But I will say this. Old guidelines you might have read on the internet are badly out of date.
Old Rule 1. Always visit the breeder to see the puppy's parents - if they refuse to invite you to their property it's a red flag - sounds fair enough. But -
a) Today's world is a small world compared to when this advice was appropriate. Breeding dogs these days often have long distance relationships! Breeding by artificial insemination (A.I.) is now used frequently by breeders, which gives access to stud dogs who often live at different ends of the country or even overseas. So he will not be seen in real life. Most breeders have breeding females out on guardian home arrangements, and they will have returned to their own homes by the time their puppies are ready to leave the breeder.
b) In today's world we know a lot more than we used to about deadly infectious diseases like Parvo and how easily they are transmitted to young healthy puppies. Even vaccinated puppies are at risk due to their still immature immune systems. Any breeder who welcomes strangers onto their property to interact with their puppies, is playing with fire and sooner or later they will be burned, and their puppies and other dogs may either be ill or die despite strict vaccination protocols. New or inexperienced breeders are blissfully unaware that once Parvo breaks out on a property, that property is endemic for Parvo which means there will be more outbreaks for many years to come. Parvo is carried on car tyres, clothing and soles of shoes. That innocent stop at a shop on the way, when someone walked on ground that looks clean but has Parvo unseen and ingrained, can wipe out the breeder and break their heart. Forewarned is forearmed.
c) These days, animal rights extremists ( officially categorized as "domestic terrorists" pose as potential puppy parents who are interested in your breed, or want to buy one of your puppies. You welcome them in, unaware that your property is being cased for future theft or raid. They will even pay you a deposit for one of your puppies to gain your trust. These groups are well cashed up and are willing to lose a few hundred here and there as a contribution to their cause. After you are raided in the middle of the night, there will be photos on the internet depicting you as a puppy farmer or puppy mill. But you do everything perfectly so you have nothing to fear, right? Wrong! If you have a water bowl outside it will have dirt and green food die added to make it look as if you haven't freshened it in ages. Mud and debris (do they bring it with them? ) will be scattered around to look like dog faeces, photos will be doctored .... and you get the idea.
So much for some reasons that reputable and really great breeders may say "sorry but no" to allowing you to visit. You still want to try and persuade him/her to make an exception - just for you. Are you sure that seeing is believing?
It's a sunny Saturday morning in 2004 and Annabelle has people coming all day to look over her litter of puppies. The first will arrive within the next hour. She really needs to make some good sales today, the bills are piling up.
"Billy!" she wipes an escapee strand of hair out of her tired eyes as she summons her eldest son to her side.
"Yeah ma, I know what to do!" Billy hates Saturdays. He'd rather be out with the guys than putting on what he calls his dog loving face, being sweet to strangers and their brat kids and being at the beck and call of his mother all day.
"Just pay attention" she snaps, "I want you to play hard with the puppies. NOW. Make 'em run 'till they're worn out. The first people will be here soon AND they could take two! But I know they want quiet pups, not wild little devils like this lot!"
"Yeah, yeah, I know the drill" It's already hot outside, and the twelve year old's scowl deepens as he trudges towards the back door. Annabelle calls after his retreating figure "And make sure you remember to keep an eye out for the car and give me the thumbs up if it's an expensive one too, right?!"
The glacier white Bentley purred to a silent stop at the front door just as the last of the tired puppies flopped down to sleep in the living room and Annabelle finished applying fresh lipstick. "They're here!" she hissed at Billy. "Quick, grab two of the puppies and stick them in the laundry out of sight!"
"Which two?" He didn't ask why.
"A male and a female. Doesn't matter which ones."
The visitors were a man and his wife, both elegantly dressed in immaculate cream slacks and matching monogrammed tops. Annabelle recoiled at the sight of their white shoes but made a mental note that she was glad the puppies were well and truly worn out and hadn't found the mud patch out in the garden where the sprinkler had been left on by mistake the night before. She sighed as she counted the five children, equally inappropriately dressed to visit puppies, as they tumbled out of the car, totally out of control , and squealing excitedly. This looked like being 'one of those days'.
The next half hour passed pleasantly enough, while Annabelle answered their questions, and her smile was genuine because the stressed young mother really did like meeting people and she was proud to show off her puppies. Then came the moment she had been waiting for.
"Annabelle, didn't you say there were eight puppies and we were first in line? I only see six."
"Oh yes, there are eight, but two of them are so stunning that I just have to keep them myself. I've hidden them away, because I knew if you saw them, you'd be sure to want them. I could tell on the phone that you're a lady who recognizes quality when she sees it, plus I'm certain that most people wouldn't be able to afford what they're worth. But have another look at these two, they're almost as good."
It seemed like an eternity to Annabelle, but eventually, after another couple of scones with jam and cream, the visitor's curiosity overcame her. "Would you mind if we just had a look at the other two to compare?"
'Are you sure? I'm not a window shopper myself. If I can't afford something I don't even look at it."
Then the kids yelled in chorus "We wanna see them!"
I was there that day, and I ate the last of the scones in wonderment, as the visitors left with the two puppies from the laundry and my friend 'Annabelle' sat beside me gleefully counting her money.
The White Glacier Bentley had hardly glided off Annabelle's property with it's cargo of screaming kids in the back, fighting over who was going to hold the puppies, before their mother was on the phone to a mutual friend of hers and Annabelle's.
"You'll never guess what! " she could barely keep the pride out of her voice. "Annabelle's not all that smart. I managed to talk her out of keeping the two puppies she desperately wanted to keep, and they were her next two Champions in the show ring! "