Dwarf hamsters can be good beginner pets for children and first-time owners alike.
They’re typically gentle small animals, making them easy to get along with. However, that doesn’t mean every dwarf hamster is friendly, as they have species-specific traits and unique personalities.
You want a pet dwarf hamster that’s easy to train, quick to bond, and less likely to bite.
Dwarf hamsters are the smallest and cutest of all hamster species due to their endearing features and diminutive size. However, dwarf hamsters are prone to fear-based and temperamental behaviors.
Are Dwarf Hamsters Friendly?
Dwarf hamsters are less friendly than Syrian hamsters. That isn’t to say that friendly dwarf hamsters don’t exist, but they’re more likely to be defensive and afraid than Syrians.
This is likely due to their size, as smaller hamsters are more vulnerable and have shorter lifespans. Being aggressive and distrustful of larger creatures, like humans, is a normal evolutionary trait.
However, you can still get a friendly dwarf hamster. They’re much-loved worldwide, which is why 5 of the 6 most popular hamster species are dwarf hamsters.
You need to know which dwarves are social and anti-social to make an informed decision.
What Kind of Hamster is The Friendliest?
Here are the best dwarves listed by order of friendliness:
- Russian dwarf hamsters
- Chinese hamsters
- Winter white hamsters
- Roborovski dwarf hamsters
- Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamsters
Russian Dwarf Hamsters
The Russian dwarf hamster is the second friendliest hamster to the Syrian, which makes it the best pet if you want a dwarf. They’re highly social and prefer to spend their time exploring and playing.
They like spending time with humans and are less likely to get scared when interacting with people.
As they enjoy being around their owners, they’re easier to train. You can even train them to perform certain tricks in exchange for rewards,
They often live in small groups in the wild, so you can keep Russian dwarf hamsters together.
Chinese hamsters are friendly but also very shy. It takes a while for them to warm up to people, so you’ll need to hand-feed and handle them more often to gain their trust.
Children can handle Chinese hamsters, but only if they’re well-acquainted. That’s in part because Chinese hamsters are fast movers. If the hamster slips out of the child’s grasp, it’ll run away and hide.
In the wild, Chinese hamsters live alone, as they don’t like members of their species and get aggressive in the presence of another hamster.
Winter White Hamsters
Winter white hamsters are easy to tame; they start shy and warm up as they get to know you.
Winter whites become aggressive when scared, and they can sometimes bite. They tend to bite more than Chinese hamsters, so they don’t make good pets for children.
They’re also skittish and only sometimes tolerate being held or touched. Depending on their personality, they can be kept in a cage with other hamsters. In most cases, they’re territorial and aggressive.
Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters
The Roborovski dwarf hamster, also known as the Robo hamster, isn’t very affectionate.
The species isn’t aggressive, but they don’t bond with owners quickly. They prefer to run around and do their own thing while ignoring you unless you have food.
Robo hamsters rarely bite, but they get scared easily. They’re energetic and dislike being kept in one place, so they’ll run off if you take them out of their cage to play with them.
You can keep them together, but only in same-sex pairs. Robo hamsters get hormonal and territorial when they share an enclosure with opposite-sex hamsters.
Campbell’s Russian Dwarf Hamsters
Don’t confuse Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamsters with Russian dwarves.
Campbell’s hamsters are very shy and don’t trust people easily. They bite when they feel threatened (which is often), so they aren’t the friendliest kind of dwarf hamster.
This doesn’t mean you should avoid getting one, as they can be very nice when they’re happy and contented. However, they’re not good hamsters for beginners but become more friendly after they’ve spent months bonding with their owners through regular exposure.
The best way to bond with Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamsters is to interact with them with food and toys. You can play with them and direct their energy toward rewarding experiences without getting bitten.
Are Boy or Girl Hamsters Nicer?
When kept alone, neither girl nor boy hamsters are friendlier than each other. The friendliness of dwarf hamsters depends on their species, past treatment, personality, and health status.
A solitary hamster will behave aggressively if paired with several hamsters in a cage.
Asocial hamsters form a harsh social hierarchy, meaning some become overly aggressive while others get bullied. The stress of belonging to an unfriendly horde can turn a sweet hamster into an aggressive one, regardless of whether it’s male or female.
Owners often state that females are more aggressive than males, but this could be due to certain hormonal behaviors triggered by certain circumstances.
The University of Birmingham stated that female hamsters become aggressive toward males if they’re sexually unreceptive of the male’s advances.
However, according to Hormones and Behavior, female hamsters also get more aggressive if they’re pregnant or lactating.
Of course, this is less to do with the hamsters being female and more to do with their circumstances. If you don’t want a female dwarf hamster to get aggressive, avoid breeding or pairing her with males.
Do Dwarf Hamsters Bite a Lot?
Some dwarf species bite more than others. Aside from the hamster’s species, the two factors determining how often a dwarf will bite are its personality and familiarity with you.
Hamsters that have been abused or neglected in the past may bite. Some hamsters grew up in competitive litters, and competing for resources from an early age can make a hamster aggressive.
Hamsters that aren’t familiar may nip at you, which is different from a bite. A hamster will bite to hurt you so that it can escape. A bite from a dwarf hamster can be painful but rarely draws blood.
Hamsters nip at you when they want to get to know you better. Once the hamster is familiar with your scent, this behavior will usually cease or reduce significantly.
Do Dwarf Hamsters Like Being Held?
Roborovski and Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamsters dislike being held.
Neither is affectionate, and they don’t appreciate handling. They like running off to do their own thing, so they bite when forced to interact with humans.
Winter whites and Chinese hamsters can be held once you’ve earned their trust. It takes a while to hand-tame them, but they enjoy being in your palm once you do.
Russian dwarf hamsters enjoy being held the most out of any breed.
Of course, hamsters have different personalities, and you never know what you’ll get with them. Some Russian dwarf hamsters dislike being held, while some Robo hamsters enjoy it.
You can get an idea of what a dwarf hamster will enjoy based on its species, but it all comes down to the individual hamster’s personality.