Choosing the Right Dog: How the American Kennel Club can Help

Posted on Apr 11 2014 - 7:23pm by Susan Bewley

This post brought to you by American Kennel Club. All opinions are 100% mine.


As many of my long time readers know, my family has a very loveable and adorable Alaskan Malamute. To my husband and me, she is our very energetic, happy best friend who travels with us everywhere and is always by our side. While we are obviously animal lovers, buying Reya wasn’t a quick decision for us and actually took over 3 years to make sure we found the right dog for our family. When we decided we wanted to own an Alaskan Malamute, it wasn’t a question to us that we wanted to get our future family dog from an AKC certified breeder.

For 130 years, the American Kennel Club has committed itself advancing the understand, benefits, of care of dogs everywhere.  By promoting responsible dog ownership they make sure more dogs find themselves in happy homes and that future dog parents have a happy, healthy home for everyone. They know that adopting a furry family member isn’t an easy decision so they give have some of the best resources online about various dog breeds and how you can find responsible breeders for your preferred breed.

One of the biggest questions I have been asked is why I chose to have a purebred dog. Not many people will dispute that purebred dogs are beautiful, but that isn’t the main reason to go out and purchase one. Purebred dogs are purpose-bred and generally have a predictable temperament. As well, an AKC registered breeder of a purebred dog is required to keep up with lineage of each of each of their dogs and the health of all their puppies, making sure that each puppy meets breed standards. While not every AKC breeder is the same, finding the perfect purebred dog can easily equate to a decade or more of happiness for everyone in your family.

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When we purchased Reya, we relied heavily on the AKC’s resources and took advantage of all their information on finding a responsible breeder. Not every breeder was the same, not by a long shot, and neither were their puppies. When you purchase a puppy, it is important that you ask the right questions and make sure that the breeder and future puppy are a right fit for your family. Since the majority of AKC breeders are passionate about the breed, they want to make sure every puppy goes to a good home and will build a long term relationship with you.

We looked at quite a few kennels before we found the perfect breeder. Not only were they helpful, but very patient, answering any questions we might have and being proud to talk about their dog family. Since they are only known to breed once or twice a year out of all their dogs, we waited three years for Reya to be born, and the breeder was careful to ask the right questions, ensuring that puppies were matched with the perfect families. For example, before we went on her buying list, she knew that we traveled, had a large yard, and that our malamute would be living indoors with us most if not all of the time. The first time we thought we had picked a puppy of hers, she talked to us and made us reconsider, telling us that the little girl was likely to be more of an outdoor dog and independent, even for a malamute, based on the lineage she came from. We are so glad we waited and took her recommendation, since we have the most loving dog you will ever meet! While I could have gotten a dog from any breeder, I am confident that our good experience came from an AKC breeder with very high recommendations for the breed. Today, I still email our breeder and share pictures since we built a relationship long before Reya was born, and she is glad to see and show off how Reya has grown!

Today, I can’t imagine how we lived without our cheerful, happy dog. Along with the great information from our breeder, we also enjoy the other perks of working with the AKC, such as regular educational emails and publications that are useful and helpful for all dog owners. If you are considering purchasing a puppy from a breeder, I highly recommend reading the AKC’s resource on buying a puppy from a breeder. I know we personally used this guide and thought it was a great help when we purchased Reya!

Of course, buying a purebred puppy isn’t the right choice for everyone. I know many people who have taken advantage of the AKC Rescue Network, saving adult purebred dogs who found themselves without a home for a variety of reasons. These rescues are certified by the AKC, and run by owners who are passionate about their chosen breed. It is also a great choice for someone who wants an older companion. Usually, responsible breeders are also rescuers as well.

If you decide to get a dog from a rescue or shelter, just make sure you get as much information about your future dog as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially about the dog’s history, and the shape the dog was in when it arrived. Most of the time local shelters know very little about the history of a dog, and it is entirely possible you’ll have an uphill battle in training and adjusting your new family member to the home. Having owned shelter dogs as well, I can tell you that it is very rewarding, but not the right choice for everyone since medical costs and retraining can cost a small fortune, especially if the dog came from a home where it wasn’t properly socialized or thought that furniture was its chew toys. If you are considering purchasing a dog from a shelter or rescue, we highly recommend checking out the AKC’s resources on adopting shelter and rescue dogs.

If you are looking to add a furry friend to your family in the near future I highly recommend checking out the AKC website and taking advantage of their wonderful resources. I know if we decided to add another dog to our family it will likely be from an AKC breeder or one of their excellent rescue networks! While you know about our Reya, if you have a dog, purebred or rescued, tell us their story below – we love good pet stories!

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Susan Bewley is a professional writer who has been writing content online & in print format for over 10 years. As well, she is an alumni of the University of Louisville with a Masters Degree in Special Education. When not working as an online business consultant or ghost writing, she can be found writing on Budget Earth, on her own novel, or working with various entities in the pet industry.

37 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sandy VanHoey April 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    We love dogs. We have two at this time. One is not very friendly with young children. I agree that it is very important to know some things first. Thank you for the information

    • Susan Bewley April 11, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      You are very welcome! I think it is why so many dogs end up back at shelters. Some dogs just need a very special home where they will be the sole dog and need lots of attention. Others wouldn’t do well as a sole dog. It is important to know the characteristics of not only purebreds, but mixes as well. 🙂

  2. Linda Madden April 11, 2014 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    We find strays out here in the country. We always call the animal shelter when we see them. It just disgusts me that people will just drop their animals off and think that their going to be ok.

    • Susan Bewley April 12, 2014 at 12:00 am - Reply

      I 100% agree! I am that person who when I see a stray and determine its safe, will bring it home, nurture it, and try getting it back to health to find a forever home. At the end, they usually end up at one of the local humane societies There are so many horrible people out there. People don’t realize that your average dog has the intelligence of a 1 1/2 – 3 year old human. They think, feel, and want to be loved. As an animal person it really angers me when I hear of people who do these horrible things to both cats and dogs alike.

  3. Shannon April 11, 2014 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    I have a mixed breed dog (Husky and German Shepherd)and she should not be in our family because she is energetic and we are not. We still love her though.

  4. Lynn C. April 11, 2014 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    I’m so glad you’re distributing this important information to help people find the pet that is best for their household. I think everyone should at least try to find a shelter dog before purchasing one from a breeder or pet store. You can literally save a life that way, and if everyone did that, puppy mills would be a thing of the past.

    • Susan Bewley April 11, 2014 at 11:56 pm - Reply

      While I do love to help out shelters, I don’t think they are the best choice for everyone. If you are experienced with dogs, however, and don’t have small children, they can be a great option. I have had many shelter dogs in my life, including some that were traumatized by their past owner. A lot of the time not having the right knowledge leads to those puppies going right back to the shelter and being more confused and heartbroken.

      I also think a lot of shelters are guilty as catering to people who will impulsively purchase a pet. I 100% agree that puppy mills are bad but a good breeder won’t let you buy a puppy and walk out of there. Its a lot of conversation, planning, and it is likely you are waiting weeks for your puppy. There are also strict terms that if you no longer want your puppy, they MUST be returned to a breeder. I would NEVER recommend purchasing a puppy from a pet store. That is the best way to end up with a traumatized, unhealthy puppy that likely originated from a puppy mill. Saying this, however, a good shelter will be happy to tell us as much as they know about the puppy/adult dog and help you where they can. I know our local animal shelter is amazing.

      • Lynn C. May 23, 2014 at 5:43 pm - Reply

        A worthwhile goal for animal rescuers could be to educate the public on how to deal with common behavioral problems among cats and dogs. That way adopters would know how to handle and train shelter pets better. I’d still recommend getting an animal from a shelter above a breeder because it can literally save lives.

  5. Marthalynn April 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    First of all, you have the cutest pups ever! Secondly, this was such a great read! We’ve been toying with the idea of getting a dog in the not-too-distant future. It’s so worth it to put in a lot of effort and research to make sure you choose the right dog for your family.

    • Susan Bewley April 12, 2014 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      Thank you – she is the love of our life! I also 100% agree! When you do the research and pick the right dog you have a friend for life!

  6. nancyfancypink April 12, 2014 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this post! Our family is considering adopting a dog and will take into consideration the tips you have mentioned.

  7. Barrie April 12, 2014 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Our first dog as a married couple was an AKC yellow lab. The breeder was wonderful but I had no idea I could find out how reliable he was through the group itself. Good information.

  8. Virginia Stone April 13, 2014 at 1:32 am - Reply

    The article about finding the right dog as a pet for your family was very informative. The advice of contacting the AKC is a good one. Responsible breeders will know their dogs and will know if the breed is right for your home.

    • Susan Bewley April 13, 2014 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      I love the AKC! A good breeder or breed specific rescue will try to discourage you from the breed and will tell you everything – the good, the bad, the ugly. They want to make sure each of their dogs go to a good home. If a breeder just wants to sell the dog, I recommend running!

  9. Tamra Phelps April 13, 2014 at 10:14 am - Reply

    It is so true that people need to choose a family dog carefully! Too many dogs are abandoned by people who can’t handle the dog they chose!

    • Susan Bewley April 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm - Reply

      Exactly! I also think people shouldn’t own pets if they view them as things, not family members.

  10. Paula Ball April 13, 2014 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Coming your way from Budget Earth!!
    I have strong feelings about this post, let me explain. I do abused & ababdoned animal rescue(14 years) & have seen the best & the worst as far as living with an animal. In the south puppy mills are common. Currently I have 3 dogs here that are puppy mill rescues. Just yesterday I picked up a Shih tzu that was dumped at a car wash on a busy 2 lane highway. Luckily someone saw her being dumped & took her to the feed store & they called me. She is full of worms, fleas, ticks, hair so matted it’s pulling her skin. Not a young dog, she isn’t house trained or socialized in any way. Finding her a good home might be difficult. This is just 1 dog. Right now I have 7 dogs & 17 cats, all with stories simalar to this. Our local Humane society takes in thosands of dogs yearly with a 60% euthanasia rate. I love to hear about dogs in good, loving homes & I wish every dog born had a good home to go to, but until that happens…….

    • Susan Bewley April 13, 2014 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      Paula, I 100% agree! I think the biggest thing we can do is educate. There are so many people who get dogs and never should get one. The one that urks me the most are the people who think they ‘must’ have a dog for their kids because they want the ‘perfect’ family. They don’t understand that its a lot of work, training, and that not every dog is the same. I have taken in so many stray and abused dogs over the years, and I am that person who will call the police if I see an abused animal. I wish there was a way we could easily do away with puppy mills. They hurt animals, lead to unhealthy dogs, and make the good breeders look bad. We have a few around here and it makes me sick.

  11. katrina c. April 13, 2014 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    This info is so wonderful! I too try to stress to ppl BEFORE the adopt or get a new puppy, to intensively research the breed before choosing based on looks alone. There are too many abandoned dogs and knowing your breed before is truly a lifesaver!

    • Susan Bewley April 13, 2014 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      Yes, there are so many people who have a certain breed in mind and then find out its not a good fit for their family!

  12. Gale McCarron April 13, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Great information to pass along! I promote adopting or fostering dogs from shelters daily. It’s truly sad to see so many in the system waiting for a Family to rescue them. Especially the older ones.

    • Susan Bewley April 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      Yes! There are rescues for just about every breed!

  13. patricia salyers April 13, 2014 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    I love dogs all dogs honestly but I think shelter dogs need people more than kennel dogs.. Everyone will always be ready to buy a big pure breed dog but a lot of those end up shelter dogs thanks to irresponsible and evil owners…. Help a shelter .

    • Susan Bewley April 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      I think all dogs deserve good homes. I think shelter dogs are wonderful as long as people are educated. 🙂

  14. Candy Kelley April 13, 2014 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    More people should do their research before buying a pet….Thanks for the info and I’ll share it with potential new owners

  15. Heather R April 13, 2014 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    rescue is best for everyone, but I agree that educating yourself first ensures that you and your new family member both have the best future together!

  16. Vlad & Barkly's Dee April 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    This is a really good informational post that I wish everyone would read. It took us years to decide on “the” breed for our family–our sons got to choose what they wanted, and the youngest son chose our second breed that we’ve kept for a companion for our guard. We’ve got a Black Russian Terrier for protection, and a Cardigan Corgi for an alarm.

  17. Chrissy B April 14, 2014 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Thanks for such a great article. We currently have one dog, but are looking into getting another. We will be visiting the local humane society to let my son choose his new companion.

  18. Kadie April 15, 2014 at 8:37 am - Reply

    My husband is allergic to dogs so we can’t have one and that is probably a good thing! I’m a huge animal lover and have a feeling if I didn’t have a good reason not to, I’d be bringing them home all the time!

  19. Robyn B. April 15, 2014 at 9:46 am - Reply

    I have never ‘purchased’ a pet for our family. All three of our dogs were rescues and I can’t be happier. If anyone is planning on buying an animal, please also open your heart to shelter dogs, they need love too. You can always buy one and rescue one too! 🙂

    • Susan Bewley April 15, 2014 at 5:23 pm - Reply

      Shelter dogs are great as long as you do your research and get them from the right shelter. I have been to some shelters that are no better than puppy mills with how they treat their animals 🙁

  20. Lara Clinton April 15, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

    This is super interesting. It’s nice to know that there’s so much help out there to match up the perfect family for the perfect dog!

  21. kristen visser April 15, 2014 at 11:58 am - Reply

    thank you so much for the tips!! we do not have a dog yet but definitely would like to adopt one in the future! they are just too adorable

  22. Stoic Kitty April 16, 2014 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    I do not have a backyard for a big dog, so I would need to get one of those tiny yappy dogs that are always shivering. My small flat will seem huge to a tiny yappy dog. I like that maulings are not as common with tiny shivering yappy dogs as with big dogs unless you pass out drunk and let the tiny dogs yip and yap and chew your face off like they did to that woman in France.

    • Susan Bewley April 16, 2014 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      My mom has a tiny dog but they really aren’t the thing for me. Our dog is actually an indoor door. It shocks a lot of people that our 90 lb dog thinks she is a gentle little lap dog!

  23. Kerri Hughes May 2, 2014 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    This is one of the best site to use when your considering getting a pet of any kind. I gives you great tips to see if the pet your deciding on will be a good fit for your family and lifestyle and time.

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