Finding the needle in a haystack.

My amazing Clyde, always in my heart.  

Honestly, how hard can it be?  Hard.  Searching for breeders who I could possibly get a puppy from is waaaaay harder than you might think.  This blog is about searching for a great breeder.  It is not a rescue/breeder debate so please do not send me nasty emails.  I would like to get a puppy; but the more I know, the harder it is.  I am very clear on what I am looking for and sadly there are few breeders out there that come anywhere near the bar level that I have set.  If they do check off many of the boxes; they are located far, far away from us on a map. 

30 years ago I visited a home where they had a litter of brown puppies.  I had been given first choice of males but when I arrived I was told that another family had got there before me and taken one of the boys.  I was very angry; what if they took the one I wanted?  She had promised me one thing and done another.  Live and learn.  I chose my brown boy who turned out to be one of the loves of my life, Clyde.  As much as I adored him he suffered from poor structure over the years.  There had been no health testing done for his parents once so ever, no temperament testing, nothing. 

30 years later I know a lot more about what to look for.  I have a huge check list and the first thing on the top of the list is tails.

Must: **

1.  have full undocked tail
2.  have fully health tested sire and dam
3.  live and be raised in home with family
4.  be socialized in the rule of 7s
5.  be a breeder who breeds only dogs with amazing temperaments
6.  does temperament testing
7.  knows the litter and matches puppy to new family

These are the 7 musts.  Anything more of course is better.  But if a breeder does all this then they have reached the bar level that I set for me. A few things can be modified but not dropped completely.  This of course is just me and after years and years of research is what I look for in a breeder. 

Admittedly, I could go out today and find a puppy. There might be one just an hour or so away from me.  It sure would be easy right?  But I cannot blindly give money to someone who does not care enough to do all these things.   My breed is one that is not so common; add to that all of these items on the list and it gets harder and harder to find the needle. 

I have found breeders who do 5 or 6 from my list.  After talking to them I realize that they do not stand strong on the other things that they claim to do from the list.  Some things on the list have a wide range of levels as far as others are concerned.  Again, I have a high bar set for these as well. 

If you are a breeder, why not do it all?  Why not do your best for the puppies you are putting out into the world.  It is easy to spot the ones who are just doing it for money.  Yes, even breeders who do not consider themselves to be puppy mills, often do it for the money.  One big clue that someone is breeding for profits is multiple litters on the ground at one time.  I've been on several sites that list litter after litter, born only days apart.  

By having a list, you can weed out the ones who cut corners, save a buck, save time and do it for the money.  They simply don't care. 

I will find the needle, but it is not going to be easy.  It is not always easy to do what is right; but that's what I'm doing. 

** This list is not because I want perfection; such a thing does not exist in the animal or human world.  I want to support those breeders who are doing it right.  Those who have the utmost care and concern for their dogs and the puppies that they breed. 


  1. Oh, I totally get this. My dear Frank, also a chocolate standard was amazing- he passed about 3 years ago. I have other dogs, new dogs and I love them. But they are not Frank. Sometimes I feel guilty for wishing they were.

  2. When we got our standard 10 years ago, we didn't know much about choosing a breeder. Our common sense told us that the first we visited was bad news. We lucked out on second try. She provided us with a binder chock full of health info on our puppy and his parents, his lineage going back several generations and advice on raising a healthy and happy dog. He's been such a joy!

  3. When you find that wonderful standard poodle breeder, please let me know by posting! I didn't think about the 7 musts prior to finding breeders. I went "local" and mine had only 5/7. Absolutely love my 1 y/o female and would love to have a fur sibling for her.

  4. My red standard will be 4 years old in November 2015 and is the finest of the 4 standards I have owned and raised. Healthy, perfect conformation, and, most importantly, that friendly, sweet, goofy but trainable temperament we standard poodle lovers enjoy. When I bought my first standard in 1992 it was from a lovely couple who bred a litter a year and though he came with a certificate, he developed health issues and passed away at 8. The second standard, an apricot, was from a well-known breeder who had slipped up in the health check process and our puppy was diagonosed with double hip displasia at 10 months. I went back to her and she offered me another puppy (she would have our 10 month old euthanized). We opted for lengthy and expensive triple pelvic osteo - she refused to help with the vet bills - and he is 14 this year. He is on the small side, with an overlong back but with water therapy and physio and a harness, he is still getting around. I accepted a second puppy from this breeder (free) but the dog developed a significant underbite (it took her a half hour to get through a milk bone) but she was sweet, loyal, gentle and shy. She died of lymphatic cancer at the age of 8.
    I write all of this to support the bloggers emphasis on making sure that a breeder covers all aspects of a pup's development. I approached the purchase of my current red standard with the 7/7 in mind and believe, after 4 years of good health and joy with this dog (he also turns heads wherever we go, has his photo taken daily on our walks by complete strangers who seem in awe of his beauty, and I can't go a block without someone stopping me to admire him and pat him). He loves kids, other dogs, our two cats and everyone he meets. He runs like the wind, leaps, catches, retrieves and stays by my side no matter where I am. I purchased him from Bijou Brown Poodles in St. Catherine's Ontario: Laura is the most concientious breeder I know.

  5. Rosemary, she does seem to have healthy dogs but sadly she still finds it necessary to amputate tails and remove dew claws. This is something I cannot pay someone to do.


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