How to Prevent Behavioral Problems in Dwarf Hamsters

Dwarf hamsters are best kept in pairs or mixed groups.

A keeper educates himself before taking in a pet, he knows about its needs and can thus prevent possible behavioral disorders.


Mice relatives – mice – hamsters

Life expectancy

Djungarian hamster 2-3 years, Roborovsky hamster 1.5-2 years


Djungarian hamster 4-5 weeks, Roborovsky hamster after 14-24 days


In the meantime, about 20 different dwarf hamster species have been discovered. The most commonly kept pets are the Djungarian hamster, Campbell’s hamster and hybrids of both species, and the Roborovsky hamster. The origin of the dwarf hamster is different.

The natural range of the Djungarian hamsters is Kazakhstan and Southwest Siberia. They live in relatively barren steppe areas and feed primarily on grasses, herbs, and insects. Their natural coat color is grey, with a dark back stripe and a white belly. In winter they change their fur and turn white, an indication that they do not hibernate or are active in winter and have to go foraging. However, in winter they can lower their body temperature to use less energy (torpor). They tend to draw on fat reserves and lose weight. In the wild, the animals sometimes live alone, sometimes in pairs. However, after successful fertilization, the buck is often driven out of the nest before birth and then lives alone.

The natural range of the Campbell’s dwarf hamster is Mongolia and Manchuria, and they have also been found in northern China and southern central Siberia. They also live in barren steppes. Campbell’s dwarf hamsters exhibit a wide variety of colors when bred. They come in all shades of color from light to dark. They are a bit shy towards humans. Living in the wild, they do not hibernate either, but they do not change color like the Djungarian.

The Roborowski hamsters are the smallest of the three dwarf hamsters. Their natural range is eastern Kazakhstan and northern China. There they live in deserts and semi-deserts and eat very little grass and herbs, which is why you should pay attention to a low-fat mixture of small seeds with herbs in these animals. They have a sandy-colored coat, light spots above the eyes, and the belly is white. They don’t have a back stripe. The soles of their feet are hairy, and the fur shows light stripes over their eyes. There are hardly any color mutations in breeding. Their natural way of life is hardly researched, in the wild, they probably live together as a pair and raise their young together.


High-quality grain mixtures for dwarf hamsters from the trade, which mainly contain low-fat seeds and grains, supplemented by various types of vegetables and herbs, offer a good nutritional basis for the domesticated animals. Animal protein is often already included in the ready mixes.

Social behavior

It has been described for Djungarian dwarf hamsters that after the separation of previously permanently mated animals, weight gain and a reduction in social interaction and exploratory behavior occurred. Further evidence of an at least temporary social lifestyle in Djungarian dwarf hamsters has been described in animal experiments, which refute the widespread opinion that they are strict loners.

Campbell’s dwarf hamsters practice communal parental care and are thought to be monogamous (pairing with offspring). Kept as pets, they usually live together in families. Same-sex couples or even groups sometimes live together peacefully over a long period. Tolerability largely depends on the respective breeding line. In the case of permanent intolerance among adult animals, it would be advisable to keep these animals individually.

In pet keeping, Roborowski dwarf hamsters have had good experiences with keeping siblings, but the animals should also be separated there if there are permanent intolerances.

These examples suggest that certain dwarf hamster species need regular social contact with other species. Accordingly, single housing should only be a solution if individual animals cannot be socialized with others at all and there are ongoing disputes (intraspecific aggression).

Behavioral problems

Since dwarf hamsters usually occur in pairs or family groups in nature, some problems of intraspecific aggression in pet ownership may be because many owners attempt to care in purely same-sex constellations – which do not occur in nature. Thus, in many cases in human care, it might be better to avoid keeping same-sex couples together and instead to keep a (castrated) male with a female as a permanent pair. But not only the intraspecific aggression plays a role, but also fear and interspecific aggression toward the owners are not uncommon.

Krone occurs as a manifested behavioral disorder in dwarf hamsters, which can occur with a lack of protein, constant stress, overstocking, and lack of space. TVT (2013) guidelines state that all dwarf hamsters require an enclosure size of at least 100 x 50 x 50 cm (L x W x H) that allows for a minimum 20 cm deep borrowable layer of soil.

The bedding should be mixed with hay and straw in equal proportions. Multiple shelters, tubes, and roots should be available to reduce stress. The rodents are occupied with chewable materials such as paper, unprinted cardboard, and branches and serve as structural elements for the construction of artificial underground tunnels and chambers. A sand bath with chinchilla sand is also necessary for grooming and well-being.

Frequently Asked Question

How much does a dwarf hamster cost?

On average, a single hamster costs about 10 to 15 euros. Golden hamsters cost even less at 5 to 12 euros. The different dwarf hamster variants, on the other hand, can even cost more thmaineuros.

Where can I get a dwarf hamster?

Most of the time, the main newcomers to hamsters, go to a pet shop first. Almost all types of hamsters such as golden hamsters, dwarf hamsters, teddy hamsters, etc. are offered in the pet store. They expect good professional advice and hope to find their dream hamster.

What is the best hamster for a beginner?

Which hamsters are suitable for beginners? If you have never kept a hamster before, we recommend buying a golden or teddy hamster. These animals do not have great demands and they are considered tame. The Chinese striped hamster is also suitable for beginners.

Are dwarf hamsters diurnal?

The problem: All hamsters are nocturnal, they sleep during the day and only come out in exceptional cases. Disturbance during the day means extreme stress for the animals – like waking a child up at three o’clock in the morning

Which is a better golden hamster or dwarf hamster?

When it comes to housing and care, dwarf hamsters have hardly any other requirements than golden hamsters. But: They are usually not so easy to tame and are more suitable for looking at than for touching. They are also considered to be more susceptible to disease.

Which dwarf hamster will be tame?

Roborovsky hamsters are a little shyer and may take a little longer to tame than the Djungarian or Campbell’s dwarf hamster. The Chinese striped hamster, also a dwarf hamster, is considered particularly tame.

Which hamsters are particularly tame?

Taming the hamster takes a great deal of patience. In addition, not all hamster species are 100% hand tame. You have the best chances with a gold or teddy hamster. These two breeds are generally considered trusting.

Why is my dwarf hamster biting me?

Normally, hamsters are not snappy – the animals bite when they feel threatened or are stressed. For example, if they are woken up too early or disturbed while cleaning, are ill, or want to defend their nest.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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