Puppy Stores will likely tell you that …..
"We buy only from USDA-licensed breeders."
USDA is the United States Department of Agriculture. Their business is regulating farming and livestock. The USDA knows little or nothing about dogs. As long as a breeder's paperwork is in order, the facilities are disinfected, cages are a (very) minimum size, and no infectious diseases are immediately obvious, the kennel passes.
The USDA has not the slightest interest in...
whether the breeder knows anything about his breed
whether the dogs used for breeding even look like their breed
whether the dogs used for breeding act like their breed
whether the dogs used for breeding are free of genetic health problems such as hip dysplasia, eye diseases, heart defects, or bleeding disorders – all of which show up long after you buy the puppy.
A USDA license is not something that should reassure you. On the contrary, it is warning sign that a breeder is possibly cranking out lots of puppies.
Pet shops usually acquire their puppies from USDA breeders who don't test their dogs for health problems. You can look at a pet shop puppy (or any puppy, for that matter) and say, "Well, he looks healthy!" and think that that's the end of it! The health problems we’re talking about are inherited. If your puppy has inherited bad genes, these health problems WILL show up eventually, long after you've brought the puppy home. There are health tests that can determine with 100% accuracy whether a puppy has inherited certain serious health problems. There are other health tests that can't say for sure, but can predict the risk. Responsible breeders do these tests. Breeders who sell to pet stores don't.
Pet shop puppies are frequently inbred. Most pet shops don't even have a copy of their puppies' pedigrees for you to look at. Instead, they mail it to you AFTER you've bought the puppy. And you probably receive only 3 generations; not nearly enough to evaluate inbreeding.
Pet shop puppies may have "sham" registration papers and pedigrees. More and more pet shops are avoiding the stricter documentation requirements of the American Kennel Club (AKC) and registering their puppies with an "alternative" registry like the Continental Kennel Club, APR, APRI, NKC, and others. Now, the AKC definitely can have problems with people falsifying registration papers and pedigrees, but the alternative registries are even worse. If a puppy has registration papers from any of these registries, I wouldn't believe that the parents listed on the papers are necessarily the true parents, that the ancestors listed on the pedigree are the true ancestors, or that the puppy is even purebred.
Many pet shop puppies are hyperactive and noisy. Raised in a small cage, they haven't been able to run and play and explore like normal puppies, so they've developed frenetic habits like running in small circles and excessive barking.
Pet shop puppies often come with illnesses. You bring the puppy home and a few days later he develops a cough, or diarrhea, or vomiting, or listlessness, or he starts scratching or losing hair.... this happens over and over with pet shop puppies. Kennel cough, parvovirus, coronavirus, giardia, coccidia, mange, ringworm – these illnesses are commonly found in commercial breeding kennels and pet stores.
Pet shops often overload their puppies with vaccinations and chemicals. Because the puppies are exposed to so many illnesses, pet stores often overdo the vaccines, de-wormers, and chemical baths and dips. Overloading the poor puppy's immune system like this is very damaging for his long-term health.
Most pet shop puppies are hard to housebreak. Where does a pet shop puppy go the bathroom? Right there in his cage. It's hard to take such a puppy home and teach him NOT to go to the bathroom in his crate or bed when that's what he's been trained to do!
And, finally, a major disadvantage of acquiring a pet shop puppy is ...
You're supporting a bad industry. When you pay money for a pet shop puppy, you're encouraging the industry to keep doing what it's doing. Yes, you've emptied one cage – which creates demand for another puppy to be born to fill that cage. Even if YOU are lucky and YOUR puppy turns out "okay", a large percentage of the others will not, and YOU helped provide the incentive for them to be born, by buying the one who came before them.
So what seems like a simple, isolated purchase actually contributes to:
The misery of female dogs who spend their lives in a cage, being bred again and again so people will have a "quick and convenient" source from which to buy.
The misery of future puppies born with health and temperament problems.
The misery of families who will buy these puppies and then struggle to cope with all the health and temperament problems.
The misery of animal rescue groups who have to deal with all the pet shop puppies dumped on their doorstep when frustrated families give up on the health and temperament problems.
When you buy one of those cute puppies in the pet shop, you buy more than the puppy. You buy the budding physical, behavioral, and health problems created by the bad genes passed on by untested parents. And you feed a profit-hungry industry that's doing a lot of harm to innocent creatures.
If you want a puppy, seek out a reputable, experienced breeder !!!!