I feel that I can speak fairly about this from both sides.
For years my parents showed and bred standard poodles as a hobby. They would only have one litter every few years and their puppies were highly sought after for several reasons:
– People knew the puppies would not be predisposed to any health issues because of careful planning with the genetics of the dogs that were bred
– The puppies received the best care, socialization, training, etc.
– If for any reason the family could no longer keep their dog, they could bring it back to my parents no matter what (this only happened once; turned out the husband was abusive and when the wife left him she couldn’t take the dog with her)
– Their dogs had a reputation for being highly intelligent, kind, and well-mannered
– Standard poodles are hypoallergenic, so they’re one of few options for many people
I guess it all comes down to the fact that when you know a breeder is good, you know with 99% certainty what you’re getting when you get a puppy. My parents had a huge waiting list. When they had puppies available, they would go down the list and have the families come to our house for an interview and to see how they interacted with the dogs. Everyone who the dog would be living with was required to be there. If they felt the people were the type of people who should have a puppy, they would then ask them which puppy they were interested in, and if my parents thought it was a good match they would let them buy. If they didn’t think it was a good match, they would suggest the puppy they thought was best. Like I said, in all their years of breeding, only one dog came back to live with us, so it worked really well.
That said, I would personally never buy a dog. There are just too many great dogs out there who need loving homes. When Fiance and I get a dog, we will absolutely adopt. We might adopt of a breed-specific rescue organization, but we will definitely adopt. Because of my parents, I completely understand why certain people want to go with a breeder, but I wouldn’t feel right. Also, there are VERY FEW breeders out there like my parents. A lot of them are jerks just trying to make money and treating their dogs terribly. My parents reported people all the time who they knew weren’t taking proper care of their dogs.