Child Friendly Hamsters: Top 3 Hamsters For Kids

hamster with child

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You may be surprised to learn that there are more than twenty breeds hamster in the world today. However, not all of them are kept as pets and not all of them are child friendly hamsters. This is because, just like many pets we keep, hamsters can vary greatly from breed to breed in size, care requirements, and personality. 

Which hamsters are childfriendly? Only five breeds of hamsters are commonly kept as pets which narrows down the field of ‘suitable for children’ considerably. However, there are three that can be considered excellent child-friendly pets that you should consider. Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamsters, Dwarf winter whites and the most popular Syrian hamsters.

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Top 3 Hamsters For Kids

At #3 …………. Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamster

Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamster are perfect pets for children

Named after the place it is from (Russia) and the man who discovered it (WC Campbell) the Dwarf Campbell Russian hamster will never exceed more than four inches in length. They are either gray or brown in fur coloration with white around their lips, cheeks, and underbelly. They also have a distinctive darker narrow dorsal stripe running from the nape of the neck to just above the tail.

More highly strung than most other hamsters, the Dwarf Campbell Russian has been known to nip. This is usually, however, because they have been startled or frightened. Their general nature, contrary to this, is mild and sweet so long as they are handled carefully. This means supervision is essential during the interaction between child and hamster. 

It also may be worth noting that the Dwarf Campbell Russian is a true nocturnal breed. This is in order to avoid predators (in their natural habitat) that are active through the day. It means that your child could become bored with this breed that sleeps when they are awake and lose interest in them completely. However, all is not lost, as some Dwarf Campbell Russian hamsters have adapted to captivity, and will be awake and active for short periods. There is no guarantee of this though.

What’s Lifespan of a Dwarf Russian Hamster

Given the correct care, a Dwarf Campbell Russian will live for around two years and can be kept with another adult (same gender) or in a group. It is best, however, that they do this from being babies. Dwarf Campbell Russians also need a habitat with close-set bars. This is due to their small size and excellence at escaping. Trust me when I say, you will regret an escaped hamster as they are masters of hiding out.

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At #2 …………. Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster

Dwarf winter white Russian hamster
Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamsters make great pets for kids

Less commonly found in pet shops than the Dwarf Campbell Russian, you could be forgiven for thinking the two are one and the same. After all, even biologists thought this was the case for a rather long time. Geneticists, however, have since proved that isn’t true, and that the Dwarf Winter White Russian is a distinct breed of its own. 

At around three inches in length, this breed has a slightly more stout appearance compared to the Dwarf Campbell Russian. They are not, however, fully white unless exposed to real winter conditions, rather they are pearl, sapphire, or a pearl and sapphire mix. 

Due to their tiny size, the Dwarf Winter White Russian is best kept in an aquarium style environment rather than a cage. Bars are rarely close enough set on cages to prevent this breed from escaping and of course escape is the last thing you want. The Dwarf Winter White Russian is also incredibly active, so you will need to install a running wheel and areas to climb in their enclosure. Out of cage exercise will also be vital. 

To handle, the Dwarf Winter White Russian is probably one of the easiest breeds. They are mellow in temperament and love to be made a fuss of. However, due to their tiny size you will need to supervise children handling this hamster. Rough handling could result in injury. Like the Dwarf Campbell Russian, the Dwarf Winter White can have a lifespan of around two years. 

At #1 ………….. Syrian Hamster

Syrian Hamsters are the number 1 best selling hamsters for children

Far and away the most popular and commonly found hamster breed is the Syrian, also known as the golden or teddy. This is undoubtedly due to their reputation as the friendliest hamster out there and their undeniable cuteness and good looks. They are found in classrooms and homes all over the world and really are the tops when it comes to being child-friendly.

Easy to handle, unlikely to nip, and having sweet personalities are just three of the top reasons the Syrian hamster snatches our number one spot. Being larger, and more robust is another. At up to seven inches the Syrian is sturdy and less likely to be injured than other breeds by clumsy hands. 

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Syrian hamsters can be long and short-haired and come in a range of colors. Golden is probably the most common of these but you will also find them in chocolate, grey, white, and black. Please note that Syrians with long hair may require some grooming or clipping. This is to ensure that their fur does not matt and they remain in optimal health. 

At seven inches (the largest breed) Syrian hamsters need large cages with larger wheels. They also must be kept solitary as they do not play well with others.

In terms of choosing male or female, the girls are more active than the boys. Males also tend to sleep more during the day whilst the females are more apt to rouse. Syrian hamsters have a life expectancy of approximately four years given the appropriate care.

Conclusion: Best hamsters for kids

Although we have put together this list for you of hamster breeds most suitable for children, it is not set in stone. Hamsters are, after all, individuals just like you and me, and will have individual traits of their own. That being said, however, the three we have recommended are renowned for being the most sociable with humans. They are also the ones that are easiest to tame and therefore ideal for children.

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