No, IMHO. The internet should be a way for you to find out more information about dogs, dog lines, and breeding. But just picking out and buying a dog online is not like buying a book from amazon.com.
A breeder's website should be a starting point. But it is just that, a starting point. It's up to you to research the breeder, the lines, the health claims, the certifications offered, the awards and titles won and everything else.
I bought my puppy online and she's awesome! A happy, healthy baby. But I have to say, I had a real bad experience with a local breeder that I found online & the problems didn't start to happen until after I met her in person & gave her my deposit. The 2nd breeder was and is an exceptional person, and we've become quite close and plan to stay in touch. Just be careful and do your homework if you decide to go that route.
I bought my puppy online and she's amazing. She's adorable and completely healthy. Everything went well with the breeder. However, if I had a choice, I wouldn't take the risk again. Use the internet to search for reputable breeders around your area. One way of doing this is by looking at the specific breed club in your state. They often offer contact info. to breeders. You really need to be able to see what you're getting before buying it. I was just very very fortunate to have my puppy exceed all expectations.
I bought both of my pups here on TP, from 2 different breeders. I had to have the shipped to me. It worked out great. They are wonderful dogs. Yes, I would have much rather have gotten them locally, unfortunately there was no one in FL that raised my breed.
As I've mentioned in other posts on this forum, buying a puppy over the internet is ludicrous. I maintain a personal website where people send in pictures of their mixed breeds, and another site for yorkie/maltese mixes inparticular - and I have had hundreds of emails from people who have had horrible experiences trying to buy puppies over the internet. As you search the internet, you may come across sites where the puppies are adorable, dressed up in cute little bows and placed in cute little baskets or whatever....when in reality, these places are puppymills!!!!!! The conditions in which these puppies are raised are substandard, the breeders are bred until they just can't produce another litter then disposed of....it's horrible what these people do to God's creatures. If anyone is searching for a puppy, please try the rescue organizations first or your local shelter. If you are looking for a pure bred, then do your homework and research the breeder - visit the breeder, see for yourself the conditions the dogs are raised in - get references (very important), talk to their vet - you can never do enough research before purchasing a puppy. You should always want to SEE your puppy in person before buying it. I could tell you many stories that people have sent to me, but I think this post says it all.
Well I have had good and bad experiences. I raise great pyrenees and I have been fortunate to find excellent homes selling them on the internet. If I sell them locally I get mainly farmers that want them. They make such wonderful family pets (they are awesome with other animals and children) that I have chosen to sell them online. These dogs are hard to find in other areas of the country and I have 100 acres here so they have plenty of room to roam, goats and horses to guard and my kids to play with. I am a reputable breeder, I have a contract and yes I turn down buyers if they dont meet my criteria as a new pyr owner. I do not sell to brokers or puppy mills only to families that I approve. I have made wonderful friends selling on the internet, they all send me pictures of my babies very often and I keep a puppy photo album of my grandpuppies :) On the flip side, I have not been so successfull buying puppies online...before I knew any better, I bought a puppy once and I got it but I never got the AKC papers..later I bought another puppy and never got the puppy, just a one line email saying "they puppy died!!". I was SOOO MAD!! But you live and learn. I no longer buy a dog (or sell for that matter) unless I have a contract. If they dont have one I ask them to sign my contract. This protects me and them and it lets them know that we are committed to making this transaction. It guarantees the health of the puppy and it also states that if for ANY reason they cant care for one of my puppies that I WILL PAY to get my puppy back.
So my advise, I think you have more choices if you buy online, just be carefull, do your research, check references (VERY IMPORTANT), make sure you have a contract and then it should be a good experience. We all learn as we go and since I follow these rules, its been really nice working online.
There is nothing wrong with buying online as long as you use caution and intellegence at it, as you should anything.
Most of my pups are sold by people I iwll never meet. There is not a huge market for afghans and its good to get them out there.
Someone online should be reputable, easy to work with and not shady. You can drive to someones house and find hte puppies sleeping in a mud pit in a barrel with no food chained to a tree. Local does not guaranty correct but it helps to see them.
I can say my buyers are happy. I had a web cam up from the puppies birth, as well as daily photos (for myself but buyers enjoyed) each puppy was cataloged by color and markings and no one felt scamed and frankly I now get to sit backa nd enjoy photos and the occasional question from them.
I sell my pups via internet myself, and have good experiences with the buyers. The difference is, I Do Not ship, the people locate me via the internet, we write, I have a questionairre, I encourage them to ask me questions, then the buyer comes to my home, I want them to meet the puppy, not simply by a picture. I do not even take depostis on the pups due to this requiring them to except a pup they havent met. Once they come to the home and see our dogs, and how their kept and have met the pup, that is when we all make our final decision as to if the puppy fits in their home. I do not believe in shipping sight unseen pups.
Research the breeder, ask questions, visit the home, meet the puppy, then make your decision.
If you don't do your research on the breeder and get a contract and health guarantee that will cover your butt it can be a crap shoot. I have been ripped off BAD. HOWEVER, just purchased a wonderful pup all the way from Hungary and it was smooth sailing!! I would say if you aren't looking for a certain blood line, breed, or are unsure about the breeder, buying a pup in your area is much safer.
I only advertise on the internet. Like IcyHound a lot of my puppy families are people I will never meet. BUT I also place a lot of puppies with people who drive up to 20 hours to meet me and my dogs before they choose a puppy and then come pick their puppy up. I provide lots of references as I can ask basically any person who has adopted a puppy from me to give me a reference - including vets who have adopted puppies from me, and folks that have come back for a second and third puppy. I encourage people that can come visit me to do so, as I also really like meeting them. I have nothing to hide and don't mind being up front about everything - this hopefully sets me apart from the scammers.
I have a screening process that I use that I have divised over several years of dealing with folks looking to adopt a puppy. If you know what you're doing it is really easy to spot someone who is either feeding you BS, or lying through their teeth. I'm not afraid to tell folks that I will not sell them a puppy. Ironically, I had no trouble placing my puppies, even with telling people I'm not comfortable with that they can't have one. I've had families that live nearby come by every weekend once their puppy is 5 weeks old (when we will let strangers come into our nursery) until the pup comes home so they can interact with them. I have NEVER had someone tell me that they wished they chosen a different puppy.
Buying a puppy over the internet is not any less safe than buying one from someone you can meet. I've been scammed by a breeder I met in person 3 times before I bought the dog that I found locally. Dishonest people are everywhere. Use your own common sense. I've been on the buyer end of things when buying my "breeding dogs" (which are also family members as I don't run a "kennel". I have a 2 page list of questions to ask breeders. YOU have to do your research on the breed before you look for a breeder so that you can smell a bad breeder when talking to one. I adopted an Aussie puppy about 6 months ago and I talked with 10 breeders. Some lived 2 hours from me. The one I chose lived in New Mexico (I'm in South Dakota). She knew her dogs, she knew her breed, she had a list of references a mile long and let me CALL some of her references myself and ask about their puppy. I got my puppy and she was EXACTLY what the breeder said she would be. I had wanted an Aussie with higher companion instincts and lower working drive and the breeder told me which parents to get a puppy from and she was dead on. The little traits she mentioned that the Mother had, our puppy has. I still speak with the breeder at least once a month.
Expect to answer questions yourself - and if the breeder doesn't ask them, be concerned. You should "click" with the breeder. You want a good working relationship - and ideally a friendship - with them to insure that IF something goes wrong that they will work with you. A good breeder has at least a 2 year health guarantee and it should cover basically anything that may happen. They should flat out tell you that they stand behind their puppies - no matter what, and even past the guarantee date they will still work with you.
I don't advertise in my local paper at all. Why? I've looked in it. The puppies listed in the paper are from Backyard Breeders who just wanted one litter. Why would I list my puppies, that I sell for $500 next to a puppy of the same breed that is being sold for $250? This has nothing to do with making money. The folks buying the dogs don't understand that my puppies are getting double the care that the $250 puppy is. I feed a much better food, use a better vet, offer a better guarantee, use better vaccines. My dogs are better cared for. They are only looking at how much the puppy is. Living in the midwest, most folks think $100 is a spendy for a dog. I don't want one of my puppies to go to a home where it will be fed Ol'Roy and locked outside all day everyday. I want a puppy to go to a home where they are given at least the same level of care that I give my own.
Quick story - About a year ago a sold a puppy to a family in Montana. I did not meet them in person but they were on my waiting list for about 4 months before choosing a puppy. I was comfortable with them and they were comfortable with me. They got their puppy and ran into a few bumps as she got adjusted (normal puppy stuff) which they called me and asked my advice and we worked through it. They just adopted their second puppy from me (he went home last week). Rather than ship the second puppy they choose to drive 12 hours to meet me (we met about 3 hours from my home so their trip would be a little shorter). We spent 45 minutes outside of a gas station talking. They were as nice as I imagined they were before meeting them. I met their kids who were well behaved, well groomed, and looked happy and healthy. They mentioned after the fact that they felt like they had known us without meeting us because we were the same in person. It was really fabulous meeting them in person, but I knew they were a great home already.
USE YOUR INSTINCTS!!! The term breeder does not imply quality! Just like doctors, lawyers, dentists... there are good ones and bad ones. I like the option of buying and selling over the internet because it gives me the option of having a much wider area to work with. I'm not stuck with the mediocre breeders in my area (why I started breeding is because there wasn't a GOOD Sheltie breeder within 300 miles of me). I've been burned by bad breeders. Guess what - I can look back now and it's obvious why. The breeders that scammed me, asked low prices, gave me no information, wouldn't show me more than one picture, made excuses about why they didn't do things they should have... There are neon signs for bad breeders. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!!! And expect to wait for your puppy. Breeders that have puppies READY to go right now usually are not good ones. Good breeders run a waiting list and only breed when they know they have homes lined up for any puppy they are not keeping for themselves. Good breeders DO keep their own puppies. They might take the "pick of the litter".
I could give you a list of red flags for bad breeders if you wanted - and they apply to internet and local breeders. One of the reasons I operate my "business" the way I do is because of all the bad things I've seen from other breeders. Good rule of thumb - the breeder should take the same level of care of her dogs that YOU plan to do for yours - AT LEAST. I personally like to see a breeder that does more than the average pet owner because it shows that their dogs are their priority.