Information Needed When Considering Dog Adoption

There are many concerns to address when considering adopting a dog for either one person or a family. Questions such as what size and how active the breed, whether the dog must interact with children or handle other social situations, and what monetary impact there will be both initially and ongoing.


When going directly to a breeder, always verify their reputation and standards before making a purchase, even if they were recommended by friends. When adopting from a shelter, find out as much as possible about the animal's past or special needs.

Always ask to see any medical, vaccination, and spay or neuter records. If the needed medical care has not been given, it may be a good idea to get a veterinarian's opinion of the health of the animal before deciding to adopt. Make sure the person or agency agrees to terms and agreements as to who is responsible for pre-adoption health requirements.

Popular Breeds

Every year the AKC posts the breeds in order of popularity in the U.S. Other sites pick up on this and post top-10 lists with the traits of each breed. Here are some of the latest breeds to be at the top:

  • Labrador Retrievers. Average weight: 55-70 pounds. These dogs have long been popular for their friendly, playful nature. Labs are generally known to be gentle, attentive companions.
  • German shepherds. Average weight: 65-90 pounds. Often sought for their protective nature, this breed is intelligent, loyal, courageous, and obedient.
  • Golden retrievers. As with other retrievers, Goldens are active, friendly, trustworthy, and affectionate.
  • French Bulldog. Average weight: under 28 pounds. Easygoing, sociable, and lively are some of the traits of this always popular breed.
  • Bulldog. Average weight: 50 pounds. Laidback and sociable, this breed can sometimes be as stubborn as their name suggests.
  • Beagle. Average weight: 20-30 pounds. Gentle, intelligent and even-tempered for the most part, beagles love to run and chase.
  • Poodle. There are several size categories which vary drastically from 4-6 pound toy to up to 70 pounds standard. The following of this breed just never seems to wain, especially with many popular hybrids now available.
  • Rottweiler. Average weight: 95-135 pounds. Calm, fearless, obedient and devoted, these dogs can be both loving family dogs and fearsome protectors.
  • Yorkshire Terriers. Average weight: 7 pounds. Yorkshires. Independent, intelligent, and sometimes fearless, this little breed can sometimes have a big attitude. At the same time, they love to snuggle and a lap is one of their favorite places.
  • German Shorthaired Pointer. Average weight: 55-70 pounds. This is a high-energy, trainable and affectionate dog that's bred to hunt. Great as a companion for hiking, biking, or jogging.

Some other always popular breeds include Chihuahua, Dachshund, Shih Tsu, Pomeranian, Cocker Spaniel and Maltese. None of these breeds stay long in a shelter, so it will take some diligence for anyone hoping to find one there. Shelters often have waiting lists for different breeds for those who wish to pursue it.

Fees and Costs

Shelter fees also vary generally from free to around $300. Adoption fees may include many of the following items, or must be covered by prospective owners:

  • Vet examination: $50-$100
  • Spay/neuter: $150-$300
  • Rabies shot: $15-$25
  • Distemper shot: $20-$30 for the initial shot. Several boosters are required.
  • Heartworm test. $15-$35 on average. Heartworms can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in time, so have any newly adopted dogs tested as soon as possible.
  • Fleas and ticks: Treatment meds can cost $50-$200. Any pet owner living in an area prone to these pests would be best advised to use vet. issued meds.
  • Optional-microchip: On average about $50, this new technology can be a real stress reliever for new owners.

Dog Needs

Before bringing a new pet home, any daily needs should be provided for. Dietary needs and food and water bowls are just the beginning. Collar, leash, and name tags are necessities, or sometimes a harness for a more active or untrained dog. Treats and chew toys are important for both rewards and dental wellness. An adequately sized bed or crate may also be needed.

Some breeds will have ongoing grooming needs or owners may need help with training issues. Pet insurance is an option. New owners should be prepared to make adjustments for the comfort and well-being of their new pet.

Finding Local Puppies for Adoption

There’s several ways to find local puppies for adoption. Checking in with local vet clinics is often a good way. If you have a local humane society or other animal shelter nearby, you can add yourself to a list and they will often contact you when potential adoptions or rescues are available. Social media is great for this. Following clinics and shelters can provide quick information. Finally, classified ads both online and in print can also provide potential puppies for adoption, but perhaps aren’t always ethical options.

Resuce Dogs

Many people have chosen to adopt dogs or puppies through rescue organizations. These organizations find dogs that are in horrible situations and help them. They heal the dogs and then work to help socialize them and find them their “forever homes”. Rescue organizations can be local, or may help animals from around the world in countries where cruelty is more common than other locales. Check social media or google search for rescue organizations near you.