Of the five different species of hamster kept as pets, there are two that are more alike than the others. I’m specifically talking about the Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster and the Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster. The two species can even be crossbred, making it hard for some to distinguish between the two species. Though Campbell’s Dwarves and Winter White Russian Dwarves are quite similar, there are several key differences that separate the two species.
Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster
Campbells Dwarf Hamster
The most notable difference between these two hamster species is their coat color. The Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster has a brown/gray coat with a distinct stripe along its spine. Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamsters have a grayish-white coat that turns white during wintertime. Additionally, Campbell’s Dwarves have rounder ears and are slightly larger. In my opinion, the easiest way to tell a gray Campbell’s Dwarf and a gray Winter White Russian Dwarf apart is via the stripe on the back.
These two hamster species also have their own unique behaviors and personalities. Campbell’s Dwarves tend to have more energy and are more inquisitive of their surroundings. They are also known to be more social. Alternatively, Winter White Russian Dwarves enjoy a more solitary lifestyle. As such, they are a bit more skittish and can take a longer time to warm up to their owners.
Habitat and Diet
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters and Winter White Russian Dwarf hamsters have similar habitat and diet requirements. They both need extensive space to roam around and should be housed with a variety of toys and equipment to entertain them. They can both live long happy lives on similar diet that subsists of grains, nuts, legumes, and vegetables. Fruit is good too, just be sure to give it to your hamster sparingly as it is high in sugar.
Hamsters as a whole are considered to be hardy animals with strong immune systems. Both Campbell’s Dwarves and Winter White Russian Dwarves are known for their overall good quality of health. However, each breed has specific health issues they are more susceptible too. Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters are more likely to develop diabetes, so make sure they don’t have too many sweets. Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamsters are more likely to develop skin issues and/or respiratory infections. With both breeds, it is important to maintain regular check-ups with your Veterinarian to maintain your small pet’s health.
While these two species of hamster share more similarities than their brothers, they still have their own unique qualities that distinguish them as two separate species. The Campbell’s Dwarf is more social, and a bit bigger. The Winter White Russian Dwarf is a bit more skittish and has a coat that turns white in winter. Both make excellent pets. If you opt for both instead of one, make sure they have their own separate cages.