26 Unique Types Of Hamsters (Not All Are Kept As Pets)

Not all hamsters are the same, in fact, there are 26 different types of hamsters, each with its own unique characteristics and needs. Unfortunately, most of these breeds of hamsters are not actually kept as pets.

26 Unique types of hamsters include:

  1. Golden hamsters or Syrian hamster
  2. Campbell’s dwarf hamster
  3. Djungarian hamster or winter-white Russian dwarf hamster
  4. Roborovski dwarf hamster
  5. Chinese hamster
  6. Chinese striped hamster
  7. Striped dwarf hamster
  8. Mongolian hamster
  9. Eversmann’s or Kazakh hamster
  10. Gansu hamster
  11. Tibetan dwarf or Ladak hamster
  12. Kam dwarf hamster or Tibetan hamster
  13. Long-tailed dwarf hamster
  14. Grey hamster
  15. Grey dwarf hamster
  16. Armenian hamster
  17. Migratory hamster
  18. Migratory grey hamster
  19. Sokolov’s dwarf hamster
  20. European hamster
  21. Black-bellied field hamster
  22. Turkish hamster or Brandt’s hamster
  23. Azerbaijani hamster
  24. Romanian hamster
  25. Ciscaucasian hamster
  26. Korean hamster or Greater long-tailed hamster

Of these 26 breeds of hamsters, only 5 of them are most commonly kept as pets, which are:

  1. Golden hamsters or Syrian hamster
  2. Campbell’s dwarf hamster
  3. Djungarian hamster or winter-white Russian dwarf hamster
  4. Roborovski dwarf hamster
  5. Chinese dwarf hamster

The two most popular breeds of hamsters in the United States are the Golden Hamster and the Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster.

1. Golden Hamsters or Syrian Hamster

Golden hamster

Genus: Mesocricetus Auratus

The golden hamster is native to northern Syria and southern Turkey. The number of wild golden hamsters has declined significantly over the years, to the point that they are now considered vulnerable to extinction, as their preferred habitat is being lost due to agriculture and industrialization.

However, the number of domesticated golden hamsters is growing rapidly helped the fact that they are regularly used in scientific research and are also the most popular breed of pet hamster.


The golden hamster gets its name from the color of its fur, as it is a mixture of black, brown, and gold, however, as a result of reproduction; there are now several different fur colorations available, so the name “gold” is no longer always appropriate.

For example, you can now get golden hamsters with shades of cream, blonde, black, copper, tortoiseshell (black and gold), and different shades.

Breeders have also produced golden hamsters with longer hair than their wild counterparts. Usually, these are called Angora hamsters or “teddy bear” hamsters.

Males have longer hair that creates a kind of “skirt” of hair around the lower back, however, females of this breed still have short hair, but it is more velvety.

Size and Lifespan

Adult Golden hamsters are 5 to 7 inches long and live for about 3 years.


In terms of behavior, golden hamsters are some of the most docile and gentle hamsters available. They are also famous for their drinking habit. In the wild, golden hamsters collect and store fruit throughout the summer to survive the winter.  However, when winter comes, those fruits have fermented and become alcoholic.

Because of this, golden hamsters have developed a taste for alcohol and their livers are five times larger than you would expect for their body size, meaning they could beat anyone in a drinking competition!


Golden hamsters also reproduce extremely fast. A female hamster becomes fertile every 4 days and the gestation period (the time from fertilization to birth) lasts only 16 days.

The litters consist of an average of between 8 and 10 newborn pups.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that you avoid contracting hamsters of the opposite sex. If you put a male and a female Golden hamster in a cage together, you will end up with hundreds of hamsters in a few months.

So unless you intend to breed, stick with a hamster or two hamsters of the same sex.

2. Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster

Campbell’s dwarf hamster

Genus: Phodopus Campbell

Native to China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Russia, Campbell’s dwarf hamster is gaining popularity as a pet primarily because their small size makes them more adorable.


The underside of the Campbell’s dwarf hamster, from the tail to the jaw, is covered by a layer of cream-colored fur, while the upper part is a light or dark gray with a long black or dark gray stripe, running from the tip from its nose to his tail.

Like many other types of rodents, a Campbell’s dwarf hamster’s teeth continue to grow throughout its life. This means they need soft, non-toxic wood to chew on in order to keep their teeth sharp.

Size and Lifespan

In the wild, they average around 3 inches in size, however, domesticated versions are slightly larger as they are fed a more nutritious diet more regularly.

They have a shorter lifespan (ranging from 1 to 2 years) and have a higher risk of cancer than the golden hamster.

They are also at higher risk of having a genetic mutation that prevents them from digesting carbohydrates or fats. This makes them technically omnivores.

It is very important that you check on your hamster regularly to make sure it is digesting fruits and fatty foods correctly. If not, you will need to restrict its diet primarily to insects and other low-carb and low-fat foods.


Campbell’s dwarf hamsters are less tame than the golden hamster, but they can make excellent pets if they are cared for well.

Therefore, you will need to pay more attention to them and spend more time with them so that they get used to you. You should also avoid reaching directly into the cage to pick it up, as they are extremely territorial. Instead, try using a spoon that it can climb on.


In captivity, female Campbell’s dwarf hamster can reproduce up to 18 litters a year, with an average of 6 pups per litter. They can also be crossed with the Djungarian Russian dwarf hamster to create a hybrid.

However, this hybrid species is prone to many health problems, so this type of crossing is not recommended.

3. Djungarian Hamster or Winter-white Russian Dwarf Hamster

Djungarian hamster

Genus: Phodopus Sungorus

The Djungarian hamster or winter-white Russian dwarf hamster is often confused with Campbell’s dwarf hamster because they are similar in size and color. They can also be raised together, although as mentioned above this is not recommended for health reasons.


While there are many similarities to Campbell’s dwarf hamster, the Djungarian Russian Dwarf Hamster is a unique species.

In the wild it has a full solid gray fur, rather than the half white/half gray pattern of Campbell’s dwarf hamster, however, it has the dark stripe running down its back.

Their fur coats change throughout the year, in summer they have the darker coloration described above and their fur is thinner. In winter, however, their dark fur is replaced by a thick coat of pearly white fur.

This does not always happen when kept in captivity, as the change is caused by changes in daylight and temperature, which may not be as dramatic when the hamster is constantly living indoors.

Domesticated breeds can have a variety of different color patterns, including a year-round summer coat (the darkest coloration); a winter coat all year round (pearly white); or a mixture of the two that results in an appearance similar to Campbell’s dwarf hamster.

Size and Lifespan

Djungarian Hamsters are slightly larger than Campbell’s dwarf hamsters and grow up to 3-4 inches. They can live 1 to 3 years in captivity.


They are slightly less territorial than Campbell’s dwarf hamster, which makes them easier to tame. However, they need more attention and human contact than other hamsters and are generally much faster than other breeds of hamsters, making them more difficult to handle. For these reasons, they are not the best option for young children.


If you are interested in breeding hamsters, the Djungarian Russian Dwarf Hamster maybe your best option, as females get pregnant again immediately after giving birth, literally the same day.

4. Roborovski Dwarf Hamster

Roborovski dwarf hamster

Genus: Phodopus Roborovski

Roborovski dwarf hamster is native to the desert climates of Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia. They are actually smaller than other dwarf hamster breeds.  They are just 2 inches long.


In terms of physical appearance, there are 10 different color variations.

The most common variety is the “agouti” which is white on the underside with a light grayish brown coat on top. It also has distinctive white spots over its eyes that look like eyebrows. They are one of the most active hamsters, with studies confirming that they run an average of 100 miles per night – that’s almost 4 full marathons before the sun comes up.

Agouties are also more sociable and prefer to live with other Roborovski hamsters. Remember, if you want to avoid being overrun with little hamsters, make sure the hamsters you keep together are of the same sex.

Size and Lifespan

Size: 2-3 inches

Lifespan: 2-3 years in captivity


Roborovski dwarf hamsters are extremely shy by nature, so avoid loud noises or sudden movements. It is best to acquire them at a young age so that they will get used to you.

However, they don’t bite as much as some hamster breeds when they interact with them; let them be the boss so they don’t get scared.

Over the years they have evolved to be active at dawn and dusk, this is known as “crepuscular” so it is best to avoid bright lights.

You can use red lights in or near their cage if you want to look at them because their eyes are not able to see the red light so it will not disturb them.

5. Chinese Dwarf Hamster or Rat Hamster

Chinese dwarf hamster

Genus: Cricetulus griseus

Like the Roborovski, the Chinese dwarf hamster is native to the deserts of China and Mongolia, however, they are slightly larger averaging 4 inches long.

They appear longer and thinner than other hamsters and they also have the longest tails.


In the wild, Chinese hamster’s fur is mostly brown with a black stripe running down their back and black and gray spots throughout. Their belly is usually a bit whiter.

Chinese hamsters are sometimes confused with rats since their structure and coloration are very similar.

In captivity they have been bred in 3 variations; the wild coloration described above, a completely white variety with black eyes, and a light gray variety with a darker stripe running down its back.

Size and Lifespan

Size: Average 4 inches

Lifespan: Up to 3 years in captivity


Chinese hamsters can be unfriendly and skittish at first, but once tamed they are extremely soft and calm, and they enjoy holding onto your finger with all four legs.

Like the Roborovskis, they are very fast and agile, which means they need a larger cage with lots of toys and equipment so they can stay active.

Because they are thinner, Chinese hamsters can also escape through the bars of most hamster cages, so something with solid walls is required.

If you want to have more than one in a cage, it must be large enough so that each one has its own space.

You should also introduce them at a young age, as the Chinese hamster is not as social or friendly as other breeds of hamsters.