You should also know that in terms of temperament, Standard Poodles are generally calmer and more tolerant than Miniature Poodles; bigger dogs generally are better with kids than smaller dogs. So keep that in mind when considering the size of the puppy you choose.
Hi Sara, if you have not already done so, please read our guidelines on What to Look for in a Breeder and take them to heart. Especially since it looks like you have young children, it is crucial that you choose a breeder who is breeding for temperament as well as health, and has the experience to help you a select a puppy with the right kind of temperament for a houseful of children. Unfortunately, too many doodle breeders are in it strictly for the money, and breed for the colors, coats and sizes that sell, without choosing breeding dogs for temperament. Everyone here loves his/her dog so everyone will rave about their breeder. That doesn't mean much. I have seen people rave about a "breeder" who was a known puppy mill.
Puppies raised in a barn or a kennel are not going to adjust to a home in the same way that puppies raised in a home will. You will have a much harder time with housebreaking and general adjustment. You want someone who doesn't have lots of litters at once and is able to handle and socialize the pups and monitor them enough to know each one's temperament.
This is a decision that is going to impact your family for the next 12-16 years, so it's worth taking a lot of time to get it right.
The absolute best, most trustworthy GD breeder in North America is April Cliber in Michigan.
Our dog was a "medium". I did not go to the farm--my husband and son did. Their description was that of a true farm. It had other types of animals there, a zoo-type smell, and was very "outdoorsy". The puppies were primarily kept outside (with their mom) in fenced kennels with concrete bottoms. While I suspect I would've disliked the 'farm' I was relieved it wasn't a puppy mill.
Our puppy needed a good washing when we got him home but he was very healthy. Our vet tested him and assured me he'd have parasites--stating most puppies do, even those from very clean environments--but ours did not. The vet was surprised by that.
Our puppy (now dog) has a really good temperament--which is so important and reflects well on his bloodline and breeder's environment.
As for communication, I agree, the breeders were not great with that. I discovered they are an older (semi-retired) couple. They have an adult child that runs their website in her spare time. They aren't well versed in technology.
They did give us a folder with all our puppies information and records when we picked him up. It's a tough decision you have to make. I struggled with it too.
For me, we have a healthy, well-behaved dog. He's bigger than I expected but I wouldn't give him back for anything. His purchase price was low (compared to others) and the money we saved went into a nice bed, toys, supplies, etc. I didn't love his breeders but they are a distant memory that rarely crosses my mind. I'm grateful they bred him properly and cared for him correctly on their farm. His health is a big deal--a sick dog can cost thousands and we've had no complaints:issues there.
We got our goldendoodle from 7 hills about 2 years ago. We are very happy with our dog BUT we were told he'd be 30-40 pounds (we wanted 30 pounds) and he's 56 pounds!
We NEVER feed him table food and we keep him to a strict diet of the breeder's required food and proportion. He is not overweight at all, he's just a much bigger frame/size than we were told he'd be. I believe they were "less than honest" about that. As you may know, it's easy to find a 50-60 pound doodle; however, the 30-35 pound is hard to come by.
OMT, we specifically chose the runt of the liter (again hoping for smaller). I can't help but wonder how big those other puppies are now!