Where to Find Dogs for Sale

Image of a Beagle on a leash

So just where do you find dogs for sale? You have done the research, picked a breed, finished your homework and prepared your family for a new family member. You can find dogs for sale through breeders, rescue groups, SPCAs, and municipal shelters.

Dogs for Sale at Breeders

If you decide to use a breeder, be sure to use a reputable breeder. Read the LoveToKnow article, Dog Breeders for more information on reputable breeders. A good breeder will be able to educate you about the breed and has no problem offering help and guidance to new owners. Conscientious breeders have the best interest of their dogs in mind. You can locate breeders using personal references, newspapers, the internet, your local breed club and the American Kennel Club.

Finding Dogs for Sale at Rescue Groups

A mixed breed dog at the park

If you are looking for a purebred dog, you will see that almost every dog breed has a rescue group. Rescue groups are non-profit organizations that are privately run by concerned citizens and pet aficionados. They are usually volunteer run. The web site Petfinder is an excellent place to start. You will also find many rescue groups that specialize in mixed breed dogs. Rescue groups usually have lengthy application processes because they want to ensure that they are finding good homes for the dogs in their care. These groups often work like "dating services" by making good matches for your family and the dogs in their rescue. Dogs from rescue groups are usually fully vetted, meaning that they have received all of their vaccinations, and are spayed or neutered. Many groups also perform heartworm tests and treatment if needed and dental cleanings.

Rescue groups are an excellent resource if you are looking for a dog past the puppy stage. Many rescue groups operate on a foster hone system, which means their dogs live in foster homes as family members until the dogs are adopted. This system has a great advantage for potential adopters! Foster parents can tell you about the personality and habits of their foster dogs, so you know what kind of dog you are getting.

Rescue groups are also very open to questions and concerns throughout the adoption process and are always willing to take a dog back from a family if things do not work out as planned. If you don't find what you are looking for on Petfinder, ask your local vet or shelter for rescue breed resources.


Many towns have local SPCAs. An SPCA, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is usually a non-profit group dedicated to saving and rehoming pets. Most SPCAs have a large volunteer base and some paid staff. They take in stray and unwanted dogs, cats and other animals as space allows. Many claim to be no-kill, meaning that any animals they take into their program will not be euthanized unless they are extremely ill. They also have the ability to turn down animals when they are out of space in their facility.

SPCA's are run by a private group or board of directors and may or may not receive grants and government funds. SPCA's have buildings and facilities where you can visit cats and dogs for sale but may also have some animals in foster situations.

SPCA's house dogs and cats of all ages and breeds. Most SPCA's have an application process, although it is not as thorough as a rescue group's application process. SPCA's vaccinate and spay/neuter their pets, although they may not have the resources to perform dental cleanings and heartworm tests.

You can find your local SPCA in the telephone book or by doing a search on the internet. Your local vet or pet store can also provide this information.

Municipal Shelters

A municipal shelter is similar to an SPCA in that a building exists for housing many types of animals. The similarities stop at that point. A municipal shelter is run by a city, county or state government agency. A shelter must take any animal brought to it, and it cannot turn down any animals, even when it runs out of space. When the shelter is full, animals must be euthanized to make room for more animals. Some shelters have rules about a minimum length of stay for all animals, which means the pets who have been there the longest will be put down first. Other shelters do not have this rule and will put down animals based on different criteria.

Municipal shelters are run by paid employees but may also have concerned citizens may also volunteer to help socialize the animals, meet with people who are looking to find a new pet, and to walk the dogs. Shelters may provide necessary vet care for animals in severe pain and discomfort, but many shelters do not provide any vet care beyond that. Some shelters will provide rabies shots before an animal is placed in a new home.

A shelter can be a wonderful place to get a new pet if you have some animal experience, but it is not an ideal place for first time dog owners to acquire a new furry friend. Shelter employees are usually too busy to answer questions or help you pick out the best dog for your family. Many wonderful animals wait in shelters for their new homes though, so if you have done your research and feel comfortable going to a municipal shelter, you will have a very grateful pet.

You can find your municipal shelter in the yellow pages or by calling your local vet's office.

Dogs Newspaper

Many publications specialize is dogs, including dogs for sale:

  • One such online publication is Our Dogs Newspaper. Our Dogs Newspaper - Your complete guide to pedigree dogshows, news, results, breeders, clubs and books.
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Where to Find Dogs for Sale