The Chinese Dwarf Hamster


The Chinese hamster are classified for showing as a dwarf hamster though truly they are not a dwarf, as this term refers to the genus ’phodopus’ (which is true of cambpells, winter whites and roborovskis). As the name suggests they originate from china and can be found in the southern desert regions.

The Chinese hamster have a distinctively long body, they look as if they have been stretched, the limo of the hamster world. They have an elongated body section between the legs and their tail is long compared to other hamsters and is also prehensile. They tend to grow to around 7 - 13 cm in length. They should be long and slender, nicely toned but not thin. The head has a noticeable head set apart by a neck (a feature no other dwarf hamster has in showing). The head should be nice and broad, with eyes and ears set well apart, with the eyes creating a equilateral triangle with the hamsters nose.


Their fur is short and dense and should have a very smooth look to it, helping to emphasise the long sleek look of the hamster.


Male Chinese are extremely obvious as their testicles tend to be roughly as long as their head is, and the tail can be lost a little between them! Their wild agouti colour has a greyish brown tone to it, which coupled with the hamsters body and ability to wrap around a finger (or any long thin item ) like a mouse to a corn stalk give them a very mouse like appearance to some people.


They cling very well to both fingers and fabric, giving them a Velcro like ability to cling to clothing, so an owner could let one cling onto the front of their top and carry on with the day’s household chores! They are very quiet hamsters, calm in temperament, but some can be rather nervous and cautious especially when young. Once tame they will happily sit anywhere, and can be very still happily sat on a hand while you watch tv. They are a very endearing species of hamster, very much overlooked by most people, mainly down to their rarity, coupled with this mouse like appearance (and many are off put by their obviously male look of the males).

They are a social species and can be kept in same sex pairs (mating pairs though tend to be more difficult to establish). Males tend to get along better than female pairs, though even then you commonly hear of Chinese ending up in single tanks. Though social they can live a happy life alone, in an enriching environment and with human company, which is better than the risk of injury or death. Personally I wouldn’t advice female pairings, though I know some do have them.


Personally I find these little hamsters very appealing, and very different to the other hamsters out there, and though the tail is longer than most hamsters it does not affect me even though I am sorry to admit I have a tail phobia with rodents! Oddly this tends to be one of the longest lived species of hamster, with many making it to 4 years of age, though 2 -3 would be more typical.