If you go into a pet store, you are likely to see an adorable pet called the Teddy Bear Hamster. This creature is aptly named as it looks like a teddy bear. However, that is nothing more than clever marketing. These pets go by many monikers, used to draw in unassuming customers. Some of these names include: the Common Hamster, the Black Bear Hamster, the Angora Hamster, the Honey Bear Hamster, the Golden Hamster, the Panda Hamster, the European Hamster, the Sable Hamster, The Fancy Hamster, and more. Though this animal goes by many names, it is just one species. All of these titles are referring to the Syrian Hamster.
It is All Marketing
Through clever marketing, the Syrian Hamster has gone by all of these names. This is the pet store’s attempt to make them seem more unique, cute, or special for potential pet parents who do not know about the species. Why would a parent get their kid a Syrian Hamster when they can get a Teddy Bear Hamster? In actuality, these names serve to objectify the creature, making it seem more like a toy than a pet. Yes, all of these names refer to the same species, the Syrian hamster. But there are actually two different types of Syrian Hamsters.
Long Hair vs. Short Hair
The two types of Syrian Hamsters are the Long Hair and Short Hair Syrian Hamster. They are the same species and overall, require the same care. The only difference between the two is the length their hair grows. Short Hair Syrian hamsters will maintain a short coat of fur while a Long Hair Syrian Hamster’s fur will grow long and shaggy. This fur needs to be maintained or it will get unkempt and knotted. My first hamster Mooksie was a Long Hair, I had to give him little hamster haircuts every now and then otherwise his hair would get unruly and anything from bedding to poop could get caught in it.
Syrian Hamster Care
All of the these “breeds,” of Syrian Hamster have the same care needs. They need a large cage equipped with plenty of bedding, an exercise wheel, a hidey hut, a food bowl, a water bottle, and plenty of enrichment. Syrian hamsters can grow up to 7 inches in size and thus need an 8-inch wheel to prevent back arching. Their cage should be at the bare minimum 2 square feet, but your hamster will be much more comfortable in a 350-400 square foot cage.
Although these animals go by many names, they are just one species of small pet. Many people have had Syrian hamsters and never even realized thanks to the way these pets are marketed. Other species of small pet like the Roborovski Hamster, Chinese Dwarf Hamster, Cambpell’s Dwarf Hamster, and the Winter White Dwarf Hamster make great pets too. Ultimately, as long as you give your hamster a nice loving home, it does not matter what you call it.