Copyright - WilleeCole

Copyright – WilleeCole

Maybe it’s the dog your grandparents had when you were a small child, or the lovablepup in your child’s favorite movie. Or maybe you’re looking for a purebred dog because you think the known lineage will ensure that your new pet is healthier. Many dog lovers have a specific breed that they cherish, and when it is time to get a new pet people often seek out breeders that specialize in their favorite breed. Often, the people buying a dog say they support animal rescue, but their only option for getting the purebred dog they want is a breeder, right? WRONG!! There are breed-specific rescues for nearly every dog you can think of, including designer mixed breeds like puggles, labradoodles, and cockapoos. Broadway Barks researched breed-specific rescues so you can have the best information possible to help you find your new furry family member.

Why Breed-Specific Rescues?

Breed-specific rescues are usually smaller in size and work with purebred dogs or mixed-breed dogs that strongly display the traits of a particular breed. They are breed specialists. But why do they exist? For people seeking out a particular breed, they are an excellent resource. And with large numbers of certain breeds readily available, breed-specific rescues provide a way to organize and handle dogs throughout the rescue process while freeing up space in municipal shelters. Many purebred dogs become popular because of movies and television shows, but some owners aren’t fully prepared to care for these breeds and eventually abandon them to shelters. For years after the release of 101 Dalmatians, it was fairly common to see purebred Dalmatians at shelters. People thought the dogs in the movie were cute and fun, and they bought them from breeders without fully understanding Dalmatians’ specific needs and traits. Remember the hilarious Chihuahua of the Taco Bell commercials? That’s right, the numbers of Chihuahuas in shelters soared.

As Broadway Barks found, the people that work in these breed-specific rescues love ALL dogs. By pulling animals of a particular breed from municipal shelters, breed-specific rescues save the lives of many other dogs (of all breeds) by providing more room in the shelters. Breed-specific rescuers also become experts in a particular breed’s characteristics, which enables volunteers to accurately communicate the dogs’ needs to a potential adopter. For adopters who have settled on a specific type of dog, breed-specific rescues provide the opportunity for them to get the dog they want while also rescuing an animal in need, rather than buying one from a pet store or breeder. Breed-specific rescues are also able to educate potential dog owners about the specific needs of the breed. For example, Chihuahuas can be delicate, while Jack Russell Terriers need a lot of exercise. Rescuers familiar with each breed’s physical needs and personality characteristics can help new dog parents understand what will be required in caring for their new pet.

How Do Breed-Specific Rescues Work?

Volunteers operate most breed-specific rescues, which are kept afloat through financial donations and adoption fees. Without funding from adopters and members of the community, many rescues would shut down, and the animals they help would remain in overcrowded municipal shelters where life expectancy is low. These rescues house their animals by maintaining a network of temporary foster homes. When a dog is placed into a foster home, the foster family evaluates the dog and provides health care and basic training while the rescue group searches for a permanent home. The foster family also gets to know the dog, so they can pass on information about the specific dog and its needs. Rescue groups hold adoption events to get the word out to potential adopters about the pets in their care. Many rescues also have informative websites with photos and detailed information about each of their dogs. Some breed-specific rescues have a multi-state presence and can assist in transporting dogs to permanent homes in other states. For instance, if someone in North Carolina wants to adopt a dog from Florida, a rescue organization might work to arrange transportation to get the dog to the adopter’s location. Ultimately, it would be better for the family to go where the dog is for the initial meeting so the dog would be in a comfortable setting; however, that isn’t always an option.

Breed-specific rescues get dogs from a variety of sources. Some dogs are owner-surrendered. Breed-specific rescues also work with local municipal shelters to identify and pull animals that fit their breed characteristics. This eases the burden on the shelters and creates room for additional animals. Additionally, many rescues scour Internet want-ad websites like Craigslist to identify animals that owners are seeking to sell or surrender. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of sources, and breed-specific rescues are often juggling to make ends meet as they care for an increasing number of animals.

Finding the Perfect Dog For You

All dogs have their own personalities, regardless of breed specifics. Many non-purebred dogs are wonderful, healthy, smart, and will make loving family companions. Take the time to visit your local shelter or rescue organization and meet some dogs before narrowing your search to a specific breed. You might make a connection to a dog you had never previously considered. However, if you are ready to make a commitment to a pet and you are set on a specific breed, a little research will go a long way toward long-term happiness for you and your pet.

You can start your research at Here you can enter all the specifics you are looking for—breed, sex, age, location, etc. You might find a pet this way and end your search. Or, you will quickly be able to identify the breed-specific rescues to reach out to. For example, at I did a search for female Rat Terriers near Washington, DC, and I found 737 dogs! You can also do a Google search and get similar results. For example, I Googled “Boston Terrier Rescue in Virginia” and quickly found five breed-specific rescues that specialize in Boston Terriers within a one-hour drive. Just in New York City and the surrounding area alone, Broadway Barks works with several affiliates that specialize in a particular breed: Adopt a Boxer, Husky House, Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue, Metropolitan Maltese Rescue, Russell Refuge, and the Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue. And this barely scratches the surface. There are breed-specific rescues all over the United States; you just have to look for them.home. But when you go to a breed-specific rescue you can be confident that you will get the breed you want, you will know all about the dog you are getting, and you will receive guidance and support from the rescue volunteers. So, if you or someone you know is considering a new dog, seek out a breed-specific rescue and adopt, don’t shop!

By Charlene Sloan

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