Someone that is willing to help you out, and has visibly healthy stock. The rabbits will look great, and well muscled. When looking at a breeders stock at a show, always ask lots of questions. A good breeder will be willing to answer. A bad will blow you off.
What a pet owner looks for in a breeder and what a breeder or show bunny owner looks for a in a breeder are very different things.
So its hard for me to answer your question - but I will say this - I'm willing to "lose sales" if it means not letting people into my rabbitry. Sorry - but I've heard of too many people stealing rabbits, etc.
I'm also going to open mouth and insert foot and say something else here - and its directed towards what I look for in a breeder for showing/breeding animals.
I don't care how friendly the breeder is - I don't care how many hours they take to talk to me - if what they breed is crap as far as quality goes - even if it is cheap - I'm NOT going to buy it.
Too many people buy rabbits (for breeding) from a breeder cause they're "so very nice and helpful".
I appreciate helpful breeders - but I'm not going to base my herd and what I add to it by how helpful a breeder is.
This is from the point of view of a potential buyer. It is mostly what *I* would look for.
A breeder who will be there to answer questions after you take the rabbit home. This would be really important for a first time rabbit owner. Just having someone who will answer questions about food, housing, grooming and other aspects of the care of the rabbit. Even if you don't have any questions, it is still good to know they are avaliable if you need them.
A breeder who knows the breed(s). If I have a question about that breed or a specific care aspect of the breed, they should be able to answer it. If an angora breeder doesn't know about grooming, they probably aren't the best out there. They should be upfront about any issues with the breed could have. If you are looking for a show rabbit, they should also know the breed standard and be able to help you with that.
I would prefer to go to a breeder who shows the rabbits. While there aren't a lot of shows around here, they should do what they can, even if it is only 1 or 2 a year. There is no way I would buy a show rabbit form someone who doesn't show. If you don't show, it is hard to really know what show quality is. If you aren't looking for a show rabbit, then this doesn't really matter, but to me is shows commitment and a purpose for breeding.
I would like to see where the rabbits are raised if at all possible. I do realize that some breeders don't like to have strangers in their rabbitry, but I would be wary of someone who didn't at least let me come to their place. If they insist on meeting in a parking lot, I would not buy from them. While there are times that meeting at the breeders is not possible, I still like a breeder that is willing to let me see. Being able to see the parents of the rabbit as well as other rabbits is good to be able to know more about the practises of the breeder. If you meet off site, they will probably only bring the best or cleanest rabbits. If you meet at their property, you can see all the rabbits.
A breeder who is a member of rabbit clubs is a plus. ARBA would be a good one along with a local club. A breed club can also be good.
A website is nice. I can see what their rabbits are like and what they breed (breeds, colours etc). You can also see how much they breed, and get to know a bit more about them. A website gives me an overview of the breeder and I can make some basic decisions on if I would go to them from it. If I don't agree with their practises, then I don't have to go any further. Even just knowing where they are located and what they breed can be a huge help.
I basically look form a knowledgeable breeder who is open and honest. I also like one who is involved in rabbits and rabbit people. Someone who will be there to answer questions and possibly take the rabbit back or help you re home it is a huge plus. I want a breeder who cares about their rabbits and where the rabbits go.
Yep a lot breeder won't allow people into their rabbitry for reasons tiny suggested. I know a lot of breeders, however I have never been in any of their barns. We meet and swap back and forth at shows.
When I am looking for a breeder, or looking at rabbits from a certain breeder. I like to see a breeder that tries to match your needs and not just focus on selling the rabbits. Someone who is very informative and give you a lot of information about the breed, and offers you help that would take some of their time.
For example, The lady I bought my Rhinelanders from. The only reason why I approched her was simply because a Rhinelader in sport looked exactly like a Harlequin. When I asked her I was really hoping she would say that they were in fact Harlequins. Well it turned out they were Rhinelanders, well I wasnt really all that intersted. But we got to talking about how they are a very interesting breed, and she told me a lot of information about them that I didnt know. Well, I walked away from them and when the show was coming to an end I in fact returned to her and bought me a nice pair.
I know for a fact if we didnt talk so much about them I never would of purchased a pair that day. With her being so informative, and really taking the time to talk to me about them I trusted her as a breeder, and she was someone that I really wanted to buy rabbits from.
It just goes to show you, when you take the time to inform the person, it can go a long way.
For someone buying a pet, this is what I'd look for. The rabbits' cages are big, clean, the rabbits are healthy looking and friendly. The baby rabbits should be friendly and not nervous, well used to being handled. That the breeder doesn't have too many rabbits, just a reasonable number. That the breeder is nice and helpful. That the breeder obviously cares for the rabbits, and preferably treats them like pets, since the one you buy will be a pet.
What the rabbits look like shouldn't be very important for a pet, just that they look well cared for.
I'd prefer to buy a rabbit that was "bad quality" from a breeder who treated it like a pet and had it in great conditions, then a good quality rabbit who was in ok conditions but just treated as livestock and kept in a small cage, because I'm not interested in rabbits being show quality as such.