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I've never deliberately gone out and gotten a 'responsibly bred' pup in my life, and have no experience in this, but someday I would like to. I have a rough time line for this someday. How far in advance should I start searching? And at what point do I start asking to be put on a waiting list?

I don't want to bug someone too far in advance, but nor do I want to wait too long.
 

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I would find the breeder you want to go with and ask them what the usual wait time is. I know when my mom got her bichon, she didn't get the litter that was whelped 6 months after she was put on the list, she was then at the top of the list and then 8 months after that when it became apparent the show prospect for that litter was too big, she was asked if she wanted him or wanted to wait until the next litter in 8-10 months. She took the former show prospect.
 

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I've just started this process myself. I contacted every TT breeder on the Canadian website last year and about 4 out of 10 responded. My current TT is 8 and our youngest dogs are 5. We have a breeder now picked out and she won't be doing a breeding for at least 1.5 years. We will probably go on her waiting list for the second breeding. This is my first time doing this as well. The breeder does all the testing and does conformation and titles her dogs. The mother of our future puppy is showing in the States right now and doing well at only 8 months of age. I am fortunate that she is excited about us having one of her dogs as she doesn't have any of her pups titled in sporting events and we are also lucky that she lives only 4 hours away so we will be able to visit and maybe help with the selection process.
 

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It doesn't hurt to join some clubs and online groups and be a 'fly on the wall' so to speak, and learn who you like as a person and who you would rather not associate with or support. You can learn a lot going to shows and sitting outside the ring too (one breeder here who is not a nice person at all has been known to throw fits outside the ring and protest if her dogs don't win, or badmouth everyone, more or less a bully... same goes with facebook and the like, many breeders have facebook to keep in touch and you can learn a lot that way too.

I would say a year or so before you're ready, start really looking, but it doesn't hurt to say 'just thinking down the road, maybe in three years, I'd like a pup' and leave it at that. Some breeders will not respond unless they have a pregnant dog, while others have information ready to go and don't mind at all if you contact them whenever and get on their mailing list. Some put it on their website and it's up to you to send in your information when there is a litter you're interested in.

Also depends on if you want to show, compete or just have a housepet.
 
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