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What hamster breeds are there and what one is right for me?
So you have decided to embark on a journey of hamster ownership, and now you have to decide what hamster breeds you should consider.
You may have thought a hamster is a hamster, right? wrong! There are several different hamster breeds out there, and choosing the right one for you and your family is a very important decision.
How much space you have, whether you have allergies, and what sort of interaction you want with your new friend are just a few considerations. Not to mention hamster lifespan and diet.
This guide will hopefully give you all the information you need to go away and make an informed decision on the right hamster breed for you and your family.
Things to consider when choosing the right hamster breeds for your home
- Who will be the hamster owner? Are they young, or old? How much hamster ownership experience do they have?
- How much space do you have for your hamster? do you live in a huge country mansion with ample room for a large cage or tank, or a city dwelling with a need for more economical use of space?
- How long do you expect to be caring for your furry friend? hamsters can live up to 4 years so commitment is essential!
- Do you have any allergies? some hamster fur is more hypoallergenic than others!
- What levels of interaction are you expecting? would you prefer to observe your hamster bustling around going about his business? or would you prefer a cuddly little fellow who doesn’t mind being petted
- Are you on a budget? Again, hamsters can live for up to 4 years, so it is important you have the time and money to care for them.
Hamster Breed comparison – at a glance.
The Syrian Hamster, also known as the Teddy bear hamster, or the golden hamster is probably one of the most popular hamster breeds kept as domestic pets. They are slow-moving and docile, which makes them an ideal pet for a younger owner.
Syrian hamsters respond well to taming and training and if handled regularly are very tame and affectionate.
As with all hamsters, Syrian’s enjoy exercise and are great fun to watch on either an exercise wheel or hamster exercise ball.
Food preferences are small portions of fruits, nuts, and seeds. Read our nutrition guide here for more information
Interested in finding out more about Syrian Hamsters? you can read more about Syrian Hamsters here
Dwarf Campbell’s Russian Hamsters
The Dwarf Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamster is one of the most popular dwarf hamster breeds kept as pets.
Their agility, energy, and industriousness make them great fun to observe and study. However, this also makes them quite hard to handle and therefore not recommended for younger children. These busy little fellows are also known to deliver the odd nip if surprised or feel threatened, so it is important to handle your friend regularly if you want to save on band-aids! you can read more about training and handling tips here
They are super keen burrowers and diggers, therefore it is important to house them in a deep-based cage or tank ,where they can spend hours burrowing through a sufficient layer of substrate.
Food preferences include mealworms and , as a treat, with any good shop bought hamster food mix as their staple diet.
Read our nutrition guide here for more information
You can find out more about Dwarf Campbell’s Russian Hamsters here
Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamsters
Dwarf Winter White Russian dwarf hamsters or Djungarian hamsters are close relatives of the Campbell’s dwarf hamster and share many of the same physical characteristics in terms of shape and size.
They are timid little creatures and can be tamed by regular interaction and by following some steps on our training guide
Once tamed they are friendly and affectionate and will provide a great pet for an older child.
Because of their shape and size, a tank rather than a cage is better suited to avoid any escape attempts. Again they are busy little characters so ample space and substrate for burrowing and digging is essential.
For more information about the winter white hamster, check the guide out here Dwarf winter white hamsters here
Often known as The Robo hamster or desert hamsters, they are one of the smallest dwarf hamsters to keep.
Roborovski hamsters make great pets and can prove particularly suitable if non-contact animals are a preference, based on speed and size. They’re extremely active and can move at considerable speed – thus, handling can cause stress for them in comparison to other breeds.
However, older children and adults who enjoy studying animal behaviors will find Roborovski hamsters very rewarding to keep.
They enjoy a varied diet of nuts and seeds, and the occasional insect such as a mealworm or grasshopper always goes down a treat. The usual foods to avoid are anything with too much sugar, or too acidic.
Interested in learning more about Roborovski hamsters? Read more about Roborovski Hamsters here
Chinese Dwarf hamsters are endearing and affectionate little critters, that can provide lots of entertainment!
Initially, they can be very timid and wary of human interaction. So much so as delivering the occasional nip when feeling threatened. However, they can be tamed by regular handling for short periods of time, and will eventually become easy to handle.
Again these little critters are indeed very little! so a cage with small spaced bars is a
They are very energetic, so consider the largest cage or tank you can stretch to and pack it full of toys and places to explore to give your friend the best possible dwelling.
Interested in knowing more? Read more about Chinese Hamsters here
Best Hamster Breed Summary
So what is the best hamster breed for you and your family?
Well in summary the choice is very much yours, depending on your requirements and limitations. Size, space, and allergies can all be limiting factors on which breed suits you!
If you require a docile, loving, and affectionate friend, who doesn’t mind human interaction, look no further than the Syrian Hamster.
If you are more interested in observing hamster activity, then the highly active and busy breeds like the Roborovski hamster or Chinese hamster would be ideal. The Dwarf Cambell’s and the Winter white dwarf hamster are both also extremely busy, but also respond well to taming and training, so a middle ground option if you are interested in both aspects of hamster ownership.