It has been a busy week in puppy search land and frankly my head hurts - I need some objective opinions from those with more experience. I've had several "puppy possibilities" come up in the last 2 days. Do I take any of them? Keep searching? Get a tub of ice cream and hide under the covers? Heeeeeelp! Situation #1: A breeder I visited 1.5 months ago is now waiting on a litter from two of her dogs. The male, 14 months old, I absolutely fell in love with. The female I met only briefly. At the time, I crossed this breeder off my list as I felt she bred too much. However, German friends have said I'm being too picky and if I ever want to get another dog I'd better relax my "good breeder" criteria. To be fair, this woman's dogs did seem happy and healthy. The puppies will be ready to go home in November, which is perfect timing for me. The breeder says they are a mix of show/field, though their look is more show and she does no field work with them. They seem to be shown a few times as juniors (with good results) then turned to breeding with no more showing. Here are my concerns: she has had 36 litters since 2004, mostly from 3-4 bitches her dogs are kept in a barn and are not house dogs (despite having an enormous house) the male whom I fell in love with and who is daddy of the upcoming litter is from outside of Germany (Slovenia) and other breeders have told me that health checks can be suspect if coming from east of Germany where there are many puppy millers (though they mainly mentioned Serbia/Croatia) the puppies are kept in the house for the first weeks then also moved outside to the barn (socialisation opportunities seemed pretty limited) she also breeds a completely different breed (mini bull terriers) which I've always thought of as a red flag Question: Is this a "responsible" breeder? Would you adopt a puppy in this situation? Situation #2 A friend of mine said another friend of hers had a puppy with a perfect temperament for me. So I met him (the puppy) with the idea of getting a breeder recommendation. The puppy (7 months old then) did indeed have an amazing temperament. Now it turns out that the breeder has a return of a female from the same litter (now 9 months old). The puppy was supposed to become a show/breeding dog but due to adult tooth placement is now being returned. I've not met her yet, trying to arrange that now. My concern here is 100% around socialization. I saw another 9 month old "breeder return" yesterday and the socialisation was dismal. She had never even been on a walk in the neighbourhood on a leash, she had never lived in a house. She lunged and barked madly at another dog during the walk I insisted on taking her on. It is highly likely that puppy in Situation #2 will be from a very similar background (too long to explain here why I think this but I will find out soon enough if it is true). Question: would I be fighting a losing battle trying to get to a level of socialisation needed for an assistance dog on a 9 month old dog with very little prior socialisation? I am especially interested in those of you who have experience with guide dog puppy walking (Boogie/Mags) to know if you think a dog has a chance if they pretty much have been stuck in a cage for the first 9 months of his/her life? By the way, I do NOT have to have a puppy NOW. I'd prefer to wait for the right temperament and health combo than rush into anything. But I also don't want to miss what may be a great dog because I've set unrealistic criteria. Ugh, I'm confused. Sorry, that's really long, but hopefully it made sense. Feel free to give me a reality check on both situations!