So you’re on a mission to get a new best friend – a puppy. What an exciting time! I’m personally a dog person and feel they’re the best kind of pet you could have – pets set a standard that virtual pets can’t come close to meeting, and then you can take amazing photos with your pets. In fact, Max, my Labradoodle, is laying by my feet as I write this.
But where do you go to find your next best friend? There are a lot of places locally, but some are difficult to discover. Also, if you do not have an idea of what kind you want, it may be difficult to find that perfect dog. That’s where websites come in handy. They help you sift through the Internet looking for the perfect puppy and where you can get it. In this article we will cover ten different puppy find websites, and I’ll also offer some advice that you should follow when looking for a new puppy.
PuppyFind.com is one of the more popular places to go to find a dog and is one of the first to show up in the search results. The interface and ease of navigation around the site is decent, although not great – in other words, it could use an upgrade. Upon visiting the website, you have the option to search by clicking the Find a Puppy tab, or using the PuppySearch panel on the left side. The Find a Puppy page alphabetizes the breeds and provides rankings on size, grooming, exercise requirements, watchdog ability, and how good they are with other dogs.
CAUTION: There have been some complaints and mention that PuppyFind.com has a lot of dogs from what are called puppy mills. I’ll touch upon this more in the Advice and Precautions section of this article.
You might be wondering how Puppy Find works. Like many of the websites in this article, Puppy Find simply helps you narrow down by breed and location, and provides the contact information for the breeder of the dog you’re looking for. It plays no role in any purchase. Despite the chance of a few bad breeders on the website (there will always be some of those), it’s a reputable website. They even offer tips for puppy buyers and provide a contact link if you come across a scam.
Adopt-a-Pet.com (United States)
Adopt-a-Pet.com is an excellent website, backed by well-known companies like Purina and Bayer. We’ve actually mentioned it before on Joel’s article about some of the best animal rescue sites you can use to find your next pet (which has a couple of other great recommendations not included in this article).
Adopt-a-Pet is actually not just for dogs either – you can search for cats and other animals like birds, herps, and even horses. The interface is clean and easy to use. In addition to searching for puppies, you can also look for a local shelter if you prefer to see all that is on offer instead of looking for a specific breed.
American Kennel Club (AKC) (United States)
The AKC is an organization that’ has been around since the late 1800’s, so you know it’s reputable. Also, they play a major role in registered breeds. The adoption page on their site is only a very small part of their focus, but if you’re interested in learning about an organization you know you can trust, it might be an option for you to consider.
Keep in mind that the results won’t likely be as plentiful as other sites – and for good reason. Only breeders who are AKC-licensed, or member clubs who have AKC-registered puppies available will be shown. These aren’t going to be average breeders, and especially not people who’s dog had an unplanned litter of pups. In addition, you’re going to be paying a lot more for a dog who’s registered by the AKC. With them, you’re looking for a dog who can compete in shows and trials.
Looking at the interface alone makes me have a bias for NextDayPets above other websites – perhaps that’s the tech guy in me. That said, interface and ease of use is crucial, and NextDayPets certainly provides a nice way to navigate through their website. Upon clicking the big, blue Find a puppy button, you can search by breed.
You are then able to refine your results by gender, location, price range and other factors using the panel to the left of the results. Each result displays breed, age, nearest region, price and icons for the following breeder verifications: identity, PayPal, Facebook and phone number (shown below).
Also, kudos to NextDayPets for having the cutest logo.
Petfinder (United States & Canada)
Petfinder is another very well-known source for finding puppies, as well as many other pets. In fact, its search results are used by many other websites and it also allows breeders and rescue organizations to host their own website directly within Petfinder. On the main page you have the ability to easily search for the type of puppy (or any animal for that matter) that you want. You must enter your postal code. There are other options such as age, breed and gender.
Once you get the results, you can then refine them even further by distance, size, or other variables such as housetrained, special needs, and whether they’re good around cats, dogs and young children. You can search by pet name. And if you want to search for pet-adoption groups by name or location, you have that option as well.
eBay Classifieds – Dogs & Puppies (United States)
eBay Classifieds certainly aren’t only for finding pets, but if you live in a major city in the U.S., they can be a helpful way to find your soon-to-be best friend. You might notice the option to search by breed, like you see in the photo above. However, if you scroll down to the bottom you can browse by city as well.
Still not satisfied? Perhaps your city isn’t listed? Have no fear. By going back to the home page, type the appropriate keywords in the search boxes to find them this way.
It’s unfortunate that this search function is not on every page, but that’s the way it is at this point.
ASPCA (United States)
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, otherwise known as the ASPCA, is another very reputable source for finding nearby animal shelters. The functions are straightforward – search and then sift through the results. You can click on the results to get more information about the dog and see the contact information.
Rescue Me! is an animal rehabilitation center that offers adoption services through their website. Their website isn’t the nicest in comparison to others, but it’s fairly easy to navigate through.
What’s really awesome is they have a whole page of links for not only all of the States, but an impressive amount of countries in the world too. I’m not guaranteeing that you will find as much in other countries as you might within the different States, but it’s worth a try and I did have some success upon looking through some of the country links.
Hearts United for Animals (United States & Canada) [No Longer Available]
Hearts United for Animals (HUA) is a national shelter for animals of all kinds and they provide a way for you to adopt dogs and cats through their website. You can enter specifics such as breed, age, size and gender, or just search all dogs. The HUA does a great job at providing a unique story behind each animal, as well as lots of photos to touch your heart. If you want the adoption info and application, just click the brown button under the pet’s photo.
The Shelter Pet Project (United States)
The Shelter Pet Project is a public service ad campaign focused on encouraging potential pet owners to consider rescuing a pet from a shelter as their first option. They are backed by The Humane Society of the United States and Maddie’s Fund. To begin looking for your new best friend, just enter your postal code, select either the cat or dog and click the yellow Search button. The results are magnificent and are easy to scan through. If you want to narrow down your search, you can click the Advanced Search button and choose breed, gender, size and age.
In addition, you can also search for nearby shelters.
Bonus: Maddie’s Fund (United States) [No Longer Available]
Maddie’s Fund was actually an organization that I hadn’t heard of prior to researching and writing this article. It has become known for Maddie’s Pet Adoptions Days, an annual, nationwide event that offers the opportunity to potential pet owners to adopt for free. This only goes on once a year, in the United States, in a limited amount of cities and only for a couple of days (this year it is June 1st & 2nd).
What’s really neat is the man behind it all, David Duffield, is actually a very wealthy business man who specializes in cloud-based management software and has donated thousands upon thousands to help rescue these dogs. You can learn more about Maddie’s Fund in the video below.
Advice And Precautions
One of the biggest things you should be aware of is puppy mills, I’ve already mentioned it briefly and if this Wikipedia link doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will. They are bad. They put profit and capital over the well-being of the animals. Unfortunately, some websites, like PuppyFind.com, can’t catch every single one, so they rely on users to help. Many of the websites I mentioned in here provide more information about them, including the ASPCA.
Buying Puppies Online
The local shelters whenever possible.. It’s best to see the puppy in person. And to support your
That’s everything to do with puppy find websites, but as far as puppy-raising advice goes, I could put a whole other article into that. So instead I’ll offer this. If you want advice in that area, I’m happy to help offer some which I’ve gained in my experience as a Vet Assistant. Feel free to ask me in the comments.
Have you ever used any websites to help you find your best friend? We’d love to hear about them or any experiences that you had along the way.