The Chinese Hamster is one of the least common species of hamster kept as pets but are occasionally seen in pet shops. There is some debate as to whether the Chinese Hamster is really a true dwarf hamster as some consider that the title is reserved for members of the phodopus genus but for the purpose of showing they appear in the Dwarf Section.
Chinese Hamsters are easily recognised by their tails which can be up to 3cm long and they have a more slender mouse-like body shape when compared to the other species of pet hamster. In pet shops, they will commonly be seen in two colour variants known as either Normal (Agouti) or Dominant Spot. A third colour variant, the Black Eyed White is exceptionally difficult to find on the pet market and tend to be owned by club breeders and exhibitors.
Chinese Hamsters are more agile than the other species of domestic hamster and can be very good climbers so it’s important to supervise them whilst they’re in an open playbox or a playpen. They are a very intelligent species of hamster, have a great deal of personality however some people have found that they can be a bit timid, particuarly if they have not much handling as babies or are in unsuitable cages. Once tame and in the right environment their personalities really do flourish and they can make wonderful pets.
Male Chinese Hamsters in particular can be prone to laziness, often preferring to sit and snuggle up in a cosy spot than charge around exploring – our boys will often seek out a pocket or snuggle up in folds of clothing to relax whilst we’re interacting with them and some have been that relaxed and comfortable that they’ve been known to fall asleep.
Female Chinese Hamsters on the other hand tend to be busy little creatures, building themselves elaborate nests, gathering foods for a well stocked larder and exploring every inch of their cages. They’re less inclined to sit for cuddles but are fascinating to watch and will often enjoy climbing all over their owners.