Russian Dwarf Hamster – Campbell’s, Winter White & Hybrids

The term “Russian dwarf hamster” is a common term for two species of hamster – the Campbell’s dwarf hamster or the Winter White dwarf hamster. It can also refer to a hybrid of the two. Russian dwarf hamsters are also known as Siberian hamsters or Siberian dwarf hamsters. The ones that are colorful and attractive are also labeled fancy Russian dwarf hamsters in pet shops. However, this is simply a marketing term and there is nothing different about a ‘fancy’ apart from its color.

russian dwarf hamster: winter white dwarf hamster

General information

Both Campbells’ and Winter Whites (and their hybrids) typically measure 3 to 4 inches in adulthood. Hybrids tend to be slightly bigger. Campbells’ and Winter Whites are frequently mistaken for each other due to their similarity. At one point, they were even confused for the same species by scientists. Their lifespan is between one to three years and most of them live for around 2 years.

Here’s a video of my winter white hamster, Oatmeal:

Russian dwarf hamster colors

Campbell’s dwarves and hybrids come in a wide variety of colors while winter whites have fewer colors. The table below lists each species and the colors they are available in. To see more colors, visit this page.

Campbell’s1 Winter White2 Hybrid3
Normal Normal Orange/pudding
Black-eyed Argente Sapphire Brown
Opal Pearl (pattern) Mushroom
Dark Gray Merle (pattern) Mandarin
Argente Imperial White (pattern) Moscow
Lilac Fawn
Blue Beige
Black-eyed Lilac
Dark Beige
Red-eyed Lilac
Black-eyed White
Red-eyed White
Platinum (pattern)
Mottled (pattern)
Mosaic (pattern)
Satin (coat-type)
Rex (coat-type)
Wavy (coat-type)
Hairless (coat-type)

Care and feeding

As with other dwarf hamsters, you’ll require the right supplies, the correct diet, and to keep their cages clean. All these and more are covered in our dwarf hamster care page.

Taming your hamster

This is a great video on taming winter whites, but can also be applied to Campbell’s and hybrids.

Taming tips

  1. Start by giving your hamster treats so it associates you with rewards.
  2. When attempting to tame your hamster, have its wheel out too so it feels at home.
  3. Your hamster will run on the wheel a lot if when it’s nervous.
  4. Instead of grabbing your hamster, lift it up with both hands.
  5. Feed your hamster treats once it’s on your hand.
  6. Don’t be afraid if your hamster nibbles once in a while.
  7. If you can get your hamster to sit in your hand without trying to run away, you’ve successfully tamed it!

If you have any questions, comments, or tips, be sure to leave a comment. Thank you for reading!

References and further reading:
  1. Purple Kat Kritters – Campbell Dwarf Colors []
  2. Purple Kat Kritters – Winter White Dwarf Hamster Colors []
  3. Purple Kat Kritters – Other Dwarf Hamster Colors []
  • Ginger

    Love this video. Very clear instructions, video clearly shot….BTW how do you keep your hamsters’ coat so shiny and fluffy?

    • Sarah Yee

      Hi! The videos were created by other hamster owners :) But you can get your hamsters’ coat shiny and fluffy by giving them bathing sand. They’ll roll in it and it makes their fur look much better.

      You can see my hamster rolling in the sand in the video on this page:

  • Elizabeth

    My hamster is a blur Russian dwarf hamster. His name is Zipper! I love this blog. Especially the polls. My hamster doesn’t seem to like bath sand. He just sits there or runs away?

    • Sarah

      Haha, that’s weird. All of my dwarf hamsters like rolling in theirs, some of them took a while to learn how to use it though. What bath sand are you using?

      • Macey

        Elizabeth- I also have a russian dwarf hamster. His name is sebastian and he loves sand baths. What kind of sand do you use? The sand may be to rough or the grains too big? I just use sandbox sand. Maybe your hamster is just a clean hamster and grooms a whole lot and doesn’t need sand? I hope i helped a little. i know you were asking Sarah but i thought i could help. :)

  • mnm

    I LOVE this website and hamsters. it would be amazing if you could visit my website and tell me what you think!

  • May

    I love this website. I would love it if you would visit my website and tell me what you think in the questions and comments section.

    is the web adress!

    • Sarah

      Done! :)

      • May

        Thanks so much Sarah! I did post some pictures of snowstorm and Sebastian like you advised and added a new DIY page! Without you checking out my website i probably would not have had the huge boost in views sense i posted pictures! I try to update every day and post pictures as often as possible, and i cannot thank you enough!

        • Sarah

          You’re welcome! I’m glad to see that you’re getting more visitors. And Sebastian is really that a chilly chew in the background? :D

          • May

            Thanks! And yes it is! The other prop is just an over-hurdle made out of Popsicle sticks for fun! Your hamsters are super cute too!

          • May

            Sarah, i wanted to let you know that i changed my web address in order for it to be clear that it is not just for dwarfs. i changed from to


            I just wanted to let you know beacause i did not know if you are one of my viewers or not and i wanted to be on the safe side. Thanks!

          • Sarah

            Hi May, thank you for letting me know. However, both the websites seem to be down

          • May

            Hi, it’s me again. I bought some chinchilla bath sand for my hamster – Sebastian – and i opened a package and it was really dusty. It said ‘ naturally dust free’ on the package but did have dust. Do you think maybe sense the company also has bath dust, that it was accidentally put into the bath sand box or is it okay? i know they should not have dusty things so i am not sure. I switched from play box sand and it was not like this. i am wondering if maybe it is just a really fine sand? thanks!

          • Sarah

            Is it the Super Pet Chinchilla Bath Sand? If it is, it should be okay. I don’t think they’d get it mixed up but if you’re worried, maybe you could sieve the sand and see if that makes it less dusty. Just wondering, why did you switch from play box sand?

  • Helen Gina Rodaligo

    My Campbell Dwarf has a red area and hair loss on back of neck area any ideas what i should do ?? I applied neosporin cannot afford a vet visit i am unemployed now and scared ideas??

    • Sarah

      I don’t have a lot of experience with hair loss in hamsters but if you can’t go to the vet, maybe we could figure out why it’s losing hair?

      Could it be mites or fleas? Do you see any bugs in the cage?

      What bedding or sand are you using for your hamster? Could it be an allergic reaction to something in the cage? I would remove any scented bedding/sand or if you are using wood shavings, change it to aspen or a scent-free paper-based one.

      And what food mix is your hamster eating?

  • Helen Gina Rodaligo

    She eats Gourmet pellet mix,And i do not see any bugs but she was in a cardboard liittle box the past week or two which is new to her?? I cleaned the area and applied neosporin with a qtip .I am grateful for your help i lost my job and cant afford the vet fee but i love my pets!!!I hope she is going to be ok?I also have a a boy Dwarf different cage he lives is a cleaned out coconut! So Maybe i will give her one as well he loves his.Thanks for any potential help you offer.Sarah i will be lost if something happens to her she is sooo sweet.Happy Holidays To You and Yours! Helen Gina

    • Sarah

      Could you check the food and see what the nutritional percentages for protein/fat/fiber are? And I really hope you’ll consider putting your hamsters in a bigger cage! Perhaps a plastic storage bin with ventilation holes cut out (bin cage)? A cleaned out coconut sounds really small and could be stressful for the hamster. I hope she’s going to be okay too.

      A sand bath is just a bowl or container with sand (play sand or store-bought chinchilla sand) in it that the hamster will roll in. It helps keep them clean.

  • Helen Gina Rodaligo

    What is a sand bath and where do i get it?

  • Helen Gina Rodaligo

    Sarah The cage is huge storage bin sleeping area is a coconut they live like Kings! I would never just have a coconut sorry for the confusion although today she is looking better since the cleaning ans application of neosporin eating and playing .The food is by kaybee brand i have Pellet version and gourmet version and hay shaped donuts for snacks .Also i have a geunia Pig Named Vinchenzo He is healthy. But so far an improvement so i thank you for responding if only our local vet cared as much as you do .They are considered exotic pets and a fee of $150.00 is needed to be seen !!!That is cruelty in itself! People cant afford that I myself am unemployed without healthcare! So far things are looking up for My Hamster take care and Thank You Again.Happy Holidays!!!

    • Sarah

      Ahh sorry for misinterpreting that the hamster lives in a coconut!

      I am glad she’s looking better. The food looks alright to me although I’ve seen some sites that suggest at least an 18% protein (I don’t follow this strictly myself and have had no problems, although I sometimes give the hamsters high-protein treats like tofu/mealworm).

      A guinea pig! I’ve been reading about them the past couple of weeks and would love to adopt a pair someday.

      And $150 is such an exorbitant price for a hamster to see the vet :( I hope she recovers fully soon! Happy holidays!

  • Allison

    Do you just give them ordinary sunflower seeds like anyone would eat or special ones for hamsters? Also, do you peel them or leave the shell on?

    • Sarah

      I give them plain sunflower seeds without added salt or sugar. Regular ones may have sugar or salt added to them but if you checked and they don’t, you can give them to your hamster. Just leave the shell on, your hamster will know how to crack it ^^

  • Aninka Jonck

    Hello :) i just recently got two dwarf hamster (they seem to be russian dwarf). A male and a female. They don’t seem to get along, he always hurts her when its night so i have separated them. I have a feeling he is less tame than her so i look forward to trying your taming technique :) How long per day do i need to do the taming technique? And also she was very social but now since her move into a new home she is shy and stays in the tubing, I’m assuming that is because she is scared and needs to adjust?? am i correct in assuming so??? He is a bit more out there but he is very skittish so i plan to do the taming technique on both of them.

    i really love them already and i want to do my best to make them feel safe and comfortable and loved. What are the best ways to do that? and once they have been tamed do i try reintegrating him back with her?

    Any/ALL advice would be so helpful.
    Thank you

    • Emily G.

      well my friend who had a hamster said that when u move ur hamster u shouldn’t mess with it for 3 days or it could get a stress disease called wet tail and a hamster easily could die from it and sometimes boys wont get along im not sure why but I think it has something to do with territory but it also could be just a unsocial hamster not sure what to do but I think splitting them up was a good choice so they wouldn’t hurt each other

  • Alison

    Hello – I am not usually one for writing to a blog for advice but I have a dwarf hamster that I rescued from a pet store in Nov 2012. She was very distressed and I simply could not leave her to what would likely have been a terrible end. She only had one eye and was very stressed likely from being attacked by the others in the cage. Since then she settled into her own routine very well: sleeps during the day, active at night, makes a nest well, cleans herself, etc. I have discovered that she is both deaf (zero reaction to high pitch sounds (ears do not react at all). She has a great sense of smell. I must wear gloves to handle her as she is very reactive (no doubt due to her tough start in life) and bites without hesitation. She is better but stil, even if she bites as a way of “sensing” her environment, she draws blood. My problem, for which I am unable to locate a vet who knows enough about dwarf hamsters, is that despite normal, healthy toilet habits, she is starting to lose weight and seems to be stumbling. If she comes out of her nest to get food and stumbles it is as if she cannot right herself. I would almost think it is something neurological but I simply do not know. I would put her age at 1 year 4 months. She still eats (loves to eat) and drinks but I don’t know what is causing her to lose weight and be “stumbly” almost appearing uncoordinated. I live in a very small village so I do not have access to many vet choices. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Emily G.

    My hamster is really mean and bites people a lot but I cant get my parents to let me get a new one what do I do she can be so sweet some times but at other times she can be like trying to pet a wild raccoon

  • Heliaaa

    My dwarf hamster sleeps so muuuccch and now I would wake him up but he had a voice like scream! :| Do I need to wake him up or he’s normal? and I have to say i bought him yesterday and he’s 2 months old :)

    • Emily G.

      well in case you didn’t already know this most hamsters are nocturnal just in case you didn’t know that

    • Emily G.

      I agree that’s too much sleep dose he have a wheel and toys to entertain himself with that could be the cause is that he is bored if you don’t have them and I don’t think that waking him up will up should scare him he just mite naturally be a very shy hamster ^-^

  • Emily G.

    I went to go check on my hamster a few seconds ago and she was dead I don’t understand I did everything in my power to make sure she was happy I would let her run around in her ball in 1 room for a while and now she is dead I don’t know what I did wrong :,(

  • Emily G.

    Hi again well me and my sister both got hamsters and well now mine is dead but mocha(my sisters hammy) is still alive and we think she may be pregnant do we need to put he on a diet or make sure she isn’t doing anything and what is one way that we can be almost sure or sure that she is prego

  • sophie

    Whats the best and safest way to integrate a female russian into a cage with a male russian.

  • Hamster Lover

    which is better campbell’s or white dwarf hamsters?

    • Emily G.

      I have 2 Campbell dwarf hamsters and they are really nice unless the girl is pregnant then she is like a small version of a monster

  • Emily G.

    Hi I have 7 baby(around2 weeksold) Russian dwarf hamsters and I want to know when the hamsters stop breast feeding their babies and when I will be able to hold them and once they have stopped breast feeding what should I feed them

    • Sarah

      They are weaned at about 3 to 4 weeks and can start eating regular hamster food mix!

  • Rachel L.

    I Love my winter whites x3 there so sweet!

  • Titus

    Hi, I have a 5 weeks old winter white. He eats a lot. He will wake up now and then to eat and after that he sleeps. I never seen him on the running wheel. Is it normal?

  • Jessica

    how do you tame a russian dwarf hamster?

  • Jessica Zhao

    I dont know

  • Marisssa

    My winter white hamster got attacked by another hamster and I’m afraid he’s going to loose his eye and some of his ear, he has bites all over and I’m not sure how to treat this at my house! Any advice would be tremendously helpful! thank you

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      Please take him to the vet!

  • Kenneth Tan

    Can more than one hamster be put in the same cage? Will the hamster feel lonely if left alone in the one cage?

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      Some people have had success with having more than one dwarf hamster in a cage BUT usually the dwarf hamsters came from the same litter and were never separated in the first place. It’s still not recommended to keep more than one in a cage as many get into fights eventually and have to be separated.

      If it’s adding a new hamster to the cage, it’s not recommended at all as the hamsters would most likely fight/injure each other.

      As for the hamster being lonely, It would be okay if you provided the hamster with lots of toys and handle it regularly. Most hamsters do better alone anyway :)

      I assume you’re talking about Russian dwarves since this is the page for them but for the benefit of anyone stumbling across this, Syrian hamsters are solitary and must never be kept together.

  • Hamster

    Can hamsters of different species be kept in the same cage?

  • Hamster

    Can hamsters of different species be kept in the same cage?
    Winter white and robo?

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      No, please don’t do that. They are likely to be even more aggressive towards a different species.

  • Hamster

    My Sapphire Winter White likes to bite people. Is it normal?

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      It depends on the hamster, but most don’t bite without reason. Has your winter white started biting only recently or ever since you got it? Has your winter white been handled roughly before? Does your hand smell like food?

  • Swagga

    I really want to get a hamster but i don’t know if i can take care of it? tips?

  • Siew

    I recently got a hamster, and put it in the same cage with my other hamster. Both of them fought with one another, and one got a scratch in the face. What should i do?

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      Hi, please separate them immediately before they seriously injure or kill each other. You should never put a new hamster into the cage of another hamster because they will see each other as threats.

      • Siew

        Is there any way they can be introduced to one another? By gradually letting them go near one another, and finally letting them stay in the same cage?

        • Emily G.

          Hi there, so I actually have had multiple Russian dwarf hamsters and not one of them has ever lived alone (Except for one that didn’t get along with the others that we aren’t even sure was a dwarf hamster) I had a dad and a son live together. I have had a uncle and a nephew live together, I have had 3 sisters live together, and I have had a adult hamster and a hamster that was smaller and younger but had never met live together. But all hamsters are different. If the hamsters aren’t drawing blood, and are not squeaking in pain or it’s not like a constant thing, I think that they should be fine in a cage together.

        • jhaimmy

          before you put your new hamster in a cage with an old one, try to change first the bedding with the new one, because the old hamster feels that its his territory,so he will fight the new one.

  • Ian

    I recently bought 2 male Russian hamster both are babies and from the same litter, there in a large cage with plenty of tubes, a wheel each as well as a house each….I have read the various posts which has left me a little confused…As my hamsters sleep together sometimes it appears that they are fighting not sure if its just play fighting …would you recommend that I separate them ?

    • Matelda Nunn

      If you are not sure if it’s serious or not, you probably shouldn’t take the risk of keeping them together. Instead, put each of them in a different and spacious cage. If your hamsters are truly fighting, this could lead to injury, or even death.

  • Ian

    Another question I have is I have noticed that my Russian hamster make a squeaking sound does anyone know why this is ?

  • S.M. Twang

    My hamster likes to bite on its cage bar until the original paint comes out. Is it alright to paint the cage bars with house paint?

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      Hi, please don’t repaint the cage bars. Most paint isn’t safe to ingest. You might want to try putting some chews in the cage or switching to a larger cage. They usually bite the bars when they are bored/stressed

  • S.M. Twang

    Today, I noticed that my sapphire winter white’s tail looked slightly wet when I picked it up. The hamster’s tail looked normal yesterday. My hamster is usually very lazy, and I am not sure if it is sleeping because it is tired or because it is sick. Do you think my hamster is sick with any disease? If it is, are there any medicine that can be bought in shops?

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      Is it just wet or is it wet and brown? Is your hamster eating and drinking normally? Sometimes it’s just pee but it could also be wet tail. If your hamster is eating/drinking normally and the tail is just wet without any brown stain, then I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Otherwise, you might want to bring it to the vet.

  • Cheng

    Recently i noticed that there are ants in my hamster’s cage.
    Will the ants attack and kill the hamster?
    Is there any way to prevent the ants from entering the cage?

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      Hi, the ants will not kill the hamster but they might bite..although there’s a chance the hamster will eat the ants too. Are you leaving any wet food inside the cage? Clear them out if the hamster doesn’t eat the food within 24 hours, and cleaning the cage more frequently may also help prevent ants

  • S.M. Twang

    Is Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay a good bedding for hamsters?

  • gabbygabshammielover101

    could you make post what they can and cant eat

  • Yamile Viera-Simmons

    I am a first time hamster owner and I am already in love with my
    hamster…only have had it two days. I am wondering what is the BEST brand of food for dwarfs and what is the BEST brand of seeds (sunflowers) for them. Please let me know! Thank you!

    • Michelle

      I’ve used Essentials Hamster and Gerbil food for my dwarf hamster. I’ve had her for 2 years now, and she loves it! Hope this helped. (:

    • lindasek

      I’ve been feeding Hazel hamster food – it’s meant to be premium!

  • Gary Mathews

    I love the little Russian dwarf hamster I got my daughter for Christmas. He’s a hoot, he even has is own running story line in my blog. My question is what is the best brand of food to feed him.

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      Hi! If you’re looking for a food mix, I would recommend Supreme Harry Hamster. If it’s a pellet food you want, Oxbow is a great choice. You can look at this page for pictures and links:

  • Arwen

    I got a WW Dwarf hamster five days ago. She starts squeaking every time I put my hand in the tank(to give her food and such). I hope I can start taming sessions soon.

  • Melissa Courtney

    Hi, i adopted a Russian dwarf hamster yesterday, he let his past owners handle him but seem reluctant to let me do so. before i got him he had been quite neglected and hadnt been handled for a number of weeks also not sure about how often he has been fed in the last couple of weeks. when i put my hand in he dives at it almost lunging, what does this mean has he gone back to an un tame state or is he just extremely hungry? thanks.

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      Hi! I can’t speak for your hamster but here’s what I observed with mine. She dives at my hand sometimes but it’s usually when she’s just woken up or is busy doing something else and I put my hand into her cage. It’s as if she’s she’s ‘attacking’ because she’s not sure what my hand is. But once she gets close enough and recognizes my hand (probably by smell), she’ll climb on to it.

      Your hamster may be reluctant to let you handle him because you smell different from his previous owners. My hamster recognizes my smell and will climb on my hand willingly but if another person puts their hand in, she wouldn’t do the same immediately (unless they lure her onto their hand with a treat).

      I think your hamster just needs time to get used to your scent. The lunging shouldn’t be a problem unless he also bites.

      I hope this helps!

  • Matelda Nunn

    I’m getting a Russian dwarf hamster after 1 week. I need to know, it the zoo zone 1 cage suitable for hamsters? If it is, which one would you suggest, the zoo zone 1 or zoo zone 2?

  • Matelda Nunn

    I’m getting a Russian dwarf hamster after one week. I need to know, is the ZooZone 1 cage suitable for hamsters? If it is, what do you suggest, the ZooZone 1 or the ZooZone 2?

  • summer

    I’ve had my dwarf hamster (chojii) for a while now, maybe 4 months. I had her tamed and played with her alot but she keeps biting me and I did let her settle in a few days when she came home. After a while I got her a bigger cage for more room to run besides her ball. She will not stop biting me and my husband, we never smell like food, I just don’t know what to do, I also have no idea how old she is. This is vague I’m sorry but is there anyway to get her to stop biting? Or to even like me or want to be petted/held?

  • Jay Smith

    I just got two male hamsters today. (been told that they are dwarf hamsters from images on the net they look like djungarian hamsters) They are brothers from the same litter, I’ve called them chip and dail as one has a bit of ear missing they have been use to a family with kids how do I get them to know me? The family selling them told me that they was born on the 6th November 2015 so would taming them be harder?

    • Emily G.

      Tamming them shouldn’t be hard if they were being handled when you got them (Being held getting attention from the owners.) If they are used to other people they will quickly adapt to you. Hamsters are not much for biting at all, unless they are pregnant or they aren’t used to being held.

  • Flurry

    How do you stop overfeeding?

  • Just Being Zuzu xx

    I have a Russian dwarf for a week now and it keeps on biting me when I place my hand in the cage. I have started using gloves but I’m worried it will get used to the gloves and not my bare hands. What should I do?

    • Emily G.

      Well, I don’t know what to do about the biting, but she might be pregnant (I noticed with my pregnant hamsters that they always get a little feisty) or if they weren’t handled when they were young then they just aren’t used to human touch.

  • Emily G.

    Hi, well male hamsters often don’t get along with other hamsters, even if they are female. If he was kept around other hamsters while he was young, it is unlikely he killed them. But Baby may have died from getting pregnant at too close of a time. Hamsters right after they give birth can be re impregnated, which means that when they are taking care of their current babies they could also be having to keep not only the babies, but also herself fed all the time so that the ones inside of her don’t die. As for Bella, he or she might have died of natural causes as she could have been old or had physical problems.

  • Tonie Munford

    Hi I have two male dwarf hamster that started fighting so I split them up.
    I got them a 3 tier cage and one loves it and couldn’t be happier the other has started to bite. We did take the treats and sunflower seeds away because he was getting a little fat. Could this be why or does he not like his knew cage?