Best Hamster Breed for Beginners

As an Amazon affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase I earn a commission. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.


If you’re looking for a small cage pet, a hamster might be the right choice for you. These little mammals are easy to take care of and make wonderful companion pets for kids and adults alike. However, there are many hamster breeds so it can be hard to know which one to choose. Our aim is to help you find the best hamster breed for beginners.

There are several factors to consider when deciding on a hamster breed. For example, some breeds are more social and outgoing than others and some need more space and exercise than others. Also, some breeds are okay for children, while others are better pets for adults. 

In this article, we will take a look at some of the best hamster breeds for beginners, and what makes each breed a good choice. Whether you’re looking for a small and cuddly love muffin or a fun and exciting pet, there’s a hamster out there that’s just right for you.

One of the most popular hamster breeds for beginners is the Syrian hamster. Also known as the golden hamster, these furry little cage pets are easy to tame and they make great pets for either children or adults. Syrian hamsters (a.k.a. Golden hamsters) are relatively low-maintenance which makes them a great choice for busy families or first-time pet owners. 

Syrian hamsters are a bit bigger than some other hamster breeds. A bonus — these docile golden-colored cuties are typically easier to handle and less likely to escape from their cages than smaller, more nervous breeds. Besides that, Syrian hamsters are very social and enjoy interacting with people, although not with other hamsters. A great choice for anyone looking for a friendly, cuddly pet.

Understanding Hamsters

If you’re considering getting a pet hamster, you should understand their basic characteristics and needs. Hamsters are small, furry rodents that are popular pets because of their cute looks and low-maintenance. 

Here are four things to keep in mind when caring for a hamster:

Hamster Behavior

Hamsters are nocturnal animals. That means they are most active at night and prefer to sleep mostly in the daylight hours. They are solitary creatures so it’s best to keep them alone in their own cage. Hamsters are generally docile and friendly little rodents, but they can be territorial and may bite if they feel threatened or scared. Be sure that children understand the rules about proper handling and care so they aren’t bitten by a scared hamster.

Hamster Diet

A hamster’s diet should consist of good quality hamster food, supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid feeding your hamster sugary or fatty foods, as these can lead to serious health problems. Hamsters also need access to clean, fresh water at all times.

Hamster Housing

Hamsters need a cage that is large enough for them to move around and play in. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 460 square inches of floor space for a single hamster, although the larger the better. The cage should also have plenty of bedding material, like shredded paper to keep the hamster comfortable and warm.

Hamster Health

Hamsters are generally healthy animals, but they can be prone to certain health problems, such as respiratory infections and dental problems. Regular veterinary check-ups and proper hygiene (frequent cage and toy cleaning) can help prevent these problems. It is very important to keep your hamster’s cage clean and free of waste and uneaten food.

By understanding these basics of hamster care, you can provide a safe and comfortable home for your cute cage pet.

Best Hamster Breeds for Beginners

Hamsters are wonderful small, low-maintenance pets. It’s true — hamsters are cute and fun to watch but, with so many different breeds to choose from, it can be really hard to know which is the right one for you. In this section, we’ll take a look at the best hamster breeds for beginners.

Syrian Hamsters

Syrian hamsters, also known as golden hamsters, are one of the most popular hamster breeds for beginners. They’re easy to tame, fun to play with, and very low-maintenance. They’re also one of the largest hamster breeds, which makes them easier to handle.

Here are four key facts about Syrian hamsters for you:

  • They typically grow to 6-7 inches long at maturity.
  • They normally live as loved, friendly pets for 2-3 years.
  • They’re nocturnal by nature, so they’re most active at night.
  • They’re solitary animals that don’t like stress, so it’s best to cage them alone.

Dwarf Hamsters

Dwarf hamsters are another popular cage pet choice for beginners. They’re a lot smaller than Syrian hamsters, which means they’re usually easier to handle and care for (dwarf hamsters are about 2 inches long whereas Syrian hamsters are about 6 inches long). But, they can be nippy so watch your fingers!  They are also very fragile so handle them minimally and do so very gingerly, taking care not to squeeze or harm them in any way. There are several different breeds of dwarf hamsters, including the Campbell, Winter White, and Roborovski.

Here are four key facts about dwarf hamsters:

  • They usually grow up to be 2-4 inches long.
  • They live on average for about 2-3 years.
  • They’re also nocturnal so they are most active at night..
  • They’re social animals that do okay in same-sex pairs or small groups, but prefer solo housing. 

Roborovski Hamsters

Roborovski hamsters, also known as Robos, are the smallest of the so-called dwarf hamster breeds. They’re very active and fun to watch, but they can be difficult to handle due to their small size, fast movements, and delicate bodies. Robos are also very social animals and enjoy the company of other Robos.

Here are four key facts about Roborovski hamsters:

  • They can grow up to 1-2 inches long.
  • They usually live for about 3-4 years.
  • They’re also nocturnal.
  • They’re very social animals, preferring to be housed together (strength in numbers!) in same-sex pairs or small groups.

Hamster Considerations

Syrian hamster sitting in cupped hands

Syrian, dwarf, and Roborovski hamsters are all excellent choices for beginners. Each breed has its own unique characteristics and challenges, so it’s best to choose the breed that best fits your lifestyle and personality. With proper handling, care, and attention, your pet hamster will be a happy and welcomed addition to your family.

There are some main things to consider when you’re buying a certain hamster breed for a beginner. Whether that beginner is someone else or yourself doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that the hamster is a good fit as a pet.  The main concerns include the hamster’s lifespan, its age, its size, and its temperament. By knowing these things, you can easily find a hamster that fits the bill for you.

Hamster’s Lifespan

Hamsters have a relatively short lifespan compared to other types of pets. On average, hamsters live between 2 and 3 years. However, some breeds, such as the Roborovski hamster, can live relatively longer. It’s important to consider the lifespan of a hamster when choosing a breed, because this will determine just how long the little animal can be a pet.

Hamster’s Age

A hamster’s age is important because as a pet, the hamster needs to be old enough to be properly weaned, eating solid food without help, and handled as needed by its caregiver. An unweaned, young, underdeveloped hamster will not survive these things. Some unscrupulous small animal sellers will try to sell underaged pets, so beware of this shameful, deadly practice.

Hamster’s Size

As you’ve learned, hamsters come in a variety of sizes — from the tiny Roborovski hamster to the much larger Syrian hamster. Consider the adult size when selecting a breed, as it can affect how much cage space it is going to need. 

Size will also determine how often you can handle the hamster and how careful you must be with it. Think about it — smaller hamsters are generally easier to handle, yet they are more fragile, but they need less space than larger hamsters.  While larger breeds may be more challenging to handle, they are typically less fragile than their smaller cousins. Also, larger hamsters need more cage space than smaller hamsters.

Hamster’s Temperament

Hamsters have different temperaments depending on their breed. Some breeds, such as the Syrian hamster, are generally friendly and easy to handle. Other breeds, like the Roborovski hamster, are more timid and may take more of your patience when handling. You need to consider the breed’s temperament when picking out a hamster, as its temperament can determine how well the pet will fit with your lifestyle.

It’s important to consider these four things when getting a pet hamster, regardless if you are a first-time pet parent or not. By factoring these things into the equation, you can sort out a hamster that is well-suited to your particular lifestyle and needs.

Getting Your First Hamster

If you’re a first-time hamster owner, choosing the right hamster can be an exciting but stressful experience. In this section, we’ll point out some important factors to think over when getting your first hamster

Pet Store or Breeder?

“That is the question” — So, this article may not be as lofty as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but it’s a legitimate question that all first-time hamster buyers always ask. So, what’s the best place to buy a new hamster? You have two primary options: Either a pet store or a breeder.

Pet stores are convenient and accessible places to buy a hamster. But, they may not always have the healthiest or highest quality hamsters. On the other hand, breeders can provide you with a wider selection of healthy and well-bred hamsters. But, they may be harder to find and more expensive than pet stores.

Health Check

Before selecting your hamster, it’s important to do a health check so that you know your hamster is healthy and free from any obvious injury or illness. How do you do this if you’re not a vet?

Easy — check for the following signs of good health:

  • Bright, clear eyes
  • Clean ears and nose
  • Shiny, smooth fur
  • Active and alert behavior
  • Clean and dry bottom

If you notice any obvious symptoms of fever or illness, like a discharge from the eyes or nose, general weakness, lethargy, or diarrhea, then pick a different hamster.

The Right Age

When it comes to age, there are a few general things to consider. Younger hamsters may be easier to tame and train, but they will need more attention and care. Older hamsters may be more independent, but they may also be harder to train and could have senior health issues.

Look for a hamster that is fully weaned and at least 6-8 weeks old. This is the age when hamsters are typically weaned and are ready to be adopted.

Preparations for Your First Hamster

Before bringing home your new hamster, make sure you have everything you need to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your little friend. 

Here are three key things to do when preparing for your new hamster:

Hamster Housing

Your hamster will need a fun cage that is large enough to move around and play in. The cage should have plenty of space for toys, a climbing ladder or accessible platform, a hiding place or hamster tunnel, a small pet water bottle, and a small pet food dish.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

A good rule of thumb is to get a cage that is at least 24 inches long x 12 inches wide x 12 inches tall. You may want a cage with multiple levels or a hamster habitat that includes tunnels and hiding places.

When choosing bedding for your hamster, you should avoid cedar and pine shavings, as they are toxic to hamsters causing harm to your pet’s respiratory system. Instead, buy only  paper-based bedding or aspen shavings.


Your hamster needs a balanced diet for its health and general well-being. In addition to a commercial hamster food, you can offer your pet fresh fruits and vegetables as treats. Good options include carrots, apples, and broccoli. Never feed your hamster sugary or fatty foods because these can cause severe health problems.

Your hamster will also need a source of clean, fresh water. A water bottle attached to the side of the cage is a good way to do this as it will prevent the water from getting dirty or spilled.


Hamsters are active creatures that need lots of daily exercise. Give your hamster some fun and challenging toys to play with, such as a running wheel, tunnels, and chew toys. You can also let your hamster out of their cage for supervised playtime in a safe, enclosed area.

Make sure to clean your hamster’s cage regularly to keep it free of waste, smelling good, and sanitary. A dirty cage can cause health problems for you, your family, and your pet. With good care and plenty of attention, your new hamster will be a happy and healthy addition to your household.

Best Hamster Breeds for Beginners

Selecting the right hamster breed for beginners is often an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. After researching and analyzing different sources, the Syrian hamster is widely considered the best breed for beginners. They are easy to tame, low-maintenance, and fun to play with, making them an ideal choice for those new to hamsterdom.

However, other breeds such as the Dwarf hamster and the Roborovski hamster are also great pets for beginners. They may require a bit more attention and care, but they are very manageable and enjoyable pets to have.

When selecting a hamster, it’s important that you consider things such as temperament, size, and care requirements. It’s also critical to provide them with a suitable habitat, including a properly sized and frequently cleaned cage, plenty of challenging toys, play and exercise time, fresh water, and a healthy diet. Remember, parenting a hamster can be a fun and rewarding experience for you.  But, it’s important to do your research and pick a breed that suits your home lifestyle and personal preferences. With the right care and attention, your new pet hamster will delight you with its little hooligan antics and loving affection.

Similar Posts