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Old 05-06-2020, 05:26 PM   #1
favfoetus
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Default Syrians vs Dwarfs

Anyone who has had both, what would you say are the main differences both in care and behavior? Most videos and such on the topic gloss over it and just say both are great without talking much on the differences other than size. Are there many differences other than size?
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:00 AM   #2
Ria P
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Default Re: Syrians vs Dwarfs

I have a Syrian, two Russian dwarfs and a Robo. Aside from size and species appropriate housing the only difference i can see are some adjustments in diet for the dwarfs because they are prone to diabetes.

I can't see any difference in behaviour because that depends more on the individual hamster's personality rather than species. The care is the same.
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:11 AM   #3
Fluffagrams
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Default Re: Syrians vs Dwarfs

The main difference will be the size but Syrians and Dwarfs are more prone to different health conditions too so Dwarfs are generally more prone to diabetes but Syrians can be afflicted by wet tail or torpor where dwarfs don't.

I don't know if it's just my Syrian but female Syrians seem to smell far more when they're on heat than any of my Dwarfs ever have.
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Old 05-09-2020, 02:46 AM   #4
ham888
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Default Re: Syrians vs Dwarfs

From keeping one Syrian and one dwarf for a while now, other than size and diet differences I find that dwarfs are very much speeded up. Our current dwarf is on hyperspeed when exercising, and very fast round his cage too. And of course they can get into much tighter spaces than Syrians.

Also, I've never fully tamed any of our dwarfs and they will often nip, but are all happy to be played with and held otherwise. That may just be me but all our Syrians have been extremely tame.
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Old 05-14-2020, 02:38 PM   #5
Stella Maris
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Default Re: Syrians vs Dwarfs

I agree with Ham888.
Caveat: I've only ever had 1 dwarf and 1 syrian (both males), so it's a very small sample.
The Campbell's dwarf is up and running on his wheel (& looking for treats) several times a day, so he's more of a companion in that he's 'around', and fun to watch. He's also nippy, and has nailed me good a few times.
The Syrian needs a bigger cage/bin, bigger wheel, more substrate, etc. The Syrian is WAY more laid back and handle-able, but sleeps all day long. I either lure or haul him out of his nest around 11-ish to interact a bit. Otherwise I'd never see him. (He runs on his wheel between 1 AM and dawn.)
Good luck and let us know what you decide.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:32 PM   #6
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Syrians vs Dwarfs

The biggest difference is cage set ups and taming really. It's a generalisation but Syrians ae probably easier to tame and handle - generally - being that bit larger they are easier to handle as well. But as said above, their personalities vary whatever species - some are lazy and easier to handle (or more reclusive), others are maverick and not so easy!

There are three species of dwarf hamsters. Russian dwarf hamsters are either Campbells or Winter whites - but most that you would see (unless from a breeder) are hybrids of these two species. Almost all pet shop hamsters are hybrids even if they look like a winter white or Campbells. Hybrids are prone to diabetes and can have a shorter lifespan or other conditions develop - but not always.

The third species of dwarf hamsters are Roborovski's - they are not prone to diabetes and are supposed to live a bit longer than other dwarf hamsters and Syrians - but not always - some have genetically inherited issues if breeding has not been great and that is an unknown factor. They are great fun but notoriously difficult to handle and tame and extremely fast and a bit scared sometimes. They are more watching pets and very entertaining, but our robo did interact by sitting and listening when you talked and some non verbal communication! Some robos can have neurological issues and "spinning" and need extra care but you;d probably know that before getting them - likely to be a genetic birth defect.

Syrians tend to be healthy generally - they can get wet tail but they have usually contracted that before you get them. It is not that common if you get a healthy hamster and house them suitably to avoid stress/don't do weekly cleanouts or steal their hoard etc.

All dwarf hamsters are at risk of serious injury from falls so suitable height cages are important and careful set ups.

Even Syrians can have fall injuries if a cage is too tall. For all species they do best with more floor area and less height - they are ground dwellers and tunnelers basically. Some will tunnel,others won't. If you give them a good house they are less likely to want to tunnel and happy with a human made hide/nesting box so they don't necessarily need very deep substrate.

The main difference with cage set up is - Syrians do need larger items - rat sized toys and tunnels are best and need a cage at least 80cm by 50cm and no taller than 45cm. 100cm by 50cm is a good size as it allows for larger items such as larger houses and tunnels and plenty of enrichment. But 80 x 50 can work if set up carefully.

Syrians also need a much bigger wheel which takes up a fair bit of space in a cage.

There are varying opinions on cage size for dwarf hamsters and some of that can depend on their personality, but generally 70cm x 40 cm is a minimum size - something like a duna multy tank or hamster heaven cage is good. Robos can sometimes need a lot of space as they are very active, but some are more shy and ok with 70 x 40. I found something the size of the hamster heaven (80 x 50) to be minimum size for a robo. They like lots of overhead cover and hidey places and tunnels though. They use the space but don't like feeling too exposed. That goes for hamsters generally. A large cage is no good if it's full of open space - they need a shelf or platform or two and other things to dive into and under to enjoy the space. And a good sized house or nesting box. Little cute houses are nice as extra hidey places but not good for nesting.

For all species it's best to have a house that is open underneath and sat directly on the substrate - encourages normal behaviours such as burrowing down and burying hoards under their nest, plus building a big cosy nest and is better ventilated so doesn't need cleaning out really - they refurbish things themselves -unless it is pee'd in.

They will all bond with a human and be a lovely pet. For a first hamster a syrian is often recommended. Some things are easier with dwarf hamsters - smaller items and wheels etc - but they can be harder to tame and handle.
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