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Hello,

My wife and I have been casually talking about "one day getting a dog," for several years. Just recently we started thinking about it a little more seriously, and I've been reading a number of books and doing some research. My wife goes nuts for just about any "cute" puppy, and has given up on the idea of poodle-mixes/designer dogs as we've learned more about it. I've always liked the idea of an intelligent, fun, athletic dog, and have had to give up on the idea of some dogs that would be more than we could responsibly handle. Over the years, we've kind of zeroed in an a miniature red poodle as a good fit for each of our interests, and a potentially good match for our lifestyle.

At this stage, we're not in a hurry, and just starting to see where the right place to adopt a puppy would be if/when we finally decide we're ready. We're not even looking for 'available' puppies. It seems like it would be better to identify a quality breeder that could help us identify the right puppy for us from a future litter.

What seemed so simple when I first searched for "red miniature poodles" has become more complex as I read more. Any internet search seemed to pop up "Scarlet's Fancy Poodles" in the ambiguous area of "Central Coastal California." They seem to always have puppies available, but after seeing some discussion here (scarlets-fancy-poodles-red-toy-poodle-breeder) it seems like that might be a bad idea. It also does not look like they show their dogs or have OFA tests. But they have all kinds of stuff on their site about DNA tests, health guarantees, etc., so it's difficult for a novice to identify red flags.

Also, when you go to the AKC website, they even have a "marketplace" where puppies are listed for sale (https://marketplace.akc.org) - If I go on there right now, there are red miniature poodles for sale within 100 miles of me. But I'm assuming that's not a good place to look? Why does the AKC allow such loose standards to post puppies for sale (if that's what's actually going on there)?

I've read through some other threads on the topic:
Red Miniature Poodles in California (or driving distance?) - A long discussion about the same topic from a year and a half ago; the poster appears to have given up on finding a red and found another puppy they were excited about.
Want 1 Red Miniature Poodle - Here's a similar discussion in New York, as well as a related thread from the same poster: Looking to Purchase two mini Poodles

I'm in Southern California, and the breeders commonly recommended don't seem to deal in the reds: Mini Poodle Breeders in California

More generally, I've read over the Poodle Club of America website, and I have yet to reach out to take advantage of the "PCA National Breeder Referral" program--is that a good thing to do?

I discovered online that there is a "Apricot Red Poodle Club." Are any of the breeders listed on that website good to consider? They all seem to be much more serious about actual "OFA" tests and more transparent about their show dogs used as sires and dams.

As an aside, I've also found "Versatility In Poodles" to be an interesting resource/organization.

I give all this background to show what I've been looking at and trying to make sense of. I'm sure there are lots of new posters like me with the common question of "where is a good breeder in my area," so I tried to elevate the discussion a bit and build on what has already been discussed.

Unfortunately, a lot of "recommended, quality breeders" discussed on these forums have terrible websites, that are rarely updated, filled with broken links, limited information, etc. I don't mean that in a disparaging way--I'm sure they are more focused on their dogs, their breeding program, and due to the small nature of the operation, probably get plenty of referrals--I get it. But it does make it difficult for the uninitiated to figure out the right thing to do.

In a few of the other posts on the subject, it seems like people just suggested that the original poster consider something other than a Red (and that seems to be what happens). If that color is so popular, it's surprising that more "reputable" breeders wouldn't want to take up the cause.

So in summary... I'm in Southern California. I don't mind travelling somewhere else in the country, but it sure seems more practical to be within driving distance (even if a long drive). I'd rather be able to meet the breeder, the parents, etc. before making any final decisions. Am I looking in the right places?
 

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I would do this exercise - find a mini breeder who seems to breed the exact kind of pups that you're looking for EXCEPT... color. Go visit this breeder and his/her dogs. If by the end of the visit you still feel you strongly prefer red, then you know that's where you need to focus. But, by the end of that visit, you may conclude that color really doesn't matter...

Before I got Vontae, the first of my two mini poodles, four years ago, I was convinced that I wanted a Sheltie, despite knowing that practical circumstances made Poodle a better fit for my family. So I visited a top Poodle breeder and her dogs, just to see if I could open my mind to Poodles. Four years later, I'm the proud father of two awesome mini's.

Kevin
 

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IMO, there are many small-scale breeders from which puppies from health-tested parents could be found (putting aside color, for now). Breeders typically don’t breed to meet marketplace demand, but to improve the variety/color that they love. When you find the breeder that kchen95 describes, they’ll refer you to others if they don’t have pups or planned litters to meet your desire.

FYI, when I sought help from AKC breeder referral, they provided a very small list of breeders in my region. Over the past 4 years of poodle-obsession, I’ve found many, many more than were on that AKC list. I found the reference material on the VIP website helpful and even used their recommended questions to ask breeders.
 
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