The Top-Rated Best Hamsters: Which Breed is Right for You?

by Joshua Paulson

The Top-Rated Best Hamsters_ Which Breed is Right for You


No discussion about pets is complete without hamsters. These curious creatures can be your ideal companion due to their minute bodies, minimal maintenance, and playful attitudes. 

But not all pet hamsters behave the same. Different breeds have different needs, all of which must be considered before you make your choice. Some of the factors you should take into account include the species' temperament, housing needs, and activity levels. 

This article will discuss the most important factors that affect the right hamster breed for you. We'll also cover the key behavioral characteristics of a few species to help you find the best hamsters for your household. 

The Different Breeds of Hamsters

When considering the best hamsters to get for your house, the first thing you should understand is that there's a wide variety of these agile creatures. Each has distinct characteristics that determine the best pet hamster for you. Let's take a closer look at five of the most popular breeds. 

Syrian Hamsters

Syrian Hamster

The first breed on our rundown is the Syrian hamster.  Also known as the Golden hamster or teddy bear hamster, the Syrian hamster features a distinct golden body with a cream underside.  

There are many notable aspects of Syrian hamsters, including their low-maintenance nature. They typically choose a place far away from their sleeping area as their bathroom. This facilitates spot-cleaning, which is why they're often deemed the best hamsters for beginners. 

To make the most of your experience with a Syrian hamster, keep them alone in the cage. That's because they're territorial and can be hostile toward other hamsters

Some health conditions you should be on the lookout for include wet tail (watery diarrhea), lice, fleece,  bumps, and paralysis. The average lifespan of a Syrian hamster is two to three years. 

Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamsters

Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamsters

If you prefer tiny hamsters, the best type of hamster for you might be the Dwarf Campbell Russian hamster. At just three to four inches long, they're perfect for children who might be afraid of larger animals. They also weigh one to two ounces only, meaning you'll need an extra-small cage for this species. 

Another notable feature of these hamsters is that they're social creatures. They enjoy living with hamsters of the same breed, especially at night, when they tend to burrow, eat, run, and explore. Just be careful if introducing new pets to their community since they can be territorial. 

Common health conditions include overgrown teeth, diabetes, and digestive problems. On average, a Dwarf Campbell Russian hamster lives between two and two and a half years. 

Roborovski Hamsters

Roborovski Hamsters

Another tiny hamster you can consider is the Roborovski hamster. At just two to three inches long, it's even smaller than the previous breed. This species also weighs less than an ounce, making it extremely fast and agile. This is also the reason why the Roborovski hamster isn't the best hamster for kids. 

The tiny critters come from Asian desserts. More specifically, their natural habitat is Russian, Chinese, and Mongolian barren lands. 

The biggest health problem with Roborovski hamsters is dry skin. They're used to dry conditions, so any excess moisture can endanger them. These animals usually live for two to three years. 

Chinese Hamsters

Chinese Hamsters

Next up on our list of the best hamsters for pets is the Chinese hamster. This species is slightly larger than Roborovski and Dwarf Campbell hamsters but smaller than Syrian hamsters. As a result, they should be suitable pets for children who need something in between. 

Chinese hamsters are known for their elongated, rat-like bodies due to long tails. They also have white bellies. 

This species is extremely docile too. In fact, it might be the nicest hamster breed, which is evident from their interactions with humans. They cling to your fingers and show many other signs of affection. 

Health-wise, the most common problem is clogged airways. The average lifespan is two to three years. 

Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster

Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster

Continuing our breakdown of the best hamsters is the Dwarf Winter White Russian hamster. This might be the coolest hamster due to its ability to change colors. The hamster usually has a dark gray body and a black stripe, but the critter turns white to adapt to snowy environments. 

This species is friendly. Unlike some others, it's not prone to biting or scratching your fingers. It's also docile, allowing you to keep multiple same-sex Winter Russian hamsters together.

Common health issues include wet tails, abscesses, and respiratory infections. On average, they live one to three years. 

Considerations for Choosing the Right Breed

Beyond the basic features of the different species of hamsters, you also need to factor in more specific aspects when finding the best hamsters for pets. These include: 

Lifespan and Long-Term Commitment

The average lifespan of most hamsters is two to three years. This means that buying one of them entails a multi-year commitment. Even though some hamsters have shorter lives, they require similar levels of care from day one. 

Housing and Space

Here's what the ideal habitat of each hamster should look like: 

  • Syrian hamsters – A 40x22.5-inch cage with a water bottle, hay, bits of tissue, and aspen shavings 
  • Dwarf Campbell Russian hamsters – A 25x15-inch cage, water, and aspen shavings
  • Roborovski hamsters – A 24x12-inch cage, water, and aspen shavings
  • Chinese hamsters – A 31x19-inch cage with water, hemp bedding, and hay 
  • Dwarf Winter White Russian hamsters – A 24x12-inch cage, water, and aspen shavings 

Handling and Temperament

The above hamsters are generally calm, meaning they're unlikely to bite or scratch you. However, you need to account for individual temperaments. If your pet is more aggressive, give them time to get used to their new environment. And if you want to add another hamster, make sure it's the same sex and species. 

Activity Levels

Each species is nocturnal, meaning they're more active during the night. They avoid burrowing, eating, and playing during the day because their instincts tell them to minimize movement during this period so as not to alert predators. 

Health and Dietary Requirements

We've listed the most common health problems of each species. The following dietary plans may help prevent them: 

  • Syrian hamsters – Water, seed mixes, worms, fresh fruits and veggies 
  • Dwarf Campbell Russian hamsters – Water, oats, carrots, greens, seed mixes
  • Roborovski hamsters – Water, monkey nuts, fresh fruits and veggies 
  • Chinese hamsters – Water, timothy hay, seed mixes, fresh fruits and veggies 
  • Dwarf Winter White Russian hamsters – Water, small insects, fresh fruits, seed mixes

Ready to Embark on Your Hamster Adventure?

The best hamster pet depends on your needs. If you want a low-maintenance critter, a Syrian hamster is an excellent pick. By contrast, if you prefer an exotic animal, the Dwarf Winter White Russian hamster should do the trick. 

Once you select your pet hamster, it's up to you to make their stay more comfortable. Quality Cage can help you do just that. Whether you need a fully functional hamster wheel, hamster tank topper, durable Syrian hamster cage, or other hamster supplies, our collection has countless products from which to choose. All of which keep your furry friend nourished, safe, and entertained.


Which type of hamster is the friendliest?

The Syrian hamster is often considered the friendliest hamster species. 

What hamsters are best to bond with?

Due to their docile natures, Syrian hamsters are the easiest with which to bond.

Which is better for me: a Syrian hamster or a dwarf hamster?

Syrian hamsters are usually better than dwarf hamsters because they're friendlier. But they're also larger, requiring a bigger cage. 

What is the best low-maintenance hamster?

Syrian hamsters are the best low-maintenance hamsters, thanks to their tendency to pick just one bathroom area.

How do different hamster breeds interact with other pets?

Hamsters consider most other pets predators, which is why they stay away from them.


Have Questions About Hamster Breeds and care?

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Author: Joshua Paulson and Quality Cage Team
Josh is the owner and CEO at Quality Cage Crafters since 2015. During his time at Quality Cage Crafters he has been able to learn from tens of thousands of pet owners and pet educators. He blends his ambition for manufacturing and passion for animal care to create solutions for pet owners, breeders, animal rescues, and zoos. He has brought together a team of great animal lovers to create high quality pet care content for the Quality Cage Crafters audience.

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