Hybrid hounds, like hybrid cars have achieved über trendy status in recent years. This popularity has contributed to a Trump-size price tag, however, with some designer dogs like the ever popular Labradoodle fetching up to $2,500 each. That's a lot of Milkbones! But there is no need to pay top-dog prices for your pooch. If your inner Paris Hilton is hankering for a customized canine this summer, look no further than your local animal shelter to save some kibble, and also commit a selfless act of community service.
For example, a recent search on the national pet adoption Web site petfinder.com yielded several available animals in my vicinity of the most popular designer varieties: Labradoodles and Puggles. Use the Web site's search engine to find your designer dog by choosing one half of the breed you are searching for, such as Poodle, and you will find purebreds as well as mixes of that breed. The benefits of adopting a pet from an animal welfare organization are twofold. Typically adoption fees from your community animal shelter or pet rescue group are significantly lower than what a breeder will charge, and generally you'll have the convenience of your pet settling down at your forever home already spayed or neutered. Adoption fees vary but tend to hover around $125 to $150 for dogs, which is significantly less than purchasing from a breeder. Secondly, adoption helps mitigate the detrimental effects of pet overpopulation by taking dogs out of already overcrowded shelters.
According to the Humane Society about 25 percent of the 6-8 million dogs and cats that find their way to shelters are purebred, and while hybrid hounds are not purebreds, this is a good indicator that patience will be rewarded if you have your heart set on a particular type of dog. To ensure your pick of the litter, maintain regular contact with shelter staff and keep abreast of when pets get adopted out and when new ones become available.
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