Hamsters are rodents, a popular choice among small pets. Dwarf Winter White Russians, Dwarf Campbell Russians, Roborovski Dwarfs, Syrians, and Chinese are the five most popular hamsters. Though each breed has distinguishing characteristics that sets it apart from the others, do note that every hamster is different and may exhibit traits that are not typical of their breed.
Size – They grow up to 5 – 7 inches long. Female hamsters are generally longer than male hamsters.
Life span - Approximately 2 - 4 years.
Behavior and temperament - Syrian hamsters are friendly with children, easy to handle, and considered perfect pets for families. However, do bear in mind that they do not interact with other hamsters. As such they should be raised alone until they reach the age of ten weeks.
Coat variety - They are golden brown with a lighter shade on the belly. However, selective breeding has resulted in a wide range of colours, pattern, and hair size variations.
Ease of care – They are nocturnal creatures that only come out at night. Syrian hamsters are crepuscular and need rest during the day, so play with them only in the evenings or at night.
Housing- They take up very little room and is very easy to set up and maintain.
Campbell Dwarf Hamster
Also known as the Russian Dwarf Hamster.
Size- They are extremely small, only growing up to 4 inches.
Life span - is around two years.
Behavior and temperament – They are not very sociable, so they may bite if they feel threatened. Nevertheless, they can still be good pets. However, children will require supervision when handling them.
Coat variety – Campbell Dwarf hamsters are normally greyish brown fur on the back with a darker line of color down the spine, a creamier color on the arms, and a white stomach.
Ease of care - Even though they are nocturnal, they frequently awake during the day. They can be difficult to handle, especially for young children, due to their small size and quickness.
Housing - They enjoy sleeping in safe enclosed spaces. Additional accessories such chewable toys and exercise wheels can be included to improve their fitness.
Winter White Dwarf Hamster
Another name is Djungarian dwarf hamsters.
Size – It ranges from 3.5 to 4 inches long.
Life span - A Dwarf Winter White Russian hamster lives for around two years on average.
Behavior and temperament - They behave actively throughout the day and can be kept in the house in pairs or groups of the same sex if introduced at a young age. Moreover, they are less likely to bite when they are nervous, and they are usually very friendly and sociable.
Coat variety - Winter White dwarf hamsters are available in three colors, including Sapphire-Pearl mix, Sapphire, and Pearl.
Ease of care - Since they are small and quick, they can be difficult for young children to handle safely.
Housing - Dwarf Winter White Russians are tiny and compact. A well-ventilated aquarium is usually a better housing option than a wire cage to prevent them from escaping through the bars of regular hamster cages.
Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
Size - They are the tiniest of the most common hamster breeds, growing to be just 2-3 inches long as adults.
Life span – 2.5 – 3 years, which is longer than other traditional hamster breeds.
Behavior and temperament - They are gentle hamsters who seldom bite. Despite their pleasant personalities, they are better suited for observation than handling due to their small size and strength. As shy animals, they do not enjoy being touched. They may be in pairs or groups of the same gender.
Coat variety – They have a sandy brown coloration with white marks on the stomach, nose, and a mask on rare occasions.
Ease of care - They take longer to tame than other species and are not recommended for first-time hamster owners.
Housing - They are, however, more quick and active than their Campbell cousins, so keep them in their cage as much as possible. If possible, do house them in a large enclosed tank. They are famous for jumping from unsuspecting hands and vanishing under surfaces in just a matter of seconds!
Size – They grow up to 3 – 4 inches.
Life span – They live up to 2.5 – 3 years
Behavior and temperament - They can be hostile towards each other, but they are friendly and good-natured around people, and they rarely bite. They are super active for brief periods during the day, but are most active at night.
Coat variety - An agouti coat with a dark brown back, an ivory-colored stomach, and a black line of fur at the spine. They may also appear with a white coat with a dominant spot on it.
Ease of care – Being crepuscular hamsters, can exhibit brief bursts of activity throughout the day. Although this is perfectly natural, please keep playtime during the day short and minimal, as it is critical for their rest and recovery.
Housing - They can either be housed alone or in same-sex pairs or small groups.
The ideal diet for all hamsters would be one that is a balanced mix of a pellets, mixes, hay and occasional treats.