How Many Dwarf Hamsters Can Live Together? Ultimate Guide

How Many Dwarf Hamsters Can Live Together?

If you would like to adopt multiple hamsters and have them live peacefully with one another, you will need to adopt dwarf hamsters. Dwarf hamsters can often live with others of their kind and are the best choice if considering keeping hamsters in a communal setting. 

How many dwarf hamsters can live together? Keeping just two dwarf hamsters together will offer the best chance at success in a communal setting, as there is a greater likelihood of aggression when you keep three or more in the same space. If you do want to keep more than two together, try to get same-sex dwarf hamsters from the same litter so that they’ve been together from birth. 

If you would like to have multiple dwarf hamsters living together, you will need to be aware of the potential pitfalls as well as steps that you can take to increase your chances of having a happy pair. Read on for more information about keeping multiple hamsters together.

Which Dwarf Hamster Species Can Live Together?

There are four species of dwarf hamster kept as pets – the Campbell’s dwarf, the Winter White, the Roborovskii, and the Chinese hamster.

All of these species tend to live solitary lives in the wild, but three out of the four have been found occasionally living in burrows of two or more. You are more likely to have success keeping a pair together if you keep in mind the species.

Roborovskii (Robo) – these are the smallest of dwarf hamster species and are likely to offer you the best chance at success of keeping more than one together. 

Campbell’s dwarf & Winter White – these two species are very similar in physical traits and care requirements. In fact, they are the only two species that can successfully breed together, and many available in the pet trade are actually hybrids of the two. Both species may be successful in living in pairs or groupings.

Chinese hamster – the Chinese hamster is not as widely available in many countries as the other three pet dwarf hamsters, but they make wonderful pets if you can find them. While you may have success keeping a same-sex pair of Chinese hamsters together, they are less likely to tolerate one another.

One important note to remember is that when attempting to keep dwarf hamsters in a communal setting, one should never mix species (aside from the Campbell’s dwarf with the Winter White).

These species do not encounter one another in the wild, and keeping a Robo with a Winter White can have disastrous consequences. 

Same-Sex vs. Opposite-Sex Dwarf Hamster Pairings

If you want to keep a hamster pair that can live together peacefully, you will want to get a same-sex pair. If you keep a male and a female together, you will end up with pups – lots of pups.

Hamsters go into heat every four days, so there is no practical way to keep a male and a female together without the chance of a successful mating.

Opposite-sex pairings will be unsuccessful at cohabitating even if your goal is breeding – when a female is gestating and caring for young, she will become even more aggressive and territorial than a typical hamster, and deadly fights can break out.

This does not mean that same-sex pairings will guarantee peaceful cohabitation. There is still a high chance of fighting within a same-sex pair. In general, male pairs and groups tend to have fewer fight outbreaks than female pairs and groups. This is no hard rule, but female mammals, in general, tend to be more territorial. 

Keeping Dwarf Hamster Littermates Together

You will have a higher chance of keeping a happy pair together if you are able to choose two same-sex dwarf hamsters from the same litter.

Littermates will have been familiar with one another from birth, and the social hierarchy will likely have already been established by the time they are ready to leave their mother.

If you are unable to adopt hamsters from the same litter, make sure that they are young – under eight weeks of age, preferably. Mature adult hamsters will be less likely to become fast friends than immature pups.

Another possible pairing is to keep a mother and daughter together. While the maternal instincts of a mother hamster will fade after about four weeks, she will have been the one to teach her young proper hamster behavior, and the social kinks will likely work themselves out easier than with two same-sex strangers (of course, this is not to say that the daughter will not choose to challenge the mother later in life, and this pairing, as with the others, is not a guaranteed success).

Keeping Dwarf Hamsters Together: Possible Complications (& Solutions)

Even though some individual colonies of dwarf hamster species have been found living together in the wild, there is a high failure rate of hamster cohabitation when kept in captivity. Hamsters of all species are highly territorial, and petty skirmishes can quickly turn fatal. 

The most common complication in keeping a hamster pair or group together will be dangerous fighting. This possibility is not confined to the introduction period, either – you may have two same-sex hamsters living together peacefully for nine months, only for fighting to begin regularly occurring later in your pets’ lives.

For this reason, it is important to always pay close attention to the behavior of your hamsters – listen for loud or frequent squeaking, and attend to them quickly.

It is important that you always have a backup plan in case the relationship turns sour. Keep an extra cage, even if it is a smaller travel cage, in which you can temporarily move one of the hamsters if needed. 

You can take a couple of precautions to boost your chance of cohabitation success. The first is regarding the size of the enclosure – a smaller enclosure will increase the likelihood of territorial fighting.

Even if two hamsters can live together in peace and even sleep in a pile together now and then, it does not mean they do not need their space. Get a significantly larger cage if you want to keep two hamsters together than you would if you were keeping a hamster solo. The bigger the cage, the higher the chance of success.

The second is regarding the accessories in that cage, especially when it comes to feeding. Set up two feeding “stations” in your cage, each on opposite ends.

Your two hamsters may still decide to eat out of the same bowl, but if there is any food aggression, having an extra food bowl may cool tempers.

The same logic applies to the other items a hamster will use – you may decide to get two water bottles, two sleeping dens, and even two wheels. Add extra hiding spots in the enclosure as well so that each hamster can have his own space when needed.

Adding New Dwarf Hamsters To An Established Group

If you have two sweet hamsters who sleep in a pile and nicely share meals together, you may be tempted to add even more to the group. This is not advised – just because two hamsters get on well does not mean they will be as receptive to new friends.

In fact, adding new hamsters to this established and happy pairing can cause fissures within the original two hamsters themselves. If you have a pair or a group that is living peacefully together, adding new individuals to the setting can break this peace beyond repair.

You may worry that if you get just two hamsters, the survivor will become depressed when one passes away. While you may notice a change in your surviving hamster’s behavior after his partner is no longer with him, he will not become depressed in the same way as an animal who has evolved to live in a social environment would.

Because hamsters are naturally solitary creatures, they do not have the intrinsic need for companionship that other rodents like rats and mice have.

In fact, it would actually be quite stressful to attempt to add a new hamster as a replacement companion who is unfamiliar to him. If you have a pair of hamsters and one dies before the other, it is best to leave the surviving hamster solitary.

Respecting The Individual Dwarf Hamster When It Comes To Cohabitation

If you would like to keep multiple hamsters together, it is worth a try, as it’s a rewarding experience when you can watch a pair cohabitating happily. But while you may have grand plans of keeping a colony of happy hamsters together in the same enclosure, the reality is that this may not always work out the way you would like.

While some dwarf hamsters can live together peacefully for the entirety of their lives, you may find yourself having to separate your hamsters 3, 6, or even 12 months down the road.

For this reason, it is important to remain aware of any behavioral changes between your hamsters as they arise and to have a backup enclosure at home in case you need to move one of them suddenly. As a pet parent, you will know the importance of being prepared for potential pitfalls.

You can learn more about owning and caring for hamsters in the articles below, or find all my latest content here.

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