Hamsters are one of the cutest and loveliest pets you can have. If you are looking to get a hamster for the first time or willing to keep another hamster as a pet, it is better to go through the various breeds, their similarities and differences so you can get the best according to your needs. This does not mean that any breed of hamster is not worthy of keeping as a pet, but all of them have different habits and personalities and it is best to choose the one that suits you the best.
In this article, we will highlight all the breeds of hamsters, their similarities, differences, some facts about each breed and in the end suggest you the best one as per different circumstances.
Following are the most common breeds of hamsters that you can find at a pet store, rescue house or an adoption center.
- Syrian Hamsters
- Campbell Russian Hamsters
- Winter White Dwarf Hamsters
- Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters
- Chinese Hamsters
So, let’s start the Hamster Journey!
It is one of the most common breeds that you are going to find and is also known by the name of teddy bear hamster or golden hamster. Hamsters are considered to be one of the friendliest breeds around and get along well with kids and adults alike. They are, however, a bit difficult to tame and take some time to develop a bond of love with their owners. But, once they are through the acquaintance phase, they get along very well with everyone.
They are also the largest among the hamsters, can grow up to seven inches, live up to 4 years and very rarely nip or get angry if they are not disturbed and all their needs are met on the timely and adequate basis. Syrian hamsters also come in black and white colors and you can also find a black bear Syrian hamster.
The black bear Syrian hamster is just a replica of a miniature black bear. As far as the coat types are concerned, you can find short, long and umbrous coat types. The umbrous coat types have gray colorings on the ends of the fur.
- Syrian hamsters are easy to get along, they are laid back and like to cuddle and play with you.
- They do not nip much.
- Syrian hamsters are nocturnal and if you are not a night owl, you might find it difficult to get along and spend some time with them. Female Syrian hamsters tend to stay more active during day time.
- Syrian hamsters must not be housed with another hamster of any breed, even Syrian. They fight with other hamsters inside the cage.
Campbell Russian Hamsters
When it comes to dwarf hamsters, this is the most famous breed. They will grow up to a maximum of 4-5 inches as compared to 7-inches long Syrian hamsters. These hamsters usually live up to 2 years and are very sensitive and cute animals. If you are planning to get this hamster, you need to take great care for their diet and feed plan as they are very prone to getting diabetics from a sugar-rich diet and can also get obese.
The tiny animals have very little feet, they can get stuck in cages with large wires spaces, and so make sure you get a cage that has small wire spaces. Campbell’s dwarf hamsters come in different variations. You can find one with red eyes, known as Albino Hamster.
Another one, with an amazing combination of the black and gray and white underbelly, is Agouti. Other variations are black, cinnamon and opal. All are beautiful and a treat to watch and own.
- They can live with other dwarf hamsters and get along very well, provided that they are given enough space in the cage.
- They are very active and fun to watch.
- If you are keeping more than one dwarf in a single cage, make sure that are of the same sex, otherwise, you will have a lot of dwarf children to handle in no time.
- They can get angry and bite when disturbed and made nervous. So, it is recommended that you supervise your young ones while spending time with them.
- They are totally nocturnal; do not expect them to disturb their routine for your pleasure.
- Their eyesight is poor and they are prone to diabetics.
- They can escape from cages which have large wire spaces. It is better to keep them in cages with small wire spaces or glass tanks with ventilation.
Winter White Dwarf Hamsters
Winter whites are also known by the name of the Djungarian hamster and Siberian hamster. This breed is often confused with the above-mentioned breed because of their similarities in appearance. However, biologists have classified them as a separate hamster breed. They have the same natural white coloring as Campbell’s have. The winter whites, when observed closely have an appearance that matches with mice.
These hamsters usually grow up to 3 inches in body size, so it is better to keep them in a glass tank or plastic tub with proper ventilation and lids. They are so delicate that they can easily get stuck in wired cages and break their bones. They love to exercise and do not compromise on their exercise wheel and toys. If you do not provide them with enough toys and playing space, they will get irritated; restrict them to one corner of the cage.
They can get along pretty well with other hamsters of the same breed. One interesting fact about them is that they love to roll themselves up and look like a cute ball of fur sitting around their habitat. Winter whites come in three different colors, one is the natural color which is a blend of black and grey, second is sapphire, which is bluish-grey. The last is the pearl, it is the rarest and it has a white fur-coat with dark-colored tips.
- They love to be held and play with you.
- They are very easy to tame if you approach them in the right way and feed them from your own hand.
- Their fur can cause allergic reactions in your family and especially kids.
- When disturbed, winter whites let out high pitched squeaks that can wake you up from sleeping.
Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters
A very small and very beautiful hamster breed, it can grow to a maximum of 2-3 inches and loves to exercise a lot. It is fast, cute and can run up to tens of miles on exercise wheels. They like to exercise a lot and hence eat a lot more than other dwarf breeds.
If you are planning to keep this breed as a pet, make sure that you are ready to feed them at off times and take care of their needs around the clock. This hamster is only a good treat to be watched playing in the cage as they are too small and delicate that they are very difficult to handle and to be trained. They can live up to more than four years and sometimes; they can outlive their Syrian cousins.
Their coat color is sandy brown and they have white underside and legs. The white spots above their eyes increase their cuteness. A very rare variant, known by the name of Husky comes with a white face.
- They are very active; they will motivate you to do exercise regularly.
- Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are highly sociable with the members of their breed. So, it is a great idea to keep same-sex Roborovskis in one cage.
- Robos stay awake during day time as well.
- The natural instinct of Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters is to escape, and they are so small that it becomes almost impossible to find them once they escape.
- Robos can easily pick up viruses from humans, so you need to limit your time with them if you are suffering from flu or cold.
- Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are prone to neurological disorders.
This breed of hamster is also known as striped hamsters because of the dark colored stripe running down the spine. Their underbelly is grayish-white and they can grow up to 4 inches in size.
Chinese hamsters also don’t like to handled and cuddled. As soon as they are released from the cage, the first thing they will do is to run. So, it is better to keep them in their habitat and watch them play and have fun.
If you are looking at this hamster for the first time, you may get confused with a mouse because its appearance matches with a mouse. Chinese hamsters can live up to 3 years. It is better to house them in an aquarium as compared to a wire cage.
- Taming them is difficult, however, once trained they will like to have fun with their owners.
- Chinese hamsters are intelligent and they will amaze you and entertain you with their tricks.
- Chinese hamsters are not suitable for your kids. These hamsters are fragile, quick and can escape very easily, so all the interactions with your kids must be overseen.
- They are prone to diabetics, so you need to carefully monitor their diet.
Best One for You
It is very difficult for us to simply suggest the best breed for you. Each breed has its own characteristics, pros, and cons. Any treat can be made to love you, obey you and have fun with you, but here socialization and taming them is the key.
There are some clear-cut points while selecting a trait, for example, Syrian hamsters get along very well with the little ones in your family and are also less prone to critical diseases. Other breeds all have their positive and negative points.
Whichever breed you choose, we suggest you study their feed plan, cage requirements and other needs such as water bottle, toys, and bedding. Provide them with a comfortable and well cared for life so that they shower their unconditional love on you and your family. In this way, you and your pet hamster will love each other and have fun.