Small Hamster Breeds: 9 Dwarf & Small Hamster Breeds

Small Hamster Breeds

Dwarf & Small Hamster Breeds

Hamsters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with the smallest of the breeds known as “dwarf hamsters”. Dwarf hamsters can be found around the globe, from pet stores and breeding programs to the mountain and desert regions of Europe and Asia. If you are interested in the tiniest members of the rodent family, you will want to learn about the different breeds and species of dwarf hamsters. 

Which breeds of hamsters are considered dwarf-sized? There are a number of dwarf hamsters, both domestic and wild. Nine of the most well-known dwarf or small hamster breeds are the:

  1. Dwarf Campbell’s Hamster
  2. Winter White Dwarf Hamster
  3. Roborovski (Robo) Hamster
  4. Chinese Dwarf Hamster
  5. Tibetan Dwarf Hamster
  6. Kam Dwarf Hamster
  7. Long-Tailed Dwarf Hamster
  8. Grey Dwarf Hamster
  9. Sokolov’s Dwarf Hamster

Read on for more information about each of these hamster breeds and species, including their size, where they can be found, and whether they can be kept as pets or not.

Dwarf Hamster Breeds

The dwarf hamsters that are commonly kept as pets will belong to only four different breeds and species – the Campbell’s, the Winter White, the Robo, and the Chinese Dwarf. The first three in this list may all be referred to as a “Russian dwarf hamster” – chances are high that the dwarf hamster that you find in your local pet store will belong to one of these first three breeds. The fourth hamster, the Chinese Dwarf, is much rarer and harder to find. 

The last five dwarf hamster breeds in this list are wild hamsters and are not kept or sold as pets. They can be found in many parts of the globe, including Europe, China, and the Middle East – most often in grasslands and dry, desert, and mountainous regions. 

#1: Dwarf Campbell’s Hamster

The Campbell’s Hamster can reach a size of up to 4 inches in body length and can reach a weight of up to 1.75 ounces. The males are slightly larger than the females. They come in over forty different color variations and have a lifespan of 1.5-2 years. 

Campbell’s Hamsters are quite entertaining to watch, as they are more curious than the other dwarf species. They also tend to be more social within their species than other hamsters.

This means you are more likely to have success keeping more than one in confinement together. Of course, you should only keep hamsters of the same gender together unless you want significantly more hamsters in a relatively short period.

While they are fun and curious animals, they are also quite agile and quick and don’t like being held. They may bite when agitated or stressed, and it can be difficult to catch them if they are to get loose. For these reasons, the Campbell’s Hamster may not be suitable for a young child. 

It is also worth noting that some genetic strains of Campbell’s Hamsters are more prone to diabetes than others – particularly those with specific genes from the UK. These hamsters should be watched more carefully and can be managed with dietary changes, especially with the reduction of sugary foods and treats. 

#2: Winter White Dwarf Hamster

The Winter White is also known as the Western, the Siberian, the White Russian, and the Furry Footed. These hamsters have a gray-brown upper body with white bellies, with the fur becoming whiter in the Winter.

Other available colors are Sapphire (blue/gray), Pearl (white with black specks), and Sapphire Pearl (white with blue/gray specks). These hamsters reach a body length of 3-4 inches and a weight of .5-2 ounces. 

The Winter White is generally tolerant of handling and may be more easy-going than other dwarf breeds. They are not as active as the Campbell’s hamster – spending approximately double the amount of time sleeping and in the burrow than the Campbell’s. So while they may be easier to handle, they are not as fun to watch. 

Of note, the Winter White is more likely to cause allergic reactions in humans than any other breed of hamster. For these reasons, be cautious with this breed if you are prone to pet allergies. 

#3: Roborovski (Robo) Hamster

Small Hamster Breeds

The Roborovski Hamster, often called the Robo, is most commonly found in a yellow-brown color, reaches a length of 3.5-4” long, and weighs .75-1.5 ounces at maturity. Robos are known to be the smallest known breed of hamster and can live up to 3.5 years of age with good care and a proper diet.

Robos, like most dwarf hamsters, are very fast and challenging to handle. They are skittish and typically do not appreciate being held. For these reasons, they are not recommended for small children. They spend more time sleeping than any other small breed of hamster and are most active in the late evening – usually between 9 and 11 pm. 

#4: Chinese Dwarf Hamster

The Chinese Dwarf Hamster is a rat-like rodent that is actually a different species than the Russian dwarf hamster and more closely resembles a mouse. They are relatively rare and harder to find than the other dwarf pet hamsters. The Chinese Dwarf Hamster is the fourth and last dwarf hamster on this list that can be purchased and raised as a pet. 

Chinese Dwarf Hamsters are 4-5 inches in length and weigh 1.5-1.75 ounces at maturity. They have a longer tail than other pet hamsters, with tails reaching up to an inch in length. They have gray fur with lighter bellies and black dorsal stripes. The male Chinese Dwarf is easily recognized by its especially prominent testicles, which are roughly the size of its head. 

#5: Tibetan Dwarf Hamster

The Tibetan Dwarf Hamster is not kept as a pet, but rather is found in the mountain regions of Tibet, Nepal, India, and China – usually at elevations of 13,000-17,000 feet. They are between 3.5 and 4.5 inches in body length, with a tail that is 1.2-1.5 inches long.

They have dark fur with white feet and are active both day and night. Their diets consist of foraged grain, seeds, and insects.

#6: Kam Dwarf Hamster

The Kam Dwarf Hamster is another wild hamster found in the mountains of western China, thriving in grasslands of altitudes of 10,800-13,500 feet. They are 3.5-4.4 inches in length, with long tails reaching 2-2.5 inches. They have dark fur that is sometimes spotted or streaked, with a thick tail that is covered in guard hairs. They are active both day and night, like the Tibetan, and eat a diet of grains, seeds, and insects. 

#7: Long-Tailed Dwarf Hamster

The Long-Tailed Dwarf Hamster can be found in the desert grasslands of China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia. It is 3.3-5.3 inches in length, with a tail that is an additional ⅓ of its full body length. It reaches .5-1.75 ounces in weight at maturity.

These hamsters have gray-white fur with either a pale or a dark brown dorsal stripe. They have slender tails that are dark on the bottom and light on the top. Long-Tailed Dwarf Hamsters are nocturnal and eat seeds and insects.

#8: Grey Dwarf Hamster

The Grey Dwarf can be found in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Western China. They have gray fur and reach 3.3-4.7 inches in length and 1.1-2 ounces in weight. They have sandy brown or gray fur with white bellies.

They live in dry grasslands but can more recently be found in gardens, farmlands, and even inside buildings. They are nocturnal, active from dusk on, and do not hibernate. 

#9: Sokolov’s Dwarf Hamster

The Sokolov’s Dwarf is a rodent in the hamster and vole families. They have a gray body with a black stripe along their backs and have white feet with toes that curl upward. The Sokolov’s are 3-4.5 inches in length, and tails that are .7-1.25 inches long. They can be found in the desert areas of China and Mongolia. 

How Big Are Dwarf Hamsters?

Most dwarf hamsters reach a maximum body length of around 4 inches, compared to the larger Syrian hamster’s 5-7 inch length. Most of them will weigh less than two ounces, with some breeds maxing out at less than one ounce.

Though small in stature, most dwarf hamsters are big in personality – unafraid to let you know exactly what they like and don’t like. They tend to be less friendly and docile than larger hamsters but are a joy to watch and interact with. 

Small Hamster Breeds: The Entertainers Of The Rodent World

On the whole, small or dwarf hamsters are not known to be as friendly as their larger counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked as pets.

Dwarf hamsters tend to be quite active, and often during both the day and night. Watching these quick, curious creatures is entertainment on its own, and most dwarf hamster enthusiasts can spend hours watching the comings and goings of these tiny, fluffy pets.

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