Many hamsters, both young and old, unfortunately become abandoned or homeless through no fault of their own every year and end up in rescue shelters.
Rescue homes usually assess the hamster's health on arrival and carry out treatment if needed before offering for rehoming as well as handling the hamsters to ensure they are of good temperament.
Unfortunately obtaining a hamster from a Rescue homes often means the hamster's background or exact age are often not know.
Depending on the rescue organisation they may require the completion of a series of forms, interviews or even a home visit to assess suitability as a potential hamster owner. Their primary concern is to ensure the correct placement of the hamsters in their care with a suitable new owner.
Owners of show hamsters often breed their from their hamsters in an attempt to establish new colours, or breed future show winners and private hamster owners also sometimes have hamsters for sale which may be the result of a planned or unplanned pregnancy. Hamsters bred by hobbyist breeders have usually been well cared for and handled regularly and so make very suitable pets.
The advantages of buying from a show breeder is that breeding has usually been carefully planned and thought through with regard to producing robust, healthy hamsters of good temperament.
Buying a hamster direct from a breeder means that there is usually the opportunity to see the parents and know the date of birth of the hamster that it is intended to purchase.
Many pets shops sell hamsters and these are most commonly obtained from commercial hamster farms and the result of mass breeding. The hamsters may not have been handled any great deal before arriving at the pet shop and may not be handled much, if at all, by the pet shop staff before being offered for sale.
Whilst some pet shops quarantine new hamsters on arrival to ensure they are healthy, not all do, and so hamsters offered for sale may or may not have any assessment of their health or temperament before being offered for sale.
Most often little or no information can be given about the background or breeding of the hamsters in pet shops apart from an approximate age.