Even though I know you have found us through the internet, the internet is not the best place to search for your new puppy. There are many other options available to you. Go to dog shows and meet breeders of the breed that you have researched and made the decision that this type of dog is that you are looking for. Perhaps you grew up with this breed, and you know that it is what you want; that works also. You need to know what the positive and negative characteristics are about the breed. Basically you need someone (a person) with whom to discuss your decision. This person needs to be someone who is interested in your getting the right dog and the dog’s getting the right home.
All this being said, the internet can be a good tool to find a breeder. You should definitely start in your local area. You should be able to meet the puppies you are selecting from. All puppies from a litter have their own personalities, and that fact should come into play in your decision.
As you look at web sites, look for certain things. Is this site set up to highlight the dogs and their accomplishments, the kennel, the people? It is not a great sign if the entire focus of the site is selling puppies. A list of all mothers and fathers and past and future litters does raise a red flag to me. You should look for breed related clubs to which these people belong. The parent club of each particular breed and any local clubs will all have ethical standards that they expect their members to uphold. If the breeders are affiliated with such clubs, that is a great sign. The dogs, in my opinion, should be only AKC puppies. CKC or any of the other registries are far inferior and the fact that you are actually getting the breed you are trying to get is questionable. Accurate record keeping and inspections and DNA confirmation of dogs and their parentage is all a regular part of being involved with breeding AKC dogs. This includes people who say that the puppies are from champion bloodlines. You still need to know what organization deemed this dog a champion, and then, is this one champion in the fifth generation that this breeder is telling you about, or is this puppy out of AKC champion parents or sired by an AKC champion? The latter probably means the lines have been screened for health problems, and the conformation of these puppies should be in line with what the standard for this breed requires.
Another big red flag comes when the color of the dogs dictates the price. A dog does not walk on its color. Color should affect the way a dog is judged in the show ring, only as stated in the breed standard, and not the way a puppy is priced. Most declarations of rare colors are simply untrue. With the correct understanding of genetics most colors can be achieved with little problem. You should be able to meet the parents if they are on the premises and the people involved in the process of raising your puppy. You should be able to see your dog being raised in an active environment; the puppies should not be afraid of people but rather curious about you. A little reservation may just mean that the puppy is smart, but out-and-out fear of people probably means the puppy has not been well socialized with people. Another thing you should be cautious of is a breeder who is too eager to place young puppies. Certainly as puppies grow up they become more work for the breeder and less work for the mother of the litter. It is very important for the proper growth and mind-set of your new puppy that it stay in the home environment for a good while in order to learn how to be a dog and not a person. There are things they learn in this critical period of time that will make them better pets as they grow up with you.
Most importantly, you should have a sense of who the breeders are and what their intentions and goals are in raising dogs. Are they doing this to make a living, supplement their income? Or are they interested in improving the breed? Do they truly love placing dogs in homes where they will be part of the family and improve that family’s quality of life? You want to be assured that the breeder will be there to help you through issues that will come up with your puppy. Basically you want a sense of ease with this person. You want to know that both of you are in this for compatible reasons.
I know I have not covered everything in selecting a breeder, but I hope this helps you in your search for a new family member.