The 5 Most Popular Hamster Breeds for Keeping Pets

A hamster sitting down on floor.
Mustakim Zabir
by Mustakim Zabir on {date}

When it comes to choosing a small pet, hamsters are often a top pick for many.There are 24 breeds but 5 of them are usually kept as pets. They’re adorable, relatively easy to care for, and can bring a lot of joy to your life. Let’s dive into the wonderful world of hamsters, exploring the different types, the pros and cons of having them as pets, and everything else you need to know to make an informed decision.

Dwarf Roborovski Hamster


two Dwarf Roborovski Hamster eating food.

The Dwarf Roborovski Hamster is one of the smallest and fastest hamsters you’ll ever come across. These adorables hamsters are known for their energetic nature and adorable nature.

 Breed Overview


Height: 1.5–2 inches
Weight: 0.7–1 ounce
Life Expectancy: 3–4 years

These hamsters are not the best for handling due to their speed, but watching them zoom around their cage can be incredibly entertaining.

Campbell’s Dwarf Russian Hamster


Campbell’s Dwarf Russian Hamster Eating Food.

Campbell’s Dwarf Russian Hamsters are small and stout with a friendly demeanor, making them popular among hamster enthusiasts.

 Breed Overview


Height: 2–4 inches
Weight: 1.5–2 ounces
Life Expectancy: 1.5–2 years

They are social creatures and can often live with other hamsters, provided they are introduced properly and have enough space.

Syrian (Golden) Hamster


Syrian (Golden) Hamster stand in floor.

Syrian Hamsters, also known as Golden Hamsters, are the most common and popular breed, especially for children and first-time hamster owners.

 Breed Overview


Height: 5–7 inches
Weight: 5–7 ounces
Life Expectancy: 2–3 years

These hamsters are not social animals and should be housed alone to prevent fighting. They are relatively easy to handle and have a gentle temperament.

Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster


Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster Eating food in her cage.

The Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster is known for its ability to change color in the winter, turning from gray to white.

 Breed Overview


Height: 3.5–4 inches
Weight: 1–2 ounces
Life Expectancy: 1.5–2 years

They are friendly and can be kept in pairs or small groups, making them a great choice if you’re looking for more than one pet.

Chinese Hamster


Chinese Hamster laying down.

Chinese Hamsters are not as common but are loved for their unique, mouse-like appearance and slender bodies.

 Breed Overview


Height: 3–4 inches
Weight: 1–1.5 ounces
Life Expectancy: 2.5–3 years

They are agile climbers and enjoy more vertical space in their cages, providing a different experience than other hamster breeds.

Are Hamsters Good Pets?


Absolutely! Hamsters can make wonderful pets, especially if you have the right expectations and set-up. They are relatively low maintenance compared to larger pets and can be very rewarding companions.

One of the best things about hamsters is their personality. Despite their small size, they each have distinct traits and behaviours that can be incredibly entertaining. Plus, they don’t require large living spaces, making them suitable for apartments and small homes.

However, it’s essential to handle them gently and frequently to ensure they remain tame and friendly. A hamster that is well-socialised from a young age can become a delightful pet that enjoys interacting with you.

Cons of Having Hamsters as Pets


While hamsters have many positives, it’s also crucial to be aware of the downsides.

  1. Short Lifespan: Hamsters generally live only 2-3 years, which can be heartbreaking.
  2. Nocturnal Nature: They are most active at night, which might not align with your schedule.
  3. Solitary Needs: Especially for Syrian hamsters, having more than one can lead to fights.
  4. Delicate Health: Hamsters can be prone to illnesses and injuries, requiring careful monitoring.

Hamster Breeds to Avoid


While most hamsters can make good pets if given proper care, some might not be suitable for beginners. For example, the Chinese Hamster’s unique care requirements and the Dwarf Roborovski Hamster’s speed and skittish nature might be challenging if you’re new to hamsters.

How Many Hamster Breeds Exist?


There are about 18 species of hamsters, but only a handful are commonly kept as pets. The five breeds we’ve covered—Dwarf Roborovski, Campbell’s Dwarf Russian, Syrian, Dwarf Winter White Russian, and Chinese Hamsters—are the most popular and widely available.



In the end, choosing a hamster as a pet can bring a lot of joy and companionship into your life. With their varied breeds, there’s a perfect hamster out there for everyone. Whether you prefer the sociable Campbell’s Dwarf Russian or the solitary Syrian, there’s a little furry friend waiting to make your life brighter.

Remember, every hamster has its own personality and needs, so take the time to understand and meet those needs. By doing so, you’ll ensure a happy and healthy life for your new pet. Happy hamster hunting!

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