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I can only reiterate my experience with a few top drawer breeders.

1.) Parents and parental lines should be titled. In my case I want to see working titles in IPO, Schutzhund, PSA or actual working dogs doing real work.

2.) A good breeder gets a defective puppy they will do one of two things: If the puppy has a manageable issue such as deafness or if the puppy needs an expensive surgery the breeders I know do NOT charge for that puppy. That is part of breeding dogs. If the puppy has some other congenital issue which will require life long management, that puppy is euthanized. I will add that this is rare but that is the reasonable thing to do.

3.) A good breeder may charge more for one puppy over another, but usually not. Usually I see them all at one price and it is usually a high price.

4.) Bad breeders or poorly bred dogs will also demand a high price sometimes. The trick there is bonafide references and longevity as breeders and numbers of dogs out there on the ground doing something... in my breed it can be agility, IPO, PSA and so forth.. I want to see drive and consistency from the breeder.

5.) BE CAREFUL of ShowDog breeders (dogs that are in the breed ring only for titles). They may have beautiful dogs that win in the show ring but that lack the integrity of the breed you are looking at.. such as English Setters that will never point a bird or German Shepherds that are shy and fearful and so forth. When a breeder breeds for a single trait, they lose the traits that make the dog what it should be. Twenty years in the breed may not translate to knowledge of the breed (just of the show ring!).

I can tell you my current dog is super.. and I paid more for that 8 week old puppy than I have paid for a reliable used car. He is driven when I need him to be and balanced.. with a lot of prey drive. When he tries to grab the ball from under my arm and gets some of me in the process.. (OUCH) I often say, "I paid a lot of money for that attitude!" Haha. His breeder has been doing this for 43 years for real work with a legacy of dogs out there that work.
 
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