Because there is such a wide variety of hamster types available, this could make it difficult for you to select a specific type for a pet. Hamsters generally come in five different types. These are the Winter White Russian Dwarf, the Roborovski dwarf, the Campbell’s Russian Dwarf, the Chinese, and the ever-popular Syrian hamster.
Some of the different types of hamsters have a few similarities but each species is definitely unique. While it might seem very simple to go into a pet store and just pick out a hamster, you should take your time and do your research before making your selection, as one type of hamster could be a better fit in your family over another type.
All five of the above listed hamsters are commonly called dwarf hamsters because of their smaller size. However, two of these groups are not scientifically considered dwarfs at all. These are the Chinese hamsters and the Syrian hamsters. It is very common for most people to refer to them as dwarfs anyhow.
One true dwarf hamster is the Winter White Russian Dwarf. Here are some highlights of this species.
- Have a “dorsal strip” or a dark stripe that runs along their spine
- Coat colors change with the seasons
- Summer coats are darker than the winter coats
- Winter coats are white and summer coats are gray
- Can reach about seven to ten inches long
- Very social hamsters
- Like living together in the same environment (cages)
- Can become territorial so each hamster should have sufficient space
- Should have a food bowl, toy, and running wheel for each hamster
- Hamsters in the same cages should be raised together, don’t introduce adults
The next dwarf hamster type is the Roborovski hamster.
- Can grow to 4-5.5 centimeters
- Has a tail that is barely visible
- Smallest out of all the dwarf hamsters
- Extremely active and loves to play
- Very, very quick
- Will explore their surroundings thoroughly
- Not best for cuddling or trying to handle a lot
- Better fit for an adult than a child
The Russian Campbell’s Dwarf hamster is another popular dwarf style.
- Grow to eight to eleven centimeters long
- Almost the same as the White Dwarf Russian hamsters
- Pet stores sometimes can’t tell them apart
- Have thicker coats than the Winter White Dwarfs
Next is the more rare Chinese hamster:
- Has a very rat-like appearance
- Has a long tail which none of the other dwarf hamsters possess
- Usually has a calm personality
- Tends to be easier to tame
- Some states consider it a pest so you must obtain a permit
Finally, the most popular hamster is the Syrian hamster.
- Must never be put with other hamsters in the cage!
- Loners who enjoy the solitary life
- Often referred to as “fancy” hamsters
- Also called teddy bears, Dalmatians, black bears, panda bears, honey bears and Golden hamsters
- Includes a long-haired version
- Largest hamster type growing anywhere from 12-16 centimeters
Now you can see that the world of hamsters has quite a bit of variety. You want to make sure you are getting the best hamster for your lifestyle. Use this guide to hamster types as a good resource when you go to buy your dwarf hamster.