The term ‘Dwarf Hamster’ or ‘Russian Dwarf Hamster‘ refers to one of a few different species of small rodent that originates from parts of Asia, Russia, and China. They make excellent pets for children and adults alike.
Unlike the larger Syrian Hamster – Dwarf Hamsters are sociable animals that can live with others of their species. Being able to live together in peace is, of course, dependent on whether they come from the same litter or if the owner has introduced them to one another correctly at a young age. Being on the smaller end of the size scale for pet rodents they are cheaper to look after, cleaner and easier pets to take care of when compared to larger rodents.
Do you have Suitable Dwarf Hamster Food?
|Vitakraft Dwarf Hamster Formula||Contains Omega 3, DHA and Pro-Biotics. Fortified with Vitamins A - E & Calcium. High in Protein. Made in the USA. Resealable Bag to keep Fresh.||$|
|Burgess Dwarf Hamster Harvest||Luxury Meal. Contains Mealworms, Millet, Grass Pellets, Poultry Fat & Toasted Soya Flakes,||$|
- 1 Do you have Suitable Dwarf Hamster Food?
- 2 Dwarf Hamsters are the Cutest Pets!
- 3 Types of Dwarf Hamster
- 4 Life Span – How Long do Dwarf Hamsters Life For?
- 5 Tips on Choosing your Dwarf Hamster
- 6 Can Dwarf Hamsters Live Together?
- 7 Cages – What is the Best Cage for Dwarf Hamsters?
- 8 Food – What is the Best food for Dwarf Hamsters?
- 9 Playtime & Exercise
- 10 Handling – Dwarf Hamsters Becoming Tame
- 11 Naming Your Dwarf Hamsters
- 12 Preparing for Your Dwarf Hamster
- 12.1 Cage or Tank – Get a Large Cage for Dwarf Hamsters!
- 12.2 Water Bottle – The Best Water Bottle for a Dwarf Hamster
- 12.3 Exercise Wheel – Providing Exercise for your Dwarf Hamster
- 12.4 Food Bowl – The best bowl to feed your Dwarf Hamsters
- 12.5 Hamster Bedding – Necessary to soak up urine and odors
- 12.6 Hamster Bath – Provide your Dwarf Hamsters with a Sand Bath
- 12.7 Hamster House – Dwarf Hamsters need a Nesting Area to Feel Safe
- 13 Conclusion
- 14 Resources
Dwarf Hamsters are the Cutest Pets!
They are lovely, cute little animals – smaller than the more common Syrian Hamster, although when they have filled with cheek pouches full of food it can give the impression of a much bigger hamster. They are mostly nocturnal animals that spend most of the day sleeping and become active in the evening and at night time, but it is not unusual to see them out in the daytime, eating or getting some exercise on their hamster wheel.
This website will teach you how to care for a dwarf hamster, guide you through the process of choosing your new furry friend and preparing for it. We will also offer reviews on many hamster related foods, toys, accessories, and cages.
Click on the links to visit pages with more detailed information.
Types of Dwarf Hamster
The term ‘Dwarf Hamster‘ typically refers to one of 4 types of species. The Chinese hamster is not technically a dwarf hamster as it belongs to the Cricetulus genus; however, Chinese hamsters have mostly the same care requirements and are about the same size. For the purpose of this website, we will treat Chinese hamsters as Dwarf hamsters.
The tiny Roborovski hamster or robo dwarf hamster is the smallest species of hamster available to keep as pets. Robo hamsters typically measure less than 3 inches in length and are quite difficult to handle as pets. Native to Northern China and Kazakhstan, the robo hamsters natural diet consists of small insects, grains as well as vegetables and fruit.
Robo hamsters are more of a look at pet rather than a cuddling and handling animal. This is because robos are extremely active and very fast. This speed of movement paired with their small size makes them a very cumbersome animal to handle.
Robo hamsters typically live for around three years.
Each of these species comes in a variety of colors and variations due to fancy breeding and hybridization.
Winter White Russian Hamster
Also known as the Djungarian or the Siberian Hamster, the winter white hamster is a delightful little hamster to keep as a pet and being social animals can live altogether in pairs or small groups. Winter whites typically live for around two years and will come in three color variations. Regular, Sapphire and Pearl.
Winter Whites are known as the “big babies” of the hamster world and are very chattery squeaking and squawking at the slightest little disagreement amongst themselves.
Winter whites are easy to tame and have a laid back nature. Compared to Robos are easy to handle and will appreciate sitting in a human hand and being gently stroked.
Not technically a dwarf hamster, however, we will mention them due to their small size. Chinese hamsters are also known as mousy-hamsters or striped hamsters. Chinese hamsters have a dark dorsal stripe along their back.
The Jury is still out with regards to the nature of the Chinese hamster. Some say they are solitary animals, much like Syrian hamsters, and some say they can live in groups.
Obviously not a Dwarf Hamster, but deserves mention due to their cuteness! If you want a hamster to hold and cuddle above all, then perhaps a Syrian hamster would be your best bet. Syrian hamsters are larger than Dwarfs and need more room and larger accessories.
|Type||Scientific Name||Color||Size||Life Span||Origin|
|Syrian||Mesocricetus auratus||Wide Variety||4 - 7 Inches||2 - 2.5 Years||Syrian Desert|
|Russian Dwarf Campbell||Phodopus campbelli||Wide Variety||4 Inches||2 Years||Asia|
|Russian Dwarf Winter White||Phodopus sungorus||Normal, Sapphire, Pearl||3 - 4 Inches||2 Years||Russia, Asia|
|Roborovski Dwarf||Phodopus roborovski||Sandy Brown, agouti, husky, pied, head spot, platinum||1 - 2 Inches||3 - 3.5 Years||Mongolia|
|Chinese||Crietulus griseus||Brown backs, black fur along spine and ivory coloring||4 Inches||1.5 - 2 Years||South China|
Life Span – How Long do Dwarf Hamsters Life For?
Dwarfs typically live anywhere between 2 – 3 years when kept in captivity. In the wild, they live much shorter lives due to environmental hardship and predators.
According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest hamster that ever lived was 4.5 years old.
You can help your hamster to live the longest life possible by ensuring they have an excellent diet, a safe and comfortable cage and lots of love and attention from the owner.
Tips on Choosing your Dwarf Hamster
Dwarf hamsters have a lifespan of a few years so you want to buy a young hamster to maximize the time you will have with your new furry friend. Dwarfs are social animals, so you should always aim to purchase a pair together.
It is important to be aware that commercial pet shops stock their animals from rodent farms that produce impure bred Hybrid animals. You can only obtain a proper Winter White or Campbell’s from an accredited breeder that will also provide you with a pedigree certificate and a family history.
Purebred vs. Hybrid
There is no reason not to love your pet shop hamsters as much as a purebred, however, be aware that hybrids are more prone to genetic defects and illness. They also might not live as long. Hybrids might look very much like a particular type of Russian Hamster; however, you can be sure there will be some genes from the other kind present in the animal.
Pet shops & Reliability
In my experience pet stores are incredibly unreliable when it comes to sexing their hamsters – I have more than once, brought home a “male” hamster when in fact on closer inspection it turned out to be a female. Be aware there’s also a small chance your hamster might be pregnant if the pet store did not sex and separate them into genders correctly. Knowing their true sex is also important when naming your hamster.
Things to look out for
- The animal should have clear eyes.
- The animal should be alert and active and not lethargic.
- Its skin should be free from scabs or bald spots.
- Wet tail is an infectious disease that is evident by diarrhea, unkempt backside.
- Their home should be clean and spacious with plenty of food and water available.
Can Dwarf Hamsters Live Together?
Dwarfs can be social animals and can live in groups or pairs under the right circumstances. If you choose to keep a pair or group of hamsters, you should buy them at the same time as litter buddies will already be familiar with each other or will be young enough to make friends.
New dwarf hamsters will unlikely to be accepted into a group later on. Like most pets, dwarfs can fall out from time to time, especially in small cramped conditions, so it is wise to make sure their housing has multiple spots for them to sleep alone usually if they need some alone time. Chinese hamsters are reported to be tough to get to live together peacefully, so it is best to treat them as a solitary type of hamster like the Syrian.
Cages – What is the Best Cage for Dwarf Hamsters?
Escape Proof Cages
It is important to remember that dwarf hamsters are smaller than the Syrian hamster and thus making them more capable of escaping through large gaps and other security weaknesses a cage or tank might have. Choose the largest cage you can afford as dwarf hamsters love lots of space to run around in and play.
Make sure there is a small “Bedroom” enclosure such as a hut or a house, so your pets have somewhere to feel safe and secure while they sleep. The floor or the cage should be covered in a substrate bedding such as wood shavings (not cedar wood or pine) to soak up urine. I recommend against using straw and hay as it can hurt their cheek pouches.
Wire vs. Solid Floor
Make sure to NOT to get a cage with a wire floor as It can hurt your hamster’s feet. If you have more than one Dwarf hamster living together, i recommend enclosures that have a wide open space as opposed to compartments and tubes as these can encourage territorial behavior and fighting.
Once you have purchased your Cage, you will also need to furnish it with hamster wheels & toys for your hamster to play with, ease boredom and exercise.
Food – What is the Best food for Dwarf Hamsters?
Your Dwarf hamsters will require a good quality hamster food mix. Hamster mix is widely available from pet shops, supermarkets or from online retailers like Amazon.
Specialist hamster mix should provide the bulk of your pet’s nutritional requirements and should be supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables from time to time. Feeding your hamsters too many veggies may cause indigestion and stomach upsets.
What is the best food bowl?
To keep your dwarf hamster in perfect health, you can buy specialist supplements and mineral stones for your pet to snack on. I recommend ceramic bowls as they cannot be gnawed and they are difficult for a hamster to tip over spoiling dinner. Fresh Water from a water bottle should always be available to your pet.
Dwarf Hamsters Teeth are Always Growing
Hamster teeth that are continuously growing, so it is important to provide them with things to chew. Chews can come in the form of chew wooden toys or cage furniture items made of wood. Hard Dog biscuits make an excellent snack to gnaw on for hamsters.
Playtime & Exercise
Dwarf hamsters love tubes, houses, and little hiding holes to play in and keep them entertained. In the wild, they are natural burrowers and tunnelers. Another fun thing you can do for them is hiding a few treats around their cage – this simulates nature and keeps them burrowing around looking for them.
Wooden chew toys are ideal for them to gnaw on and keep their teeth trim. Hamster Wheels are excellent for your pet to exercise and Hamster Balls are a fun & safe way to let your hamsters have a run around outside their cage.
Handling – Dwarf Hamsters Becoming Tame
With the right care and handling, Dwarf hamsters can become very tame to handle. Once you get your hamster home, give them a few days to get familiar with their new home without being disturbed. Let them get used to your voice by talking quietly to them. After a few days introduce your hand to their cage and offer them a treat with some gentle stroking.
When your hamster is used to your hand being in their cage, you can start to scoop them up gently and stroke them gently on your hand. Supervision should be given to children when they are handling small pets. Dwarf Hamsters, especially Roborovskis can be difficult to control as they are very fast small rodents, this makes them more of a “look at” pet. If you want a hamster that is easier to cuddle and handle then, a Syrian would be a better option.
Naming Your Dwarf Hamsters
It is important to give your dwarf hamsters the right name to fit their personality so take your time when choosing one. You can take inspiration from other websites relating to small pets.
Preparing for Your Dwarf Hamster
You must make sure you have obtained a suitable cage before buying your pets and have found an appropriate place in your house to set it. The location should be somewhere quiet with no extreme of temperature, warm or cold.
If you are a light sleeper and have a wire-cage, your bedroom would not be a right place because hamsters sometimes like to gnaw at the bars at night time as well as squeak at each other. Some running wheels can be noisy, but silent spinners are available that are designed to be as quiet as possible.
If you have other predatory pets like Cats and Dogs, that should be a factor when choosing a place for your hamster home. Do not underestimate the ability of a cat to access a hamster cage.
Cage or Tank – Get a Large Cage for Dwarf Hamsters!
The biggest purchase you will make for your Dwarf Hamster will be a cage or a tank. Choose the largest one you can afford as it gives your pet the happiest life; they are lively animals that like to run around and explore.
A larger cage offers more possibilities and variation for arranging toys, homes, and exercise equipment. If you choose a cage, pay close attention to the width of the bars. Dwarf Hamsters are experts at escaping through small gaps, so a Hamster cage designed for a Syrian Hamster, might not be suitable for a Dwarf Hamster
Keeping more than one Dwarf makes the choice of cage even more important as improper and small habitats can encourage your dwarfs to fight and become territorial. Wide open spaces are best for hamsters living together.
Habitrail Cristal Hamster Habitat is an ideal starter home for a single dwarf hamster, It has fantastic reviews, and the price is reasonable for what you get, and more importantly it provides a tube hatch on the side that allows expansion with another cage to give more room. It provides proper ventilation, Protection from drafts and it is easy to clean.
|Savic Mickey Cage - Comes with metal-wire platform, water bottle, hamster house, wheel and feeding bowl. Solid metal cage. Made in Belgium. Check Prices.||$$$|
|Ferplast Hamster Cage - An original design of wire net structure and high transparent plastic bottom where your dwarf hamsters could dig and hide in the bedding. Check Prices.||$$|
|Habitrail OVO Dwarf Hamster Habitat - Modular dwarf hamster home utilizes the smaller tubing of Habitrail Mini trails and is fully compatible with all other Habitrail add-ons. Check Prices.||$|
|Habitrail Cristal Cage - Safe & Durable habitat for Dwarf Hamsters. Allows easy inter connect-ability with other habitrail items such as tubes and other cages. Excellent air circulation & easy to clean out. Check Prices.||$|
|Kaytee CritterTrail Extreme - Two-Floor design for maximum exploring space for hamsters. Made of robust plastic & easy to clean. Includes accessories. Check Prices.||$|
Water Bottle – The Best Water Bottle for a Dwarf Hamster
Dwarf Hamsters, like all other pet rodents, need access to fresh water throughout the day. The best option is to buy a water bottle. Water bowls can be tipped up and soiled quickly.
It is hard to go wrong with a hamster water bottle. Just make sure it is chew proof and does not drip. Aquarium/Tank owners may need to purchase a water bottle with a stand that sits on the floor of the tank. Water bottles are easily attached to cage wire bars.
Chew-Proof Water Bottles
Made with chew proof glass, the ‘Kaytee Chew-Proof Water Bottle‘ is more than adequate for the needs of a dwarf hamster; that allows an easy view of the current water level. There are three sizes to choose from; 6 ounces, 26 ounces and ‘Medium’.
There is a Spring attachment hanger that holds the bottle securely in place inside or outside of a wire cage. If you want something that is going to last, then this is for you. The ‘Fatpet’ hamster hideout is a novel way of providing your pet with a water bottle and a little shelter at the same time and is available in a variety of colors.
|Keersi Water Feeder - Perfect for hamsters and other small furry animals. Capacity: 125ML. Check Prices.||$$|
|Kaytee Chew Proof Water bottle - Made using Quality & Safe Materials that are harmless to a hamster. Made and designed in the USA. Includes floating duck and spring attachment hanger. Check Prices.||$|
|Fatpet Hamster Hideout - No-Drip Water Bottle & Hamster Hideout. Easy to clean. Resistant to Odors. Provides a cozy hideout for a small dwarf hamster or mouse.Check Prices.||$|
|Choco Nose No Drip Bottle - Patented Leak-proof Nozzle that does not drip with a user-friendly screw-on bracket. Check Prices.||$|
Exercise Wheel – Providing Exercise for your Dwarf Hamster
Dwarf Hamsters are active animals, especially at night time. In the wild, they will cover many miles a day. With this in mind, you will need a running wheel or a flying saucer to keep your hamster healthy and happy. It is essential to buy one that is solid and without rungs as it can damage your dwarf hamster’s feet and cause injury. Noise might be a factor if your hamster cage is near your place of sleep so you might be better off spending a little extra money and buying a silent spinner wheel.
If you have a pair of Dwarf Hamsters, you should provide them with two wheels to avoid squabbling. The Kaytee Small Silent Spinner is ideally suited to dwarf hamsters. It is small enough; it is solid without rungs, and it gives you the option of having it free standing in the cage or attaching it to the side bars of a cage.
|Kaytee Silent Spinner - Silent Spinning! For Dwarf Hamsters & Mice. 6.5 Inches Diameter. Check Prices.||$$|
|Ware Flying Saucer - Flying Saucers are great alternatives to wheels. Easily allows two dwarfs to run together. Completely safe for your animals feet and tail. Check Prices.||$|
|Alfie Pet Running Wheel - Available in Multi-Colored, Blue, Lime Green and Pink. Check Prices.||$$|
|Kaytee Small Comfort Wheel - Can be free standing or attached to a wire cage. The Comfort Wheel has a safe, solid running surface. Check Prices.||$|
Food Bowl – The best bowl to feed your Dwarf Hamsters
It is important to have a good quality ceramic food bowl for your hamsters as lightweight bowls can be tipped up easy thus soiling their food. Dwarf hamsters love sitting inside their food bowls while they eat so if you keep more than one dwarf together it would be wise to give them an extra large bowl to prevent squabbling at dinner time.
Measuring 5 inches long x 5 inches wide the Living World Ergonomic Dish is a wonderful food bowl for your dwarf hamsters. It is very spacious allowing two hamsters to sit inside and feed. It is also heavy enough to prevent your pets from tipping up their food.
|Living World Ergonomic Bowl - Made of safe materials that meet FDA standards. 99% Dust Free. Odor Control. Safe and Cozy for Small Pets. Check Prices.||$|
|Ceramic Hamster Bowl - Natural bedding. The healthiest and safetest bedding for your hamster. Free of inks, dyes, clay and chemicals. Super Absorbent. Check Prices.||$|
Hamster Bedding – Necessary to soak up urine and odors
Bedding (or substrate) is necessary for to line the floor of your dwarf hamster’s cage with. It acts to provide nesting material for your hamsters to carry around and build nests with and it works to soak up urine and eliminate bad smells. Choosing a bedding that is non-toxic and comfortable for your pet is essential for your hamster’s well-being and your peace of mind.
Avoid Cedar and pine shavings
We do not recommend using Cedar and pine shavings because they cause respiratory problems. Also, avoid scented bedding. There are many different brands and types on the market. Shop around, read the reviews and ingredients. Wood shavings as a substrate (flooring) substituted with shredded up toilet tissue for nest building is an attractive option.
Carefresh Ultra is an excellent choice as it ticks all the boxes when it comes to dwarf hamster care and it is good value for money when you buy it in the bulk 50-liter package. It is a premium bedding made from clean & safe cellulose fiber. It is free of clay, dyes, and other chemical contaminants. It is ultra absorbent and suppresses the formation of ammonia caused by hamster urine. Carefresh is also variable in a range of attractive colors as well as confetti which is a mix of different colors.
|Carefresh Confetti - Natural bedding. The healthiest and safetest bedding for your hamster. Free of inks, dyes, clay and chemicals. Super Absorbent. Check Prices.||$$|
|Kaytee Clean & Cozy - Made of safe materials that meet FDA standards. 99% Dust Free. Odor Control. Safe and Cozy for Small Pets. Check Prices.||$$|
|Carefresh Confetti - Super Absorbent. Multi Colored Bedding. 3x More absorbent than shavings. 99% Dust free. Check Prices.||$$|
|Aspen Shavings - Ideal bedding material for small pets such as hamsters. Made from 100-percent natural aspen wood. Check Prices.||$|
|Healthy Pet Bedding - Absorbs 3x its weight. Proprietary odor control formula that neutralizes pet odors. Check Prices.||$|
|Fitch Paper Bedding - Ultimate Value for Money for the UK. Check Prices.||$|
Hamster Bath – Provide your Dwarf Hamsters with a Sand Bath
You should NEVER give a hamster of any kind a water bath. Sand baths provide an excellent alternative without risking their health. Watching your pet dwarf hamsters roll around in a sand bath can provide hours of amusement for owners as well as enjoyment for your pets!
Giving them access to a sand bath helps them to feel more at home as they would be likely to encounter sand in their natural environment. A good hamster bath will be made of ceramic or similar heavy material to prevent them tipping it over. It should also be partially covered to help keep sand from being kicked out into the cage. Hamsters will often use their sand baths as a toilet – especially if you place it in the furthest corner from their nest.
Sand made for Chinchillas is ideal for hamsters but do not mistake the sand with the ‘dust.’ Animal Dust can cause respiration problems for hamsters.
|Kaytee Critter Bath - Avaliable in 4 Colors. Ideal for Small Hamsters and Mice. Made from Ceramic Chew-Proof Material. Check Prices.||$$|
|Chinchilla Sand - Made from the highest quality materials. 100% Safe for Pets. Keeps your dwarf hamsters entertained for hours. Check Prices.||$|
|FATPET Hamster Bathroom - Ideal for dwarf hamsters and other small furry animals.Made with hamster safe material. Easy to clean and resistant to odors. Check Prices.||$|
|Uxcell Hamster Bath - Ideal for dwarf hamsters and other small furry animals. Made with safe material. Easy to clean and resistant to odors. Check Prices.||$|
Hamster House – Dwarf Hamsters need a Nesting Area to Feel Safe
Every dwarf hamster, and indeed all pet rodents need a nesting area to retreat to and feel safe. Nest boxes are crucial to dwarf hamsters as it provides them a place to sleep and store food just as they would in the wild. Nest boxes give your pet hamster reassurance that they have a place to escape to if they feel frightened or just to get away from prying eyes and hands of humans, as well as other mischievous pets around the house.
There are plenty of DIY options to make your own, but for simplicity and aesthetic reasons it is better just to buy one as they are inexpensive. They are very inexpensive and will go a long way to making your hamster cage look great! There is a whole range of suitable nest boxes available online all ranging from materials used, size & color.
|Alfie Small Pet Hideout - A fun play toy as well as a nesting area. Easy to clean and resists odours. Made with safe materials. Features 6 entry/exit windows. Measures 6.5" x 6" x 5.75". Check Prices.||$|
|Wooden Cabin House - Made of all natural and safe wood that is been kiln dried. No nails or metal used making it safe for chewing. Ideal hideout for Dwarf hamsters and Mice. Measures 5.5" x 5" x 4.78", Check Prices.||$$|
|Kaytee Plastic Igloo - Translucent Plastic Construction for pet visibility. Resistant to odours and easy to clean. Ideal for Dwarf hamsters and small rodents. One Piece Construction. 4" x 4.5" x 3". Check Prices.||$|
|Super Pet Woodland - Made from natural pet safe wood. Ideal for Dwarf hamsters and Mice. Promotes nesting and chewing instincts. 4.5" x 5" x 3.24. Check Prices.||$$|
We hope you enjoyed this dwarf hamster care guide and found all the information useful. Hopefully, you will be in a much better position to prepare for your new furry tiny bundle of joy or take care of a recent addition. Feel free to submit any helpful comments or suggestions below. Also, we always welcome funny hamster stories and cute photos!