No, I think you're misunderstanding some of the things people have said to you, and maybe some of the things you've read as well. I don't know where you would have read even once, much less over and over again, that AKC registration is "irrelevant". What you may have read is that AKC registration by itself is not a guarantee of quality. It's always better to buy a dog that is AKC registered rather than one that isn't, but that is the bare bottom level of what you should be looking for.
There is an important difference between complete health testing and a "health guarantee". Many irresopnsible and unethical breeders as well as commercial breeders give so-called health guartantees. But how good are they? Most of them say they will replace the puppy if it dies or is crippled from certain specified conditions. If the puppy is still alive, you usually have to return it to the breeder in order to get the replacement puppy. The breeders who require this know that many people will be attached to their original puppy and won't want to send it back, especially since many of these breeders tell the owner they are going to put the puppy to sleep when they get it back.
Many of them also require that the original dog's ear be standing correctly and that it not be spayed or neutered, or the guarantee is void. None of those things have anything to do with whether they sold you a healthy puppy or not.
Full and correct health screening for the breed consists of testing for hereditary diseases in the parents before the breeding is done. Usually responsible breeders don't give health guarantees because they know there are no guarantees no matter how carefully they screened the parents. They can only try to lessen the odds that you will get an unhealthy puppy. vWD is the only disease there is a DNA test for as yet, so they can guarantee that, but with other conditions they can test the parents, and know from their testinig what the parents are "likely" to produce. Still, if the puppy has a congenital or hereditary problem most responsible breeders will refund the buyer's money and let them keep the puppy, or if the puppy dies, they will replace it if they had sold a puppy that turned out to be unhealthy. Or at least refund part of your money.
An example. When I got my first Doberman, the breeder wouldn't let me have the puppy I wanted, because she felt he was the best one in the litter, and she wanted a show career for him. So I took my "second choice" puppy. Shortly after his ears ere cropped, she noticed there was something wrong with one of his eyes. He was seen by several vets, treated, and some improvement was made, but in the end he was left with one eye in which the pupil was always dilated, it could not contract. He could see out of the eye, altho it took us awhile to determine that.
During this process, without my asking for it, the breeder said to me that she would give me my first choice puppy instead because she couldn't be sure the other puppy would ever be "right". I declined, and kept the puppy, and it was the best decision I ever made. But my point is, without a "health guarantee" the breeder did the responsible thing in offering me another puppy instead.
You should not have looked for a breeder who crops, as if that was all you needed to look for, rather I would say, pass up those breeders who don't crop. Then choose from among those who do after considering other aspects.