What is a Chinese Hamster?

The Chinese hamster is the second largest species of domestic hamster, and its long tail and mousy-looking face set it apart from other hamsters.


Physical Info

The average Chinese hamster is 3.2-5 inches long. Though it is sometimes called the ‘Chinese Dwarf’ it is NOT a dwarf hamster. The only two hamster species that can breed are the Winter White and the Campbell’s Dwarf. Chinese hamsters are mistaken for mice because of their long, narrow face shape and their big eyes. One of the most distinctive parts of a Chinese hamster is its tail. A Chinese hamster’s tale can grow from 2-3.3 cm.

There are three colors of Chinese hamsters.

Normal: ‘Normal’ refers to the natural colour that would be found in the wild. A normal Chinese hamster is a light brown colour with a dark dorsal stripe.(A dark stripe down its back)


Black-eyed White: The genetic make-up of the BEW is not yet certain as this is a new mutation. This is a new breed of Chinese hamster and is extremely rare. You can not find BEW’s in pet shops, and you can only get them from BEW breeders.


Dominant Spot: The dominant spot has the appearance of a white hamster with a dark dorsal stripe and then varying amounts of dark pigment.


Pros and Cons of Getting a Chinese Hamster


  • They are not as costly as Syrians because of their small size
  • Fun to watch
  • Rarely bite
  • Fairly low maintenance
  • Inexpensive compared to a larger animal or hamster


    • Are better for observing than handling
    • Females are more dominant, and could kill a male cage mate
    • Extremely fast
    • In some states in the U.S, owning a Chinese hamster is illegal, so check before you get one!
    • Hard to catch, can squeeze through many large bar sizes.

Thank you for reading this page on hamster101.com. Remember, if this is your first time getting a hamster, make sure to check out my other pages on the other species of domestic hamster before you make your final decision on what hamster to get. Good luck! -Iris


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