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Hamster Breeds: Types of Hamsters

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Hamsters are so adorable with those sweet, food-stuffed cheeks and those eyes that yell “pick me, pick me!” each time you pass them in a store. Hamsters are rodents, but have a more cuddly, friendly appearance than that of a rat.

Not every hamster is created equal, though. Different types of hamsters means different sizes, colors and temperaments, so it is important to research the different breeds available at your pet store to determine which kind would fit in well with you and your family.

Here, we will go over the five most common types of hamsters found in pet stores: Chinese, Dwarf Campbell Russian, Dwarf Winter White Russian, Roborovski Dwarf, and Syrian.

Chinese Hamsters

Chinese hamsters are also known as striped hamsters. They are sometimes referred to as dwarf hamsters, they are not really dwarf hamsters. Although they are almost the same size of a dwarf; their bodies are long and slender, and reach about 4 inches long.

Their coloring can range from white to light brown or light gray, always with spots or a dark stripe running down the length of their spines.

These hamsters get along with people and are not really known to be biters; however, they do not play nicely together so it’s advisable to keep them in separate cages if you have more than one. Their lifespan lasts about two years, and they are most active during the night.

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Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamsters

Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamsters are also known as Djungarian hamsters, these hamsters are natives to Asia. These hamsters also reach a length of about 4 inches but come in a wide range of colors, most commonly light to white colors with a dark stripe running down the spine.

Although these hamsters may nip when they get scared or feel threatened, they still make great pets, but be assured that supervised play is recommended until a good relationship is established. They do play well with other hamsters as long as they are introduced to the other hamsters while young.

Their lifespan lasts about two years and they are most active at night, although they do wake for a few hours during the day.

Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamsters

Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamsters are also known as Siberian hamsters, these Russian natives reach about 4 inches long and are typically a smokey sapphire color to pearl, or a mix of the two colors.

This is probably one of the best breeds to have as a pet, as they are awake during the daytime, they’re personable, and do not bite when scared.

This breed, like the Campbell, play well with other hamsters but are very quick to move, so take care that you don’t let it out of your hands! These also have a lifespan of about two year

Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters

Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are also known as Mongolian hamsters, these hamsters are native to Mongolia and are truly a dwarf hamster, measuring just 2 inches long as adults.

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You will typically a light brown color with patches of white on their face.

Although they are one of the smallest hamsters, they are also one of the quickest and carry a lifespan of closer to three or four years.

They are nocturnal and should only be handled in areas where there is nowhere for them to hide if they get loose!

Syrian Hamsters

Syrian Hamsters are also known as Teddy Bear, Fancy, or Standard are probably the most common hamster purchased as a pet.

They are natives of the Syrian Desert and come in many different colors.

This is one of the larger types of hamsters, measuring in at up to 7 inches as adults!

They have a lifespan of about two and a half years, and should be kept in separate cages once they are older than 10 weeks as they may fight, although, they do really well with people.

Hamsters Make Great Pets

Hamsters make great pets, especially first pets, because they are easy to care for and teach responsibility of taking care of something that depends on you to live!

If your child is talking about wanting a dog, a hamster is a terrific test to see if they can handle the big responsibility of feeding, bathing, and keeping the cage clean because if they can’t handle a hamster, they are surely not ready for a larger animal.

Now that you know a bit about each of the most common types of hamsters, I hope you’ve gained enough knowledge to make an informed decision.


James on April 27, 2020:

I have baby hamsters and I want to know where I could sell them online

Mustard on November 29, 2019:

So helpful!

Nikki on December 11, 2017:

This is a great article especially a way to be a responsible child and to get to know them all!

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