All the hours of research can pay off.
How many times have I heard the phrase "I don't want a show dog?" What this statement actually means is... I don't want to pay a lot of money for a dog. When you are looking for a specific breed; you have a lot of work to do. It's research time.
No, I don't want a show dog myself; but I do want a dog that is structurally correct, healthy with a good temperament. I want a puppy from someone who cares about their dogs and the offspring that they have. I want a puppy who has been well socialized and given the best opportunity to flourish in life. That is a lot and it does not come cheap. That said I will also not pay an unrealistic amount for a puppy. There are lots of breeders who overprice their dogs because they can. People will pay it and many breeders rake in the dough even though they say they don't breed for they money.
I have a price range in my head that is fair. I know what good breeders do, what tests they have to pay for etc etc. I know what I will pay and I know where I draw the line. But, hoping to get a great puppy who comes from health tested parents, fed properly, socialized and temperament tested on the cheap? No. If money is an issue for you; if you simply cannot afford 1,000.00 - 1,500.00 and up then you need to rethink your puppy acquisition.
Doing it right costs money, bottom line. So where does this leave you if you can't afford what you want? You need to start considering health costs. What if your puppy gets sick? Can you afford that? Sadly I know many people who have had to turn their dog over because they cannot afford to get them well. This is something that you really need to consider.
You can rescue a dog that will be less up front cost; far less expensive but then again you will need to care for that dog. The money put out in the beginning is just a fraction of what it costs to keep a dog healthy throughout their life. When you consider the range of 1,000.00-2,000.00 dollars over 10-15 years; it is not a lot to pay a breeder for all of their hard work.
You can go the cheap route. Search through the newspaper ads and find a puppy. You might even get lucky and find a wonderful puppy who ends up being healthy and happy, it happens. But you might not. That person selling their puppies for 400.00 may have just set your life on a downward spiral. Your new adorable puppy might come with a whole bucket load of health and behavior issues. And that breeder does not care; they only care that you handed over the money.
What about the "show dog?" Having a "show dog" is a choice. Not too many average Joe's want to show their dog; it's a ton of work and a lot of money. It means that they attend conformation shows and attempt to get Championship titles on their dogs. A Champion dog can offer status and legitimacy to a breeder. But, just because someone shows their dog; acquires points and ribbons does not mean that they produce healthy puppies. Research, research.
There is a set standard for each individual breed; but each breeder has a plan of their own. What one breeder likes in a dog, another may not. There can be a huge variance even within one breed. Over the years breeds can evolve; and not always in a good way. So, research, research.
Finding a breeder who is producing what you are looking for can take a great deal of work and time. I pride myself in shopping for a deal in inanimate objects; but that does not mean that I look for cheap. I look for quality at a bargain cost. But when it comes to a life companion, I look for what I want. If I like what I see but feel that a breeder is overpricing their dogs because they can, I will continue looking. I believe a good breeder deserves to be paid for doing it right. But I do not think that they should be gouging a new puppy buyer.
There is no guarantee in life. Even dogs from really great breeders can get sick. That said, why not give your money to someone who is trying to produce healthy, happy and well socialized dogs? You can most definitely find a dog for cheap; but do you really want to hand over any money to someone who doesn't care about their dogs or yours?