There are few things I am more passionate about than dog adoption. There are so many myths out there about homeless dogs, it makes my stomach turn. In actuality, most dogs in shelters and rescues have simply been evicted from their home. These evictions come for many reasons - a change in jobs, a move/foreclosure/eviction, a divorce, addition of babies, teens no longer interested in the dog, addition of other pets or a lack of dedication to exercising/training the dog.
First is the myth that shelter dogs are all aggressive. Shelters and rescues actually have a responsibility to weed out the aggressive dogs due to insurance requirements. My rescue turns away dogs that have drawn blood. I have been bit by a dog and I don't wish it on anyone. So most dogs in rescues and shelters have been put through temperament tests. That said, every new dog brought into your home should be taken to obedience classes so that you and your dog can communicate with each other.
The second myth I hear is that most shelter dogs have medical issues. This could not be further from the truth. Yes, you will find some dogs, such as my foster Prince, with major medical issues, but it is widely accepted that mutts are much healthier than pure bred dogs. Most breeders are not good breeders. Most "breeders" are in fact puppy mills and they are only in it for the money and therefore skimp on basic vet care. This holds especially true for puppies found in pet stores.
Finally, I have heard people complain that they are looking for a very specific kind of dog. I don't blame you; I wanted a very specific dog myself - and I was able to find her in rescue. Petfinder has over 350,000 pets available for adoption. There is something for everyone on there. For example, a quick search turned up 170 french bulldogs or french bulldog mixes across the country. There are 150+ Boxer or Boxer mixes within 100 miles of Virginia. I found over 350 Labrador Retrievers or Lab mixes within 100 miles of Denver, Colorado. There are almost 600 chihuahuas in need of a home within 100 miles of New Jersey. And over 200 Golden Retriever or Golden Retriever mixes are looking for a new home in New England. If you are looking for a specific breed, you can almost certainly find a rescue specific to that breed in your area and your perfect dog is likely to come up in their ranks sooner rather than later.
So please consider adoption when looking for a new pet. Over 6 millions pets are euthanized each year because shelters simply don't have the space to keep them all. This is a tragedy, and it is preventable. Also, please spay or neuter every pet. And thanks for reading.