Join Date: Jun 2009
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From what I saw when I was looking for our puppy last spring, the price range hasn't changed much. $600 might seem like a large difference between prices, but if you amortize it over the potential lifetime of the puppy, it's not very much at all. We took price out of the equation when choosing which breeder to go with. (and as it happened, the breeder we chose was toward the lower end, not the higher end)
When choosing a breeder among GOOD breeders, I think there are a few questions you want to ask yourself:
1. Do I feel like I have a good rapport with the breeder? Some breeders that I talked to, that do all the right testing, and seem to run quality operations, were a little cold and off-putting. I wanted a breeder I felt I could turn to with questions when I needed to. Relationship was very important to me.
2. Will the breeder have pups available when you want to bring yours home? I did not feel ready to commit a deposit to someone who had a long waiting list for puppies that"might" be born sometime in the distant future. There are websites that make it seem that that's the only way to get a quality puppy... I guarantee you, not all breeders work that way. That's not to say that you can expect to bring a puppy home next week. (though sometimes, even that can happen) But I found several breeders who had a litter on the ground and another on the way within the time-frame I was hoping to bring a pup home.
3. Do you have a strong preference in terms of sex and/or color? (I didn't) If so, how likely is it that you'll get the combo you want in the up-coming litter? Because I didn't care whether I got a male or female, I had a pretty good choice of puppies... the Kings had a waiting list for girls, and got a litter of 5 boys!<g>
4. Does the breeder insist on picking the puppy "for you", or will you have some choice? While I was very willing to accept guidance from our breeder in terms of her knowledge of the pups' personalities, I was also bringing a trainer with me to do temperament testing. We ended up leaving with a different pup than we had thought before we arrived. Both pups were beautiful (in fact, looks-wise, they were nearly identical) I had told the breeder that I wanted a puppy not only as a pet, but also to do obedience and agility work with. The pup she had picked for me was fearless and adventuresome, good things for and agility dog. But Kodi, though not quite as bold as the other pup, was certainly not timid, and was extremely people-oriented with fabulous eye contact. In the end, we all agreed that Kodi was the better fit for my personality/training style. I liked that our breeder was willing to work with me, rather than just say, "this is the best puppy for you". The breeders have a LOT of experience, but ultimately, it is the buyer who has to live and work with the pup.
All the puppies in Kodi's litter were wonderful pups, but, for instance, I would NOT have finalized the purchase on a timid or clingy pup, even if that were the only pup available to me at that time. Other people on this forum say that they LOVE their "velcro pups", so for them, a pup with that personality might be a fine choice.
5. How far away are they, and what will it cost to drive or fly to pick up my puppy?
Karen, Kodi, Pixel and Panda
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