Absolutely not. For me, guilt is NOT a valid reason to obtain a dog from any source. I have a small home, smaller yard, limited financial resources, and I work full time. Even before personal preferences come into play, these factors alone limit what dogs/types of dogs I can reasonably take on without causing undue stress on the current dogs (and people). For example, one time we looked at adopting a male GSD mix and we really like him but he had pretty bad separation anxiety. How can I be fair to a dog with severe SA when I know I'm going to be gone 8 hours a day? I'm not saying all rescue/adoption cases have problems but many of them do have special considerations.
I also have to consider that I already have two intact male dogs, both very strong dogs (physically and in their will). They do not tolerate just any dog being thrust into the household. It's safer and less stressful for everyone that I stick with puppies until I'm in a situation where I have the space to integrate adult dogs. My highest priority is always to the current dogs. I'm not going to force them to deal with a new dog because I feel guilty about not taking on that dog. Regardless of where it comes from, if I feel a dog's temperament is not going to fit in my household, I just can't have that dog.
When I get a new dog I'm looking for a very specific temperament. Sometimes a rescue fit, sometimes not. We got Coke from a rescue when we were looking for a very laid back, fun-loving, no drive, social, family pet type dog that was already proven to be reliable in the house (no crating necessary). I bought Pan when I was looking for a working dog with more prey drive, correct size, more of a sport type pedigree.
The most important thing is that if there's not a dog available that meets my criteria I DONT GET A DOG. It's not like a rescue dog dies when I buy a puppy. I don't start with a list of criteria and then keep scratching items off and looking for more dogs if I can't find what I want. I just wait until what I want is available. It's not like I'm purchasing rather than or instead of rescuing. I always look at rescues and shelters first. Most times they don't have what I'm looking for.
This is how I feel.
Viking is my first dog after years of loving the dogs my family and friends had. I did not want to take on a rescue that could potentialy be from a back yard breeder or have some sort of illness or "baggage". I have rescued animals my entire
life, this includes five cats, a horse, and a bird that I nursed to health and took care of when he broke his wing. I was fifteen and used my allowance to pay for a vet to help the bird. I spent three years volunteering at a horse rescue.
In my experience with animals, I have had and met some amazing rescue animals. I have had rescue pets that are sound in personality and in health. However that being said, I disagree with the "common belief" that mutts are healthier than purebreds. The most depressing illnesses or animal deaths I ever saw were with mutts. Purebred dogs and cats do have their genetic problems, but people have a misconception that purebreds are constantly inbred. Despite having papers that show Viking having no inbred relatives for at least four generations, I know people who refuse to believe that he isn't inbred. Sure, a lot of inbreeding can occur during the development of a breed, but most breeds have been around for so many generations that it's no longer relavent. These people genuinely believe that purebred dogs are less intelligent and inferior to rescue mutts.
Responsibly bred, purebred dogs are not more susceptible to disease. They are not less intelligent. They are just dogs
. I don't feel guilty because I bought him instead of rescuing because I know that, if it was the right dog at the right time, I'd rescue in a heartbeat. If anything, the whole shelter vs purebred thing makes me extremely angry because people who adopt their pets use it to think they're better than everyone else. If you truly love animals, you would love them regardless of where they came from. Shelter vs breeder should not matter. Adopting a shelter pet does not mean you love animals more than anybody else.
The only thing that matters is what is right for you