The Stuff You HAVE to Know
About the Priorities
of This Breeder
What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of an example of this breed?
Many backyard breeders/puppy mill breeders will have difficulty even understanding this question. They may attempt to evade it or fluff it off with something rather vague and meaningless like, "Well, they are just so cute" or "they are so loving". Cute and loving is euthanized in shelters every day.
The knowledgable breeder will generally refer to aspects of the breed that makes the breed singular. This may be working ability, temperament, and/or some aspect of type. Of course, some breeds made be challenged with a number of health issues in which case, some breeders will emphasize factors like health clearances.
While it may seem a bit challenging to winnow through a valid answer versus one that isn't as good, the one thing to keep in mind, is how important is this breeder's interpretation of this single most important characteristic to you. While being cute and loving might be what attracted you to the breed to begin with, even a pet owner should be aware of the health issues (and how it would impact their life with the dog) surrounding a breed, the variation within the breed (just getting a toy breed puppy doesn't guarantee it will be below 20 pounds if you are living in a restricted apartment community for example) and, of course, how the form/function of the breed will impact the life you would enjoy with them.
Of course any additional questions you might have on this topic will be enthusiastically fielded at DigitalDog's Forum .