We are no longer breeding Samoyeds, so I cannot really say what it would be like to buy a puppy from us now. However, I can show you what was involved with getting a puppy from us when we were breeding regularly and I doubt much will have changed if we should find ourselves with a litter to place. This might help you understand why your search for a puppy seems to be unnecessarily difficult. We are no longer breeding - except for the litter we had on April 17, 2014. It was an accident (turned my back at the wrong time) but a very nice litter. Still have three puppies here: Whiskey (a male) is staying with us, his sisters, Ginger and Ready, would like to live in show homes. This is what we look(ed) for in a home: To start with we wanted to be assured that it was going to be a good home. People who’d had a Sam before, especially one that lived to a ripe old age, always went to the top of the list. As did people who had purchased puppies from us before and cared for and loved them all their lives.
In addition, we wanted to know what the plans were for the dog -- show it in conformation? in obedience? in agility? take it camping? hiking? sled racing? weight pulling? herding? lure coursing? The number of activities that people can enjoy with their pets continues to grow all the time.
How much time would they have to spend with the dog? People who leave for work at 7 a.m. and return at 7 p.m. tired and harassed usually went to the bottom of the list.
How and where would they be keeping it? Is there a fenced yard? Are they willing to walk the dog frequently if there is no fenced yard in which to let it out? Are they planning to leave the dog in the yard unattended for long periods of time? (A big no-no)
These are some of the things we needed to know to help us make good decisions about homes. Because we like to see our dogs spend time with their families, and because Sams are working dogs that are happier when working than not, we liked to see homes in which the dog is going to be doing something. Sams can trained for obedience showing, agility trials, herding tests, sled pulling, weight pulling, pack hiking, therapy dogs, and of course, couch potatoing!
What would we not have considered an acceptable home?
Someone who plans to get a dog and bitch of no particular parentage and breed them regularly to have puppies to sell. (A pox upon you!)
A home in which the dog will be alone most of the day.
A household that is so busy that the dog will be neglected more often than not.
Someone who thinks dogs need "to run free" to be fulfilled (these people have dead dogs).
Someone who wants a Sam because it is "pretty" and has no idea what owning a dog is really about.
An important point to remember is that we were hobby breeders of show dogs, so we did not release our puppies until they were old enough for us to make good decisions about their quality. Sometimes that meant we kept two puppies from a litter until they were several months old before we decided which one to keep. Because we were breeding for show dogs, we obviously preferred that the puppies we expected would be really hot stuff in the show ring go to homes where the owners wanted to show the dog or have it shown. If we turn someone down as a home for one of these puppies, it didn’t mean we thought they weren’t worthy of one of our dogs, it just meant we thought that puppy was going to be too good a show dog to stay hidden in someone's backyard.
It is important to a show kennel that the better puppies get out into the show world where they can be seen. The more dogs that are shown to championships, the easier it is to find show homes for the next litter.
The other part of being hobby breeders as opposed to someone in it for the money, is that we could and did turn people down if we didn’t think it was the right situation for one of our "children". We would always rather keep a puppy ourselves until we found a good home than sell it at eight weeks to someone we didn’t think was going to care for it properly or where we didn’t feel there would be a good fit. Many times people assume hobby breeders are running a business, and they cannot understand when one turns down a sale.
How did we determine who should get which puppy?
When ranking our litters we tended to divide the puppies into three categories: pet only, maybe, and show quality.
Our pet puppies were those we determined had faults of one sort or another that would preclude them from being successful in the conformation ring and made them unsuitable for breeding. The faults might be in basic structure, in "cosmetic" things like pigment, ear size, etc. or it could have been that we feared they would reproduce some genetic problem. Pet puppies went with contracts that called for spaying/neutering and were sold on limited registrations. Dogs sold with limited registrations cannot be shown in AKC conformation shows and cannot be bred, although they are eligible for all AKC performance events and are in all ways completely registered purebred dogs. As a rule they will be just as healthy and good-natured as any other puppy. The things that make them "pets" are not visible to the untrained eye and do not interfere with their ability to provide years of companionship. Pet puppies are often very pretty dogs, their “faults” being subtle things not readily visible to the untrained eye.
Our "maybe" puppies usually went with limited registrations also. A maybe puppy was one that appeared to have some potential in the show ring, but we didn’t feel strongly enough about it to hold out for a show home. Since the limited registration is reversible (by us), it could be changed at a future date if the buyer wanted to show or breed the dog. We would, of course, have needed to see the dog first to see if it had grown up to have the right quality to do that. Since we were breeding good dogs to good dogs, more of our puppies fell into this category than into the pure "pet" category. However, since we were not selling them to people interested in showing and/or breeding, we placed them on the same registration as a pet puppy.
Our show puppies went with contracts that required the owner to show the dog until it finished its AKC championship, or until we both agreed it was a waste of time and money. Many breeders require that their dogs be finished no matter what. Our feeling is that a good quality dog will finish fairly easily and quickly (most of the time) and that one that is having trouble winning points probably isn't quite as good as we'd hoped it would be. We don't feel it is fair to ask the owners to continue to put money into showing a dog that is not doing well. Sometimes it is a question of changing handlers, taking weight off the dog, better grooming, or something fixable like that and we would work with the new owner to resolve those problems.
A dog that can win should be given that opportunity, so buying a show quality puppy is quite a commitment in time and money and not to be done without thought. Buyers don't want to be nagged about doing something they promised to do when they bought the dog, and we had/have no desire to nag. So we tried to be very sure that new owners who had not shown before were well aware of the commitment. Show puppies were often sold on co-ownerships which could mean anything from just retaining our names on the papers to a true co-ownership with expenses and any potential future income (from stud fees or puppies) being split . There are many different co-ownership options. And then we looked at the prospective buyer's experience with dogs, plans for the puppy, family size (how well the children behaved when here to see the puppies....) and so on so as to match personalities with the new owners. For instance, we would not have placed a high-energy, potentially large and dominant male puppy with a frail elderly couple. They would be a good home for a puppy with softer temperament and lower activity needs; whereas an experienced owner who'd had other Sams and who routinely provided work and training for their dogs would be a find home for him.
We tried to keep our prices on the low end of what puppies were going for in our area. However, If you have not purchased a dog in many years you may now be in for a "sticker shock". Veterinary fees, dog food, stud fees, supplies, etc. have all risen tremendously in the last ten years or so, and prices must reflect that. Co-ownerships on show dogs, puppy-back agreements on bitches, and other negotiated exceptions can lower prices on show puppies.