Why should you buy a rat from a reputable breeder instead of a pet shop, or someone who just had a random litter of rats? Most people do not know the difference in the rats that come from a pet store, or through online classifieds compared to rats from a reputable breeder (or from a reputable rescue organization).
Do not hesitate to ask questions and ask to see the conditions where the animals are kept, wherever you decide to get your rats from.
Pros: Usually cheaper, easier, more convenient.
Quicker (as they usually have rats available right throughout the year).
Cons: The rats have no recorded parentage, temperament, health and longevity in siblings/parents. Can have parasites, be aggressive, skittish, fearful, and sick.
Most pet stores are not concerned with the condition in which the rats are kept, some pet stores do not even separate genders (in which you would almost be guaranteed to be taking home a pregnant female). The single purpose of a pet store is business. Not really taking into account the welfare of the animals, and mostly relying on impulse purchases or people who are unaware that rats can come from a reputable breeder. Pet stores almost always give out the wrong information in regard to caring for rats (Such as incorrect cage size, food, bedding, "Myths" on their care). Rats sold at pet stores are commonly from members of the public who let their rats breed indiscriminately. They also encourage breeding of any rats sold so they can later on supply the store with more rats.
Pros: Reputable breeders put the rats welfare as there top priority. You can be assured when buying from a reputable breeder than the rat has been well looked after during its upbringing. Breeders are well experienced, and are knowledgeable about rat care, breeding and genetics. They offer support and advice for the lifetime of the rat and beyond. They usually have a wider colour and pattern variety available than most pet stores. Above all, by adopting from a reputable breeder you are supporting someone who has taken the time to learn and carefully select the animals which they breed. They put a lot of effort into their rats to make sure that the babies they produce are the best pets they can be.
Cons: You typically have to wait longer for your rats to be ready to come home with you, waiting lists are also common. You typically have to travel a greater distance to pick up the rats, as opposed to a local pet store.
Please consider adopting from a reputable rescue as well. Rescue rats are just as loving, beautiful and fantastic pets as any rat from a breeder.
Please don't hesitate to contact me regarding absolutely any questions you have about rats. No question is silly so you should not feel embarrassed by asking anything regarding rats at all.