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Old 07-13-2017, 10:26 AM   #1
Gerbil
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Default Are dwarf hamsters best kept alone?

So for the three types of dwarf hamster, are all best kept alone? I hear so many stories of fighting and keeping them together seems like a lot of heartache to me. Just curious.
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Old 07-13-2017, 10:47 AM   #2
AprilPearl
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Default Re: Are dwarf hamsters best kept alone?

In the wild, they would live in groups, so it is a very natural thing. HOWEVER, each member of the group would have to accept any new members. You can't guarantee that if you buy a pair they will accept each other and get along. Just like you can't guarantee that if you were randomly put in a room with a stranger, you would be friends. In the wild, they get to pick their "friends" but with us picking for them, we don't always pick who they would if they had the chance! Added to that, one of them needs to want to be dominant and the other one must be submissive; otherwise you get fighting. And the situation becomes even more complicated if you have more than two because all members have to accept each other. If you do decide to keep a pair, you must get two from the same litter who have been raised together and have a spare cage ready in case you need to separate them.
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Are dwarf hamsters best kept alone?

Russian hams (Campbells/WW/hybrids) & Robos can live in pairs or groups, it does take a lot of experience to really understand how best to do this, keeping them that way isn't simple or easy but it can be done & they can live very happily like this.
Many will fall out especially is the set up isn't right for them, I must admit keeping pairs or groups has never appealed to me & they will most certainly live very happily alone.

Chinese hamsters are now considered solitary & should be kept alone.
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Are dwarf hamsters best kept alone?

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Chinese hamsters are now considered solitary & should be kept alone.
I know that Chinese should be kept alone, but I did also think that they were not classed as dwarf hamsters. Am I wrong? I could be confused on this point!
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Are dwarf hamsters best kept alone?

Strictly speaking Chinese are not dwarf hamsters no but most people generally group them together with robos & russians when they say dwarfs so I tend to assume most people think of them as dwarfs, if that makes sense!
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Are dwarf hamsters best kept alone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cypher View Post
Strictly speaking Chinese are not dwarf hamsters no but most people generally group them together with robos & russians when they say dwarfs so I tend to assume most people think of them as dwarfs, if that makes sense!
Makes perfect sense. Thank you! Thought I may have been getting it wrong lol.
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Old 07-13-2017, 12:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Are dwarf hamsters best kept alone?

It depends how you define 'dwarf hamster'. Some people define it as belonging to the Phodopus genus, and therefore there has come to be the view that only Campbell's, Winter Whites and Roborovskis are dwarf hamsters (I think this may have arisen from legislation in certain American states where hamsters of the Phodopus genus are legal along with Syrian hamsters, but those not of it, i.e. Chinese hamsters, are not legal.)
I do class Chinese hamsters as dwarf hamsters as this is not my view; I show them in the dwarf section of shows, I judge them as a dwarf hamster judge and their standards are in the dwarf section of the NHC handbook
You're welcome to your view, but it's all down to your definition.

I've found Campbell's easiest to keep in pairs/groups, with Winter Whites next easy (though more prone to squeaking). Robos have a tendency to seem OK and then attack each other silently. Chinese are the trickiest, and I rehome Chinese individually as pets as it's not nice to wake up to the result of a falling out of two Chinese hamsters.

If you buy a pair/group of dwarf hamsters you need to have enough cages, room and resources to house each member of that group in their own cage.
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Old 07-13-2017, 12:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Are dwarf hamsters best kept alone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AprilPearl View Post
I know that Chinese should be kept alone, but I did also think that they were not classed as dwarf hamsters. Am I wrong? I could be confused on this point!
It seems to be a bit unclear as in some places they seem to be considered to be the only dwarf hamster with the Campbells, Winter Whites and Roborovskis considered to be more of a desert hamster and in other places the term 'Dwarf Hamster' is reserved for the members of the Phodopus genus. In the UK, the Chinese hamster is often referred to as a dwarf hamster in pet shops and in pet care books as the name is based on size as opposed to genus. In addition to this Chinese Hamsters are shown and judged as Dwarf Hamsters.
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Old 07-13-2017, 12:07 PM   #9
AprilPearl
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Default Re: Are dwarf hamsters best kept alone?

All sounds complicated but thanks for the clarifications! Seems as though there are multiple opinions it’s interesting to read about, anyway. I don’t have enough experience myself to be able to form a view either way but whether they are dwarves or not I wouldn’t suggest keeping them in pairs as pets permanently (though I do kow if you have a lot of experience that they can be kept together temporarily for breeding)!
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: Are dwarf hamsters best kept alone?

By now I must have had about 20 dwarfs. Only my first 2 were Russian Winter Whites. All the others were/are Campbells. I have had few groups of 4 and there were no problems with falling out. On the contrary, they all congregated together in their cage and outside. I would often find a row of 4 balls, in their very favourite spot. (strangely, favourite to all of those I have had). I had bit of a problem when I got a group of 5. One was an albino and just did not fit in. The breeder had 5 boys, so I took them all. He would sneak up on the others, nip at them and quickly disappear and hide. It got bit bad, so I had to separate him and he was in a penthouse for the rest of his life..
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