Although the specifics vary depending on the rescue organization or shelter, the most common criteria are a demonstrated ability to care for and afford the puppy. Rescues require adopters to be at least 18 years old and able to pay the adoption fee.
Most rescues require potential adopters to provide information about their living and working situations. Rescues generally look for someone who has a job or is financially stable in order to prevent the puppy from being returned due to finances. If the adopter is renting his or her home, the rescue often checks with the landlord or asks to see the lease to confirm that the pet is allowed.
Rescues also work to match dogs to suitable homes. Some dogs do not do well with children, so the rescue might consider whether the potential adopters have or are planning to have children. Breeds that require a great deal of exercise might cause the rescue to consider the adopter's lifestyle and exercise habits. Young puppies need a great deal of time and attention, so rescues might look for someone with plenty of time and patience.
Some rescues have stricter criteria, including things like having a history of pet ownership or having a fenced yard. However, this varies greatly depending on the organization. Most rescues provide their adoption criteria upon request, so people interested in adopting a puppy should contact their local organizations for details.