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Regardless of what color phase of the Panther Chameleon you wish to keep, it is imperative that you select a healthy animal whether you purchase it from a breeder or a retail Pet Shop.
Your first choice in buying should only be captive bred (CB) animals from a reputable source.  They are much less likely to be carrying parasites and be free from the stresses that wild caught (WC) animals have.  Unless you are an experienced breeder needing to diversify the bloodlines of your breeding stock, you should NOT be getting WC animals. There are enough Panther breeders out there that being able to find CB Panthers should not be a problem.
Currently, the Government of Madagascar has severely restricted the export of Panther Chameleons due to CITES mandate so leave them for the experts.  Furthermore, unless you plan to breed, you should not buy females.  If you have a female and do not give it the opportunity to breed, its life expectancy may be curtailed and could result in compications and eventual premature death. 
Before selecting an animal, observe them for a while before you disturb them.  They should be alert and attentive to their surrounding. Their eyes should be round and full. Avoid animals that have sunken eyes (it can be a sign of dehydration, malnutrition or an indication of generally poor health).  Carefully have the animal perch on your hand and feel its weight.  It should feel relatively heavy (for its size) and most of all, it should feel solid and muscular.  Unfortunately, some CB animals may suffer from metabolic bone disease (a condition similar to osteoporosis in humans), caused by too rapid of a growth rate with inadequate calcium intake (bad diet) or poor absorption of calcium (lack of vitamin D and or UV-B rays).  An animal showing signs of metabolic bone disease may feel very light and frail and may have difficulty supporting its own body weight on its limbs as well as possibly having visible deformities.
The age of the animal you select can also make a difference. You should always try to purchase an animal as close to being an adult as possible. That way, you can be assured of its color qualities as well as health. Although buying babies can be just as safe if you know what you are doing, they do need more attention and care than older animals.  Babies are just as hardy as adults as long as you meet their needs but younger animals are less tolerant of any husbandry mistakes you may make.