Option 1: A registered breeder
A registered breeder is one who specializes in one or maybe two particular breeds. The dogs are most always purebred and are registered (meaning they have papers). A registered breeder is, in my opinion, the best place to purchase a puppy, especially if you are looking for a certain breed or are wanting to do some sort of competition with your dog down the line. With a registered breeder, you will usually be given access to the puppy’s lineage, which will include important information like quality of hips, eyes, etc. You also will be able to see the mother and often times, the father too. This can be really helpful to determine your puppy’s adult size and possible temperament. You also will be asked a ton of questions from the breeder as to the living arrangements for the puppy and what you plan to do with them. Registered, responsible breeders want to make sure that their puppies are going to the best home possible and will not sell their puppies to just anyone who has the money.
The biggest negative would probably be the cost. With some of the other options mentioned in this article, you can get a puppy for a pretty low price but, with a breeder, usually the price is higher due to the information you will be getting and quality of the puppy. One other negative is that, sometimes, it can be difficult to get a puppy from a popular, reputable breeder. There are usually wait lists and often times, depending on the breed, the breeder prefers their puppies go to working homes where they will be able to perform duties and behaviors characteristic of the breed. Most often you will not just be able to call a breeder and get a puppy the next day but, when you do get one, you will have a full history on it and it’s family lineage. Also, be prepared to sign a contract. This contract will have clauses in it including immediate notification to the breeder of any major health problems, clauses of spaying or neutering, and a promise to return the puppy to the breeder if you no longer want it versus taking it to a shelter or giving it to another person. It may also include a clause to have hips and/or eyes certified at a certain age. All of these clauses are in place to help the breeder ensure that the dog is going to the best home possible and also to try to keep the blood lines as healthy as possible.
If you purchase a puppy and it turns out having hip dysplasia, for example, a responsible breeder will consider whether or not to continue breeding the female whose litter you got your puppy from. Breeders try their best to maintain a healthy genetic line while remaining as true to breed standard as possible.
AKC registered breeders