How to Adopt a Purebred Pet – with NO Breeder Fees!

Owning a pet is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. Pets provide laughs, joy, snuggles, and benefits that you just can’t put a price on.

I’ve been fortunate to have many pets in my lifetime — from stray cats and dogs off of the street to purebred and pampered babies. Each of these furry family members has been as unique as their pedigree, and worth every penny spent to keep them happy and healthy.

Pet Rescues

Pet Rescues

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot to adopt a purebred pet! While it’s a great idea to donate your time, money, and resources when you can, you should also know the ways to get free or discounted adoptions. Additionally, it helps to know resources that can save money on pet expenses.


How to Adopt a Purebred Pet

Through rescue adoption, help an animal in need and enjoy your time more fully with your new best friend(s).


Adoptions from Breed-specific Rescue Groups

Shirley is our rescued Bengal who advises to adopting from a rescue group

Shirley is our rescued Bengal who advises to adopting from a rescue group

My current cat holds a special place in my heart – Shirley is a rescued rosette glitter Bengal and beautiful both inside and out. I knew I had to have one from the very moment I learned about this breed (intelligent, talkative, energetic, and sweet). However, I had mixed feelings about purchasing one due to the hefty price tag and knowing that there are so many wonderful pets that need to be rescued.

After a couple of encouraging chats with friends who had rescued purebred dogs (see 2 of them pictured below), I started searching for a Bengal through rescue groups on Facebook. To my delight, I found breed-specific rescue groups all over the country! I ended up fostering, then adopting Shirley through Great Lakes Bengal Rescue. I am forever grateful to them for connecting our family with this wonderful cat.

The adoption fees from these groups are often on par with those of an animal shelter, but there may be different procedures and contract requirements to adopt. Breed-specific groups are more familiar with the animal’s needs and are generally more thorough when screening for good homes.

No matter what breed you have your heart set on, it’s wise to look for a purebred rescue group. Dogs, cats, birds, horses, and fish are just a handful of the breed-specific animal rescue groups that work to find forever homes for animals in need.


Pros of Adopting Pets Through Rescue Groups

  • The highest likelihood of finding a specific breed to adopt
  • Health screenings and many procedures are done before adoptions
  • Foster parents analyze the pet’s temperament for compatibility with other animals and small children
  • The cost of adopting is much lower than the cost of purchasing a purebred pet


Cons of Adopting Through Rescue Groups

  • Adoptable pets may not be local (location of available pets covers a wide area)
  • The availability of adoptable pets depends on how many pets are found that need to be rescued
  • Process of screening owners for suitable “furever homes” may involve personal questions about your family’s lifestyle
  • Some rescue groups prefer to adopt out to owners who already have experience with the breed


Other Considerations of Adopting Through Rescue Groups

As rescue groups are extremely concerned about animal welfare issues like controlling overpopulation and backyard breeders, your adopted pet will likely be spayed or neutered as part of the adoption. Each rescue has different adoption requirements, and there may also be specific rescue group rules to follow with your adopted pet (e.g., we agreed to keep our Bengal as an indoor pet only).

Everyone I know who has adopted a pet through a breed rescue adoption has been overjoyed with the rescue group, the process, and most importantly, their adopted pet. These rescue groups are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about their breed and do fantastic work to find suitable homes for these furry friends!

This is Best Rewards Programs’ most recommended method for adopting a purebred pet.


Adoptions through Local Shelters and Animal Control Agencies

Rescued Yorkshire Terrier and Labradoodle dogs

Barron, the rescued Yorkshire Terrier and Teddy, the rescue Labradoodle, say “hello!”

While most people assume that you can’t get a purebred pet from an animal shelter, they occasionally have these pets available! The cuties in the photo above were both rescues – Barron is an adorable rescued Yorkshire Terrier from NC Yorkie Rescue, and Teddy is a gorgeous rescued black Labradoodle from FAPS.

Although it may take more patience to find a specific breed at an animal shelter, some places (like the Atlanta Humane Society) offer a “Pet Alert” that will send you an email when the breed of cat or dog you want is available for adoption! Check with your local shelter to see if a similar service is available in your area.

Adoption fees for a pet in a shelter can be as low as $0 (FREE) and can go up to a few hundred dollars (prices will vary based on the demand for the breed). Free adoptions usually happen in the summer when the shelters become crowded, like this recent adoption event in Georgia.

Rescuing from a shelter is a smart choice because, in addition to getting a great price on the adoption, your new friend will already be screened for illnesses, vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered.


Pros of Adopting Pets Through Local Shelters

  • You are contributing to and supporting animal welfare in your local community
  • Many pets are available to adopt right away
  • Health screenings, select vaccines, and microchipping are done before adoptions
  • The cost of adopting is much lower than the cost of purchasing a purebred pet
  • Shelter employees may have insight into the animal’s temperament and quirks
  • You are potentially saving an animal’s life if you adopt from a kill shelter


Cons of Adopting Through Local Shelters

  • It is not guaranteed that you will find the specific breed you want (or it may take a long time)
  • Specific breeds may have a waitlist of other people who want to adopt them
  • Pet breed identification may be a shelter’s best guess


Other Considerations of Adopting Through Local Shelters

Services at animal shelters can vary widely, so be sure to ask plenty of questions about what is included in your pet adoption.


Adoptions of Pets via Rehoming

Rehoming a Surrendered Pet Dog

Rehoming a Surrendered Pet

When I was a kid, our family’s first dog was an Airedale Terrier named Peanuts. He originally belonged to one of my Dad’s friends, but when the friend moved out of the country, he couldn’t take the dog with him. We gladly welcomed Peanuts into our home and had him for the rest of his life.

This rehoming style of adoption was not something that we had sought out, but sometimes life will present opportunities to provide a pet with a good home with no adoption costs to you. Plus, someone who needs to surrender their beloved pet due to allergies, illness, economic hardship, or work assignments will be comforted to know that their pet is going to a good home (especially if you are willing to share updates, photos, or visits with the pet).

When you are considering the adoption of a surrendered pet, be sure to ask the owner lots of questions about the animal’s habits, health, and temperament in order to ensure a good fit in your home.


Pros of Adopting Pets Through Rehoming

  • The pet’s original owner will often share a wealth of information about the animal’s temperament and history
  • Pets are often rehomed with things from their original home, including bowls, treats, and toys
  • You are likely helping someone with the tough challenge of rehoming their beloved pet


Cons of Adopting Through Rehoming

  • Finding rehoming opportunities is not an easy route for anyone set on a specific breed
  • Each rehoming scenario is unique, but often there is no prescreening for health issues


Other Considerations of Adopting Through Rehoming

There are many reasons people may need to rehome a pet, so be thorough when asking questions when you are considering this route of pet adoption.


Adoptions of Pets via Random Luck

After I originally posted this article, I thought we were finished with new pets for a while. We didn’t look for a pet to adopt, but a new pet decided to adopt us.

Nina - the husky who adopted us!

Nina – the husky who adopted us!

Late in 2019, as we were putting up holiday decorations, this adorable red husky walked into our backyard. We tried to find her owners, but she didn’t have tags or a microchip to help identify her. The sweet dog had proven to be great in our home when we were looking for her owners, but after a couple of vet checkups, it was determined that she had heartworms. Fortunately, it was treatable. Unfortunately, treating heartworms is pricey and a tough thing for dogs to go through.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend that someone who wants a specific breed of pet should wait for one to walk into their yard. In fact, be very careful about approaching unknown animals! However, this illustrates one additional way that people end up with purebred pets without going through a breeder!


Saving Money on Pet Expenses

Save on Pet Expenses like Bird Food

Save on Pet Expenses like Bird Food

Once you’ve found your new furry (or feathered, finned, etc.) family member, it will help save money on the food, toys, and vet visits they may need. Take advantage of these offers and save your cash for more treats!

  • Chewy – save on auto-ship orders and always have your pet’s favorites at home
  • PetFlow – get $10 off your first order and get $10 for yourself when you refer new customers
  • PetSmart – offers price matching (even against online prices), rewards points, and their “Treats” loyalty program will give your pet a birthday gift
  • Pet First Insurance – avoid surprise vet bills with insurance for your pet
  • Pet Plan Insurance – avoid surprise vet bills with insurance for your pet


Giving Back to Animal Rescue Groups

With all the outstanding work that these groups do, it’s great to be able to give back to them when you can. The fastest way to share with these organizations is to make a much-needed monetary donation — they usually accept cash, checks, credit cards, and some even accept bitcoins! Even if you can’t spend a lot out of pocket to help these organizations, there are plenty of other ways to contribute. Consider these alternate ways to support pet charities:

Volunteer for Pet Rescue Organizations

Volunteer for Pet Rescue Organizations

Volunteer Your Time

Shelter groups almost always need volunteers to help keep their operations running. Volunteer your time and offer to:

  • Take shelter dogs on a walk
  • Work a few hours at a fundraising event
  • Volunteer part-time in a shelter
  • Foster an animal in your home
Donate to Pet Charities

Donate to Pet Charities

Donate Money or Goods

There are also several ways to make donations to charities without additional spending:

  • Shop via AmazonSmile, and a percentage of purchases will be donated to the charity of your choice
    • Search and select a charity, then shop Amazon by starting from the URL
    • It costs you nothing to do this, and your favorite charities can receive thousands of dollars of donations each year!!!
  • Shop via GoodShop to earn cash back (you can either keep the cash or redeem it as a charitable donation)
    • Shop at popular stores including PetSmart, Target, DSW, Walgreens, Shutterfly, Apple, Sephora, & many more!
    • Note that you will earn even more when you share GoodShop with your friends and family
  • Surf the web using GoodSearch and earn your charity a penny each time you search
    • Note that you’ll need to create your GoodShop profile first in order to select a charity
  • Make a gift for a charity’s fundraising event from your business (or yourself)
    • Fundraising events often need items they can auction or raffle off, so consider donating free car washes, spa visits, gift cards, or discounts from whatever business you are in

Hopefully, these tips will help you find the perfect new companion animal and give a great new home to animals in need.


When you finally find the perfect purebred pet for your home, be sure to pick up the supplies you’ll need to get your pet settled in at your home.


84 Responses

  1. Danny says:

    Your Bengal cat Shirley looks beautiful!

    Adopting an animal from one of the many shelters in the UK (or Worldwide) is a really amazing idea. It gives an animal the chance to be a loved pet. You know that you are providing a loving home and a second (if not more in some cases) chance to a beautiful animal. And it’s cheaper than buying from a breeder. Win win I say. 

    We recently took in a French Bulldog and it has been a pleasure.

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Danny, so glad to hear that your French Bulldog is working out well! Pets can add so much richness and we were happy to rescue ours and provide them with a good home. 

  2. Ann says:

    Shirley is beautiful. Thanks for the picture. I also love rosette glitter Bengals. Their fur is amazing. I will head over to Great Lakes Bengal Rescue and see if I can emulate what you did. The high fees discourage us. But this option is better than even buying it from a breeder.

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Ann, that is fantastic news! I hope you find the purrfect Bengal cat to adopt for your family! Shirley has been a wonderful addition to our home and I am so thankful to Great Lakes Bengal Rescue for trusting us with her!

  3. Leahrae says:

    I have a dog that I rescued, and rescues are the sweetest dogs ever.  I saw the information in your post for pet insurance.  Do you know if there is any pet insurance that will accept a pet with a preexisting condition.  My dog just lost use of his rear legs and back surgery is around 4 to 6 thousand that I cannot afford.  I am now looking into a chiropractor, but then want to do an MRI which is almost as costly.  I love my dog, but financially it is hard to do what he needs.  Any suggestions?

    • Alyce says:

      Aww Leahrae, I am so sorry to hear about your ailing rescue dog. I have not inquired about getting pet insurance with preexisting conditions, but considering the expense that you are facing, I suggest that you contact a few pet insurance companies to see what they can do to help.

      If they are unable to help due to the preexisting condition, then another approach is to contact local veterinary schools. These schools often offer lower-cost procedures when they are performed at the vet school. 

      I’d also be up-front with your vet and the vet school when you talk to them and mention that you have concerns regarding the cost of the suggested treatments. They may know of additional options that they haven’t discussed with you yet. 

      Good luck to you – I hope you can find the help that you are looking for.

  4. Skuchmane says:

    Hello dear, thanks for sharing the fun animal photos and the helpful, organized information with us. This is some of the best research I have found online on the subject. I am planning on getting a dog for my daughter, so you really have helped me a lot, there are more options that I had previously considered and my daughter will love to know that her dog has been rescued as well. thanks for the info, I’ll surely do some recommendations, you truly are the best, thanks alot

    • Alyce says:

      Thank you so much! I was surprised when I first learned of how many ways there are to adopt a rescue pet too! Good luck as you start your search for your new, furry best friend.

  5. edahnewton1 says:

    Hey nice article you have there. Thanks for taking out your time to put such a concise article. How I wished this article can get to the reach of all pet lovers to enlighten them about the rescue group. Pets are animals that never betrayed their friendship, they remain loyal and humble to their owners till death and sometimes act as a companion, their impact has been felt in the security system.

    • Alyce says:

      Pets are such a wonderful part of life – great for love, laughs, snuggles, and sometimes they even provide security too! 🙂

  6. Cameron says:

    Hi, Alyce

    Thanks so much for a great article. 

    I’m very envious of you having Shirley as a companion. I also liked the other pet stories too.

    Rehoming a rescued pet is such a good idea and much better than buying one online. 

    There are so many horror stories about illegal pet breeding and it would be good if we could put an end to this. 

    Best wishes, 


    • Alyce says:

      These animal rescue groups do a lot to help out the animals that are victims of pet hoarding, crowding, and illegal breeding. They are fantastic causes to support — even if you aren’t interested in adopting (or fostering) a pet of your own.

  7. Michael says:

    Adopting an animal from one of the shelters that you mention is a really good idea. It gives an animal the chance to be a loved pet. It gives funding to other lost animals and gives them a chance. And it’s cheaper than buying from a breeder. Win win I say. Thanks for the sage advice.. 

    You Bengal cat looks beautiful BTW!

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Michael, rescuing a shelter animal is definitely win-win for both pets and people!
      Shirley (the Bengal cat) says thank you for the compliment!! 🙂

  8. Judith Ellen says:

    You’ve obviously put an enormous amount of work into your site and must have done a great deal of research. It would take sometime to read through all the deal categories.
    I have to say I was a little confused by the name of the webpage being ” Best Reward Programs” to then be introduced to an extensive list of all the gifts one could purchase for a 2020 graduate. Great gift ideas followed but left me asking about the reward programs. Your site seems to be part sales catalog and part information about reward programs however I found the sales catalog approach seemed to predominate.
    My take would be to deliver what was promised first and foremost: “Best Reward Programs” and build on that.

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