Want to Adopt a Purebred Dog? Start With a Breed Rescue

black pug
Photo by Amy Breckenridge Smith
Adopting a purebred can be a complex process.

Mixed Breeds and Special Needs

Rescues differ on whether they take mixes. Some do not, but others make exceptions; MAPR takes them when they can. "Some of our fosters are interested only in fostering purebred Pugs," Muse says,"so we may not have room for a mix, but we like to help when we can." They will also take a mix or even another breed if it comes in as a bonded pair with a purebred Pug.

Though MAPR has many young healthy dogs who were surrendered for reasons that have little to do with the dogs, they also take dogs with special needs. "We've never declined a dog for medical issues," Muse says. "We definitely don't decline for age — I have a 15-year-old foster at my house right now."


The rescue treats the dog's problems and works to find the right home. And when medical issues are serious enough to prohibit adoption, the dog is placed with a foster as a hospice case.

Adoption fees — which vary by organization and sometimes by dog — support the work of the rescue, including medical fees.

A Detailed Screening Process

There's a stereotype that adopting from a breed rescue is particularly difficult. Because every group is independent, processes differ, but the first thing to remember is that you're dealing with volunteers who have jobs and families — and lives outside the rescue — and who may not answer your emails as quickly as you'd like."People get frustrated because it's completely volunteer-based, and it can take time," Muse says.

The process may also be unexpectedly involved. "I was quite surprised at the application itself," says Bryony Terrell, who adopted a dog named Stellina from MAPR in March. "It was lengthy, and I was surprised about some of the things they asked." MAPR sees the application as part of the process of informing potential adopters about the breed. Terrell says she "was really impressed with how educational it was."


The process of adopting through a breed-specific rescue may also involve more than simply filling out a form. "I was surprised at how many steps there are," says Rob Drew, who adopted Bossman, a Pug, and Arya, a Pug-Chihuahua mix, in April. Drew submitted an application, but he says that was only the beginning. "The second step was a telephone interview, then someone came and did a home inspection. The final step was to really discuss what the right dog was for my partner and me."

Terrell had a similar experience, "The phone interview was quick and easy," she says. "They apologized a little for telling us stuff when we were already Pug owners, but I enjoyed hearing about it, to learn a little more about the organization and confirm we were doing all the right things in handling our Pug."


In the same way, the home visit, which people often dread, is also meant more as an educational opportunity and a chance to see which individual dogs might suit your home — for example, whether stairs would rule out a dog with specials needs.

"We are thorough with the screening process because we want this family to be the final family," Muse says. In addition, a high level of detail means you're more likely to get a good fit with individual dogs as well as with the breed. That's precisely the experience Drew and his partner had. "After the home inspection they called and asked me to consider one particular dog, Bossman, who had been raised by a single man for 10 years and didn't really respond well to women. So coming to a house with two men was the perfect fit for that dog."

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