I have a different perspective on responsible breeders and health because my responsible breeder dog developed FCP elbow dysplasia. It's a chronic condition that we will deal with the rest of his life. Now I know 1827472819 people will chime in here and say " MY breeder dog is healthy and every way!" and that's fantastic, but mine isn't, so it changes the way I look at things a bit.
Whether we get a dog from a breeder or a rescue or the shelter or Craig's list will depend on where we are in life when the time comes to get another dog. DH really doesn't care for puppies, and BADLY wants a rescued greyhound. The black lab we transported from the shelter was absolutely fantastic, and I would have taken him in a heartbeat if I could have.
I volunteer occasionally with a rescue and am good friends with the director (who also happens to be Jack's second favorite person in the world), and would absolutely consider having her help us find a dog when the time comes.
While both health and temperament are important, temperament is THE most important to me. You can treat health issues, but you can't really change a dog's basic temperament. I wouldn't knowingly take a dog with health issues, but if it happens it happens.
Now it could have a lot to do with breed choice too, since there are a LOT of young labs that have outgrown the adorable puppy stage that need homes when their owners realize that they don't train themselves and won't magically calm down at a year old.
Then again, we might go with a breeder-who knows. I guess I just want an athletic, outgoing, dog friendly, people friendly, bird and cat tolerant, kid friendly, not nervy dog, who likes to get up and do things but has an off switch (loves to fetch and swim is a plus). If I can find that in rescue, all the better as far as I'm concerned. Dog sports aren't all that important to me--they are icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned. If the dog enjoys them and can do them it's great, but if they don't or can't my heart won't be broken.
It is my personal opinion that dog owners as a community should all participate in rescue, even in a small way (if not adopting or fostering, donating-even small amounts). No, these dogs are not YOUR responsibility, but sometimes when you are part of the community you do things to help said community--sort of a "You are responsible for what you have tamed" kind if thing.
Sorry if this was a bit rambling-just worked 10 hours and am TIRED!
Sally--8 yr old pit bull mix
Jack--6 yr old Labrador
Sadie & Runt--12 yr old calico DSHs
Pickles & Kiwi--3 yr old white winged parakeets
Yoda--1 yr old Quaker parrot
Solo--12 yr old Senegal parrot
Sheena--Quarter Horse--3/24/86-6/23/11--Rest Easy Sweet Girl~
Labs do it in the lake.