that I'm just being picky and inhumane for not rescuing a dog. One friend of mine was even like "why don't you just buy one from a pet store or a cheap breeder that doesn't care about them being such a good quality".... haha, because I want to support someone who is committed to the health and standards of the breed...
  • DabishDabish
    Posts: 203
    All the time. I usually just keep it at, "There's nothing wrong with wanting a dog with a specific temperament and finding one through a reputable breeder." I hate people with holier-than-thou attitudes. Rescuing doesn't make you better than me, going through a breeder doesn't make me better than you. I love my dog is all that matters to me :D
  • I think some people are snarky because they have Shiba envy in general. Our little furry boys and girls are beautiful, highly intelligent, quirky, loyal, and lots of fun.
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    I've had two bengal cats since 2011, and it was definitely annoying to have to explain myself to people. I always said something along the lines of, "I don't like regular cats, I really wanted a pristine, wild, dog-like cat," and explained the differences between BYBs vs. reputable breeders. I was totally prepared to do this with my dog, but no one has given me any trouble since I've become a shiba owner.

    Honestly, I think it's because I was outspoken about all the research that goes into finding a good breeder. For example, along with the first picture I posted of my pup on my Instagram, I said she was from a reputable breeder who has contributed a lot to the health and preservation of the breed. And on my Facebook album, I thanked the breeder by name. I really think when you are open about having bought a purebred animal in a responsible manner, it makes a huge difference because I've had literally no negative feedback.

    That is actually saying a lot, because I live in Portland and am an ethical vegan, as are my partner and most of my friends. My partner adopted his dog from a shelter; he definitely was anti-breeder but now knows the difference between good and bad breeders (even though he himself would still always adopt from a shelter). Even my friends who always say "adopt don't shop" are super excited about my pup.
  • You know I had a friend heavily involved in rescue who kept at me about it. Not in an obnoxious way but it was brought up repeatedly. We finally had to agree to not discuss it (esp. since it was my partner who was dead set on going to a responsible breeder) because it was getting stressful, especially because both sides have merit. Her suggestion (which I thought was an excellent one) was to donate the same amount of money we paid for the pup to animal rescues. I made the donations over time and did a mix of all breed rescues, local no kill shelters, and shiba specific rescue.

    I've never had someone continue pressing the issue after they find out about the donations. I wish it was a suggestion that was made more often as I think it's a truly productive one.

    I also think that some folks who are heavily invested in rescue (most of whom have seen some serious mistreatment and abuse of animals) don't actually know what a responsible breeder looks like. I'd guess that the majority of dogs that come through the shelters are from irresponsible breeding.

    I really wish supporting rescue and responsible breed preservation would be a coordinated effort. I think it'd be better for dogs on the whole.
  • KaijuKaiju
    Posts: 23
    While this is a little different than purebred guilt, I figured this was a good thread to post in. But we have been looking around at good training facilities for puppy classes and beyond (we don't have a puppy yet, but I like to be super prepared, lol) and whenever I mention we are looking at getting Shiba they seem to become really critical. I mean, I know the breed can be stubborn etc, but I have done my research and I am prepared for that. I feel like it's a little unfair to judge us based on a dog we haven't even gotten yet. I dunno, maybe the reputation is deserving, but I am doing my due diligence research and preparedness wise and feel like I'm prepared for the challenge.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    @Kaiju - I agree gah. So many people just say negative things about shibas...but in my opinion it has so much more to do with the commitment of the trainer. Many people can't handle a shiba, but if you're just honest about the kind of breed they are rather than just falling on generic insults, it can be so much more helpful. Shibas can be stubborn, feisty, manipulative, driven, energetic... None of those are ibsults to me. They're the qualities I desire in a companion, and the kind of relationship I want with my pet. But many people are just like shibas can't this or that, aren't this or that, and talk about how bad they are. In my opinion, it's just a sign that they don't have enough strength in character lol...
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I've taken a lot of classes in various dog training facilities (being an enthusiastic first time dog owner), luckily most have been familiar with primitive breeds or Shibas and know their traits. I can't see the problem. Shibas usually excel at puppy classes, being quite mature in comparison and tend to focus more on their owner than the others. The only thing that normally doesn't work is if the trainer wants to show something with your shiba. Juni wouldn't dream of doing some trick with a stranger.

    But my vet commented first time I came in about how most other Shibas she'd met had been hard to work with. And I have heard of doggy day cares refusing to admit Shibas.
  • KaijuKaiju
    Posts: 23
    I definitely agree! I can understand that if a Shiba has not been well trained it could be more difficult to work with. We have also been looking at facilities that somewhat specialize in agility as that's something I am interested in getting into, so maybe that's why they are more surprised by the choice of breed. But agility is my my primary reason for wanting a dog, so if it doesn't work out I'm okay with that. I mainly want a Shiba because I love their temperament and personailities. I want an independent, intelligent dog. And I love all the quirks that comes with that. It's a welcome challenge that I feel like leads to a deeper relationship. Plus it seems to me like that drive and loyalty would really be beneficial in an agility dog as well.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I know a few Shibas that compete in Agility also in obedience, rally obedience, freestyle and heelwork to music. It is not impossible at all ( but mine really detested agility when we tried some classes...).
  • I fostered dogs from the local shelters before I got Bruce. My experience with fostering from different shelters drove me away from actually getting a dog from a shelter. The dogs I fostered were great, but the shelters lied about the vaccinations they had received.

    A dog can be a 12+ year commitment. Aside from wanting a shiba for it's traits and it's independent nature, I wanted a healthy dog that came from a good environment. I loved being able to provide a temporary home for a dog in need until they got adopted, but I was looking for something specific and a dog that could fit my lifestyle and a Shiba met the criteria.

    Unfortunately, my closest friends were the first to judge me for getting a dog from a breeder and purchasing vs adopting. Them judging eventually (in addition to their immaturity) led me to cutting any form of communication with them.

    My coworkers and family were the most understanding. They already fell in love with Bruce when I showed them pictures from the Breeder and they knew I was happy.
    Post edited by brucewayne at 2016-04-29 23:28:03
  • willgrahamwillgraham
    Posts: 34
    I haven't gotten any backlash from other people, but I feel guilty myself for getting a purebred dog from a breeder instead of rescuing. But, since Winston was my first dog, I felt it was better for me to get a puppy and have the experience of raising and training him myself, plus I also really wanted a Shiba. I looked into Shiba rescues but none would even consider me because I was outside of their area. I looked at local rescues as well since I was also looking at other spitz breeds/mixes, but the majority of them were either big dogs or chihuahuas, which I don't particularly like (no offense to them or those who do, though). Nothing even close to what I was looking for, while Shibas had almost everything I wanted in a dog.
    I've tried to offset my guilt by donating money and supplies to shelters and I do plan on rescuing dogs in the future, but I wouldn't trade Winston for anything in the world. I know I made the right decision for me and I don't regret that at all. I would also consider getting another Shiba in the future, and while I'd love to adopt from a Shiba rescue, I'm not opposed to getting one from a responsible breeder again.
  • This is just the thread I was looking for...

    I'm still so heated about this exchange that happened between me and my manager at work last week!

    Somehow, my coworkers and our manager got into a conversation about our pets and I let them know that we are preparing to put down a deposit on a Shiba Inu puppy.
    The expression on my manager's face changed and she said, "There's something to be said about going to a breeder versus a shelter..."
    I understand that you can have differing opinions on this and I'm up to educating others about BYB/puppy mills vs. a reputable breeder.

    The only reason I'm so upset by this is because her previous sentence was, "Yes, this was my puppy's picture that they had up on Craigslist." and showed me a picture of a shaggy mutt. (No offense to mutts! I love them all!!)

    How is buying a puppy off of Craigslist better than going to a breeder, even if they were a BYB/puppy mill? It's the same thing to me! UGH.

    Anyways, I had to get that off my chest here... since she technically controls my paychecks. :))
  • Uneducated smugness is always so fun to deal with...
    (Ever seen a purebred in the back seat of a Prius?!!) :D

    My wife and I tried a Shiba rescue (rare find!) about 10yrs ago and, WHOA, were we unprepared for that!! She (Bella) had been found wandering a very remote area of the Oregon Coast and had been rescued once already. The first folks had to get rid of her for neighborhood PR reasons -- she killed their neighbor's cat. (In Bella's defense, the cat was really old and it didn't take much...) Bella was probably between 2.5~3yrs old when we took her. Based on temperament and general wear and tear, their initial vet speculated she had likely been surviving and fending for herself (hunting!) for at least 6 to 12 months. We had strong commitment and high hopes in taking her, but we were super naive -- and we knew within a couple weeks that she was WAY too much dog for us. Ultimately, Bella went back for a 3rd round of rescue. (And I hope she found a fabulous home!!)

    Lindsay's comments in the 3rd post sums it all up for me!

    Edit: A primary rationale for adding to this post is with hope of meeting Bella's new family! (Are you out there...?!)
    Post edited by EmpressSachi at 2016-10-28 20:45:28
  • @cloudiexx-You might need to not engage in any more conversation with your boss about your Shiba. It is not that person's business anyway. Some people like to have something to criticize. Who knows why she reacted in that manner. I have to say that I am extremely lucky that my Quakey has turned out to be as wonderful as he has. When I got him he was a little over two years old and had received no training except for potty training. I was able to bond with him during the three months I kept him while my son was still his owner. It is not always easy to predict how a shelter dog will fit into your life. No one has a right to judge your choices and especially your boss since that is your personal life and has nothing to do with your job.
  • MooseMoose
    Posts: 41

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