Whilst I was looking to get a hamster for my two daughters I did a lot of research to find out more about the friendliest hamsters. The information I found was not always clear so hopefully, this article will help you make an informed choice.
So which hamster breeds are the friendliest?
There are a variety of different hamster breeds with different characteristics. But, if you are looking for a friendly one, then the best breeds for you to consider would be the Syrian hamsters, Chinese hamsters, and Dwarf hamsters.
While most hamsters look cute and fluffy nestled in your palm, they do tend to have a range of personality quirks. Different breeds have varying looks and temperament. I’m here to help you figure out the few things to keep in mind while choosing the perfect hamster.
There are only 5 hamster breeds, which are kept as pets out of the numerous ones currently existing. The three aforementioned breeds of hamsters are the friendliest of the lot. They share a common quality, that is, of friendliness and loyalty. But, each of these unique types of hamsters also shows slight differences.
Syrian Hamsters are also known as Golden or Teddy bear hamsters due to their most commonly recurring color and chubby bodies. They are perfect pets for children and this is the breed that a lot of first time purchases choose.
Syrian hamsters are some of the largest amongst their species with sizes ranging anywhere between 4-7 inches. Males can grow to a size of 6 inches while females can be even bigger. Syrian hamsters can be easily tamed and perfectly loyal to their owners. They have to be kept on their own as they are not very social. If kept in the same cage with other little fellows, they are likely to fight and even kill each other. Their round chubby bodies make their movement quite slow and endearing.
Due to their solitary behavior, Syrian hamsters tend to develop strong bonds of attachment with their owners. They are nocturnal animals and spend most of the day sleeping. But, whenever both of you spend your waking hours together, you will find them to be very affectionate and playful. So, if you are looking for the cutest ball of fluff, then these are perfect for you.
Chinese hamsters are also called stripped hamsters. They are found in two major variants. One comes with an agouti coat of dark brown or black fur and a white underbelly and the other with a white coat of fur containing colored spots.
Chinese hamsters usually grow to an average size of about 4 inches. This leads to them often being confused with Dwarf hamsters. They tend to have slender bodies with an appearance quite similar to that of a rat. They can often be timid and rarely ever bite their handlers. Their tiny bodies and friendly temperament make them the perfect pet for you.
These cute pets are mostly non-active during the day, though they do spend short stretches of time awake throughout. At night, Chinese hamsters are quite playful and are likely to cuddle with you. Though they are not social with other hamsters, they are quick to form loyal bonds with their humans.
Dwarf hamsters are tiny and cute, fitting perfectly in the palm of your hand. They come in three different varieties. These are the Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamsters, Dwarf Winter White Russian hamsters, and Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters.
As their name suggests, Dwarf hamsters are the smallest among hamster breeds. While Roborovskis are the tiniest in size ranging between 1.5-2 inches, the other two breeds are usually 3-4 inches big. Dwarf hamsters are social creatures and can be kept together with same-sex groups of other hamsters of the same variant. They can be very fast and capable of quick unexpected movements. Consequently, while handling them you have to be attentive.
Some of you may also have heard about how dwarf hamsters are not as good pets as some other hamsters. That is not quite true. The Campbell Russian can get agitated and nervous, and nip their handler if they feel threatened. The Winter White and Roborovski, on the other hand, are docile and sweet-tempered.
How to Make Your Hamster More Friendly?
Are you a newbie hamster owner anxious to become fast friends with your cute ball of fluff? If so, then I am here to inform you of the several ways in which you can easily ingratiate yourself to your new pet hamster. Here is a step-by-step guide to befriending your hamster:
- Let your pet get acquainted with their surroundings and a new home. Keep their cage in a warm room that is free from too much human activity to avoid confusing and frightening them.
- Once he/she is familiar with their surroundings, you should start to approach them slowly and talking to them in a low voice to familiarize them with your presence. Avoid waking them up from sleep and engage with them only when he/she is awake. Do not try to hold them yet.
- The next step is to acclimatize your hamster to your hand. Make sure that you have washed your hand with non-scented soap to prevent your pet from mistaking your hand for food. This is likely to end with your hamster feeling threatened and biting you.
- Handle your hamster for short stretches of time every day till they are more acquainted with you. Ensure you never drop them. This will help make them feel safe in your hands, enabling them to trust you.
Do Hamsters like Being Handled
Hamsters are mostly fine with you handling them but only if they are well acquainted with you as their owner. When you first acquire them, they are likely to perceive you as just another big predator. If you approach them suddenly or try to handle them right away, you are likely to startle them into biting you.
It is better to give your new pet time to familiarize themselves with their new home and their new owner. Thus, the best way to ensure that your hamster trusts you enough to handle them with care is to follow our instructions in the previous section.