I'm sorry that you have had such a bad experience with the rescues and shelters in your area.
We, too, had a bit of an issue with the rescue where we got our dog. It definitely opened my eyes to the fact that all rescues are not created the same. I now have the pleasure of volunteering with a very credible, stable rescue, and it taught me that I would never get another dog from the rescue we originally did. It also makes me sad that rescues/shelters can be so radical. I think it can push people toward breeders, and especially backyard breeders since many people don't take the time to educate themselves about the differences. So, I applaud you for reaching out to do your research about breeders. We might be able to help you locate a reputable breeder based on your location and the type of dog you are looking for. It is not presumptuous to know what you're looking for in a dog--in fact, it's great! A good breeder should work with you, get a grasp of your goals and the qualities you like, and will match you with a dog accordingly. Although I always put temperament first, it doesn't hurt to have a color preference, but I wouldn't make it my first priority.