I have a vet tech degree and lots of experience with dogs, and I'm obviously a lifetime animal lover. After having to put my old dog to sleep last fall, I decided to buy a puppy this spring. I have two young boys, and I just can't take the risk of adopting a shelter dog. You don't know their history, you don't know their behavior problems, you don't know if they are going to bite. At least 90% of dogs in shelters are there because their owners don't want to, or don't know how to deal with the dog's behavior problems. I want to raise a puppy and do it right. It's too risky (for me with kids) to try to rehab a dog that someone else already messed up by not socializing or training it as a puppy.
And the crazy thing is, when I decided to start looking for a puppy, I couldn't find any! I wanted a pit bull type dog, but open to considering what puppies were available around here. I wanted a medium to large dog, and athletic to go running with me and maybe compete in agility. Eventually I found a litter of pit bull puppies on craigslist and was lucky enough to get first pick (of 8 pups).
It was a 'backyard breeder' sort of. They owned both parents and one other dog. The dogs were healthy and friendly, had natural ears and didn't have any scars. I picked a smallish mellow female and paid $450. No papers, but I don't care, she's getting spayed next month.
I've been socializing her like crazy from the start. I take her everywhere with me, and she meets tons of new people and other dogs all the time. She loves kids and seeks out kids in any group of people to play with. She's a little shy, but I've been working with her so much, she's improving dramatically. Yesterday I took her into the city to walk around in crowds and she was fine. She just gets scared when strangers boisterously reach for her, then she hides behind me. But if someone just stands there or squats down then she greets them. Also has been doing pretty good getting used to firecrackers (I think she's used to noise from living with kids LOL). We go to dog training classes, the dog park, and lots of walks around town. I have VPI pet insurance on her, she's UTD on shots and heartgard, and will be microchipped when she's spayed.
So anyways, my pup from a backyard breeder is getting top-notch care and training, and is shaping up to be a great family pet. Might even do the canine good citizen test with her too. And she doesn't seem to have any underlying health problems. This is a good situation for all of us.
$450 is a good price I don't know of many breeders here that charge less than $600.
My old farm dog (shep/collieX) was a pup from a backyard breeder on a farm....she lived to 14 and likely would have lived longer but was hit by a car.