This article is from the American Pit Bull Terriers Breed FAQ, by Michael Bur with numerous contributions by others.
Well, let's start off this section by telling you what not to do.
Do not look in the local news paper and respond to an ad that looks
something like this:
PITT BULL PUPPIES - $150. Large bones, big heads. 6 wks old, wormed
and ready to go. pager: xxx-xxxx.
Those who place such ads know nothing about dogs, breeding, or the APBT
for that matter. With APBTs, as with many other breeds, bigger is NOT
better. Those backyard breeders who make size the chief selling point
of their dogs are doing harm to the breed. Those who advertize their
dogs as aggressive are either 1) selling dogs that really aren't
aggressive but advertize them this way, thinking that's what buyers
expect and want or 2) selling curs that never should have been bred.
Someone who runs an ad like the example above probably has bred his or
her bitch to the neighbor's or friend's dog because "both dogs are
really cool" or, worse yet, "both dogs are really big and really mean".
Well, this is the type of breeding that has contributed to the "Pit
Bull Hysteria" that we know today. This type of breeding is a crap
shoot at best. The pups often turn out to be OK in spite of the
breeder's intentions, but why take the chance? In fact, I would say
that it is _NOT_ a good idea to buy any purebred dog through the
newspaper, and this is even more critical with an APBT. Sure, there
may be some reputable folks that are breeding good dogs and selling
some of them through the paper, but they are few and far between.
Unless you really know the fancy, it's not a good idea to go this route.
Do your homework. Read everything you can about the APBT. (See
"References" section). Ask other owners questions about the breed.
Once you have heard all of the pros and cons of APBT ownership, and
are well aware of what to expect from APBT's in general, a good place
to start looking for breeders is in the APBT Gazette (see "References"
section). However, just because someone advertizes in the Gazette does
not mean that he/she has some sort of "Good Housekeeping Seal of
Approval". Start off by mailing letters to breeders asking them about
their breeding program. Some of the breeders offer "yard video tapes"
that allow you to see potential sires and dams. Another good place to
contact breeders is at APBT-related events, such as conformation shows
and weight pulling contests. The Gazette lists a schedule of these
events in each issue. Remember, all puppies are cute so make sure that
the cute puppy you are looking at and decide to buy is a well bred one
from a good breeder.