Dwarf Russian Hamsters


Dwarf Russian Hamster refers to three distinct species within the Phodopus genus:

o Campbell’s Dwarf – Phodopus campbelli.
o Winter White Dwarf – Phodopus sungorus.
o Roborovski’s Desert Dwarf – Phodopus roborovskii.
Each species has distinctive traits, personalities and nicknames, yet they also share certain characteristics.


Campbell’s Dwarf – this is the most common type of Dwarf Russian Hamster available in pet stores. It takes its name from C.W. Campbell, who discovered them near the Dzungarian mountains in Mongolia in 1902. For this reason, this species is also known as the Dzungarian Dwarf. In the wild, this hamster is brownish-gray with a white underbelly, although other colorations are available in captive bred hamsters.

Winter White Dwarf – takes its name from the all white coat (except for the dark dorsal stripe) that it wears throughout winter. In summertime, its topcoat turns a beautiful blue-gray. Although a separate species from the Campbell’s Dwarf, the two species are able to interbreed, often with disastrous results. In Russia, this variety is known as a “Shwi-Shwi.”

These two Dwarf Russian Hamsters share an average lifespan of two years, and both species will reach a maximum length of four inches. And they both have a dark dorsal stripe — a dark stripe down their backs. Rorobovski Desert Dwarf – these are the smallest of the Dwarf Russian Hamsters, reaching only two inches at maturity. However, they live longer than their larger cousins, on average three and a half years. Robos, as they are affectionately called, lack the dorsal stripe, and have longer legs than the other Dwarf Hamsters. They are the most active variety, making them popular pets.


Dwarf Russian Hamsters are all friendly, curious, and easily tamed, especially if they become used to their human caretakers from a young age. Unlike Syrian Hamsters, which must live alone, Dwarf Russian Hamsters share the ability to be housed in groups. When littermates grow up together, they are social, especially the Robos, who form a strong bond with their cage mates.

Male Dwarf Russian Hamsters tend to make better pets, as the females are more aggressive. However, even male hamsters that have been littermates since birth may suddenly begin to fight, at which point they must be separated.


When deciding on whether a Dwarf Russian Hamster is the right pet for your household, there are positive and negative aspects to bear in mind.

On the downside, the occasional nip is to be expected when handling a small rodent such as a hamster. Nipping results from fear, so biting can be minimized by taking extra care to avoid startling the hamster. On the plus side, set-up costs are small compared to other pets. Hamsters require little special care once they have been provided with the proper habitat and nourishment. In addition to the appropriate cage, hamsters require a wheel for exercising, chew toys to maintain their teeth, and plenty of fresh water and nutritious food.

The Dwarf Russian Hamster’s nocturnal nature may be a pro or a con, depending on your schedule. If you’re a night owl or an insomniac, you may enjoy checking in on your pet’s nighttime antics. Likewise, the short lifespan may be a pro or a con, depending on the kind of commitment to a companion animal your career and family situation allow.


Hamsters are fun and amusing pets, providing hours of entertainment as they engage with their toys, each other, and their human caretakers. Soft, palm-sized, curious and eager, there may not exist a more adorable pet than the Dwarf Russian Hamster.


Source by Jeremy Smart

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