There are many hamster breeds to choose from. However, 5 of the breeds are the most popular breeds when it comes to keeping hamsters as pets. This article will help you in understanding different types of hamsters so you can make the right choice.
We will touch on their diet, lifestyle requirement, and also lifespan as well. So, let us get started.
Understanding Different Types of Hamsters
The five most common hamster breeds are Winter White Hamster, Chinese Hamster, Syrian Hamster, Dwarf Hamster, and Roborovski Hamster.
1. Winter White Hamster
Winter White hamsters are small and, well, very white – at least during the winter. This is so that they can protect themselves from predators. Most of the time, you will find they have a darker grey coat.
Size-wise, they are smaller than Syrian hamsters (Another popular breed). In fact, Winter White hamsters are approximately half the size of Syrian hamsters. They make for great pets since they are easily tamable and very social as well.
This is a trait amongst all the dwarf hamsters, actually. So, if you want a small hamster that you can train easily and socialize with, Winter Whites are a great choice.
However, just like any hamster, they are anxious and can be easily startled. Make sure to give them a spacious cage with enough toys to keep them occupied.
They love to climb and play around. Having the right toys will make sure they do not get bored.
If you happen to have kids, it is important to keep an eye on them. These hamsters are small and quite energetic, which might be a problem for small kids to handle.
The average lifespan of a Winter White Hamster is about one and a half to two years of age.
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2. Chinese Hamster
Chinese hamsters are one of the most mouse-like hamsters. They have a small stature and quite a long tail – just like a mouse. One look at a Chinese hamster, and it is quite evident why many might mistake this little cute and furry creature for a mouse.
Nonetheless, Chinese hamsters are very active and very quick. They need to be socialized, though. Otherwise, they might show behavioral problems. These hamsters are definitely one to be cared for and played with regularly.
They require a lot of attention and activities to keep them happy. In fact, without proper stimulation, Chinese hamsters can get aggressive. They will start chewing on anything they can get.
If you are getting a Chinese hamster, having enough toys and interacting with them regularly should be just fine. Playing with them and handling them is great for their mental health too!
They grow up to be between 3 to 4 inches. They live relatively long as well. They can live between two and a half to three years. If you like playing and interacting with your pets often, Chinese Hamsters are great.
3. Syrian Hamster
Syrian hamsters are perhaps the most popular pet hamster breeds out there. We cannot have a guide on understanding different types of hamsters and not have Syrian hamsters on the list.
We would go a bit further and say some might even consider them the ‘default hamster’ if there is such a thing.
They are often called Teddy Bear Hamster (yes, we think this is adorable as well) or Golden Hamster. Their coat is golden brown while their bellies are white. That is mainly where they get the nickname from.
They are cuddly and like to play. They work best if kept alone, though. If you are thinking of getting a pair, you need to keep them in separate cages. They are easy to take care of since they do not require all that much attention. That absolutely does not mean you can ignore them.
Playing with them and handling them is important as well. Syrian hamsters are very large too. They can easily grow up to be six to seven inches in length. You need enough space for them to play around and just be themselves.
They are also prone to stress-induced diseases like a wet-tail disease. Make sure you keep the hamster in quiet places and handle them with care. Some veterinarians recommend getting a wet-tail drop.
Having said that, Syrian hamsters are perfect for first-time pet owners and make for great companions.
4. Dwarf Hamster
Dwarf hamsters, sometimes called Campbell’s Dwarf hamsters, are some of the smallest hamster breeds. They are very easily scared too. You need to be cautious when handling them.
If you scare them or startle them, they are known to bite. It goes without saying that it hurts – a lot. A very interesting thing about the Dwarf hamsters is they adjust their sleeping schedule.
They are mostly nocturnal animals. But they can stay awake when they receive the most attention. If you want a hamster that can stay awake during the day without much problem, Campbell’s dwarfs are the way to go.
They are prone to diabetes, however. Diet-wise, you should feed them a high protein diet with minimal fruits.
Since they are also very small, you need a cage that can keep them from escaping. Also, get some hideaways if you are planning to get a Dwarf hamster since they are very timid and scared. Dwarfs can live between one and a half to two years.
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5. Roborovski Hamster
Another small hamster from the Dwarf breed of hamsters is the Roborovski Hamster. These are incredibly fast little creatures – the fastest dwarf breed, actually. They are extremely difficult to tame too.
They are extremely skittish and will always try to escape when you hold them. The thing with this breed of hamster is they are enjoyable just to look and observe.
For those who are looking for a hamster they can handle and play with, Roborovski Hamsters are not the best choice.
If you do get one as a pet and just want to observe them, make sure to get a large enclosed tank to cage them. Also, they need lots of space to run and play. They also not good with sharing with other hamsters either.
Roborovski Hamsters can grow up to be between two to three inches and live about two and a half to three years.
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I hope this article has helped you in understanding the different types of hamsters. Now you can make the right decision when buying a pet hamster and be sure it will fit your lifestyle and habits as well.