Adopt, don't shop.
You've seen these signs everywhere. It is written on people's shirts, stuck onto their bumpers and passed through the internet like wildfire. Rescuing is a wonderful thing and as you all know I photograph rescue dogs and had a little foster girl here just last weekend. But I also have two dogs that I purchased and care for with every ounce of nurture that is in me. I have been scorned by some people who think that the term "shop" is a blanket statement; and that my friend is where they are very wrong. I have pulled out my soap box to explain but alas it falls on deaf ears much of the time.
It is the millers, don't buy from the millers. The ones who have websites where you can buy one, two or more puppies right online. The people who have kennels set up for multiple litters at a time. Those who house hundreds of dogs; pumping puppies out like an assembly line. Even when you see great, friendly websites who look like they care for their puppies; count the number of litters at a time. I can see maybe two happening on occasion but anymore than two litters at the same time should tip you off. When you see three, four or more litters at the same time or back to back litters then you need to move away from that breeder.
I LOVE STANDARD POODLES; there I said it and I am proud of it. I adore my dogs and care for them the absolute best that I can. That said, I love dogs in general; I simply adore them. I am not ashamed that my dogs are not rescues. The only time you ever need to feel ashamed is when you have knowingly filled a filthy millers pockets. By filthy I mean the type of human, not cleanliness. When you purchase from them because you can't wait or it is easy; you have then continued the horrors that the breeder dogs live.
When you start to look for a puppy with the intention of purchasing you must take extreme precaution. You must ask, ask, and ask some more. If you are going in blind you can be easily duped. There are a great deal of dubious breeders out there. They know what to say, they know how to get around the incorrect answers that you are looking for. They know all too well how to push their goods and reap the benefits. So you need to be well educated in what you are looking for.
Over the years I have talked to many breeders. When I've been looking for a puppy of my own, for someone else and for photography purposes. I can weed through the BS and find the truth very easily. When I am looking for a breeder I want someone who I mesh with; someone who believes in much of what I believe as far as dogs are concerned. It is not always easy; good breeders can be very possessive of their goods as they should be. A good breeder may put you through the ringer and you might end up on a very long waiting list. This is also how it should be.
You may even be told no; a good breeder turns people away when they don't feel that you are a good match for their dogs. I have been told NO, that's right and I was indeed shocked; but it was only once. Years ago I had been making plans to purchase a puppy and was then told that the very puppy I was planning had been sold to someone else. That was a huge shocker; but again totally up to the breeder. It is their decision entirely who puppies go to. There was another puppy that I was told was available and while I discussed it with my family their decision to let the puppy go changed and they kept her.
Purchasing a puppy is not like going into a store and buying a pair of shoes. No, there is a huge amount of work to do and their can be heartache involved. It is never good to get your hopes up until that magical moment when your puppy is placed into your arms. Although a good breeder's word should be golden; once stated that you can indeed have a puppy, only Mother Nature should revoke that word. Things happen, life has a way of keeping us on our toes. Not all litters are born with the perfect number that are needed for buyers.
The bottom line is that if you want a particular breed of dog; do your homework. Research like crazy and find a good, reputable and ethical breeder. Someone who cares about their dogs as much as you will care about yours. Do not pay for a puppy who is the product of a greedy humans desire. When someone makes a living out of selling puppies; it can never end well for the dogs. If waiting and researching is what you need to do to find a great breeder, do it.