The following is purely my opinion, if you opinion differs from mine that is ok. You can think what you like, again opinions everyone has them.
I love pure breed animals as much as I do mutts. However, what I dont agree with is people poorly planning their lives for an animal companion before getting one and then dumping them at a shelter. So please before reading any farther make sure that you are going to be dedicated both emotionally, and financially to care for the life of another being.
Animal shelters can be found just about anywhere in the United States. Most house both dogs and cats. These lovely animals have been abandoned, and are now homeless. Most dont understand why their families left them, or why they are now in a cage. It can be frightning to an animal. I believe that all animals should have a good life. That is why I feel that it is more beneficial for everyone to adopt from a shelter rather than buying an animal from a breeder.
Again let me take a moment and say this; I dont hate animal breeders. There are alot of really fantastic ones out there that really take care of their animals. If you decide you want a pure breed animal look at my article on how to find the right breeder for you.
Back to shelter animals. Some shelters are kill shelters. What this means is that there are an abundance of animals coming in and no room, money, or help to keep them alive. It is considered by society to be a humane thing to do but to me murder is still murder.
An animal from a shelter whether young or old can be a blessing. Most shelters have a Vet do an exam on an animal before it can be adopted. This is great because it gives you an overview of the animals health. Some even get shots as well.
Adopting from a shelter has many benefits both to you and everyone else involved. For you most shelters do not charge a huge fee, and some may even knock some of that fee off for some volunteer time from you. Secondly, as stated before most do provide at least the basic shots, and a vet check. For the animal it means that it gets a loving caring home. For the shelter it means one less animal that they have to find donations for to care, feed, and house that pet.
Again I will state make sure that you are committed to an animal before getting it from anywhere. Pets are a lifetime thing. Research the type and breed of the pet desired. Know the financial costs of owning said pet. Lastly only you can decide to rescue one of these wonderful creatures. In additon to shelters there are rescue organizations as well. I hope you find the life companion you are looking for.