In addition, there are thousands of purebred dogs and cats in breed-specific rescue groups patiently waiting for their forever home. Your contribution to Breeds in Need will benefit local breed rescue groups, promote adoptions and regain shelter space for other needy animals that otherwise would remain on the street without hope.
Kristin Winterhalter, Petfinder Outreach Coordinator, estimates that 20% of the 13,500 shelters and rescue groups registered with them are involved specifically in breed-specific rescue and many other groups often have purebred dogs in their care.
Pure-bred dogs can initially come from a wide variety of sources. At one end, there are high end breeders that are working to better a specific breed and eliminate or curtail genetic traits and health issues that that breed might have. In the middle are backyard breeders who just want to breed their papered dog and maybe make a few dollars along the way and may or may not know that they are contributing to an overpopulation explosion.. At the other end of the spectrum are puppy mills, who are considered to be breeders too. They do produce purebred and papered dogs, albeit of questionable health and genetic make up. Over a million pure bred dogs a year come from puppy mills.
While you may be concerned that you don't want to adopt "someone else's problem", most dogs, especially these days, are in the shelter for human and not canine reasons. In today's economy and with today's disposable and impulsive society, dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds are ending up in shelters and rescues through absolutely no fault of their own. The most common reasons given for a dog entering a shelter today include moving, divorce, the dog got too big, the family lost their source of income, the kids won't take care of the pet, etc. Perfectly wonderful purebred family pets are being surrendered to shelters and breed rescues every single day.
The pure breed cat issue is far less severe. While the total number of cats in shelters is high and unconscionable, the numbers of purebred cats has hovered around 10% for many years, even as the number of purebred dogs has risen. However, if you are looking for a purebred cat, there are a number of rescues for any breed you might be interested in. Many breed specific cat rescues are associated with breeders of those particular varieties as an extension of their commitment to the breed they represent.
Through our Breeds in Need fundraiser, the Petco Foundation honors the many pure breed rescue groups that tirelessly pull purebred dogs from shelters and accept people's castoffs during this tough economic time.
Remember, every dog bought from a breeder, reputable or not, means a deserving, healthy, friendly dog may have to be put down in a shelter or sentenced to living out their lives in a kennel. Always Think Adoption First; who knows, you may just find the purebred Golden, Shepherd, or Lab you've been dreaming of!