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What Types of Hamster Are The Friendliest?

Hamsters are naturally friendly pets, to varying degrees. It depends on the species, gender, the amount of hand-taming they have received, their environment (i.e. happy hamsters are friendly hamsters), and whether or not they’re being kept on their own.

syrians are friendly
Syrian hamsters are friendly and full of character

Friendly Syrian Hamsters

Syrians are friendly once hand-tamed, and can form strong bonds with their owners. They are the largest and most popular of the pet hamsters, mainly because of a long history of wide availability, and partly because their size makes them easier to hold than the Dwarf species.

Syrian hamsters are chunky, and quite slow movers. This can make them a less stressful option for more nervous owners when handling and playing with them.

Another factor contributing to Syrian hamsters’ popularity is that they don’t just like being alone, they need to be kept on their own. This means they rely on their owners for entertainment and interaction.

Chinese Hamsters Are Friendly - Sometimes With Each Other!

Once hand-tamed, Chinese hamsters make a very friendly companion, although most are a little timid. They also move very quickly, so an owner needs to be comfortable handling them.

Unlike Syrian hamsters, Chinese hamsters can be kept in groups. However, they are territorial, and you will need a second hamster cage in case they fight. When they do, they tend not to make up, and will need to be permanently separated.

Handling Dwarf Hamsters

Campbell hamsters are much faster than Syrian hamsters, which puts some prospective owners off. Their hyperactive speediness makes them great fun to watch, but the speed with which they move makes handling them a bit tricky.

Similarly, Winter White hamsters are super-speedy and if you’re not careful they can slip out of your hands like hairy bars of soap. This speediness doesn’t prevent these two species from being lovely, affectionate pets.

syrians are friendly
Roborovski hamsters are easy to handle when they're this small, but are difficult to hand-tame

Roborovski Hamsters - Not Ideal For First-Time Owners

Some owners report that Roborovskis are not very friendly, and it’s certainly true that they are the hardest hamster species to tame. This doesn’t mean they’re nasty or in any way dangerous, it’s just that they take a while to engage with the hand-taming process. For a first-time owner, or someone who is a bit apprehensive about handling and hand-taming, Roborovskis are not the best choice.

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Arizona, 22 April 2021

Hi Lily! I'm not sure where you got Gizmo, but I used to work at Petco and wanted to give you some background on pet store hamsters in case you got him from a store: the hamsters unfortunately do not get handled much while at the store, but they seem to find homes so quickly that you probably have lots of time to tame Gizmo. Something we noticed was that whenever we would open their cages it would be to put a treat (piece of lettuce for example) in for them. Maybe Gizmo associates your hand and fingers with food and nips at them to see what you brought for him :). If that isn't the case, I still think you can win him over with lots of interaction. Give food items only after you have taken him out of his cage so he won't be expecting a tasty treat. Reward him with food and create positive experiences. Soon he will perk up when he hears you coming! There are some fun YouTube videos you can watch to give you more ideas. You sound like a wonderful caregiver that is going to make your hamster very happy. Wishing you and Gizmo well!

Lily, 11 April 2021

I am 10 years old and my parents just got me a Syrian hamster!!!!!!!!! So excited! I got it last night but this morning I put my finger through the cage and it tried to bite me! I have to tame it! Does anyone know how to tame my hamster Gizmo?

Zoe, 9 March 2021

I have gerbils right now but I am either going to get rats or a hamster, which are better for handling and cuddling?

Coco, 10 May 2020

Help! I don't know if I should get Syrian or dwarf! They are both do cute and cuddly but both have there ups and downs.

Joe, 24 April 2020

so im tworn i want a tebby bear hamster but i read something about they like to stay in there cages and a dworf hamster i have had before and they tend to bite but they are fun to watch but teddy bear hamsters are mostly up at night and i will bearly see it so can someone help me with a disision