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Hi friends, I am looking for a reputable miniature poodle breeder. I'm located just shy of Sacramento, but would not mind driving to San Francisco, or San Jose. I have emailed a couple of breeders (Rankin, BarKing, Clarion, and a few others in my area) the last 12 days, but have not heard any news from either of them. I would really like to get a miniature poodle by the end of this year or sooner.
I would really appreciate any recommendations on reputable breeders in this area. I would prefer black or blue; health and temperament are my top priorities.

Thank you
 

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Hi and Welcome!

Geographically, you've got a few good choices, some you've already contacted. Quality breeders are still dealing with full waitlists, which are normal at anytime, but are stretched even further this last year, so responses can take a very long time.

Unfortunately, this also makes your timeline an unlikely reach. Your chances go up if you expand your search parameters to other regions.

Not knowing your general dog experience, or poodle specific experience, or your experience selecting a breeder I'll add some tips, some things to consider and some things to avoid when selecting a quality breeder.

We often hear from folks that they just want a pet. What doesn't seem to be common knowledge is that the kind of quality, conscientious breeders many of us prefer to support are always breeding for the very best poodles they can. It isn't pet puppy vs show puppy, it's lucky us, the ones wanting a pet who get the pups that have some small "fault" that might reduce their chances of winning competitions, but are flawless to us :).

It's not unusual to think that there are possibly thousands of breeders to choose from. For quality, conscientious breeders, that number is more likely only in the hundreds in the US or Canada. A bottom line difference is between those who're breeding primarily for profit and those who're breeding because they feel not only love for poodles but an obligation to the entire breed.

About reviews, a happy owner doesn't necessarily mean an informed owner. It's as likely they've just been lucky, so far. Review any negative comments carefully, if they're allowed to appear.

Getting a puppy from a quality, conscientious breeder is something like insurance. Their investment in the health, welfare, and soundness of all the dogs in their care including the puppies they offer to new homes is part of the reason you're not likely to find a less than $2000 USD puppy from them.

The saying is "pay the breeder or pay the vet". Price alone isn't the only thing to separate quality breeders from those less than. We've seen members quote as high, and even much higher pricing for pups from parents not health tested, not proven to meet breed standards, sold as purebred when only a DNA test could determine that since they may be sold without registration papers.

If I knew the risks and have dedicated poodle health savings of several thousand dollars or pet insurance, knew that basically that the breeder and I would part ways as soon as the pup was in my hands because they're very unlikely to stand behind their pup and me thru the pups life, I might proceed with a breeder that doesn't meet my criteria.

But

I also wouldn't pay quality breeder prices, and over, unless I'm getting all the quality breeder perks.


Health testing of the breeding parents is a good indicator of a quality, conscientious breeder. The Breeder List has info on what to look for in the testing for each variety. Mentioning health testing on a site is nice but isn't proof. For proof, look for health testing results spelled out on the breeder's site, then verify for yourself by going to the site the results are published on. If you don't find any evidence of testing or can't find the info but the breeder appeals to you, contact them and ask where you might see the testing they do. Reputable breeders put in a lot of effort to make sure they're breeding the healthiest poodles and will be happy to talk about it and provide the info.

Look for and verify OFA/CHIC level testing at a minimum. There are also poodle specific DNA panels for those testable conditions. Those are companion testing with the OFA/CHIC testing.
Look Up A Dog | Orthopedic Foundation for Animals | Columbia, MO (ofa.org)


A caution that a health "guarantee" on a puppy doesn't have much to back it if the sire and dam were not given the testing for breed and variety. "Guarantees" without the testing often favor the breeder, more than the buyer.

Read thru any contracts that may be listed. If they rule out coverage for conditions that the breeding pair should or could have been tested for, consider that a caution flag. Otherwise, are the terms clear to you and can you live with them?

Conscientious breeders have a waitlist at the best of times and with pandemic puppy seekers, that wait is stretched well into 2021-2022. There have been more than a few serendipitous contacts between seeker and breeder, so don't be put off by the thought of a waitlist. Also, don't be put off if online sites aren't particularly updated. As often as not, breeders may prefer communicating by phone as well as email or text, and are busy with their dogs rather than keep a website updated.

When you start making contacts, let them know if you're open to an older pup or young adult.

Color preferences are understandable but keep in mind that you're limiting your options even further in a very limited supply of puppies. That beautiful color you fell for may not look the same in a few weeks, or months, or years.

Temperament and personality are lifelong traits.

Be prepared to spend in the range of $2000 to $3500 USD. Conscientious breeders are not padding pricing due to Covid.

Be prepared to travel outside your preferred area.

As a very general rule, websites to be leery of are those that feature cutesy puppies with bows and such, little or no useful info on sires or dams, the word "Order" or "Ordering" (these are living beings, not appliances) and a PayPal or "pay here" button prominently featured "for your convenience".


An excellent source for breeder referrals is your local or the regional or national Poodle Club. An online search for "Poodle Club of ___ (your city or state)" will find them. You can also go directly to the national club site.

Some Poodle Club links are in the Breeder List.


As a sort of checklist of things to look for or ask, this is my personal criteria (I have another more detailed but just this for now):

My criteria need not be yours but I think it's important for a potential poodle owner to understand why these things matter in finding a conscientious breeder and to get a well bred puppy to share life with for many years to come.
Simply being advertised as "registered" or even "purebred" doesn't mean that a puppy is well bred.


Every one of these is a talking point a conscientious breeder will welcome, just not all at the same time :)

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 and do the health testing of their breeding dogs.
They prove their dogs meet breed standards and are physically capable by breeding from sires and dams proven in competition or participating in other activities.
They do not cross breed.
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.


Definitely contact the Poodle Club of your area and don't pass by the multi-listings. Some will be duplicated individually in the state listing, but not all are.
 

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Killa and Tekno
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For Clarion, you鈥檙e going to need to call-email isn鈥檛 going to work and your timeline is a bit short. Probably more realistically will be a year if you鈥檙e approved.
 

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Get in touch with the two Northern California clubs, Poodle Club of Central California, and Mission Trail Poodle Club. They both have referral services. My breeder retired a year or so ago, so I am now going to have to start the process all over again.
 
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