The golden hamster is a popular pet but one which is also getting more attention these days is the dwarf hamster which is a much smaller type of hamster. Although they are a few hundred species of hamsters in the world, only a few are kept as pets. The golden hamster itself is one such species, and dwarf hamsters that are kept as pets include three main types. They are the Roborovski hamster, Winter White hamster, and Campbell’s dwarf hamster. A fourth hamster, the Chinese hamster, is also kept as a pet and sometimes incorrectly referred to as a dwarf hamster due to similarities in the way it looks. How is it different? The other dwarf hamsters belong to the Phodopus genus whereas the Chinese hamster belongs to the Cricetulus genus.
Dwarf hamsters come in a variety of colors although the most common types are regular Campbell’s or Winter White dwarf hamsters in their brown or agouti coat. Interestingly, these two dwarf hamsters, while belonging to different species, can be bred with each other (although this is not recommended due to genetically-flawed hybrids being produced).
If you see a dwarf hamster in a pet shop, it is most likely to be a Campbell’s dwarf hamster as they are the most common type of dwarf hamsters to be sold as pets. Roborovski hamsters are also gaining traction in terms of popularity amongst pet owners.
Dwarf hamsters live only about 3 years or even less. Even though they have short lifespans, it is no less a commitment to have a dwarf hamster as a pet than any other animal. Dwarf hamsters need interaction on a daily basis especially if you get only one. They are social creatures that live in groups in the wild unlike the golden hamster. Interacting with your pet daily would also ensure that it remains tame (after you’ve already tamed it, of course).