Its all in the breeding and the breeder. A good breeder will know what litter will most likely produce the type of puppy you are looking for and will give a dog that is right for you. They will not sell you the dog that they have if it is not a right fit...that doesn't help anyone. I know of a breeder that allowed someone to pick their puppy, and the pups were 3 weeks old. Their personalities are not developed at that point and you can't tell which is going to be the right dog for the buyer.
I would say reach out to the top 5 breeders on your list and pick their brains. Go with the one that you feel most comfortable with AND the one that will give you service after the sale. Being a "novice" as you put it, you will require that.
We have all been there, I researched for over 18 months, the waited for my pup another 9 months. Well worth it!
Last edited by eddie1976E; 05-04-2014 at 02:35 PM.