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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been trying to get a puppy for about three years. Most “reputable” breeders are states away and it is usually not possible to visit their homes to pick out a puppy. I have, in several instances, put my faith in breeders to pick the best match for me but inevitably, regardless of where I am on the list, I am bumped either because less responsible owners pick a dog on the basis of color or the breeders allow people who go to visit, to claim a puppy even though I am supposed to have first pick.
I had been on a list with a breeder since last year. I waited through 2 litters and had discussed in depth, what I wanted in a puppy, as far as personality.
Next week is pickup week and I had srill not had any indication of which puppy I’d be getting. Yesterday, I got emails about shopping lists and feeding information. So, I emailed the breeder to ask which puppy I’d be getting and she informed me that, after I’d been first on the list, that she allowed other people to pick before me and choose by color! In reality, I think the people who went to visit picked their puppies and I got the leftover! So, now I have to get on another list and I probably won’t have a dog for another year!
Breeders say they want their dogs to go to the best possible homes. However, if they are allowing owners to choose dogs by color, how can they possibly be making an effort to ensure that happens? This was after I had explicitly told her what I wanted and patiently waited since last year! Why am i, as someone with the right attitude about getting a dog, in overlooking superficialities like color, being penalized?
 

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Maybe you are not picking great breeders? Suddenly changing pickup plans and letting people choose by color are huge red flags.

I've had nothing but positive experiences with good breeders (of different breeds), even ones I did not choose to get on the wait list for. The breeder of my current dog promptly answered all of my numerous emails, talked with me over the phone, sent me photo updates, worked with my schedule for a pickup (I drove 8 hours one way), and everything was exactly as we discussed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, these are breeders recommended by the breed clubs. I knew something wasn’t right because it was like she deliberately avoided even broaching the subject of which puppy I’d be getting until a week before pickup. I had also seen a video showing people visiting and they basically said they wanted a specific puppy. She had right to tell visitors that she would not reserve any puppies until she evaluated them and could match their personalities and that, there was someone ahead of them that was looking for certain qualities. I thought that’s what she was going to do. What she’s telling me now is bs anyway because most of her litters are all the same color dogs. She never told me that I’d have to visit and pick out a dog but evidently, because I couldn’t being several states away, she came up with an excuse to screw me over, knowing since last year that I was relying on her to give mr the best march. Instead, I she wants to give me the puppy that nobody else wanted.
Last year, I had the opportunity to get a dog from a breeder who had temperament tested and picked the best dog for me. But, at the last minute, she wouldn’t give it to me because, I was going to have to have my parents go and physically get the dog, as I couldn’t drive that far, die to severe neck problems ni offered to skype or video conference but she made a huge thing of it and I didn’t get that dog either. Earlier this year, I was first on a list but because I asked a lot of questions about the health background of the parents of the puppies, I never heard back from the breeder. Last year, I was first on a list again but the breeder told me that one puppy was no good for certain reasons and that the other wasn't suited to me. What happened was that again, people requested certain colors and I got bumped because I did not specify a color. just can’t win. If I were one of these so called reputable breeders, the first thing I’d tell people is that I don’t sell puppies by color. It amazes me that breeders are so high and might and self-righteous about selling their dogs that, they are too lazy to take the time to match puppies and instead are more worried about selling the whole litter and when dogs end up in shelters because they went to the wrong homes, who is to blame?
I talked to this other breeder, who thinks she is god’s gift to the breed. She told me she recently sold a dog to a woman who was giving it up and trying to make a profit by selling the dog because it was too much work. How can a breeder who claims to be so highly regarded sell to someone like that?
She is the same woman who, at one time told le I should take a male when I didn’t want one because they’re better suited for what I intend to do. Then, on another occasion when she only had females, told me all the reasons why girls were better. I can understand why people end up with pets from puppy mills.
 

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Some of the things below assume that you are looking for a puppy as a pet only, and not for work or sports, so my apologies if that assumption is incorrect.

If it's just because they want that colour for fun, or because it is rare, then yeah, the breeder may be kind of shady. But a prospective buyer is looking to get a puppy as a show prospect, colour is actually very relevant for whether or not a dog will be competitive in the show ring, at least in some breeds. But mainly, breeders have the absolute right to sell their puppies to whomever they want. If it truly is a reputable breeder, it is possible that they may priorities previous puppy buyers or other types of homes. I also don't think it is shady for them to prioritize local people, who the breeder can meet directly, over a puppy home from far away who they have never met. And someone is always going to get the "last" puppy. That doesn't mean they are the worst puppy!

That said, a lot of reputable breeders would recommend you to other breeders they know who might have litters coming up that would fit your needs. I also think it is kind of strange for a puppy person who has never purchased a puppy from them and has no experience in dog sports/working dogs to be first on the wait list, even if you've been on that breeder's waitlist the longest. Reputable breeders should be breeding their dogs for a purpose, and want their puppies to go to homes that suit that purpose. Even if the "purpose" they breed for is stable companionship, good breeders often prioritize homes who are interested in activities like conformation (if it's a purebred) or therapy work, over "only" pet homes.

But I have to agree with Canyx - I've had only good experiences with the reputable breeders that I've contacted, across a variety of breeds. I'm at least 3 years away from my next puppy, and the "worst" experience that I've had is some breeders did not respond to my initial e-mail inquiry - oh well.
 

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can understand your frustrations... I wait for pups and I don't travel to go see them, I have them flown in. haven't met one of my new dogs in person in the last 5 dogs. The only one I had breeder behavior concerns about ,, Turned out to be true that they were shady in their practices, not being truthful in our conversations, showing avoidance in contact and providing details. The rest of the pups no redflag interacting with the breeders and everything went flawless from start to finish and the pups were exactly what I was purchasing.

I think of the breed club and any AKC web site recommendations are mainly advertising space, and not anything the breed club personally stands behind.

It goes both ways you have a right to refuse picking from (left overs) or even the entire litter or the breeders choice if the pup doesn't suit you personally. You don't need a reason beyond that you don't accept your choices or the breeders choice and you should be able to get your deposit back if you and the breeder can't come to an agreement. Shady breeders don't give deposits back even when you have been patient dealing with them. You should say Hey this is not working for the time spent in getting a puppy from you, want my deposit back to go somewhere else
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The breeder had right to disclose her intentions at the beginning, so that I could decide if i wanted to waste my time waiting or not. If she had no intentions of giving me first pick, then why say so and let me wait all that time believing it. I wholeheartedly disagree that reputable breeders should sell on the basis of color to pet homes. It’s the easiest way to mismatch a dog and end up with it back in your hands. Again, if they choose to give local people the first pick, them tell people from far away that if they can’t come to visit, this is what will happen.

Waiting til the last minute to tell me, is an indication to me that she did not eant me to know what was going on. Good breeders will send individual videos of the puppies to people who can’t come. If that’s the way you want to run your business, them don’t entertain clients who can’t visit, at all. It is an unfair practice. What you’re essentially saying is hypocritical. It’s like saying, “I want my best puppies to go home with local people but I don’t care about the other ones that much so they can go home with anybody.”

I’m not a first time dog owner either and any breeder can check with my vet to see how well I’ve taken care od my dogs.
 

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if a breeder oversells or over promises a litter,, they may be stringing you along just incase those puppy buyers don't follow through with a purchase.. Why would a breeder in this situation string you along, they protecting their own interest in the transaction not yours
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
if a breeder oversells or over promises a litter,, they may be stringing you along just incase those puppy buyers don't follow through with a purchase.. Why would a breeder in this situation string you along, they protecting their own interest in the transaction not yours
That’s my point.
 

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That doesn't sound like a good breeder.

That being said, lots of breeders ARE hypocrites, especially the ones who 'only breed to better the breed' but won't sell you a dog because they are not breeding a lot, then complain about people not going to 'reputable' breeders. Don't even get me started, man. I'm on my fourth dog and neither of them has ever been from a 'reputable' breeder because they can't even answer their emails. I was looking for a purebred pup for my last two, contacted ALL the 'reputable' breeders within a 10 hour drive from me, ended up with a rescue mutt and a 'backyard breeder that does health testing' pup instead. Still frustrated about it. My next one might be another rescue because I just can't imagine trying to find a breeder yet again (the funny thing is that I did sent a couple emails for a pup in the next 2-3 years and didn't hear back either...).
 

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In my search for a pup (border collie, German shepherd, Corgi) I found there were four types of breeders:

1) The "reputable" breeder who does all the parent testing, charges really BIG bucks, sells only to people who will and/or have experience with showing and/or sporting competitions. In the border collie community, show dog breeders are the bane of existence for sport breeders.

2) The "reputable" breeder who says they do all the parent testing, charges big bucks, will sell to most people, has so-so (not good) Internet reviews that often include puppy health issues.

3) The backyard breeder who keeps the bitch locked in the yard well away from the house. Treats the dog and pups like livestock, not pets. Does no testing, doesn't care who they sell to, has discounted prices. Has no rules as long as there is money involved.

4) The backyard breeder who has one or two litters a year, does no testing, does not screen buyers, has discounted prices but are active in raising the pups in their home, they require visitors to remove shoes before entering house and require visitors to wash hands before handling puppies.

Breeders in the #1 group politely ignored my applications.
I did not apply to Breeder #2 group.
I gagged at the thought of buying from Breeder #3 group.
Finally found a breeder #4 type and jumped at the chance.

All this was after my initial search for a very young puppy at shelters and so-called "rescue" organizations. Oh my. Don't even get me started on the rescue groups in my area that seem to be in the business for profit rather than for the animals.
 

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Geez I can see why there is such a high demand for backyard breeders! Maybe it is different here, but I've never had experiences like that with reputable breeders (thank goodness). It is funny, if the breeders only want people with show/sport/competition experience, how on Earth is someone supposed to get a dog for the first time? You have to get one at some point in order to gain any real experience... And where do they expect people to go who just want the dog for companionship/fun and are not interested in doing anything competitive? Right, they will go to a backyard breeder. Especially if the shelters are anything like the ones we have, absolutely loaded with Pit Bulls which is a breed that does not fit the typical household.
 

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Yes, rescue can be just as frustrating. 'adopt don't shop' maybe but the local shelter only has pits as well, and when I applied to rescues for 3 puppies 2 years ago I only heard back about one (and yes, the process is a bit insane). That one worked out, but she turned out to have severe anxiety issues. I still love her, but she's pretty much the opposite of what I was looking for, I wanted a walking partner and can't take her anywhere. So really, if you're worried about health or temperament issues, you're still better off getting a pup from a hobby breeder that spends time with the puppies, even if they just don't show or work in sports, which apparently puts them in the 'backyard breeder' category even if they do health testing. It's the harsh reality that a lot of 'breed snobs' refuse to acknowledge, unfortunately (but yes, don't get me started about puppy mills).

OP, I know that you're dead set on a rare breed though, so I wish you luck.
 

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I have no idea what breed you are looking at. I am involved in German Shepherds (working lines) and I only deal with reputable breeders. Color is immaterial to me.. a good dog is what is most important and you can tell "only so much" at 8 weeks old. YES the dogs are expensive but even when all the stars align, not every dog is a great working dog and there are usually pet dogs in every litter. These dogs ARE expensive. No two ways around it. They are expensive because proving the parents both physical tests and trialing is very expensive. A dog that passes at National Level in IGP (used to be Schutzhund/IPO) has cost it's handler about $50,000 over a number of years to get there with a Breed Survey. Stud fees are not cheap and titling the bitch and breed surveying her is not cheap either. Right now there are a lot of well bred working line GSD puppies available.

What breed are you searching for? What price range are you planning on?
 

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OP, I admire your tenacity when it comes to sticking to your ethics under adverse circumstances.

I went looking for this:

4) The backyard breeder who has one or two litters a year, does no testing, does not screen buyers, has discounted prices but are active in raising the pups in their home, they require visitors to remove shoes before entering house and require visitors to wash hands before handling puppies.
and was pretty sure I had found it, based on childhood experience and research. I have a verbal promise to return the dog rather than have my pastor try to find a home for her if I get hit by a truck or something.

Unfortunately, she doesn't look like what she was supposed to be and she does look a lot like my friend's DNA tested dog, who is very much loved but was a scam: friend drove hundreds of miles to the big city to pick up the dog after being waitlisted, paid thousands of dollars for what was supposed to be a Papillon, racked up way more vet bills than Laurel has, etc.

Rescue from a shelter isn't an option, but if it were, I'd be dealing with the exact same puppy mill breeding stock, the exact same vet bills, and the financial hit of the exact same "rehoming fee". I'm just glad I've got the dog. I wanted a puppy that had been raised by a family and handled regularly.

Perhaps Laurel was. Perhaps she was gently bottlefed or fostered by somebody's pet after a well-intentioned rescue from a dog auction that was the best she ever had to hope for; I'm just upset that I was not given adequate care instructions for such a fragile being and that both the dog and I were treated as if we didn't matter.

The sick joke is that both Laurel and I are worth more than money. We're still here. The silver lining to all these clouds is that this post from this poster is still here too:

I have no idea what breed you are looking at. I am involved in German Shepherds (working lines) and I only deal with reputable breeders. Color is immaterial to me.. a good dog is what is most important and you can tell "only so much" at 8 weeks old. YES the dogs are expensive but even when all the stars align, not every dog is a great working dog and there are usually pet dogs in every litter. These dogs ARE expensive. No two ways around it. They are expensive because proving the parents both physical tests and trialing is very expensive. A dog that passes at National Level in IGP (used to be Schutzhund/IPO) has cost it's handler about $50,000 over a number of years to get there with a Breed Survey. Stud fees are not cheap and titling the bitch and breed surveying her is not cheap either. Right now there are a lot of well bred working line GSD puppies available.

What breed are you searching for? What price range are you planning on?
and IMNSHO, that is worth much more than money too.

Good luck and if a GSD is doable for your circumstances, my family had one when I was a preschooler so I can vouch for them as a breed that is definitely worth all the work, expense, and other opportunity costs involved.

I didn't go for my first choice of breed (APBT) but I did ultimately wind up with a different kind of terrier who is also no bourgeoisie, has her own unique history and personality, but has many of the same qualities I love about pitties.

I don't know you, I just know human nature. If I am way off about a GSD, I don't mind making a fool of myself to get the point across that community is more valuable than cash.
 

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Well apparently my second comment didn't post or got deleted.

The breeder had right to disclose her intentions at the beginning, so that I could decide if i wanted to waste my time waiting or not. If she had no intentions of giving me first pick, then why say so and let me wait all that time believing it. I wholeheartedly disagree that reputable breeders should sell on the basis of color to pet homes. It’s the easiest way to mismatch a dog and end up with it back in your hands. Again, if they choose to give local people the first pick, them tell people from far away that if they can’t come to visit, this is what will happen.
I never said that colour was the best way to match puppies to pet homes, but it is absolutely a consideration in a conformation dog, and unless you specifically asked, or know all of the other buyers, how do you know what they are looking for? And to be honest, references from a vet are decent, but for references to have an impact it's best if they come from someone the breeder already knows and respects.

I never said that you wouldn't take good care of a dog. But it is very possible that even after the waitlist was created, that even better homes than you approached the breeder, or were recommended to them through their network. If other people on the list are involved in sports or other significant activities like therapy work, why wouldn't a breeder pick them over you? The more titles their puppies get, the better their breeding program looks; dogs who are bred can get special recognition based on how many titles their offspring achieve.

Getting a puppy, especially a rare breed puppy, is like a job interview. Sometimes you don't get the job, even if you're qualified because sometimes there are other candidates who are even more qualified than you are. And just like an employer has no responsibility to give you a job just because you got an interview, a breeder doesn't owe you a puppy just because you made it onto their waitlist.

In my search for a pup (border collie, German shepherd, Corgi) I found there were four types of breeders:
4) The backyard breeder who has one or two litters a year, does no testing, does not screen buyers, has discounted prices but are active in raising the pups in their home, they require visitors to remove shoes before entering house and require visitors to wash hands before handling puppies.
My puppy also came from a breeder who falls, more or less, into this category, although she also has some characteristics of the #1 category (her foundation stock and any new, unrelated dogs are health tested; she will take back any of her dogs for any reason throughout their life; sells almost exclusively to people who play, if not compete, in various sports).

Maybe it's how I go about it, or because I'm interested in less popular breeds where performance homes are the exception rather than the rule, but I haven't had the experience of reputable breeders not responding to my queries. I also usually contact breeders several years before I'm actually interested in a puppy, and with the view that I'm more interested in getting to know their dogs and learning more about the breed and their breeding program than ending up with a puppy. One of my criteria for a breeder is that it has to be someone with whom I could build a relationship with, especially if they are local, so I won't buy from someone who I do not get along with.
 

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If you're still holding out for a Lagotto, much of your problem is simple supply and demand. Your breeders aren't catering to you because they don't have to make that extra effort and commitment. They can have terrible customer service and still sell every pup at a premium. Compare this to a more common breed where even if it's a wonderful breeder producing wonderful dogs, there are a dozen other people in the region doing pretty much the same thing.
 

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what about a simular breed like an otter dog or the Portuguese Water Dog. for the look and a different type of coat but think the personality is cool is a Biard..
 

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This probably won't be of much consolation. But I can tell you that things DO happen for the best. Hang in there, with the right attitude and something even better will turn out to be true. But, there are also two sides to every perspective.

(The first of two) Many years ago, wanted a particular color puppy, almost impossible to find in the west. Researched. Connected with a “reputable” breeder in the midwest. Never talked to her, but we exchanged by US mail (before internet/email). She showed me pictures of my puppy a few times as he was growing. Sent me a little bit about personality. A little bit about the bitch. At 9 wks. she was ready to ship him to me. But I said no, I’d go and pick him up, because I didn’t want him to be alone. This meant taking a turn-around red-eye flight to the midwest. The breeder herself did not meet me at airport, but puppy was in a crate, ready for pickup. Brought him home. And realized it wasn’t going to be a good match. We were very sad, incredibly sad. But the breeder and I agreed it was okay to return him (I paid for a vet exam so he could fly, and for the shipping) but she’d refund my purchase. That decision rested heavy on my heart for a long, long time! It turned out to be at least 2 more years before another opportunity from an entirely (and unexpected) situation occurred. Years later when I met a dog of her breeding in my own area, the color was right, but the personality and temperament was totally disappointing! I asked other people who knew of this breeder, if the dog was typical or the exception. And they said it was typical. We eventually found a puppy, different color (unexpectedly, unplanned) but having the kind of personality that another breeder knew would be perfect for me. That puppy turned out to be my “heart” dog. He had issues, yet being re-homed with me, was meant to be, or he might not have had a wonderful life!

I’m not the only one to have experienced this “truth” knowing many people who go by the golden rule “that whatever happened, it was for the best.”

(The second of two) Knowing breeders (personally) as I do, there are two kinds (excluding backyard breeders). Being a “reputable” breeder is a formality, which you would expect of any person with whom you’re doing business. That’s just the default expectation. Those breeders utilize agreements, contracts, guarantees, compliances, yada, yada. They’re selling puppies for a purpose. Sometimes for agility, or for show, or sporting traits … whatever. They’re not dishonest, but they are self-interested and control the arrangement. Because they go to all that work, and great expense. I had a friend once, who visited their breeder, picked out a specific puppy, played with it, took pictures, and when my friend went to pick it up, it was switched out in the end. But know, that puppy turned out to be her absolute and forever “heart” dog, she could never, ever have imagined being without! What did the breeder know that we didn’t, except is was about my friends' quirky and adventurous personalities! My breeder friend knew (from interacting with the public and from the afternoon of personal conversation) that they needed the kind of puppy (personality) to match!

In addition to being “reputable” .... a wise and caring breeder knows how to make the best matches for a lot of reasons (not just based on color or markings). And they do so for both their puppy and the buyer's best interests, because they love their dogs (and the litters they produce). As you said, it’s possible the people who came in person (supposedly looking for a color) got priority, because they were people the breeder felt their puppy had the best chance with, who wouldn’t be returned. It’s kind of like meeting your own spouse in person, rather than trusting a mail-order match-up, right. Breeders want that chemistry to be right. And watching the joyful interaction between a family and their first puppy, or the kid's excitement, is a valuable tool for the breeder. Because if they stay in touch with their buyers, and understand how the puppy is living well, then they gather important information about the personality of particular lines that they are producing.

It is hard for a breeder to promise a puppy to a buyer sight unseen, but I definitely know some who will honor a color and a sex. But personality is so subjective! Wise and caring breeders (being thoughtful of their buyers) will reassure them that waiting will be more than worth their while. I have seen that decision work for very well for both parties! But breeders also know, that some buyers won’t wait. And will move on to make a quick decision. No one has to say, that a puppy is a lifetime (14–16 yr.) commitment. And it’s gotta be a forever kind of a connection, making the wait well worth it!

If I couldn’t have traveled to the breeder for a visit, then I would have, or would next time, ask for the picture of the puppy intended for my purchase! And then make a “connection” with that breeder by phone actually, asking how the pup was doing, what was the personality was like, how I could be getting ready for the pup. What to feed, kind of toy preferences. Just to show the breeder how I was already engaged with the purchase! That way, you’re competing with all the people coming on site. I do know a few breeders who will be discouraged by too intense of a buyer … because they know (from years of experience) it could turn out to be a difficult transaction down the road.

Breeders who are more than “just” reputable, are crazy in love with their dog families!! In a way, some buyers are need to “audition” for the privilege of their puppies. Weird, but true. Human nature always is.

Even if you're not physically close to a breeder's site, still get those recommendations from BOTH the breeder's references ... but also from the competition too. The folks who walked away. And why they did!
 

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Just a tip: one thing (not for profit) breeders will avoid like the plague is "attitude." Comes from decades of dealing with the public.

I doubt that the reply I first offered .... will be read in the spirit intended. Oh well ...
 

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Just a tip: one thing (not for profit) breeders will avoid like the plague is "attitude." Comes from decades of dealing with the public. I doubt that the reply I first offered .... will be read in the true spirit that it was intended. Oh well ...
 
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