MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

Loading

Introduction to Hamsters

By

Katherine E. Quesenberry

, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian);


Thomas M. Donnelly

, BVSc, DVP, DACLAM, DABVP(ECM), The Kenneth S Warren Institute

Last full review/revision Aug 2020 | Content last modified Sep 2020
Topic Resources

Hamsters are rodents (members of the biological order Rodentia) and are distant relatives of mice and rats. Hamsters are small, almost tailless, relatively clean, affordable, easy to care for, and popular as pets.

Different types of hamsters include the Syrian (golden), Chinese, and Russian dwarf.

Different types of hamsters include the Syrian (golden), Chinese, and Russian dwarf.

The most common variety is the Syrian hamster, also known as the golden hamster (see Table: Hamster Breeds Commonly Kept as Pets). This name comes from the coloring of the animal in its original home in the wild. Today, pet owners can find Syrian hamsters in many color and coat varieties. Other varieties kept as pets include the Russian dwarf hamster, Chinese hamster, and the European hamster (which is uncommon in the United States).

Table
icon

Hamster Breeds Commonly Kept as Pets

Type

Color

Weight (grams)

Life Span (months)

Syrian

Golden originally, now bred in many colors

110 to 140

18 to 36

Chinese

Dark brown

40 to 60

24 to 36

Russian dwarf

Varied

35 to 50

18 to 24

For More Information

Also see professional content regarding hamsters.

Others also read

Also of Interest

SOCIAL MEDIA

TOP