Dwarf Campbell's Russian Hamsters

Campbells Dwarf Hamster running in bogie wheel
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Named for Charles William Campbell, the Westerner, who first captured one in 1904, and the location on the Chinese-Russian border in Mongolia where he snagged it, Campbell's Russian hamster is a people-pleaser as a pet.


Dwarf Russian Campbell's hamsters normally have gray-brown fur on their backs with a darker strip along the center of their backs. The fur changes to a creamy color on the sides and is whiter on the belly. However, selective breeding techniques have produced Campbell's hamsters in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns. Dwarf Campbell's Russian hamsters are also noted for having furred feet.

Size Dictates Lodging

A small round-bodied hamster that reaches an adult size of about 4 inches, your dwarf Cambell's Russian hamster is small enough to squeeze through the bars on many hamster cages so an aquarium is a safer choice for housing your new pet.

Your dwarf Cambell's Russian hamster likes to be warm and toasty. If it gets cold, it often will run around and turn to extra exercise to stay warm.

Behavior and Temperament:

Dwarf Russian Campbell's hamsters are nocturnal but may be active for short times during the day too. They make good pets, but they have a bit of a reputation for nipping if they feel threatened. Because they are small and quick, they can be a challenge to handle, especially for young children.

Social Characteristics:

Unlike Syrian hamsters, dwarf Russian Campbell's hamsters are social with their own species and can be kept in same-sex pairs or groupings, but usually only if they are introduced to each other at a young age. It is not a good idea to introduce adults or new hamsters to a group. Occasionally hamsters that were raised together may have to be separated if you find they are not getting along.

Other Interesting Facts

The dwarf Campbell's Russian hamster is often mistaken for its cousin, the dwarf winter white, but they are actually two different species. The Campbell's is a Phodopus campbelli, while the winter white is a Phodopus sungorus.Sometimes the hamster you purchase in a pet store is actually a hybrid.

Other Names:

Sometimes also called the Djungarian hamster, mostly in America (in Russia, the name Djungarian is more often applied to the Winter White Russian hamster.

Expected Life Span:

Your pet can be expected to live about 1 1/2 to 2 years, perhaps a bit longer. The female will typically outlive the male.

Notes about Care:

Basic care is like that of other hamsters. While a wire hamster cage may not be escape proof so an aquarium or other solid sided cage with a ventilated but secure top is preferable. Avoid cedar or pine wood shavings, and keep cages well cleaned throughout to prevent ammonia build-up from accumulated urine as ventilation is diminished with solid sided housing. Feed a good quality hamster food supplemented with small amounts of fresh foods.