Preface: I am not a big time breeder. I don't have decades in the breed. I only have one breeding girl and I have had 2, count them 2 litters. What I am is a responsible heritage breeder, with full health certifications for generations. I share because my last litter is in homes now and the numbers are interesting.
So, to start off...If you want to work with a responsible heritage breeder, you have to stand out. It gets said all the time but it needs repeating. There are always more people looking than well breed puppies being born.
In my last litter there were 8. I was keeping one and co-owning one with a friend. That left 6 puppies. For those 6 puppies I had over 150 inquiries.
I capped my interest list at 30 before the puppies were born. That happened almost 6 weeks before my puppies were born.
I do not believe this experience is unique to me but what most responsible heritage breeders see happen time and again.
So, potential puppy buyers you have to stand out. Assume you are among over 100 other families talking to or emailing a breeder. These breeders for the most part don't consider their dogs a business. They have regular jobs, families and other hobbies. Make an impact with your communication, especially email.
Before you contact a breeder, if they have a website, read it. I mean really read it. Don't just go to the contact or application page. Many breeders answer questions you likely have on their websites. It is frustrating to a breeder that has taken the time and effort to put it out there to be asked to repeat it in an email. On the other hand, don't expect all breeders to have up to date websites or a website at all. Some breeders are great with animals but not technology.
Once you have researched a breeder and you want to reach out, compose an email introduction. Do not fall into the pit trap of "Hi, do you have puppies? How much are they?". Are these important questions to a buyer, yes of course they are. But just how you likely would not walk in to business and ask, "Hi, are you hiring? How much do you pay?", these questions are better accepted after an introduction.
Be specific about yourself, your household, what pets you have now and in the past, what you want in a dog, why you picked this breeder in particular, etc. If you can, get some of you personality in there too.
Follow up, you don't have to be pesty but good, positive, consistent follow-up can help you stand out.
Want on the radar quickly, attend an event (dog show, obedience trial, etc.) were the breeder(s) you like will be. Always ask when it would be good to visit with them and ask if you can pet the dogs. This is a great way to get noticed.
Take it from me, when you have 150 families looking, you find the stand outs. Something about these people connects and these families are more likely to walk away with a puppy. The short or mundane inquiries don't. So, be you and share yourself to stand out. It is worth the effort.