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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am new to the forum and am hoping to add a mini poodle to our family in 2021. 🤞 As I have been doing research and generally educating myself about the breed and the reputable breeders, I have been rather astonished by the online buying process. I had a conversation with a breeder who ”vetted” me in 5 minutes on the phone and was ready to take my non-refundable deposit. I really want to meet the breeder of my dog, meet the sire and dam, and see where they live. Is this just outdated thinking on my part? Are breeders willing to meet during the pandemic (with safety protocols in place)? I know that mpoos are in shorter supply but I am wondering if this kind of online buying and selling predated the pandemic—I know lots of people are seeking comfort from a new pet right now. This forum has already been so helpful—thank you all! And if you can steer me to any mini breeders In lower NE, Mid Atlantic, or NC area, I welcome your recommendations!
 

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I think now is a time to be extra careful before making a deposit. There are a lot of scammers and disreputable breeders trying to profit off of the increased demand. If a breeder is highly recommended by senior members of the forum or by PCA, then I would be willing to forego the usual visit if they felt it was unsafe. But these breeders I would also expect to spend more than 5 minutes vetting you. Usually you fill out a puppy application, then they review it and have a more in depth conversation about whether their dogs are a good fit. On the forum we've been researching a lot of breeders for people lately and some have clearly been straight up scams. Just be careful. For a well bred mini it might be a bit of a wait.
 

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It is a crazy time to buy a dog. I think many do not want to meet in person right now...
Thanks for weighing in, Margo. In “normal” times, are breeders willing to meet or would they just regard me as a nuisance? I am very relationship-oriented and want a breeder I can trust.
 

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I think now is a time to be extra careful before making a deposit. There are a lot of scammers and disreputable breeders trying to profit off of the increased demand. If a breeder is highly recommended by senior members of the forum or by PCA, then I would be willing to forego the usual visit if they felt it was unsafe. But these breeders I would also expect to spend more than 5 minutes vetting you. Usually you fill out a puppy application, then they review it and have a more in depth conversation about whether their dogs are a good fit. On the forum we've been researching a lot of breeders for people lately and some have clearly been straight up scams. Just be careful. For a well bred mini it might be a bit of a wait.
I am definitely willing to go slow to find the right dog and fully Intend to use this expertise here and in other forums to be sure I do not get scammed.
 

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Thanks for weighing in, Margo. In “normal” times, are breeders willing to meet or would they just regard me as a nuisance? I am very relationship-oriented and want a breeder I can trust.
In normal times they should all be willing to let you visit. During the pandemic if they are worried about safety they can send videos of their dogs and where the pups are raised. They can have a video call with you. These should definitely be possible.
 

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I think now is a time to be extra careful before making a deposit. There are a lot of scammers and disreputable breeders trying to profit off of the increased demand. If a breeder is highly recommended by senior members of the forum or by PCA, then I would be willing to forego the usual visit if they felt it was unsafe. But these breeders I would also expect to spend more than 5 minutes vetting you. Usually you fill out a puppy application, then they review it and have a more in depth conversation about whether their dogs are a good fit. On the forum we've been researching a lot of breeders for people lately and some have clearly been straight up scams. Just be careful. For a well bred mini it might be a bit of a wait.
The pricing also seems very high in some instances. By the way, is the pricing different for show quality versus companion dogs?
 

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Thanks for weighing in, Margo. In “normal” times, are breeders willing to meet or would they just regard me as a nuisance? I am very relationship-oriented and want a breeder I can trust.
It was very important for me to check out where and how my breeder kept her adult dogs, where whelping took place, etc. She didn't think I was a nuisance at all.

If covid had prevented this visit, I would have expected a video tour and ideally an outdoor meeting.
 

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In normal times they should all be willing to let you visit. During the pandemic if they are worried about safety they can send videos of their dogs and where the pups are raised. They can have a video call with you. These should definitely be possible.
Great suggestions—thank you!!
 

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It was very important for me to check out where and how my breeder kept her adult dogs, where whelping took place, etc. She didn't think I was a nuisance at all.

If covid had prevented this visit, I would have expected a video tour and ideally an outdoor meeting.
Thank you, Peggy—I think this is the way I want to proceed too.
 

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The pricing also seems very high in some instances. By the way, is the pricing different for show quality versus companion dogs?
If you're talking about a breeder with a litter and some of the pups are sold as show prospects while others are sold as pets, then no they should be the same price. But breeders generally want their best show prospects to go to homes that will show them, and will often have a special contract for these pups to set certain stipulations before the dog can be bred. Such as the dog being shown to championship, getting performance titles, or completing health testing. Other pups are sold with limited AKC registration which means they are not eligible for breeding. They all cost the same to produce so an ethical preservation breeder does not set a different price.

Pricing expectations for a well bred mini are $2k-3k these days. More than that and I'd get suspicious.
 

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If you're talking about a breeder with a litter and some of the pups are sold as show prospects while others are sold as pets, then no they should be the same price. But breeders generally want their best show prospects to go to homes that will show them, and will often have a special contract for these pups to set certain stipulations before the dog can be bred. Such as the dog being shown to championship, getting performance titles, or completing health testing. Other pups are sold with limited AKC registration which means they are not eligible for breeding. They all cost the same to produce so an ethical preservation breeder does not set a different price.

Pricing expectations for a well bred mini are $2k-3k these days. More than that and I'd get suspicious.
Very helpful—thank you!
 

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Hi and Welcome!

Just reiterating what was said above. In less uncertain times, absolutely, most breeders will want to meet face to face. They should have as many questions for you as you have for them. You are taking one of their babies after all :).

It sounds like your research is paying off and your instincts are good. In case you haven't seen the Breeder List, I'll drop the link here. There's health testing info and links as well as breeder listings. Don't skip the Poodle Clubs (look online for one in your area if not listed) and look thru the Multi State listings to be sure you don't miss a potential.
I'm also going to drop in my personal criteria for selecting a breeder.


My criteria need not be yours but I think it's important for a potential poodle owner to understand why these criteria are important in choosing a conscientious breeder and to get a wellbred puppy to share life with for many years to come.

My ideal breeder is someone who is doing this because they love the breed.
They want to see each new generation born at least as good as the previous, ideally better.
They provide for every dog in their care as if that dog is their own.
They will be there for the new family, and stand behind that pup for it's lifetime, rain or shine, with or without a contract.
They will know the standards and pedigrees of their chosen breed, health and genetic diversity of their lines, and breed to better them.
They will know of the latest studies in health standards for their chosen breed and variety.
They will have as many questions for me as I do for them.
They invest in their dogs. They don't expect the dogs to support them.

Breeding Program
! to maintain, improve, strengthen the breed
by breeding to standard, for health and genetic diversity,
and will prove their dogs meet these standards by showing or competing
or by breeding from titled parents. It's not the title, but what it shows
! focus is on quality, never quantity
! they do not cross breed
! they limit breeding to one to two breeds
! they limit breeding to only a few litters per year *

Breeding Parents
! registry information available
AKC Registry Lookup
! not too old or young for breeding
! not overbred
see Asking questions from a breeder
and Frequency of Breeding a Bitch
! genetic health testing done appropriate to breed and variety
! other health testing by exam such as annual eye, hips, patellas
! results of testing on own website, OFA site or testing lab
see Health Related Publications - Versatility In Poodles, Inc.
and OFA Lookup https://www.ofa.org/look-up-a-dog

Living Conditions
! in home with family
! breeder allows, even encourages home visits

Puppies
! routine and urgent vet care, immunizations, dewormings
! socialization
! first groomings
! registry papers
! they will not require spay/neuter before physical maturity
! health "guarantee" generally favors the breeder, not the buyer.
health guarantee is no replacement for health testing of dam and sire.
beginning housetraining is a bonus
temperament testing is helpful

Advertising
! individual website to detail history of breeder, goals for their program
! information on dams, sires, puppies
! no trend pricing for color, gender or size,
! no marketing gimmick terms like "teacup" "royal"


! Anything not found on a public online site should be provided by breeder before buying.

* Many people prefer small scale breeders because they feel the puppies will have better socialization and it's very unlikely to be a puppy mill-like operation.
This doesn't mean that larger scale breeders can't do things right. The breeder of record may not be hands on with every pup or poodle on the place but they should make sure that all the quality of life and attention are paid to all their dogs.

If a breeder wants me to believe that they believe in their dogs, they won't stop the investment when it comes time to find the new families. If they want to cut costs by using free advertising sites like craigslist or listing on retail marketplaces like puppyspot or puppyfind, or other classified ad sites such as newspapers, I wonder what else they've cut costs on.

Contact a few breeders to introduce yourself. Even if they don't have or don't offer what you're looking for, it can be a close knit community. They may know where to refer you.
 

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I chose Pogo and Snarky's breeder because she was being mentored by another well regarded breeder, and she was one of the few breeders at that time who did not dock. I did not visit the litter, as she was too far away for me to drop in. However, she posted loads of videos online. She, in turn, screened me by phone. She was a horse person herself, so she asked me some questions about horse care. I'm sure I would never have got one of her puppies if I'd answered the horse questions wrong. You can learn a lot about someone through small talk!

Galen's breeder had me fill out an application that included contact information for my vet. Visitors, timed around the vaccination schedules of the litters, were invited prior to covid. That is no longer the case. I picked up Galen from the driveway in a quick hand off; it felt a bit like we were doing some kind of illicit transaction, lol.
 

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Hello a2girl! Good for you planning this all out ahead of time. A good breeder will appreciate you're not acting on impulse. You might ask the breeder if s/he has any clients who would be willing to talk with you? The breeders I know in my area WANT to meet in person if possible. I know some are crazy busy trying to balance poodles, jobs and family life. Sometimes interactions can be a little fragmented. But generally if covid prevents a visit (and I still think you would be able to have a socially distant meet and greet) a phone conversation where they want to get to know you feels important to me. And possibly to call or email with people who have their dogs. All the aforementioned information about questions to ask is excellent. I did a lot of research before I bought my dog. I was a first time dog owner (at age 50 😁) For me it was very interesting who took the time to talk with me vs who didn't respond or just gave me a generic answer.

Ideally the breeder is a person with whom you'll have a life long relationship. A good breeder wants to know how their pups are doing and welcomes pictures and phone calls.

Another random thought: I think groomers are undervalued as resources. If you can find a groomer who sees a lot of poodles in your area. That groomer might have insights into good breeders. Plus, they have their hands on dogs all day long. They know who is breeding for good structure and confirmation.

Hope this helps! Good luck!
 

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Hello a2girl! Good for you planning this all out ahead of time. A good breeder will appreciate you're not acting on impulse. You might ask the breeder if s/he has any clients who would be willing to talk with you? The breeders I know in my area WANT to meet in person if possible. I know some are crazy busy trying to balance poodles, jobs and family life. Sometimes interactions can be a little fragmented. But generally if covid prevents a visit (and I still think you would be able to have a socially distant meet and greet) a phone conversation where they want to get to know you feels important to me. And possibly to call or email with people who have their dogs. All the aforementioned information about questions to ask is excellent. I did a lot of research before I bought my dog. I was a first time dog owner (at age 50 😁) For me it was very interesting who took the time to talk with me vs who didn't respond or just gave me a generic answer.

Ideally the breeder is a person with whom you'll have a life long relationship. A good breeder wants to know how their pups are doing and welcomes pictures and phone calls.

Another random thought: I think groomers are undervalued as resources. If you can find a groomer who sees a lot of poodles in your area. That groomer might have insights into good breeders. Plus, they have their hands on dogs all day long. They know who is breeding for good structure and confirmation.

Hope this helps! Good luck!
The groomer suggestion is a good one.
 

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...And if you can steer me to any mini breeders In lower NE, Mid Atlantic, or NC area, I welcome your recommendations!
Welcome to PF, @a2girl .
Here are some reputable breeders:

Starlit Miniature Poodles, champions, site, FB. Has top poodles.

Songbird Miniature Poodles, has champion agility poodles, site. One of our members Aimiloo has a Songbird minipoo.

Aery Miniature Poodles, champions, owner is an AKC judge, site.
 

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One of my favorite poodle breeders is Gloria at Tintlet. She's in western NC and now breeds minis. Partis and solids. If she doesn't have a litter planned, she'll be able to help you find someone who does. She used to post here and is just an excellent resource and wonderful person.
 
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