Puppy Or Older Dog – Which Should I Adopt?

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
You're thinking about adopting a dog but you're not sure if you should adopt a puppy or a more mature dog? What could be the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a dog at a certain age? Let's take a look!

A part of dog adoption is making the decision whether to adopt a puppy or an adult.

It’s not an easy decision and you have to take a lot of things into consideration before making a final decision.

So, in order for you to make the right choice, we’ve prepared an article about some different aspects to think about when adopting a dog – puppy and adult.

Choosing between a puppy and adult dog can really be a challenge, as each has its benefits and drawbacks. As you can imagine, adopting a puppy isn’t the same as adopting an adult dog. But is it possible to answer the question – is one better or easier than the other?

Should I Get A Puppy Or An Adult Dog?

As every dog is different, so is every dog owner. What’s right for someone doesn’t feel right at all to someone else. Therefore, you have to make a decision based on your personality and your specific situation. In order to do that, ask yourself the following questions before you adopt a dog:

How Much Time Do You Have?

More precisely, do you have time to raise and train a puppy? Puppies require a lot more time than older dogs at almost every point. They have to go outside more often, you have to train them and watch them so they don’t get into trouble.

On the other hand, older dogs are a bit more independent. Plus, by adopting an older dog you’ll skip the puppy developmental stages that can be quite difficult at times, like potty training. However, an older dog is already kind of set in its ways which could be quite tricky so you should have that in mind as well.

Therefore, if you have a flexible schedule or work from home, a puppy could be a great choice for you. However, if you feel that you don’t have that much time on your hands adopting an older dog would maybe be a better idea.

What Kind Of Lifestyle Do You Lead?

Do you spend most of of your time at home or do you lead a busy social life? If you’re in the second category you may reconsider adopting a puppy, as puppies require a lot of attention and time. Even if you wanted to, you can’t take them everywhere with you as some places are not pet friendly or appropriate for dogs.

So, if you have a hectic life, an adult dog would maybe be a better option for you. On the other hand, if you are a stay-at-home person and prefer staying in than going out you will have more time to raise a puppy, if that’s what you want.

Do You Have Kids?

If you have children and want to adopt a dog, make sure the adult dog has been raised around kids and will function well with them. If you adopt a puppy you are the one responsible for introducing the dog to the children and making sure both the dog and the children feel comfortable. Children and dogs can form very strong bonds, they just need a little help in the beginning and time to adjust.

Do You Want To Raise The Dog Yourself?

Before making a decision, you may want to consider how important it is for you to raise your dog yourself, from the beginning. As mentioned, older dogs already have developed personalities and may have qualities and behavior issues from before.

When adopting a puppy, you’ll be there from the start and it will be easier to form its behavior and personality. If this is important to you, adopting a puppy will be a good idea.

These are some of the most important questions to ask yourself before adopting a dog and will hopefully help you make a decision. Now – let’s take a closer look at some benefits and downsides when it comes comes to adopting a dog at a certain age!

Adopting A Puppy

puppy or older dog adoption
Is adopting a cute, little puppy something you would like to do? If you agree with the statements below you are definitely on the right track!

A Puppy Is For You Who

  • Wants to be there from the beginning
  • Wants to train and raise your dog on your own
  • Has more time and doesn’t mind staying at home
  • Doesn’t mind the work puppies require in the beginning

Let’s clarify!

Puppies are a lot of work, that’s a fact. It will be your responsibility as its dog owner to train it and show what to do and what not to do. You have to provide with exercise and play, so the body develops properly. You will also have to socialize your puppy with people and animals and make him comfortable in various situations.

Over time, you will be there every step of the way and assist your puppy when it comes to potty training and how not to chew on things – only to name a few!

The bottom line is – puppies require a lot of work, time and patience. However, if you want to be there every step of the way and assist your puppy toward becoming an adult this will all be worth it! If you feel that you have the time and energy to invest, adopting a puppy has its many benefits.

The biggest benefit is maybe the fact that you will be able to train and form your puppy the way you want. We all have different lives and preferences, so getting a puppy will enable you to include your dog in your life just the way you want to.

Good to know: Make sure that your puppy gets mandatory vaccines so you can protect your pooch from parvo (that humans can transmit to dogs) and other dangerous conditions.

Check out the video below and learn more!

Adopting An Adult Dog

People often hesitate to adopt older dogs as they’re not sure “what they’re getting into”. It’s a fact that adult dogs are already mature and trained, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for everyone. So, if you answer YES on the following statements an older dog could be for you.

An Adult Dog Is For You Who

  • Wants an emotionally mature dog
  • Is a first-time dog owner
  • Leads a busy life and doesn’t have much time for training a puppy
  • Doesn’t mind a dog that has its own routines

As you can guess, adult dogs require a lot less work than puppies. They’re already emotionally mature and have been through all the development stages puppies usually go through. Therefore, you will not need to worry about house training, socializing or some other activities that require work and time.

If you’ve never had a dog before and you’re not quite ready for training a puppy, adopting an older dog can be a good idea as it will slowly ease you into being a dog owner, without having to deal with some of the biggest challenges. Also, if you’re very busy and don’t spend a lot of time at home, adopting an older dog can be a good solution.

However, it’s true that some older dogs can have behavior problems from the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t retrain them if necessary. Some habits, like barking excessively or scent-marking, will take longer time to get rid off if they’ve had the habit for some time, but it’s far from impossible.

Finally, adult dogs have a bit lower energy level than puppies, so you will not need to exercise your dog as frequently. Of course, this is not the case with all dogs, as some breeds will have as much energy as a puppy even when adult, like the boxer for example. This is a good thing for some people, while not so good for others. Completely up to you to decide!

Recommended read: Dog Adoption Checklist

PRO & CON: Adopting An Older Dog

Considering adult dog adoption is something many people hesitate about we’ve decided to put together a pro and con list when it comes to adopting an adult dog and help you get the whole picture.


  • Adult dogs have good bladder and bowel control and they can stay in their crates longer.
  • You know what you’re getting into when it comes to size when you’re adopting an adult dog. This is not the case with puppies, especially mixed-breeds, as you can’t know for sure how big they’ll turn out to be.
  • Most adult dogs have some basic training, depending on their previous home. You will only need to reinforce them a bit.
  • Older dogs bond very closely with their new owner as they often feel they’ve been given a second chance.


  • Bad habits, such as begging, barking etc. can be difficult to break if the dog has had the habit for long.
  • If the dog still hasn’t been house trained at a certain age, it can be a problem. It will require a lot of time, maybe more than with puppies.
  • Adult dogs that have never experienced a certain thing, like cats or babies, can be afraid of the unknown. Considering the dog has lived a certain way so-far, new things can be terrifying.
  • Older dogs may require more time to settle into the new home and routine.

Naturally, besides age, there are other thins to think about when adopting a dog. We recommend this interesting article on testing the dog’s temperament before adopting.


Adopting a dog requires a lot of thinking before, especially about the dog you’re adopting and its age. However, it’s not so much about the dog you’re adopting as it’s about your wishes and your lifestyle.

Before you make a decision, you have to ask yourself what you want and how you see yourself as a dog owner. For instance, if you lead a hectic life with not much free time, you might want to consider adopting an adult dog. On the other hand, if you want to be a part of puppy training the natural thing to do is adopt a puppy.

Ultimately, it’s up to you! Adopting a puppy has its positive and negative sides, so does adopting an older dog. No one can tell you what to do, you just have to take different things into consideration and see what fits in best in your life.

Whatever you choose, you can be happy because you’ve helped a dog get a home. Rest assured that the dog will appreciate it and thank you by giving you a lot of love!