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The Syrian, or Golden

There are 26 species of hamster in the world, but the most well-known by far is the Syrian hamster. They were discovered in 1839 by British zoologist George Robert Waterhouse, who named the animal Mesocricetus auratus, meaning Golden Hair. This is why the Syrian Hamster is commonly known as the Golden Hamster.

All the Syrian hamsters in the pet trade today are said to be descended from a female wild hamster and her litter captured in Aleppo, Syria, in 1930. The animals were taken to a laboratory in Jerusalem for a behavioral study. The lab workers found them friendly and full of character, and very and easy to look after, so some were taken home. Those were probably the first hamsters ever kept as pets.

hamster hygiene
The Hamster has a fairly short history as a pet

The Jerusalem lab workers sent hamsters to laboratories around the world, and with their short lifespan and large litters, the domesticated hamster was gradually developed. The Syrian hamster was first brought to the United States in 1938, and by 1946 they were very popular pets here. Today only dogs, cats, fish and rabbits can claim to be more popular than hamsters.

And every one of these domesticated Syrian hamsters traces its lineage back to that Syrian 'Eve' of all hamsters, back in Aleppo circa 1930.

In 1949 the National Hamster Council was formed in the UK - the oldest Hamster institution in the world. The US lacks a nationwide organization equivalent to this, but there are a few regional bodies, such as California Hamster Association (CHA).

Customer Images

Two hamsters enjoying a treat through the cage bars.
Cosmo the Cheeky Campbells Dwarf!
Just Got this it's is the best Going to bye a second one!!
My new baby boy, crosby.
Hamster qwerty adjusting to his new home!
Norma versus pineapple!
Norma versus pineapple!
Cuddly Norma
Norma loves bakewell tarts!
Santa Humphery
My hamster in her new quote hamster cage
Henry in his tube x
Henry loves his cage x
Harriet x


Virginia, 1 July 2021

I need to order replacement accessories for the hamster cage. The US site says they are sold out, I called and was told to try the British site. I see absolutely no hamster cages or accessories on the British side. Help please!

Emma, 14 May 2020

We have a Qute cage which has previously been used for gerbils. My daughter is keen to get 2 dwarf hamsters and we have been advised that the cage is not suitable as they wouldn't be able to use the tube. Can you let me know your opinion on this. Many thanks

Nolan, 27 December 2014

This page is useful because people who have a hamster and love the animal it helps let you know a little bit of the past of these awesome animal

Cyntac, 13 July 2013

I love that the third paragraph says Dwarf Hamsters are prized for their ability to ride horses. I loled.

Toby, 19 April 2013

Although I already knew my ancestors came from Syria, I didn't know my Dwarf cousins could ride horses! Enjoyed the page. Thank you!