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Are you looking for the best hamster breed for a pet?
Hamsters are a very manageable, yet great pet. They are energetic, small, and their cages are easy to clean up.
There are several different types of hamsters. Each breed has its own quirks and uniqueness that separate them from others.
All types of hamsters can be friendly and kind towards their owners, but some breeds might be more tame or more unique than others.
However, if you want to have a pet hamster for you or your family, you should be prepared. Luckily for you, we’ll give you a better idea of which breed may be ideal and a good fit.
With that said, here’s our list of the best hamster breeds for pets:
5 Best Hamster Breeds for Pets
Chinese Hamsters (Cricetulus Griseus)
The Chinese hamster originates from a desert domain in northern China and Mongolia. They have really cute and loving personalities. Not only are these hamsters easy to tame, they are also very easy to handle. Once they are comfortable with you, they’ll cling to one of your fingers with their cute paws!
These hamsters are very manageable pets to take care of. Many owners of Chinese hamsters say that as long as you handle them at a young age, they should warm up to you. These guys are very quick too! Although, if you don’t spend time with them or they aren’t used to being handled regularly, some of them might be a little skittish and may nip you.
Chinese Hamsters can be kept in groups, however, because they are territorial, they might be aggressive towards each other. By introducing them in pairs at a young age, you’ll decrease the likelihood of them being aggressive towards each other.
Chinese hamsters, otherwise called Striped hamsters or Chinese Striped Hamsters, are not commonly social hamsters. They prefer to keep to themselves, although they might come near you if you happen to be near their cage once they warm up to you. Even though they might show aggression towards other hamsters, they typically won’t be aggressive when handled, especially with an owner they trust.
These creatures are nocturnal and may wake you up in the middle of the night when exercising on their wheel or exploring their environment. Even though some can be active during the day occasionally, don’t expect them to be very active during daytime.
Are they Good Pets?
The Chinese Hamster isn’t generally kept as a pet, especially when compared to other hamsters. This is likely due to their very “mouse-like” appearance. These hamsters also aren’t easily as bred as other varieties, so this may be another reason.
Because these hamsters are so small, they might not be the best choices for children. Additionally, because they are incredibly smaller than other hamster breeds, they have a much more likely chance that they escape from their enclosure. If you are interested in these little guys, you’ll have to ensure that their enclosure is escape-proof.
Chinese Hamsters are very shy and fast. Not only does is make them much more difficult to catch if they escape, but it also makes them less likely to be as affectionate as other hamsters. This isn’t to say that these cute little critters won’t enjoy your company or aren’t good pets. In fact, these hamsters are great for owners who prefer to observe rather than interact with their pets.
Be aware that in some places in the United States, these hamsters require a permit to own as they might be considered pests.
|SCIENTIFIC NAME||Cricetulus Griseus|
|AVERAGE LENGTH||3 to 4 inches (some can be 5)|
|LIFESPAN||1-1/2 to 3 years|
|COAT TYPES||Dark Brown|
Normal, Dominant Spot, and Black-Eyed White (very rare)
|COLORS||Original Color: Dark Brown
Agouti Colour Mutations: Normal Color (Dark brown back with an ivory-colored stomach and a black line of fur along their backs)
Syrian Hamsters (Mesocricetus Auratus)
Syrian hamsters are one of the most well-known types of hamster that are typically kept as pets. These hamsters are great pets for young children, teenagers, and even adults too!
The Syrian Hamster can be found in…you guessed it, Syria! These hamsters were initially called “Golden Hamsters” due to their bright shade of yellow/gold. There is a wide range of shading and different variations of coats for the Syrian hamster; which have resulted in many different nicknames for these pets being used throughout the years, such as the ‘Standard’ or ‘Fancy’ hamster. ‘Teddy Bear Hamster’ is another commonly used name for this hamster! How fitting!
The Syrian hamster, as well as many other types of hamsters and other rodents, have cheek pouches on each side of their face that can expand and even stretch to their shoulders. Even though these cheek pouches aren’t exclusive to the Syrian hamster, it’s still interesting nonetheless. These cheek pouches help hamsters carry large amounts of food from one place to another. This is especially useful for them in the wild, as they will store their food in their cheeks when forging so that they can bring it back to their burrows.
Sadly, these cheek pouches also have a few downsides to them. Not only are they prone to getting diseases, but they can also get abscesses, tumors, and impactions in their cheeks.
These are solitary pets, so they actually don’t mind being alone and prefer it. These hamsters are very welcoming and are typically easy to handle. They won’t run away from you as much as other breeds of hamsters, such as the Chinese hamster.
With proper care and dedication, these cute critters are known for being friendly, easy to take care of, adorable, and can offer you or your family plenty of entertainment!
Are they Good Pets?
Syrian hamsters are the one of, if not the most famous hamster species kept as a pet and are excellent pets.
There’s a reason why the Syrian hamster is one of the most well-known and recognizable types of hamsters. They are very easy to care for, require minimal effort, and are cute and affectionate critters. There are also among some of the most visually stunning hamsters that exist.
The Syrian hamster is a perfect pet for those searching for a low maintenance pet that likes to keep to itself. This also means that they shouldn’t be kept in pairs, as they are prone to fighting each other. If you’re interested in a Syrian hamster, never get pairs, as even as something as the scent of another hamster can make them angry or upset.
The Syrian hamster makes a perfect pet for those busy working or at school during the day, as these hamsters will do much of their resting during the day and will be active during the night, as they are nocturnal. Consider placing their cage away from your bedroom because they might wake you up in the middle of the night. It doesn’t matter if you’re an adult or child, these are some of the best hamsters breeds you can get as pets.
|SCIENTIFIC NAME||Mesocricetus Auratus|
|AVERAGE LENGTH||4- 7 inches as adults|
|LIFESPAN||2 to 2-1/2 years, with some living to 3-4 years|
|COAT TYPES||Rex, Satin, Hairless, Short Haired, and Long Haired|
|COAT PATTERNS||Piebald, Banded, Roan and Dominant Spot|
|COLORS||Original Color: Golden brown with dark cheeks, white crescents
Agouti Colour Mutations: Yellow, Cinnamon, Golden, Rust, Light Grey, Silver Grey, and Dark Grey
Self Colour Mutations: Umbrous, Black, Dark Eared White, and Black Eyed Cream
Colors Derived From Combining Mutations: Beige, Blonde, Honey, Lilac, Tortoiseshell, Sable, Mink, Dove, Chocolate (Sable), Copper, Flesh Eared White, Red Eyed Ivory, Yellow Black, Blue Mink, Black Eyed Ivory, Silver Grey Pearl, Light Grey Pearl, Smoke Pearl, Black-Eyed Blonde, Pearl and Black Eyed Honey.
Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamsters (Phodopus Campbelli)
Dwarf Campbell’s Russian Hamster is one of the several types of Russian hamsters and one of the most well-known hamsters found in pet stores. They’re named after Charles William Campbell, who was the first person to obtain them in Mongolia, more than 100 years ago! They require more socialization than some other hamsters, but once you give them enough time and effort, they make great pets. However, these and many other hamsters will potentially nip you if they feel defensive or unsafe.
Dwarf Campbell Russian hamsters are more social than Syrian hamsters, and they can be kept in same-sex groups if introduced together at a young age. They aren’t exactly as easy to care for as Syrian hamsters, but are still very manageable pets. Despite being a great pet; they simply require the supervision of an adult during one-on-one time, so make sure you’re aware of this if you’re looking to purchase these little guys for your children. These hamsters are also nocturnal, but can be a little active during the day.
Are they Good Pets?
The Dwarf Campbells Russian Hamster is one of the most well-known hamsters kept as pets due to their ease and simplicity of care, wide variety of colors, and small size.
Because of their small size in comparison to other hamsters and pets, Dwarf Campbells Russian Hamsters might not be the best choice for children as they aren’t as forgiving as Syrian hamsters. They also may tend to nip you more than other hamsters. The Dwarf Campbells Russian Hamster is still a great choice for older children and adults alike.
|SCIENTIFIC NAME||Phodopus Campbelli|
|AVERAGE LENGTH||3-½ inches to maximum length of 4 inches|
|COAT TYPES||Rex, Waxy and Satin|
|COAT PATTERNS||Mottled, Platinum, Dilute Platinum and Ruby Eyed Mottled|
|COLORS||Original Color: Brownish grey with dark line, dark line dorsal stripe and ivory belly.
Agouti Colour Mutations: Argente, Opal, Normal and Black Eyed Argente.
Self Colour Mutations: Albino, Umbrous and Black.
Colours Derived From Combining Mutations:
Beige,Blue Beige, Blue Fawn, Lilac Fawn, Black Eyed White, Pink Eyed White, Blue, Champagne, Chocolate, Dark Beige, Dove, Lilac, Red Eyed Lilac and Dilute.
Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters (Phodopus Roborovski)
Roborovski Hamsters hail from the spacious deserts of central Asia. These are among some of the smallest types of hamsters that exist. They have a normal length of 2 inches, and they typically are a yellowish/beige color. Although, they do come in a wide variety of different colors and patterns. Due to their native environment, Roborovskis are known for being anxious and quick. After all, when you’re searching for food in the desert while trying to stay alive, you would probably be cautious too!
Are they Good Pets?
Roborovski Dwarfs are another social type of hamster who can do well with other same-sex hamsters if introduced at an early age. They have a much more gentle disposition and don’t nip nearly as much as some other hamsters might. Even though these hamsters might be sweeter than some others, they are also a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with a larger hamster or pet, as these guys are incredibly tiny.
Roborovski hamsters are usually found with a white stomach, white stamps over their eyes, or might be white-faced. They are generally very cute and adorable to look at and can brighten up just about anyone’s day.
Roborovski Hamsters are amazingly dynamic and quick pets. Although, this also means that they will be much more difficult to handle than other types of dwarf hamsters are. Because these hamsters are so fast, it won’t be a good choice for children who want a pet that they can hold and play with. Because of their skittish behavior and quickness, they might not stay put in your hand very long. Although they might not be the most interactive hamsters, they can still be an absolute joy to watch.
Roborovski Hamsters are not a commonly sought after hamster pet, so you might have to look around a bit to find one.
|SCIENTIFIC NAME||Phodopus Roborovski|
|AVERAGE LENGTH||1-1/2″ to 2 inches|
|LIFESPAN||3 to 3-1/2 years|
|COAT TYPES||Brown/Beige with a bright white underside/stomach, white near their eyes, and sometimes might have a white face|
|COLORS||Original Color: Dull ginger on the back with an off-white belly
Agouti Colour Mutations:
Normal Color (sandy gold with black eyes, grey ears, and ivory belly) and Red-Eyed(coat is pale sandy gold with red eyes, pale ears, and ivory belly)
Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamsters (Phodopus Sungorus)
The Dwarf Winter White hamster is the second of the Russian types of hamster species. Their name comes from their beautiful and soft white fur coat that can appear dull, but turns to a bright white during winter. They do this as part of their natural evolution, as a way to help them hide from predators during the harsh winter season. They make adorable, fuzzy, and energetic pets.
Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamsters are very similar to the Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamsters as they are both active during daytime and can co-exist with each other if kept in pairings of the same sex. Be that as it may, they are known to bite in defense, but are typically extremely sweet, friendly, and welcoming rodents. They are small, fast, and skittish, so they might not be great for very young children who don’t have the coordination to keep up with them safely.
Are they Good Pets?
Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamsters are friendly and well-behaved in many cases, and should be kept in pairs. So if you’re looking for one of these guys as a pet, you should ideally get two of them so that they can keep each other company. Dwarf Winter White Hamsters make perfect pets for those who are busy during the day with work or school, as these cute guys are nocturnal, but can generally be active during some parts of the day, similar to other types of hamsters.
Because of their tiny size, Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamsters can once again not be the best option for children. We really think that the Syrian hamster will be one of the best hamster choices for anyone looking for the best hamster breeds for children.
Still, the Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster can still be a great pet that can bring you plenty of enjoyment. Additionally, due to their short lifespan, they can be a nice and fairly short term pet that is easy to take care of.
|SCIENTIFIC NAME||Phodopus Sungorus|
|AVERAGE LENGTH||3-½ to 4 inches as full-grown adults|
|COAT TYPES||Gray undercoat, a thick gray stripe along their back, and an white colored stomach|
|COAT PATTERNS||Pearl and Imperial|
Original Color: Dark grey with an ivory belly, slight brown tint.
Hamsters are wonderful pets – especially when you know how to handle them properly.
These pets will give you plenty of joy, entertainment, and company every day.
It doesn’t matter which type of hamster they are, as they can all be wonderful pets, but some might be better than others.
Therefore, we recommend that you take a look at our list above of the best breeds of hamsters as pets to learn and see for yourself how wonderful they can be!