This is the motivation behind a lot of posts to the category of choosing a breeder/puppy. This is my take/opnion:
Puppy buyers are usually viewing the puppy buying adventure from a purchasing of goods stand point. With this being the case, the buyers use the knowledge they have gathered over their years of experience as a consumer and thus become disappointed and frustrated when they feel they can't find a "budget" friendly option or find the "discount" Walmart (same great product, lower price) kind of option.
The puppy buyers knowledge and experience utterly fails them when it comes to buying a well bred puppy from fully cleared parentage because the puppy to the breeder is not a product or a commodity and those consumer rules/experiences go out the window. I know the ecconomy is tight. We all want the most for our dollar. We all have budgets to work with in. I "get" the idea of I don't want to pay $10 for something I could get for $8. Reputable
breeders are not in it for the money and they are not breeding for buyers. That is why the traditional purchase of goods knowledge and skills do not serve buyers well when it comes to puppies. These breeders are breeding for themselves. They do the testing because it is important to them. They need to know that they are keeping the best because health is important to the breed as a whole and to the continuation of their discipline (conformation, obiedence, hunting, agility, etc.) They of course will end up with more puppies then they need to continue the line and compete with. So, they place the "pet" puppies. This means they do not have puppies on a schedule convenient to buyers. They are also not competing with other breeders out there to get the market share. Reputable breeders will gladly keep a puppy until the right home comes up than to take the money and place a puppy in the wrong home.
Fringe breeders, back yard breeders, and puppy mills on the other hand may/do view the puppies as a commodity. So, why test, when it does not affect the ability to sell the puppies. That is money out of the pocket. Or they simply don't know because they just happen to have a boy and a girl and the kids should watch the miracle of birth. Or for fringe breeders, test only some things or test everything and still breed if they don't clear.
So, where does that leave the folks who are truly on a budget?
Here are all the options. While I detest several of these. In the interest of clarity to the poster I will list them all. 1. Save for a well bred puppy from cleared parentage.
Depending on your area I would say this would range from 1000-2000, though a budget of $1500 would probably give you enough flexibility to find what you want. This is my suggestion as it will highly stack the odds in your favor for a healthy puppy. It should also be a puppy with good structure (meaning it will be more likely to age gracefully and continue to be active with you longer) and a great temperament. 2. Stay with your budget.
You must realize at this point you will be supporting "fringe" or back yard breeders. This compromise will be just that a compromise on what you want. You will not have full clearences. There will not be the depth of clearences in the pedigree for grand parents on. The parents either will not be tested all, not be fully tested, or tested and failed on a clearance (in this case I would not expect discloseure, but it could happen). You may also be purchasing a puppy from parents that are young than two, which is the commonly accepted minimum age for breeding and the minimum age at which parents could
have full clearances. 3. Save on your budget and find a cheaper puppy.
realizing that you will not get the clearances that you want anyways. Save some of your budget for possible future care/needs by truly going the back yard breeder route. You never know, you could get lucky and get a healthy puppy despite no testing and no knowledge of the potential issues behind the dog. I would expect this will put you in the $250-650 range depending on your area. 4. Rescue an older dog and stay in your budget.
rescue is awesome, but not for everyone. Deciding on this route most likely will not give you any parental health info. You will be saving a life and getting a great dog as well. You most likely will not be able to get a puppy. 5. Purchase an older dog from a reputable breeder.
Again, you will be giving up the puppy stage. Breeders usually have dogs available for two main reasons. One, would be a prospect wash out. Usually younger dogs, under 2.5 years. These dogs may not have grown up as expected or hoped. They may also have failed a clearance and the breeder should disclose that. Two, would be a retired breeding dog. This would be an older dog maybe between 4-7 years usually with full clearances. Since most breeders live in residential areas, they are limited in the number of dogs they can keep, so they may find forever homes for retirees so they can be the jewel of a family and not lost in the crowd/pack. Prices and availability vary.
In all honesty I have never seen what I would call a budget breeder. Those who compete and care do things what I consider the right way. Those who don't, cut corners. In Goldens we have some frightening things behind those corners. Hip/Elbow displaysia, Pigmentary Uveitis, and Sub-aortic Stenosis to list just some.
I would suggest options 1, 4, or 5.
In the end it is your decision and you must decide what is important to you and what you feel comfortable spending on a puppy that will hopefully be with you 12+ years. On the forum you will generally find folks who support rescue and/or reputable breeders. We generally feel pretty passionate about our dogs and back yard or "fringe" breeders are not helping the breed at best and doing a lot of damage to puppies, dogs, buyers and the breed at worst.
Good luck on your decision and I wish you happiness what ever route you go.
Whew, that was long! Guess that is what happens when you drink Starbucks and type.