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Old 07-13-2011, 12:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What is the best dwarf hamster breed?

I want to get a dwarf hamster, or a dwarf pair from my local rescue, and I was wondering what each breed has to contribute. It would be great if you could list the differences in the breeds if you've had experience with multiple breeds, and which on is your favorite and why. My local rescue has single chinese dwarfs up for adoption, but I'm not sure if I want another breed or not. (I sent her an email to see if new dwarfs arrived without being put up on their adoption list)


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Old 07-13-2011, 02:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best dwarf hamster breed?

Chinese hams are very shy, love to have lots of hidey holes however once tame they can be very affectionate, based on my experience with Toshiro. Not Aizen, he was an exception. As far as I'm aware they can't be kept in pairs.

Robos are nimble little things, less inclined to biting. They can take a long time to tame but give hours of watching entertainment and can be kept in pairs.

Campbells and Winter Whites, from what my friend has said, are cuddly and lazy little things, most like Syrians but less demanding.

My favourite are Chinese hamsters however I'll never have another one. They're adorable and they can be so warm.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best dwarf hamster breed?

Having kept all the varieties of hamster from two Roborovskis, a russian dwarf and now a syrian and a Chinese, my own personal preference is for the Chinese hamster. Probably underestimated as a pet purely because they are not as popular as the russian dwarf or syrian hamster, but it depends what your looking for from the hamster.

Most dwarf varieties are fun and easy to keep, low maintenance, yet highly entertaining. Chinese hamsters are more `mouse` like in their appearance and character, which appeals to me since I`ve kept pet mice now for ten years.

If your looking for a single hamster that is less likely to nip, I would say the Chinese hamster is the one. They are happy little creatures who love to dig and tunnel, so need at least four inches or more of substrate and ideally, should have a tank style habitat (but NOT Rotastak or anything modular). They need as much space as you can give them and something the size of a Zoozone 1 or Gabber Rex perpex tank is ideal. A glass aquarium or BIN cage would also be fine, as long as it`s big enough and well constructed and safe.

Chinese hamsters are naturally shy, so need plenty of hiding holes and natural accessories and a wheel. A regular silent spinner wheel is ideal and easily bought. They will happily take treats from your hand and once settled, they become more used to you.

I would say do your research, but don`t read too much into some internet babble that Chinese hamsters are not as popular as the other small hamsters. That`s probably because they have never caught up with their counterparts as wonderful little pets! Rehoming one from a rescue is a lovely idea, but just remember that they need time to settle in and don`t like change, so make sure you have a good tank already set up if you bring a new hamster home as messing around with him/her too often can unsettle them.

So, the Chinese is my choice.

LocoRoco, why won`t you have another Chinese? You seem to like them?
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best dwarf hamster breed?

I adore Chinese hamsters! I had two. My first two hamsters were Chinese boys. Toshiro was a dream since he was your typical Chinese, he was dom spot as well so he was really pretty.

But Aizen...Ah. He was very very special to me. He had behavioural issues and he could be really difficult and frustrating at times. But I loved him. I won't have any more probably because of how distraught I was when Aizen died. It had a really big impact on me. I'm not sure I could get that attached to another Chinese, I'd be so scared.
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best dwarf hamster breed?

I have two robos, males and they really seem to get along great... and you already know this but get ones that grew up together so they will get along.... i dont know about other breeds that much but robos seem do do fine in groups
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best dwarf hamster breed?

Well technically they're species, not breeds. And Chinese hamsters aren't a dwarf species (they belong to a different genus).

I've never had a Winter White before, because there are none around here. But I hear that they are similar to Russian Campbells, though they can be more vocal.
My RC dwarfs were always very friendly, some preferring to play on me while I have had some that enjoyed cuddling and grooming. They tend to be cage territorial in small cages, though the habit can carry on even when moved to an adequate sized cage. They are also prone to diabetes.
Robos are very fast, and often nervous species. They are so much fun to watch exploring though, and often present a nice challenge in trying to earn their trust.

I would make the ultimate choice, depending on the hamster that seems to be the 'right' one, and worry about the species later. It seems to work out nicely that way.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best dwarf hamster breed?

I totally understand your logic Loco regarding getting very involved with such big characters and when they get old or ill, it can have such an impact on you. Prinny is my very first experience with Chinese hamsters and even over the past month of owning her, I`m totally smitten. So I know where your coming from. Thanks for sharing your insight.

Oh yes, I knew Chinese were a different genus and are not techinically `dwarf` hamsters! I quite like that actually as it seems to give them their own identity.
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best dwarf hamster breed?

There is so much I could say about Dwarfies I just love them so much. I will try and keep it short and sweet though so that you dont have to read pages. ^_^

Robos - Take a long time to tame, need a lot of attention to get them used to you but are more than worth it if you succeed (and even if you dont) They are cute, fun, fast and - from my experience - get along with others of their kind much better than the other dwarf breeds. Of course there are always exceptions (Ps these are my favourite dwarfies ^_^ I own 2, soon to be 4, robos)

Russians/Hybrids - Friendly, easy to tame in comparison to robos, can be very cuddly or quite fiesty, occasionally nippy at first, great personalities, better for first time dwarf owners as they can be handled outside of the cage quite easily and arent as squirmy or as fast as robos. I have 1 hybrid and she is absolutly lovely but very feisty.

Winter whites - Very very loving. Although I'd recommend only getting one WW unless you are prepared for the very likely chance of a pair fighting and having to be separated at some point in their lives. They are, I find, the most social with humans out of the dwarfies. My WW loves to cuddle with me or sit on the shelf in her cage chattering to me. She will respond to me if I speak to her and sleep by my head some nights 'cooing' at me when I start to drift off :L (Not a great help when youre tired) All in all though they are beautiful and very sweet.

Ive yet to own a Chinese (although they are not dwarfs a lot of people percieve them to be so I thought I best mention them) My cousin has owned two - who had to be separated and this is apparently not all that uncommon with chinese but she loves them and they are very friendly and sweet natured although they can be very shy and sometimes hard to tame.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best dwarf hamster breed?

Hello rock star! must be very confusing picking one type!

Well atm i have all the diff types of dwarf hamster and i love them all but for different reasons!

My Robos: havent been named yet! they need a big cage to run around in and keeping them together can be hard! plus they are hard to tame! but they are the cutest little fluff balls and a absolute joy to watch!

My Cambell ruby: i adopted her so she was very nervous and bitey when i first had her! she soon came around i tamed her in about 2 weeks! she is lovely now, but still has some of that fiesty nature

My WW Bon-Bon: i have the strongest bond with him! he is lovely, has never bitten anyone will sit in your hands quite happily, loves cuddles and kisses and remembers when its dinner time

My chinese Twinkle: probably my personal favourite she is so tiny and dainty and she is the most 'natural' of all my hamsters, other chinese owners will realise what i mean

good luck with whatever you choose.

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