Thanks everyone! We are in the Cleveland Ohio area. We weren't thinking of an older dog or a re homed puppy. I guess I wasn't totally clear on our thoughts or maybe some of my assumptions are wrong.
Our first 3 dogs were obtained from back yard breeders. They were great dogs but we were thinking about getting a dog from a better breeder this time. We are not interested in showing or anything like that, just a good family dog. I have seen websites of some breeders that seem to offer some advanced training for puppies, maybe that is mistaken on our part.
On another question, what are some thoughts on European vs. American bloodlines? I know European are typically a bit larger but is there anything else? Our dogs have been American.
Most of the better breeders don't train puppies much before they leave for their own new homes
However--I know some of the breeders who advertise trained puppies and frankly I wouldn't let them train a puppy of mine--I'm a pretty decent trainer and have been training my own dogs for many years. I really, really don't like the way these "partly trained puppies by some of these breeders (and I know who some of them are because they advertise) get trained
So those are my thoughts on the subject puppies with some training.
I will say that I've been buying puppies from American show lines since 1959 and when you get one of their puppies it has been pretty thoroughly socialized, is generally crate trained, the breeder usually does a little training for showing (and I do a lot more in 2 or 3 minute bursts in the kitchen where there is always a treat available.)
I've seem a few lovely European dogs but I've seen a lot more that are the epitome of back yard breederdom in the hands of breeders who import Euro dogs with some titles in their home country but do nothing with what they breed as long as they can say their background is Euro.
European dogs on the whole are not noticeably bigger than American dogs. And here's a caveat for you--Euro dogs have a size disqualification--American dogs do not. And often the titles the breeders claim are what are known as puppy titles and some of the Euro dogs got sold because the were far over standard by the time they could compete for real titles.
And at least on the issue heart health--it's a pretty well known fact that the Euro breeders lied about their dogs as to cause of death for years It's better now because they are obliged to do some testing have the paper work to prove it.
But on the good side--for no known reason the Euro dogs are more often clear of vWD than not. The American breeders try to avoid breeding so they get affected puppies but sometimes the right pair are going to produce all three--clear, carrier and affected. And sometimes you just get lucky--I was looking something up in the OFFA records and ran across a litter that had clear been tested as a group and sent in as a group--usually when you see a whole litter being tested together it's because it's probably a carrier to carrier breeding and stats will tell you that you should be seeing 25% clear, 50% carriers, and 25% affected. But statistics are statistics and the rely on large number of tested dogs to average out. So I looked at that litter--10 puppies
9 were clear and one was a carrier. Now there's a stat you don't see all that often.
Good luck on your search and another welcome from the Pacific Northwest--also Portland, Oregon.
PS You probably already know this but just in case you don't--while I buy from American show breeders because when I buy a puppy I intend to show it in conformation and in a variety of other things but I want something pretty close to the pick of the letter or at least the first or second pick of males. But the good breeders know that in every litter some of the puppies will not really be show prospects--most of time the breeder feel lucky if they get one show quality bitch and one show quality dog in a litter of say 8. The other 6 puppies will for most of the world be stunningly beautiful and they are--it may not take much for them to end up highly regarded pets.
But when you buy this way you can almost count on getting a helpful friend who will help you with things that have to do with your puppy. And generally they will be fully health tested--in short those show breeders do the best they can to do to produce the best Dobermans possible.