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Hi everyone! I’m in sunny central Texas and looking forward to adding the first poodle pup to our family. I have been in contact with and researched a number of breeders and it’s come down to two that are both reputable (both have been mentioned favorably on PoodleForum, though the posts are a few years old). We’re looking for a standard poodle on the small side, Both breeders have litters upcoming - Very exciting!

Both breeders had great genetic testing results available and take breeding seriously. What is surprising to me is that the two seem to have opposite opinions on some key issues, such as whether to breed parti (I don’t have a preference); if males or females are more affectionate; whether to remove dewclaws and dock tails; doing personality testing vs just picking a puppy... I’m confused.

I’m not comfortable listing the breeders by name here, unless that’s required. But maybe some kind soul has advice? I can also share more info via private message/conversation.

Thanks in advance!

—Sunny
 

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I lived in Austin for six years and did my undergrad at UT. Nice area.

People often have polarizing opinions on the things you mentioned.

Parti poodles have always been around, but have been disfavored because much effort was put into breeding solid colors and there's the general viewpoint that breeding partis goes against all of the long time efforts for solids. So they're not recognized by the Poodle Club of America. Being for or against parti poodles doesn't make a breeder good or bad. It just has to do with how they see the future of the breed and what's important in breeding to the standard.

The male/female debate is an old one. I think some people probably just jive more with one sex while other people do better with the other. You'll find very affectionate members of both sexes and aloof members of both as well. If you feel strongly that you want a particular sex, go for it. Otherwise be open to whichever pup is the best match in temperament.

The dewclaw/tail debate is also often polarizing. If you feel strongly about it, go with the breeder that matches what you want. Otherwise, it doesn't matter. There are good breeders who dock because they prefer it, and good breeders that dock only because they show AKC. And others that don't dock and just show UKC if they want to show. None of these makes them a bad breeder, but it might make them a better or worse choice for a particular puppy buyer. Dew claws may be nice if you want to do something like agility with your dog, but they do add an obstacle to grooming and there is the potential to have them injured. My dog has them intact but it wasn't a deal breaker for me.

When it comes to picking a puppy, it's usually one of three options. Buyer picks, breeder picks based on temperament, or breeder informs buyer of temperament and aids buyer's decision. Most people here will probably advise one of the later two options. Puppies vary a great deal in terms of energy and drive, and having the breeder pick will mean each dog has the best chance of success. Some breeders temperament test and others go by their experiences with the pups. Both I think are good. Letting the buyer pick the pup themselves doesn't make a breeder bad, but I do think it is not ideal. From what I've seen, this method is used more by breeders who have buyers that are picking based on color and sex, and who aren't looking for show and performance prospects in their litters. So not the type of breeder I'd be looking for, but for some people it could be desirable.

So maybe I have helped, and maybe I haven't. Of these things, I would personally only care greatly about the last one. Another thing that would sway my decision making is what titles they put on their parent dogs.
 

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Hi and Welcome!
Lucky you to have this as your dilemma :).
Raindrops is spot on. Each point you mention is a matter of personal preference so choose by what matters to you.
Happy Puppy to you!
 

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The fact that those two breeders (or any different breeders) have different opinions on these subjects is totally predictable. It would not interfere with my decision to pick a puppy from either of them, if everything else is good.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow, thank you all, especially Raindrops, for the quick and helpful responses! It is very generous of y’all to share your wisdom with a stranger.

After reading these comments and mulling it over, I think Raindrops hit on what is probably most important to me, which is that I do want the breeder to be involved with matching us to a puppy based on temperament. I know it’s just a prediction and you can’t dictate a pup’s disposition, but that would be a big help.

The only thing I didn’t understand is “what titles they put on their parent dogs” - do you mean AKC titles? Sorry if I’m being dense. And again, thanks for the warm welcome!
 

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Wow, thank you all, especially Raindrops, for the quick and helpful responses! It is very generous of y’all to share your wisdom with a stranger.

After reading these comments and mulling it over, I think Raindrops hit on what is probably most important to me, which is that I do want the breeder to be involved with matching us to a puppy based on temperament. I know it’s just a prediction and you can’t dictate a pup’s disposition, but that would be a big help.

The only thing I didn’t understand is “what titles they put on their parent dogs” - do you mean AKC titles? Sorry if I’m being dense. And again, thanks for the warm welcome!
No problem, glad it is helpful. Yes I mean titles as in conformation shows or obedience, rally, agility, etc. These show the dog has good structure and temperament.
 

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Thank you, Raindrops. I did check and the sire for the litter I’m leaning toward has a CH title. The dam does not have any titles, but there are CH titles in her line (her sire, one grandparent). Also, the breeder has a long list of dogs that have won titles for conformation, agility, and obedience. I feel good about the breeder and appreciate the help. Happy (almost) 4th, and stay safe, everyone!
 

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Thank you, Raindrops. I did check and the sire for the litter I’m leaning toward has a CH title. The dam does not have any titles, but there are CH titles in her line (her sire, one grandparent). Also, the breeder has a long list of dogs that have won titles for conformation, agility, and obedience. I feel good about the breeder and appreciate the help. Happy (almost) 4th, and stay safe, everyone!
Sounds like a good choice. Now you just have to get through the waiting.
 
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