Hamsters belong to the rodent family and it comes in 18 species. Over the past years, they have become popular household pets because of ease in caring for them. If you are a novice hamster enthusiast, allow us to introduce to you the different kind of hamster breeds that you can choose to keep in your home.
Types of Hamster Breeds
1. Golden Hamster
The golden hamster is popularly known by the name of the Syrian hamster. This is the largest among all the types of hamster breeds. It can grow between 5 and 7 inches in length and has a lifespan of 3 to 4 years.
It is characterized by its cheek pouches which are expandable up to its shoulders. In the wild, the golden hamster uses its cheek pouches to store food and then transport this food to its hiding place.
Since the golden hamster is territorial by nature, it is advisable to have its own hamster cage. It prefers to be alone and does not tolerate having playmates, even with another golden hamster. In fact, it is not recommended as a pet for kids below the age of 6, not because it will bite but because younger kids might not handle the cute, docile, and little hamster appropriately.
Upon bringing home your golden hamster, give it time to get used to its new environment, roughly a week. Make sure that you wash your hands well before handling it because this is one of the types of hamster breeds that is prone to catch respiratory problems.
Do not expect your golden hamster to play with you during the daytime as this hamster breed is nocturnal.
2. Winter White Dwarf Hamster
This hamster breed is also known by the name of the Russian dwarf hamster. It only grows up to a maximum of 4 inches in length and has a lifespan of up to 3 years. It is either gray or brown can color.
This is the best hamster breed that you can keep in your home if you are thinking of placing it in a cage with other hamster buddies. It can get well along with others but it prefers the company of same-sex buddies.
If you have kids around, make sure to supervise them while handling the hamster because this is one of the hamster breeds that can get scared and nervous easily. As a result, it may nip when feeling threatened.
It is a fast mover so make sure to equip its hamster cage with toys like a Ferris wheel. Although this hamster breed enjoys the company of another hamster, it does not mean that it will not get attached to its owner, give it some treats and it will love you back as well.
3. Chinese Hamster
This hamster breed is also known by the name of the striped hamster and can grow to up to 5 inches in length. Its lifespan is up to 3 years.
Unlike other types of hamster breeds which are plump and cute looking, the Chinese hamster is on the long and thin side appearance, thus, this breed can be called a special class. If you are looking for a rat-looking friendliest hamster breed, then this is the one for you.
The Chinese hamster’s personality is on the shy side. However, once it has gained your trust, it is one of the easiest hamster breeds that you will enjoy caring for. Unlike other kinds of hamster breeds, it will not fidget when you hold it. It will just sit quietly and may even wrap its thin tail around one of your fingers.
It thrives well if kept in a cage with just a few same-sex playmates because of its territorial tendency. This hamster breed is curious by nature and wants to explore its environment.
So make sure that you place many interactive toys inside its cage. Good examples of hamster toys are tunnels, Ferris wheel, and chewing toys.
4. Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
This hamster breed is the smallest of them all, growing only up to 2 inches in adulthood. The desert hamster and Robo dwarf hamster can live up to 3 years.
This hamster breed is the speedy Gonzalez among the different types of hamster breeds. It runs so fast that it can give a human marathoner a run for his money.
Though this is one of the friendliest hamster breeds, it is not suitable for kids not because it bites but because of its speed and size. It is so small and moves very fast making it very difficult for children to handle. It does not nip at all but it does not particularly like being held.
If you want to bring home a Roborovski dwarf hamster, be sure to get a suitable cage for it. You can also make your D.I.Y hamster cage but fill it with lots of toys. It loves to stretch and run around, thus, we highly recommend an exercise wheel inside its cage.
Which is the Friendliest Hamster Breed?
If you cannot make up your mind as to which breed you want to keep in-home, then allow us to help you make a decision.
Among the four breeds we described above, though all of them are friendly, the friendliest hamster breed is the Golden or the Syrian hamster. Plus, because of its bigger size, it is much easier to handle, more so if there are kids around the house.
The golden hamsters are generally friendly and very docile cute little fellows. They do not move as fast as the other smaller hamster breeds. And, they are not as jumpy so you will not have a hard time catching your golden and making it still in your hands.
Remember when we said that the golden hamster prefers to live alone? Since it does not have a partner, then it will rely on its owner for some form of interaction, meaning, it can form a bond with you.
Thus, among all the types of hamster breeds, the golden or the Syrian hamster is considered as the friendliest hamster breed and the best hamster breed to keep in a home with children.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Hamster Breed?
A pet hamster may be small in size, but choosing a pet without any health issues is a big factor to consider. Before you bring home your first best hamster breed, take a closer look at its body and get to know how the hamster behaves so you can decipher if it is the right one for you.
1. Examine the Hamster’s Body
The breeder should allow you to hold the pet. This will give you the chance to examine its body very well. The hamster’s body should not be fat or skinny. The coat must be well-groomed, shiny, and should not show any signs of bald patches. Try to feel if there are mattings especially in the chin area.
Check out the pet’s behind-look for signs of wetness as this could be an indication that the hamster is suffering from diarrhea.
Then, there should be no discharge in its eyes, ears, and nose. Also, listen to how the pet breathes. What you want to hear is a quiet type of breathing, not labored.
When you place back the hamster to its cage, see if it is moving well. There should be no signs of lameness or difficulty in moving around.
It is normal for a hamster to be curious. It must not be lethargic. Observe how it reacts to you and the people around you. Then find out if it does not mind being held. If you prefer a pet that can play with you, then get the friendliest hamster breed which is the golden or Syrian hamster.
You want to be sure that the hamster that you will bring home is not anxious, lest it might nip when held. If you see that it is interested in the surrounding, then it is a positive sign. You want to avoid getting an anxious pet.
It is also best to get a hamster that is around 6 weeks old.
A female hamster is more aggressive than a male hamster. If you intend to get more than one, then we advise you to place same-sex hamsters in one cage.
There is nothing joyful like having a pet in the house such as a hamster. Once you make your choice from the different types of hamster breeds, it is now your responsibility to make sure that you will provide your new pet with all the things that it needs to live comfortably.
Though hamsters are low maintenance pets, they need their daily supply of food and water. Provide it with the correct size of the cage so it can happily move around. Not to forget its needs for entertainment like hamster toys.