BtC: Breed-Specific Rescue

It’s that time again!

I’m even going to do you guys a favour by switching it up and not blogging about Actions Speak Louder (Calgary).  But don’t get too excited; I’m not straying too far from that sentiment.

When advocating for the end of retail pet sales, a surprisingly common question that gets asked is “well, then where will people get pets?”  The answer is simple: rescue or reputable breeders.

But the problem with that answer is that it seems to divide animals – or dogs specifically – into two separate categories: mixed breed mutts (rescue) or purebred companions (breeders).

What I think often gets forgotten is that you can rescue a purebred dog.

Purebred dogs, or purebred-type dogs (in other words, non-registerable), often wind up in your large, local, well-known rescue organizations that such as your local pound, SPCA, Humane Society, or other similar organization.

They also are often taken in by your lesser-known or smaller rescue operations.  Take, for example, Pound Rescue, out of Okotoks, Alberta: their Facebook page recently released a photo of Sophie, a purebred Bloodhound now in their care and up for adoption.

Sophie - Pound Rescue

And if the idea of routinely sorting through your local rescues in the hopes a dog the breed you’re looking for happens to come up for adoption, there’s always Pet, which does the work for you.  Just plunk in your location and the breed you’re looking for and voila!  Dozens, if not hundreds, of results – all dogs available for adoption through rescue agencies.

But another approach, and what seems (to me) to get less visibility than any of the above options, is to look for a local breed-specific rescue.

Take Calgary and area, for example.  I lived here for a long time as a member of “Joe Public” before I became involved in the pet community and I had no idea the multitude of local rescue agencies that exist outside of the Humane Society (both breed-specific and not).

Looking for a little dog, but flexible on breed?  Then check out Little Mutts Rescue – they have lots!

Interested in a beagle?  Beagle Paws can help you out.

Maybe you’d like a bulldog?  Alberta Bulldog Rescue are the folks to contact.

In the market for something bigger? Say, Great Dane?  For the Love of Danes Rescue Society will be happy to help.

Bubba is a successful adoption tale from For the Love of Danes Rescue Society

Looking for a loveable pitbull?  Pitbulls for Life are run out of Spruce Grove, Alberta.

Keera is currently up for adoption through Pitbulls For Life

My point?

For nearly every breed, there is a breed-specific rescue somewhere. has an extensive list here of breed-specific rescues around the country.

Gitta is up for adoption through Southern Alberta Rottweiler Rescue.

And coming back to that familiar tune: I beg you to tell me how these options are not better than a pet store purchase.  Seriously.

Not sure where your rescue dog comes from or who the parents were?  You don’t know that with a pet store purchase either.

Nor can you guarantee that the pet store will have the exact cockeryorkapoowhatchamacallit you want any more than a rescue can meet your exact parameters.

Not to mention rescuing a dog from a nonprofit (where adoption fees just cover care, admin, vet bills, and spay/neuter) is significantly different than emptying that spot in the store window just so another commercially bred puppy can fill it.

Shadrach is up for adoption through the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada.

To sum up: the change I’m blogging and would like to see is more visibility and preference for breed-specific rescue organizations.

Thanks for the readership and see you all in October for the next Blog the Change for Animals!

To read how others are blogging the change, find the official July Blog Hop here.

Rocket here is currently looking for a home through Calgary Basset Rescue.

A note for full disclosure: aside from a fleeting reference or two, reputable breeders have been left out of this post because that it not what it’s about. The intent here is to draw attention to a lesser-known adoption option.  Period.  My own dog is purebred and did come from a reputable breeder; and I would do it again. I am not one of those to call an end to all dog breeding or the CKC.

About ThatJenK
Writing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 90% pictures of my dogs; 10% miscellaneous opinions nobody asked for.

13 Responses to BtC: Breed-Specific Rescue

  1. Great post. Another thing worth mentioning is that breed specific rescues don’t always list their available dogs online, so don’t get discouraged if you go to a breed rescue website and don’t see the dog you are looking for. Often, they have waiting lists, and the dogs are matched to their families fast enough that they don’t need to list them. So if you are interested, contact the group, fill out an adoption application, and your new best friend may be joining your family sooner than you think!

    • thatjenk says:

      This is a great point!
      Not to mention these rescues are a great resource for information and help with your dog throughout its lifetime!

      Thanks for stopping on BtC!

  2. Kim Clune says:

    This is such a great point. My Brown Newfies posted today about how more and more Newfoundlands are showing up in rescues, and not even breed-specific rescue. Our Landseer Newf is a rescue and everybody is always surprised that we didn’t “buy” him, especially since Landseers are so rare in these parts. He’s not the only one out there! It just takes a little looking.

    And great point about the lack of listings, Donna! The do move too fast to post more often than not!

    Thanks for, once again, Blogging about significant change, Jen. It’s always a pleasure to see what you have to say.


    • thatjenk says:

      Thanks, Kim!
      The time has begun in our house to start seriously considering a second dog, and a rescued Newf is definitely something we’ll be keeping an eye out for if and when the time is right, while we also look at breeders.

  3. Such a good point–you can absolutely rescue purebred dogs (puppies through seniors), there doesn’t have to be this either-or. Even beyond breed specific rescues, you can find a crazy number of purebred dogs in shelters (this is where many breed rescues pull their dogs from… so even if a dog IS in rescue, there is a chance he was first in a shelter!).

    In the shelter where I work, among all the pit bull mixes, lab mixes, and shepherd mixes, we also have two purebred cattle dogs, a purebred (young) boston terrier, a purebred min-pin, a purebred beagle, a purebred basset, and a purebred chihuahua. In the last few months we also had a labradoodle (petstore purchase), standard poodle, chow-chow, shih-tzu, akita, golden retriever, GSD, rottie, etc.

    What I love about breed specific rescues is that they will match the owner with dog very carefully and know the breed so well they are excellent resources for perspective breed owners.

    • thatjenk says:

      You make another excellent point! Often breed-specific rescues do take dogs out of the busier, bigger shelters – thereby easing that burden if even only slightly – put the dogs with foster families and rehome them.

      The list of good qualities and considerations just keeps growing.

      Thanks for the BtC visit!

  4. Hilary says:

    I loved this post. Most people don’t think about breed-specific rescues–if they want a dog, they buy one. I love that my two came from Border Collie rescues. Your point is well-taken when you say that one won’t find out about a pup’s parents either when they buy a dog–most likely, the parents are suffering in a puppy mill.

    • thatjenk says:

      Exactly! And the amount of purebred dogs in rescues of all kinds means you probably don’t have to travel very far to find your next companion. I even surprised myself a little with the sheer volume an selection doing a little online research for this post.

  5. Stopping by from the Blog the Change blog hop! You make a very good point – Great article!

  6. Great post and great reminder to ADOPT – DON’T SHOP!

    The Road Dogs

  7. Richa says:

    Great post. People just dont know about rescues enough or assume that they will not find a purebred dog. But in reality, quite a good number of dogs that show up in shelters are purebred. They just dont look as much when they get dumped or have been a stray for a while.

    Thanks for blogging the change!
    Richa and Chewie at

  8. chandra says:

    Thanks for posting on this issue! When I started volunteering at my local humane society about a year ago, I was surprised by the number of purebred dogs at the shelter. Since then, I’ve met several breeds for the first time and fostered a dog whose breed I’d never even heard of before!

    The dogs you’ve featured are all beautiful and I hope they find their forever homes very soon. Two months ago, I adopted a Lhasa Apso/terrier mix and I’ve been asked several times what breeder I bought him from – people think he’s some sort of designer dog! I love getting the chance to say loud and proud, I adopted him from a rescue who saved him from a high-kill shelter.

    -Chandra at Daley’s Dog Years

  9. I want a Wheaton terrier badly, and almost drove two hours to an SPCA that had one on Petfinder… but didn’t, because Our Best Friend is enough by himself for now. But when the time comes, I’m going straight to a breed-specific rescue. I have no interest in showing a dog or making puppies with it, so I don’t need papers. And a rescue is cheaper than a breeder!

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