One of the most popular pets to get when you are kid is a hamster. These furry friends are great for first-time pet owners since they are considered to be a low maintenance pet and take up little space in the house. And of course, who can resist how adorable these fluffy guys are?
Although hamsters share similar qualities, they do differ in how they behave to their appearance and more. Some hamsters are more playful but are difficult to handle while others are calmer and do better when being held. Another thing to consider is how they are housed; some can live in groups while others enjoy being left alone. For example, the Syrian Hamster is a larger hamster that is territorial while the Dwarf Campbell Russian can live with others of the same sex.
There is a lot to consider, but luckily we have shared the five most popular hamster breeds, along with their special characteristics that set them apart from the bunch. We are sure you’ll be able to find the perfect hamster for you and your family!
The Syrian Hamster, also known as the Teddy Bear Hamster, is one of the more popular breeds. These hamsters can be recognized by their golden fur and full cheeks that are often stored with food. If you are a first-time hamster owner, then this hamster is a great choice since they are also considered to be super friendly with their owners.
You can expect the Syrian Hamster to grow around 5-7 inches and live for 2-3 years. Since these hamsters do so well with their owners, these guys stay pretty calm when being held. Just be careful to not house other hamsters together because they will fight due to their territorial nature.
- Length: Average of 5-7 inches
- Lifespan: 2-3 years
- Behavior: Friendly, docile and easy for kids to handle.
This furry friend is typically more timid and prefers to be in a comfortable and safe environment. If they feel alarmed, they may nip at you — meaning that these little guys may not be great for smaller children. Although shy, they are social and can be housed with same-sex hamsters. Just make sure that your little guy is comfortable with other hamster friends first.
They have a lifespan of 2 – 2.5 years and grow to be 3-4 inches. You can recognize them by their gray fur, dark stripe on the back and furry feet.
- Length: 3- 4 inches
- Lifespan: 2 - 2.5 years
- Behavior: Shy and likes to feel that they are in a safe environment. They can nip if they feel frightened.
These are the tiniest of the hamsters, growing up to 2 inches and living at an average of 3 years. They are super cute, but also mighty. They are little bundles of energy and love to play with multiple toys. You can also put them in a hamster wheel so they have ample space to run around and get their energy out. Although they like to be playful, they prefer to be left alone and not be held often. If they are held, they are very quick and can easily wiggle away from you. These hamsters can also be housed with other same-sex hamsters, but must be introduced with caution first.
The Dwarf Roborovski Hamster is easily recognizable for its tiny size, light brown fur and white bellies.
- Length: 2 inches
- Lifespan: Average of 3 years
- Behavior: Playful with toys, but does not like to be held so often.
These hamsters are also known to be a friendly breed and love to be played with. Since they are very active, they do require more attention. If you want an engaging animal that you can play with, the Chinese Hamster might be a great fit! If you decide to get another companion for your hamster, make sure that they get along first. Although most Chinese Hamsters can be housed with other same-sex hamsters, it’s always a good idea to test the waters before adding a roomie.
These little guys stay on the smaller side, only growing 3-4 inches in length. You can recognize them with their brown fur and black stripe that runs down their back.
- Length: 3-4 inches
- Lifespan: 2 years
- Behavior: Friendly and playful.
The Dwarf Winter White Russian, also known as the Siberian Hamster or Djungarian Hamster, is a kind and active breed. They make great pets for kids, however, caution should be taken when holding these hamsters since they are quick movers and can squirm out of hands easily. These hamsters do like company and can be house with same-sex hamsters if introduced with caution.
Their physical features are quite distinct since they have rounder bodies, dark fur and a stubby tail. Another interesting fact about these animals is that their fur coat will turn completely white during the winter!
- Length: About 4 inches
- Lifespan: 3 years old
- Behavior: More difficult to handles due to their quick nature.