Types Of Hamsters

Types Of Hamsters

Many people think that a hamster is just a hamster, but when it comes to actually choosing one as a pet, you'll find that there are, in fact, five common types of hamster, three of which are classed as 'dwarf' hamsters and while they have around the same lifespan and require very similar care, they do have different characteristics and looks, so it's worth finding out about them to make sure you pick the right one for you.

For example, some hamsters are easier to handle than others, which is good to know if you have children; some like to live alone, and others want to have the company of another hamster, which is important to know if you are planning to get more than one.

So, what are these five common types of hamsters and what makes them different from each other?

Syrian hamsters

First of all, are the Syrian hamsters, which are the most common type of hamster that people keep as pets. Syrian hamsters like to live alone and will fight with each other if there is more than one kept in a cage. As the largest hamster, they are about 15-17cm in size, making them the easiest to handle and usually golden brown, grey, black, yellow, red or a mixture of colours. They have a lifespan of 2-3 years.

Chinese hamsters

At 10cm in size, Chinese hamsters are similar in size to dwarf hamsters and are quick and agile, with a longer tail than the others. Sometimes they get along well with other Chinese hamsters – especially if they're the same age, gender and are introduced to their cage at the same time – but they are also quite happy to live alone. They have a lifespan of 2-3 years and are grey, black or white in colour.

Dwarf hamsters

The three types of dwarf hamsters are Campbell's, Winter White Russian hamsters and Roborovski hamsters.


Campbell's are 10cm small and quick, so they are not the easiest to handle. However, they are sociable creatures, and often fine living with other Dwarf hamsters, especially if they're the same age and gender. It is not recommended to keep two hamsters of different genders in the same. Campbell's are grey or grey-brown in colour and have a life span of 1. 5-2 years.

Winter White

Smaller than Campell's, Winter Whites are 8-10cm in size and also have a lifespan of 1. 5-2 years. They change their colour, and as their name suggests, are white in winter but are grey in summer; they also often have a dark stripe along their back. Some of them like the company of other hamsters, but some don't, so if you are introducing one Winter White Dwarf hamster to another, make sure that you supervise them at all times.


At just 5cm small, the Roborovski hamsters are the smallest and, therefore, they are not the easiest to handle. These hamsters are adorable, fast, curious and sociable. They usually get along with other Roborovskis, provided that they are the same age and gender. Roborovskis are brown in colour and have a lifespan of 3 to 3. 5 years.

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