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Hi Sadie, welcome!
Angela has given you a really good answer. There are many reasons for charging what we do for our dogs. Some of us charge more and some charge less, what is important is that you do your homework before you buy. There have been many people who find a bargain puppy only to pay gigantic medical bills when they discover that their puppy has numerous health issues.
That is not to say that all inexpensive puppies are problematic.
I would suggest, as Angela said, that you should know what to ask, and then don't rely on verbal assurances, ask to see results.
If the breeder doesn't want you to ask, or if they say "everything was fine" or "everything checked out normal"...don't settle for that!
Ask to talk to their vet, and then do...follow up and find out that they do actually have a vet and that the puppies you are looking at have been examined and given deworming and shots.
One of the reasons that Labradoodles cost so much is that breeders find excellent breeding stock (and pay thousands of dollars for them) and that they do not breed their animals until at least the 2nd heat cycle, and they test both parents for hips and eyes (at a minimum)...they will offer a long term (usually 2 years) health warranty and they will be very specific as to what is covered.
If they say "life threatening disease" find out what that means...if they say "serious genetic disease" find out...ask, ask, ask.
Also, a good breeder will interview you! They are not about to sell to just anyone willing to pay. Good breeders love their puppies and want to be sure that they will go to a good home, where they are loved and well cared for. They will want you to assure them that your home environment is good for the puppy and that you are ready for the responsibility of ownership.
A good breeder will continue to be in touch with you, to answer your questions and help with other situations...through the life of the puppy.
Your puppy will come with a short term wellness warranty too...and you will be asked to take him to the vet right away.
Ask to see the parents, get references of previous litter owners, go to see where the pups are kept, if possible (not all breeders allow this because of fear of Parvo, but will make other arrangements with you.)
Get a contract...make sure that it is a good one.
Find out all of this before you fall in love with that cute puppy...
If you would like to contact me personally and ask questions, I'll be happy to respond.

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Hello Reddoodle_7, welcome to the forum and I am glad that you decided to post because you have really done your homework and your questions are valid ones.
I don't know that I have sufficient answers for you, but I'll try...
The first thing I'd like to address is that you are right on with what you talk about finding a good breeder, the testing, the specific health warranty and not breeding until the dog is mature.
Now, finding the correct timing for "maturity" is a good a general rule, it used to be (and many still believe it to be) that dogs should not be bred until at least 2 years of age. I think that there are two reasons for this time frame. 1) The dog is mature enough to have and care for puppies by this time and 2) testing can be completed.
About maturity, when a breeder waits until the second heat, they still take into consideration (or at least they SHOULD take into consideration) the actual age and maturity level of the dog. Some dogs have heat cycles every 6 months and some have them every 8 months or longer.
I personally believe that if a breeder has raised the female, the breeder has a good indication of what this particular dog is capable of, by way of maturity. For instance, I bred Lexie on her second heat, and I discussed it very completely with my vet, I made sure that she was healthy and capable of going through a normal pregnancy...more importantly, that she was mature enough to care for her puppies and to nurse and nurture them. Often if a female is not mature, she will abandon the pups or stop nursing/cleaning them.
The decision must be a personal one made by the breeder and if you feel that the breeder has been irresponsible, then you should buy elsewhere.
In my case, Lexie was ready to become a vet agreed with me, and in fact she was an excellent mother.
About the second part, I believe (others will disagree with me) that the 2 year mark was set before PennHip exams made it possible to test hips of dogs younger than 2 years of age. You are correct that OFA can only do preliminary hip testing before 2 years...but PennHip tests are done at 4 months of age. Therefore, a PennHip exam will remove a female from the breeding poole at an early age. (Neither PennHip nor OFA are foolproof...but it is the best we have.)
So, 2 years was the breeding limit set because responsible breeders could not have the hip results until that age. Now, it is different and hips can be tested earlier, so the next important issue is maturity.
In answer to your next question, which can be very complicated and scientific, I will simply give you a web page that I beleive explains why breeding to unrelated breeds is preferable (healthwise) to linebreeding (which is often done in purebred dogs): ... roject.htm
I hope that this helps a bit.
The thing you will find is that people (breeders, owners, experts, scientists, vets...) will disagree with one another on most topics...from the health of mixed breeds to the type of dog food to feed...but you have to do the research, as you are, and find the answers that work for you...then find a breeder who agrees with your opinions/beliefs.
The most important factors, once you find a like-minded breeder, are to find someone who will stand behind you and your puppy for the life of the dog, and one who will offer a good warranty and who has the integrity to follow up in a way that is morally responsible.
All of this is the same no matter how long the breeder has been in business...I personally have only bred one litter, with another on the inexperience makes me very cautious and I want to learn everything I can, but it doesn't mean that I am not a very good and capable breeder...I love my dogs very much and want to protect them.
I have known of long-time breeders who know less than I do about the it isn't always about the length of time a breeder has been in business, but the dedication to learning, their interaction with other breeders and their ability to love and care for their animals that are most important, in my opinion.

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Thank you for your kind words and your added insight!

You are certainly doing a good deal of research...looks like we can all benefit from the information you are gathering...thanks for sharing it with us!

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9,241 Posts
Hi Chris, welcome! And congratulations! Sounds like you are expecting a lovely puppy...and I am sure you will be very pleased with a Labradoodle!

Don't be too concerned when a breeder is not listed on any particular organization. The one that you mention is a very fine organization, but the listing on that site depends on many factors, and being listed is not a promise of quality as not being listed is not an indicaiton of a bad is one of many factors to consider...but not all-inclusive.

The most important factor, in my opinion, is whether your breeder tests the breeding stock, and will show you the results (not tell you.) And whether or not you get a good health warranty...and if they stand behind their puppies. Will they be there with advice and help if you need it?

Extras like microchipping, spaying, etc. are personal choices made by the breeder. Many times what we do is in conflict with what our buyers want...for instance, I spay/neuter my dogs before they leave my home...many breeders don't (they sell with a contract to require the new owner to spay/neuter by a certain age.) I have had many people very pleased that I do this...however, I have had other buyers choose another breeder when I am firm on this decision.

Microchipping is not a necessary thing...sometimes breeders do it sometimes they don't. I personally do, but it is just something that I have decided to include...again, just one of many factors.

It is also important that the breeder takes proper care of the animals. You want a puppy that is not raised in a place where it doesn't get attention or should not be in a dirty kennel, but keep in mind that puppies poop a lot...and even the best breeder will have some poop in the puppy area...but use your good judgment and common will know.

Also, it is good if you can get references to the breeder's vet, other buyers, etc. If they have the parents where you can meet them, that is another good thing.

We all do things differently...personally, I am very, very cautious about letting people in to see my puppies...I am so worried about them getting sick when people track in I limit the visits and restrict the conditions. Other breeders have no problem with visitors. Again, it is a personal choice.

Most breeders will ask about you and your intentions for the puppies...I think it is pretty important...but sometimes a person can talk to you on the phone and get a good idea of what your plans are...without asking pointed, again, it is a personal style issue.

Don't worry...just be sure you take your pup to your vet within a day or two of you getting him...I'd make the appointment before you get the puppy...because if there is a health issue, you need to address it right away.

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9,241 Posts
Jacksondoodle, welcome to the forum...I am very pleased that you are so happy with the puppy you purchased and I want to say that breeders don't need to belong to any organization in order to be quality breeders. They DO, however, have to meet certain standards and this is what many of us are trying to point out in this post.
While I agree that temperament, having parents on site and warranties are extremely imortant, I don't want to discount the importance of the care given to the dogs (or lack of care) based on profit margin.
It is so important that a breeder not cut corners on things like microchipping (or other type of permanent, tracable identification), vet care and testing their breeding stock. Extremely important.
So, while I agree that doing your homework, research and making informed decisions goes a long way toward selecting a good dog, it can not replace the value of a breeder who is willing to go the extra mile to ensure the continued health and well being of the breed as a whole. This is what a good breeder does. In fact, the type of breeder who makes sales based on "cute puppies" or even "good puppies" is what reputable breeders are continually fighting against. There is much more to the equasion.
As you mentioned, many people think that by mixing breeds we are placing ourselves in the "back yard breeder" or "puppy mill" categories, so it is all that much more important that ALL doodle breeders rise above what is convenient and less expensive, in order to lift the public perception of the breed.
I am posting a good article that explains this and I am rather certain that this article will hit upon breeders of mixed breed dogs as being questionable regarding reputation...which only proves my opinion that it really matters...what breeders do when selecting breeding stock and selling puppies: ... C=0&A=1448
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