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Old 02-13-2016, 09:12 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 1
Question Syrian or Winter White Hamster?

Hi, I'm Zara!

I'm 16 and just about to prepare for my first hamster. I've done a lot of research and I believe I'm ready to properly care for a hammie. However, I am now conflicted over which species to get.

I was originally planning to get a Syrian, but then I started learning more about Winter Whites, and now I can't decide. I am looking for a hamster that will enjoy being handled, be relatively easy to tame, and is friendly. I know that every hamster has its own personality, but I was just wondering which species you guys would recommend.

Thank you!
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:17 AM   #2
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Default Re: Syrian or Winter White Hamster?

Hi Zara, welcome to HC.
This gets asked quite a lot & there's no simple answer really!
I know Russian hams can have a bit of a reputation for being nippy but I haven't found that to be the case, out of four Russian hams I've only had one who didn't turn out to be cuddly, two took a little time to tame & the others were pretty much tame from the start, one was a biter but got over it with a little patience they all enjoyed being handled to some extent, some more than others.
I've never had a syrian but going by posts here it's similar in that some are easy to tame, others not so much, some love cuddles & others prefer to just do their own thing.
It really does come down to personality in the end & there's no way of knowing until you bring your ham home & get to know him or her.
There are other things to consider though, both need good size cages but syrians need more space for out of cage time generally & it's harder to get or make something like a playpen.
It can be harder to get syrian sized toys & cage accessories too, you have to search around for rat size things!
So as much as thinking about what you want from your ham you need to think about what you're able to provide for it.
I think the best thing you can do is go to a shop or if you're lucky enough to be able to get to a breeder go & see some, handle them & then decide.
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Old 02-15-2016, 01:57 AM   #3
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Location: Bath, UK
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Default Re: Syrian or Winter White Hamster?

I've heard many people say that syrian hamsters are the best if you're getting your first hamster as they are the easiest to tame but every hamster is different and some just don't enjoy being handled. It also depends on where you get your hamster from and a hamster from a breeder who is a member of one of the National Hamster Council affiliated clubs will often have been handled from an early age and as a consequence, you'll have a bit of a head start.

If you're buying from a pet shop, you're unlikely to get a pure Winter White and will probably get a cross between the Winter White and the Campbells which is often just labelled as a Russian Hamster. They may be more prone to health problems such as diabetes and shouldn't be bred from but they can make lovely pets.

As Cypher has said, you'll need bigger toys for a Syrian and it's usually best to look for rat toys rather than the ones actually marketed for hamsters which could cost you a little bit more, particularly if you've got to look online and need to factor in delivery charges too.

Sometimes you just don't know who is the hamster for you until you until you actually meet them.
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Old 02-15-2016, 05:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: Syrian or Winter White Hamster?

I personally have found Winter Whites to be less likely to bite and easy to tame but then I have had the majority of mine through breeders and now, as a breeder myself, I would not home any hammy without being sure it is hand tame.

The Syrians I have had, in general, have not been as cuddly and affectionate but it is as much personality of the hamster as species I believe.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Syrian or Winter White Hamster?

When choosing your hamster ask if you can hold it or at least have a staff member hold it (if you are buying/adopting a hamster from a pet shop.

Some pet shops handle them more than others which will show by the hamsters reaction to hands/handling.
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Old 02-15-2016, 08:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: Syrian or Winter White Hamster?

I personally have never had any hamster other than Syrians. Mine were really friendly from the start and seemed easy to train(and potty train). I preferably think it is a little bit easier to "hold" a Syrian since they are larger, however dwarves can be just as easy.

If you are really unsure, I would recommend (as CMB suggested) to hold both types of hammy to see which bonds with you more. I think it just really depends on the individual hamster and your preference in size and appearance.

Good luck!
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