Hamsters make excellent pets for children and adults of all ages. It may come as a surprise to some that there are several different types of pet hamsters to choose from.
Choosing the right hamster for your family does not have to be a difficult task. Once you learn what each type of pet hamster has to offer, the better prepared you will be to make the best decision.
Here are the 5 types of pet hamsters that are available as pets today.
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster
The Campbell’s dwarf hamster is a small, popular type of pet hamster that measures a little over three inches when grown. As their name implies, they are considered to be small-sized hamsters.
Many hamster enthusiasts refer to Campbell’s dwarf hamsters as Siberian hamsters.
Most of their fur is light brownish-grey in color and they have a noticeable dorsal stripe down their backs. Their mouths are often surrounded by a small area of white fur.
Campbell’s dwarf hamsters do not change colors depending on the season. Their fur stays the same color throughout their lifetime.
As a pet, Campbell’s dwarf hamsters can live up to 2.5 years if well-cared for. Caretakers of these hamsters should provide them with a balanced diet to help prolong their lives.
Winter White Dwarf Hamster
Also known as the Djungarian hamster, the winter white dwarf hamster is another popular pet hamster in many households. It is another type of small-sized pet hamster.
Many people call also these hamsters Siberian dwarf hamsters because they are a lot like Campbell’s dwarf hamsters. Don’t be confused, though; they are not the same type of hamster by any means.
The winter white dwarf hamster can grow to somewhere between two and three inches long as an adult. They are usually docile, friendly hamsters that are easy to tame.
This hamster’s natural fur color is either dark grey, pearl, or sapphire. They have a dark-colored dorsal stripe down their backs.
Their fur color will lighten to white during the winter months and return to their normal color when summer comes around.
These small hamsters can live up to 3 years as pets as long as their owners take care of them properly. Winter white dwarf hamsters do have a high likelihood to develop tumors, but that is normal among most pet hamsters.
The Roborovski hamster is the smallest pet hamster available to potential hamster owners. They grow to only about two inches long as adults, an inch less than the two types of dwarf hamsters discussed so far.
Also known as Robo dwarf hamsters, these lovable little creatures do not have a dorsal stripe on their backs. They can be a variety of colors including gray, brown, reddish-brown, white, pied, mottled, or black.
Robo dwarf hamsters have cute little white ‘eyebrows’ that are easy to see on most color varieties. They have the potential to live up to 4 years in the right conditions.
They are very fast, full of energy, and need access to daily exercise via running wheels or tunnels. Due to their small size and penchant to run, this type of hamster is not ideal for pet owners hoping for a closer bond.
Syrian hamsters are often called golden hamsters depending the color of their fur. They are popular standard-size hamsters and tend to be around six inches long.
Syrian hamsters are extremely popular as pet hamsters because of their friendly nature. They are larger than the small-sized hamsters previously discussed, often making them easier to handle and care for.
These hamsters can come in almost any color including white, tan, grey, black, reddish-brown, grey, and more. Syrian hamsters that have long hair are often called ‘teddy bear’ hamsters.
Syrian hamsters, like the other hamsters discussed so far, can live anywhere between 2 and 3 years. Their lifespan is dependent on the quality of their daily care, nutrition, and genetics.
Chinese hamsters are another standard-size type of pet hamster, although they are not very popular. They can grow to about five inches long as adults, making them somewhat easier for owners to hold when needed.
They are noticeably different from the other types of hamsters due to the fact that they are the only type that has long tails. These hamsters are not friendliest pet hamsters at first, but with time and patience, they tend to make great pets.
Chinese hamsters are noticeably thinner than the other types of hamsters and they have a dark dorsal line down their backs. Their fur can be either dark gray, gray with spotted white, or solid white.
Chinese hamsters can live up to 3 years with proper care and attention.
Can Different Types of Hamsters Mate Successfully?
Most of the different types of pet hamsters discussed here cannot mate successfully with one another, however, two of them can.
The winter white dwarf hamster and Campbell’s dwarf hamsters are the only two types of hamsters that can successfully mate with each other. They cannot produce offspring with any other type of hamster.
Although this pairing happens occasionally, it is not encouraged in the hamster community.
Continuous interbreeding between the species can be detrimental to the health and welfare of future hybrid hamster offspring.
Can I Put Different Types of Hamsters in the Same Enclosure?
It is typically not recommended to put different types of hamsters in the same enclosure, especially if they are different sizes. The most important thing hamster owners should have in mind is the safety of their pets.
It is best to only keep hamsters of the same type in the same enclosure, just to be safe. In the right situation, keeping different types of hamsters of similar sizes can be okay.
Most hamster enthusiasts suggest only keeping sibling hamsters of the same gender in the same enclosure as that tends to lessen the potential for problems.
There are definitely more types of pet hamsters available than most people are aware of.
Each type of hamster offers different qualities and characteristics that you may or may not want.
The good news is that at least one of these types of pet hamsters should be perfect to join you and your family.
Learning about the different types of pet hamsters was a real eye-opener. I used these sources to help research and write this article.