While there are many strains or hybrids of dwarf hamsters, there are primarily 4 distinct groups, some being more common than others and some being easier to care for than others. Here we discuss the 4 types and address any issues with each type.
Probably the most common type found in pet stores is the Campbell’s Dwarf Russian (Phodopus campbelli> Hamster or the Djungarian Hamster. These are usually identified by gray-brown fur with a vertical black stripe(dorsal) going down the back. However, due to select breeding they are seen in a variety of colors and coat types.
Dwarf Campbell’s Russian Hamsters are highly sociable and can be kept with others of their own species. A special note about this type is their size, usually only 3-4 inches, it is not advised to keep this type in a wire cage as they can easily slip through the bars.
The second most common is the Winter White Russian (Phodopus sungorus) Dwarf or sometimes called the Siberian Hamster. They are found in their normal brown/black coloring as well as pearl normal, sapphire and pearl sapphire color. It gets its name because in colder winter weather, its coat will change from gray to almost white.
One distinct feature of this breed on hamster is its furry feet and tiny tail that is almost invisible when sitting. This species is best suited as a pet for older children or adults as its size is less likely to withstand clumsy handling.
The third most common, is the Roborovski (Phodopus roborovskii) Dwarf Hamster, named after the Roborovsky and Koslov expedition in 1894 and are the smallest of all hamster species, adults reaching only about 2 inches in length. Unlike other dwarf hamster species,they don’t have a vertical stripe on their back and their legs tend to be a bit longer.
Because of their size, they are very active and somewhat difficult to handle. These are definitely not the pet for small children, and can easily escape through the bars of a wire cage.
The Roborovski Hamster matures incredibly quickly. In just two days their whiskers appear and five days later their hair is becoming visible.
The forth type and most uncommon, actually some states ban sale of this hamster is the Chinese Dwarf Hamster (Cricetulus griseus) and is the most difficult of the dwarf hamsters to breed and raise in captivity. As noted in its genus, is not related to the other three types of dwarf hamster.
A Chinese hamsters body, compared with other dwarf hamsters, are long and slender and sports a relatively long tail. While they have a quiet disposition and can be easily handled, Chinese hamsters can be skittish when young but once matured, show an endearing calmness and are quite a character.
It should be noted that some US states such as California regard the Chinese hamster as a pest, and as a result require a special permit to own, breed or sell. Other states such as New Jersey call it an exotic animal, and require a similar permit, in order to prevent the proliferation of non-indigenous animals.
Source by RJ Hart