Should I adopt a rescue Pug or buy from a breeder?

Should I adopt a rescue Pug or buy from a breeder?

Haylo Hooman’s and Puggies,

Although all of my Puggies have been rescues through adoption, there are a few different options for finding the perfect Puggie for you. This is not an exhaustive list because everyone has their ideal Puggie in mind, but an overview of the options available to start your research with. The important thing is that you and your Puggie(s) are happy, and you find each other via a reputable organisation.

Adoption through Rescue Organisations

Adoption is usually through the RSPCA or a dedicated not-for-profit organisation such as Pug Rescue and Adoption VictoriaSaffron on the Hill or Pug SOS. Each organisation’s adoption process is different but at a minimum you’ll need to apply for a Puggie and go through a verification process to make sure that you understand what you’re getting yourself in for if you’re a first time Puggie owner.

There may or may not be a cost for you to cover in the adoption process; the fees usually go some way to recovering any medical expenses incurred to return the Puggie to a healthy state so they can find their fur-ever home. Most not-for-profit organisations get no Government funding and rely on the adoption fees and donations to continue their work; most adoption fees don’t come close to covering the costs associated with Puggie rehabilitation and foster care.

My current Puggies, Winston and Charles, are Pug Rescue and Adoption Puggies and I found their adoption process to be robust and fair when we decided to apply; definitely in the best interest of the Puggie. They made sure that Andrew and I were the best people to love and care for the boys, our home was safe and Puggie-friendly, and that the boys connected with us during a house visit. We can't believe that it's been eight years since this photo!

Picture 1: Winston and Charles checking out our backyard on their house visit during the adoption process

Interestingly, I rescued Louis (my first Puggie) through a Vet, who knew the local Breeder that I had been talking too about buying a Puggie; I honestly didn’t think that Puggies would need rescuing because they’re so awesome …. who would give their Puggie away?

Louis’ previous owners had taken him into the Vet to have him put down because they didn’t want to have to look after him anymore and didn’t want him to go to a home where he would be mistreated. Louis was not in a good (health) state when the Vet saw him (I know, didn’t want him to go to a home where he would be mistreated!), and thankfully the Vet convinced them to surrender him to the Breeder who would make sure that Louis would go to a good home.

Two phone calls later and I had agreed to take Louis and pay for his Vet bills to cover the medication, dental work and wash to settle his untreated skin condition. I still believe that Louis was walked into that Vet that day so that I could be in the forefront of the Breeder’s mind when the Vet called asking for help. Louis was seven when we walked into my life and I was blessed with seven more years before he passed away.

Picture 2: Louis learning how to sit when he first come to live with me

Rescuing through a Vet is not typical, usually Puggies are surrendered to the local RSPCA and or Pug rescue who will work hard to find them a fur-ever home. I was just lucky!

Pros and Cons of Adoption


  • You will see the Puggie and get to meet them before a final decision is required
  • They are usually at a minimum house trained or have basic obedience training
  • If the Puggie has not been microchipped, de-sexed or have health issues when they were rescued, the organisation will sort it all out before the Puggie is advertised for adoption
  • You will be saving a life and they will love you for life because of it
  • The adoption process is fair and reasonable, if the first Puggie does not work the next one might – the important thing is that you and your Puggie connect


  • Bad habits will follow them into your house, and you will need to accommodate or re-train with patience
  • You may need to toilet or obedience train them
  • Older Puggies can take longer to settle in and train, but they are worth it in my opinion
  • If you have one Puggie and then introduce another later on, there may be 'alpha' issues
  • You may have to deal with ongoing health issues as they get older that may or may not stem from their previous owners


  • if the adoption organisation you go through does not do a house visit make sure that you and your house is ready for a Puggie – fencing and cool areas are very important
  • RSPCA is trying to stop the breeding of Puggies and other short snout dogs, so you may not wish to support them for that reason; see their website for more details on their campaign if you are interested to learn more

Buying through a Breeder

If you’re looking for a specific colour or sex or cross, then a reputable Breeder is the way to go. Some of the ways you can find a reputable Breeder is to:

  • Google “Pug Breeder” or
  • Google “Pug or Pug Owner Association” for referrals,
  • ask for a recommendation on Facebook,
  • ask friends or people at the local leash-free park,
  • local newspaper,
  • local Vet,
  • local Council pet registration office, or
  • local rescue associations or RSPCA.

Picture 3: Pug Puppies

Get in contact with the Breeder, or go and visit them so you can see where the puppies will be living prior to coming to you, and ask lots of questions (which the Breeder should be happy to take the time to answer) such as:

  • what is the breeding pairs history; how many litters has the bitch had to date?
  • what is the process for ordering a puppy?
  • how difficult is it to get the colouring/sex/cross you are looking for, if that is important?
  • what will it cost and if you have to pay upfront or on pick-up or any combination of?
  • is there a waiting list?
  • are there any obligations as part of the order?
  • when can you first meet the puppy so you can start getting to know them?
  • what Vet bills are covered by the Breeder and what will you have to pay whilst the puppy is being weaned?
  • what inoculations are covered by the Breeder and what will you need to do on picking up your puppy?
  • Does the Breeder provide advice on what to do for the first few weeks after you pick-up the puppy?
  • Will the puppies be microchipped and/or de-sexed prior to pick-up (if you want them to be de-sexed)?
  • And, many more …..

Warning: Backyard breeding still occurs and these “Breeders” do not always do the right thing by the breeding pair or the puppies; Oscar’s Law is trying to stamp out this practice beyond Victoria where it is currently against the law with heavy penalties, but there are still people who will do this and you need to be mindful of this when looking for a provider.

Pros and Cons of a Breeder Pug


  • You have a greater chance of getting what you are looking for if there are specific requirements
  • If you are looking for a Pug to show, a reputable Breeder will provide you with the necessary papers to prove linage etc.
  • Puggie puppies are definitely easier to train in their first 12 months
  • If you don’t want your Pug de-sexed, you can discuss with the Breeder
  • There are plenty of reputable Breeders and they are worth the money


  • You have to wait until the breeding pair take and it may take a couple of times
  • You may have to go inter-state or as far as New Zealand to get the Pug you want which adds to the cost
  • Prices start from $2000 per puppy (but the average is as high as $2800) and if you’re looking for a puppy with papers, then it can be a lot more
  • Backyard “Breeders” are not as ethical with their breeding practices, and you should be wary

Pet Shop Adoption

Thanks to Oscar’s Law  Pet Shop selling of dog’s is prohibited in Victoria as of July 2018 with “Victorian pet shops will become rescue centres”. They’re now working to achieve parity in other states to ensure that puppy farming is eradicated from Australia permanently.

Make sure that you ask lots of questions of the Pet Shop staff about the dog’s they are advertising and please report any suspicious behaviour to the RSPCA immediately; unscrupulous breeders should not be allowed to continue their deplorable practices!

I have definitely not covered all of what you can consider when choosing your next Puggie or Grumble addition. Andrew and I are obviously rescue fur-parents because we have found that we have had the best relationships with our Puggies because of their idiosyncrasies and personalities which we enjoy discovering after they have come to live with us. The important message from us is that you find your ideal Puggie or Puggies, and that you both live happily ever after together.

Below are some handy links to help you in your search if you are thinking about adding to your family, and I would love to hear about your experiences with your Puggie:

Perfect Pets
Registered Pug Dog Breeders Australia – ethical pet directory
Pug Rescue and Adoption Victoria
Community foster care based registered animal welfare charity organisation dedicated to helping all pugs in need
Saffron on the Hill
Rescue, rehabilitate and rehome Pugs in need
A nationwide rescue organisation keeping Pugs out of puppy farms
Oscar’s Law
Abolish puppy factories, ban sales through Pet Shops and trading websites and promote rescue adoption
Care for all animals great and small
Australia’s Prue Breed Community

So, until next week Puggies, have a wonderful week and I look forward to seeing your adventures and photos on our Facebook and Instagram.

Cheers Donna

Proud Pug-mum to Winston and Charles
Founder of Pug Parties

#puglove #pugrescue #pugadoption #grumble

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