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

The term “Russian dwarf hamster” can refer to either of 2 species – 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. Russian dwarves 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

A Russian dwarf hamster, whether Campbell’s, Winter White, or hybrid, typically measures 3 to 4 inches in adulthood. Hybrids tend to be slightly bigger. Campbell’s 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. They can live for between one to three years.

Here’s a very informational video that shows a Campbell’s dwarf hamster and a hybrid:

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

Russian dwarf hamster colors

Russian dwarves, especially Campbells, come in a wide variety of colors. This table lists each species and the colors they are available in. To see some of these 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
Beige
Blue Beige
Black
Silvering
Albino
Umbrous
Chocolate
Blue
Dove
Black-eyed Lilac
Dark Beige
Red-eyed Lilac
Champagne
Black-eyed White
Red-eyed White
Platinum (pattern)
Mottled (pattern)
Mosaic (pattern)
Satin (coat-type)
Rex (coat-type)
Wavy (coat-type)
Hairless (coat-type)

Russian dwarf hamster care

As with other dwarf hamsters, caring for Russian dwarf hamsters requires the right supplies, feeding them the correct diet, and keeping 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 other dwarf hamsters.

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: http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/short-hamster-videos-on-vine/

  • 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?

    • http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/ 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. http://www.dwarfhamsterlove.weebly.com

    is the web adress!

    • http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/ 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!

        • http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/ Sarah

          You’re welcome! I’m glad to see that you’re getting more visitors. And Sebastian is really cute..is 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 dwarfhamsterlove.weebly.com to

            http://www.allthingshammy.weebly.com

            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!

          • http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/ 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!

          • http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/ 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??

    • http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/ 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

    • http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/ 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!!!

    • http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/ 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?

    • http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/ 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