Join Date: May 2008
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I luckily found this forum early in my search, so I knew what questions to ask. I did A LOT of googling, didn't actually contact any associations, but found a few breeders on my own who I felt comfortable with that weren't too far away. I immediately ruled out anyone who didn't do health testing because they "knew their lines," seemed to have too many dogs, or who I didn't get a good gut feeling about. I could have bought from any one of about 4 or 5 good breeders within reasonable driving distance to my home, but I settled on ours partly because the timing was good with a litter she had, and she had extensive knowledge about the breed and paid a lot of attention to detail in terms of their health and socialization. The links to the results of the parents' health testing was also right on the website, and she's always willing to spend lots of time loading me up on useful information. I got very good descriptions of the parents' particular temperaments, structure, coat texture, etc. before we committed to our puppy shortly after she was born, and there was some wiggle room in the contract to change our choice if when we met her at 6 weeks we didn't feel she was a good match. We loved her to bits, of course. The other important thing to me was that she works short part time hours and has really dedicated most of her free time to the dogs, giving the puppies lots of individual attention.
All in all, from the time I started looking until I felt ready, it took about a year. Good luck in your search!