They evaluate their puppies as show and breeding quality or pet quality and sell pet puppies with a spay-neuter contract. Pet quality puppies are not deficient - they just may not meet the breed standard for size, color, coat type, bone structure, head type, etc. Many responsible breeders sell pet puppies at a lower price than show puppies.
Using newspaper classified ads to locate a breeder is a gamble. Few responsible breeders advertise in local classified ads because they have no trouble placing their dogs, sometimes years in advance. Therefore most breeders who advertise in these sections are amateurs who know little about their breeds. If you must enter the classified sweepstakes at least learn the terminology of classified ads.
The first interview with a breeder should be done without seeing the puppies so judgment doesn't get clouded by adorable, furry bundles. Ask to see sire and dam of the litter, if possible and assess their temperament. If either is overprotective or very fearful, head for the door.
Ask about the genetic diseases that affect the breed -- you should have a good idea of what they are from your reading. Knowing if Mom or Dad had disc disease is a good predictor for you puppy.
Ask about the contract and the guarantee and for names of previous puppy buyers as references. Ask if dogs from this breeder are active in dog sports even if you never intend to participate. Dogs that earn obedience, tracking, hunting, agility or conformation titles; work as therapy dogs, assistance dogs, or search and rescue dogs; or participate in sports such as agility, Frisbee or schutzhund are definitely trainable. The more complex the sport, the more there's a need for intelligence.
to see the pedigrees of sire and dam. If there are lots of champions or
titled dogs in the pedigree, the puppies are most likely good physical
examples of the breed.
Expect the breeder to ask you some questions as well. After all, a responsible breeder wants to know what kind of a home and family his puppies are getting as well as the color of your money.