Are you considering getting a hamster? There’s certainly a lot to like about these little rodents, from their generally hygienic nature to their friendly personality.
But deciding which hamster breed is best for your home can be a challenging task. We’ll list five types of hamsters you might consider keeping as pets. After looking at the size, life span, and temperament of each breed, you will be able to decide which is best for your unique home.
5 Popular Hamster Breeds for Pet Owners
1. Syrian Hamster
Size: 6-7 inches
Age: 2-4 years
Temperament: Friendly to humans, but territorial towards other hamsters
As the most common of all pet hamster breeds, the Syrian hamster is also the largest and longest-lived. Known as the “golden hamster” or “teddy bear hamster”, they are known for their friendly demeanor and ease of training.
If you are considering bringing multiple hamsters into a family, you should usually give each Syrian person his or her own space. Although very friendly to humans, this breed has a tendency to become very territorial when sharing space with other hamsters.
2. Roborovski Hamster
- Size: About 2 inches
- Age: 3-4 years old
- Temperament: Energetic but shy
Also called the Russian Dwarf hamster, this tiny pet is native to the desert regions of Northern China and Mongolia. “Robo” got its name from a Lieutenant Vsevolod Roborovski, who popularized the breed in 1894.
This hamster’s small stature makes it a popular choice among people with limited space for a pet in their home. Although they will be shy and nervous at first, their energetic nature will eventually encourage them to open up and play with their owners.
3. Hamster Campbell
Size: 3.5-4.5 inches
Age: 1-2 years
Temperament: Nervous with a tendency to aggression
Another Russian Dwarf Hamster, this breed is named after the biologist Charles William Campbell who collected the first specimen in 1902. Their shorter lifespan is largely a result of their tendency to develop diabetes.
They are native to Northern Russia, China and Central Asia. Less popular as pets, this breed is easily startled and tends to bite when frightened.
4. Winter White Hamster
- Size: 3-4 inches
- Age: 1-2 years
- Temperament: Nervous but gentle and affectionate
The last of the three breeds of Russian dwarf hamster, this snow-white mouse is native to Southwest Siberia and Eastern Kazakhstan. With a sweet and gentle disposition, they crave socialization but also tend to be a bit shy when placed in a new environment. Given enough time, they make good and loving pets.
- Related Read: Hamster vs Guinea Pig: Which Pet Should You Get? (With Pictures)
5. Chinese Hamster
Size: About 4 inches, plus long tail
Age: 2-3 years old
Temperament: Friendly and easily bored
Least popular as a pet of dwarf hamsters, Chinese hamsters are actually a different genus from the rest of the dwarves. The most notable visual difference is that the Chinese have a much longer tail than other types of hamsters. It has a friendly nature and is very unlikely to bite, but requires a lot of activity and stimulation.
Located somewhere in size between the Syrian hamster and the Dwarf, the Chinese hamster belongs to a completely different genus from the other breeds mentioned in this guide — a fact that’s easily noticeable due to their long tail.
Native to Mongolia and Northern China, Chinese hamsters tend to be very friendly and sweet with their owners. However, they require more stimulation and activity than other hamsters, which is often the reason why they are less popular as pets.
- Hamster Essentials List: 11 Things To Get For Your New Pet
- Which Hamster Type is the Most Friendly?
Did you know that all these different types of hamsters are available to keep as pets? While each hamster has its own unique personality, choosing a breed whose temperament fits your lifestyle is a great first step when considering adopting a hamster. We hope you find the perfect hamster breed for your home!
For more information on Hamsters, check out this post:
- Best Dwarf Hamster Food
- How Much Does Owning a Hamster Cost? (in 2021)
- Best Hamster Food
- Best Chewing Toys for Hamsters
- 12 Things You Can Do to Find a Lost Hamster
Featured Image Credit: Pxfuel