Many breeders ask for a non-refundable deposit to be put on a waiting list. They say it shows that you are serious about a puppy. What happens if there aren't enough puppies. You are out that money. Is this a usual practice? Some of the breeders seemed very good, but I'm not sure about this. Renaissance Havanese also seemed to have many requirements. You can't pick out the puppy, color, size. They pick it out for you to meet your personality. A bit excessive. Not sure what is reasonable
Not all good breeders take ANY deposit, let alone a non-refundable one. Most good breeders have more people looking for puppies than they have puppies available. If you don't end up taking the puppy,someone else is waiting!!!
I agree completely that the breeder should be a BIG part of choosing which puppy goes to which family. Color really doesn't matter, and the breeder, if they're a good one, know much more about the puppies' temperaments than anyone else. HOWEVER, it seems to me to be remarkably unfair to say that you BOTH have to give a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit AND have no say in terms of which puppy you get.
My breeder makes the decisions on which puppy should go to which family (based on a LOT of input from the buyer) BUT you also have total right to decided that there isn't a puppy in a particular litter that is the right one for you. Between when I told my breeder that I was ready for a second puppy, and when I actually got Pixel, my breeder had 3 litters, and the "right for me" puppy wasn't in any of those 3 litters. If she and I hadn't agreed that Pixel was the puppy for me, I would have waited for another litter. Now, I had much more specific criteria in a puppy than the average pet person, but the idea is the same. (And, BTW, I did NOT really want a mostly black puppy. But Pixel fit all my OTHER criteria very well, so I compromised on that one!)