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Though it will be some time until I get another dog, I really want to know if visiting breeders now can help me decide on which breed will best suit me. With our previous dogs, we've visited breeders only concerning a particular breed we knew we were set on getting. I really like how some breeds look/sound on paper, but I think meeting some real specimens of the breeds will help me make a decision. Any thoughts? Is it too early to be doing this?
 

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Wouldn't going to dog shows help more? You'd meet well bred dogs and lots of breeds at the same time. If any of the breeds under consideration participate in dog sports then attending an event would let you see how they behave in action.
 

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You may end up getting a cool response from some breeders if they know you're just window shopping for breeds. "Meeting" their dogs will probably take a LOT of time out of a busy day, and I don't think many will be prepared to do this for strangers who really aren't even set on which breed they'd like to acquire perhaps years down the road.

Meeting specimens is a great idea, generally, although I'd suggest going to dog shows, organized dog events, or the dog park to do this, or other places where dogs and people congregate. Owners, as opposed to breeders, are more likely to 1) spend some time with you at this preliminary stage, and 2) give you a more objective opinion of the day-to-day-living characteristics of their dogs. You'll be able to meet the dogs as well. Narrow your selection down that way, then contact breeders once you become firmer on a particular breed of choice.
 

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You may end up getting a cool response from some breeders if they know you're just window shopping for breeds. "Meeting" their dogs will probably take a LOT of time out of a busy day, and I don't think many will be prepared to do this for strangers who really aren't even set on which breed they'd like to acquire perhaps years down the road.
I really think it depends on the breeder. I emailed a breeder last week in my area who just got back from Crufts (which I did not know at the time I sent the e-mail) and she not only responded within a few hours, she also invited me out to her farm to meet her dogs (Even though I stated that I wasn't looking for a dog for several years, had no experience with her breed, and was not decided on a breed yet).

I have had similarly friendly and quick, friendly replies from a handful of other breeders in other breeds as well. I usually send short e-mails - 5-6 sentences, how I heard about them, about why I'm contacting them (i.e., something I like about their dogs) and a brief timeline (like, a few words - "in a few years" or "sometime next fall"). I think strangers are more likely to respond to short, to the point e-mails than they are to read your whole life story.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I haven't ruled out going to dog shows, it's just unfortunate all the breeds I'm interested in had specialty shows either out of province, or shows were cancelled. There are some smaller general dog shows near where I live, so maybe I'll get to meet some breeds there. I've narrowed my breed selection down to labs, chesapeake bay retrievers, nova scotia duck tolling retrievers, and flat coated retrievers, so it's all just a matter of seeing how they compare to each other and which one would be a best fit. I think there's a field trial being held nearby sometime later in the year, so I'm also hoping to try and make it to that.

I didn't really consider breeders being cold towards me being indecisive of a particular breed at the moment. Wouldn't a good breeder be supportive of a potential new dog owner gaining insight into the breed before they jumped in head first?
 

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A word of caution on the Chesapeake bay retreivers.....make sure youre seeing a well bred dog to get a good sense of them. An awful lot of them with poor breeding look great, but are overly intense and have some aggression issues that shouldnt be there. Alot of people in my area own them. A well bred one is a good dog but still a bit of a handful. Still good dogs though. Alot of the poorly bred dogs are not the outgoing friendly dogs they are supposed to be. One of my buddies has one that can find a quarter thrown into tall grass, but the dog is aggressive as all get out. Just dont let a poorly bred dog scare you away from the breed due to those issues. Its a problem with black labs too.
 

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For good breeders, this usually is a hobby and passion, and they often have a lot going on in their life (work, family, etc) outside the dogs. I don't think most would be actively mean to someone at your stage of looking, but they may also not have the time or mental/physical energy to help every "window shopper" who contacts them.

I did talk to a breeder a few years back by phone who knew I wasn't in a position to get a dog for a while, but was delighted to talk to me about the breed. So a phone call may be an option to learn more about the breeders' takes on specific breeds - of course you won't be able to meet the dogs, but more breeders may be willing to make time for a phonecall than a visit. Also, you could chat with breeders from farther away. You'd still need to meet dogs in person elsewhere, but you'd have more information to work with.
 

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Ahh alright. So it should be ok for me to contact breeders to gain more information about the breeds, while also meeting dogs at shows and elsewhere, and when I have a better understanding of the breeds and what I'm looking for then consider meeting potential breeders? Thanks for the help everyone.

[email protected], I see where you're coming from regarding chessies. Not many people know about them from where I'm from, but the few that do say the dogs they knew were aggressive. From my understanding, they're supposed to be more reserved and standoffish than the other retriever breeds, but not aggressive. I'll definitely be looking out for some well bred and raised dogs to look at. What attracted them to me is their potential reserved nature towards strangers (being a single female and all), and also the traits they share with the other retriever breeds.
 
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