Welcome to Dashing Hamsters. I created this website back in 2005, initially to have a place to share my love of hamsters. Throughout the years I have come across a lot of information that just often doesn't match up. Care standards and information are outdated, and these little creatures are misunderstood by many. So I decided to make this website as more than just a hamster lover's website, but a hamster website for modern owners who are looking for up to date advice on how to care for and understand their beloved hamsters. On DH you can learn about hamsters, see some cute pictures and read through a hamster filled blog.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What Did You Call Me?

So you are walking through a pet store and you come across the hamsters being sold as rare ‘Black Bear’ syrians or the new ‘Blueberry’ dwarf. Or perhaps you found a local breeder who has come up with a new species of hamster that they call the ‘Polar Bear’ hamster. It sounds pretty great except there are only five species of domestic hamsters along with only one hybrid possibility. Yet every pet store seems to have a different name for them and back yard breeders are supposedly coming up with new breeds. Despite what is said, there are still only five species of domestic hamsters. They are often given fake names to make them seem better or more rare in order to sell them faster and at an escalated price.

I noticed that many people go on and on about their ‘teddy bear’ hamsters and their ‘blueberry’ dwarfs without having a clue as to their species specific needs, so I have comprised a list of names that have been seen being used for hamsters in order for people to be able to understand what these false names really mean.

** The five species are Syrian [Mesocricetus auratus], Russian Campbell (RC) Dwarf [Phodopus campbelli], Winter White (WW) Dwarf [Phodopus sungorus], Roborovski (Robo) Dwarf [Phodopus roborovskii] and Chinese [Cricetulus griseus]. WWs and RCs can breed creating a WW/RC hybrid that is often unhealthy, along with a shorter lifespan.

Fake names used for Syrian hamsters and what they typically refer to:

* Teddy Bear Hamster – Longhaired Syrian
* Big Hamster – Syrian of any description
* Normal Hamster – Syrian of any description
* Regular/Common Hamster – Syrian of any description
* Dalmatian Hamster – Dominant Spot Syrian (typically black)
* Polar Bear Hamster – White Syrian
* Frizzy Hamster – Longhaired Syrian
* Grizzly Bear Hamster – Longhaired Syrian (typically sable)
* Panda Hamster – Black Banded Syrian
* Giant Hamster – Syrian of any description
* Jumbo Hamster – Syrian of any description
* Black Bear Hamster – Black Syrian
* Golden Hamster – Agouti/Syrian of any description
* European Black Bear Hamsters – Black Syrian
* Honey Bear Hamsters – Mink Syrian
* Rat Hamster – Syrian of any description
* Alien Hamsters – Hairless Syrians

Dwarfs and Chinese
Fake names used for dwarfs & Chinese hamsters and what they typically refer to:

* Mini Hamster – Any dwarf species
* Small Hamster – Any dwarf species
* Blueberry Hamster – Typically refers to blue or dove RC dwarfs
* Blackberry Hamster – Black or dilute black RC dwarfs
* Snowflake Hamster – White RC dwarfs
* Speedy Hamsters – Any dwarf species/Robo dwarfs
* Mouse Hamster – Any dwarf species/Chinese dwarfs
* Djungarian Hamster – WW dwarfs/Hybrids (scientific name for WW)
* Siberian Hamster – RC dwarfs/Hybrids (scientific name RC)
* Pudding Hamster – Hybrids
* Chameleon Hamster – WW dwarfs
* Dalmatian Hamster –Mottled black RC dwarfs
* Russian Hamster – RC dwarfs
* Oriental Hamster – Chinese dwarfs

** Keep in mind that some places do not distinguish RC dwarfs and WW dwarfs and they may be hybrids.

Who Cares?

Now why is it so terrible that pet stores and breeders use these fake names? It seems harmless enough, right? Besides the fact that they are re-naming the ‘product’ often just to make more money they are also keeping people in the dark by misinforming customers as to what exactly they are buying. It is vital to understand what you are buying. Syrians cannot be kept together for example and RC dwarfs are prone to diabetes. Getting the species mixed up could be harmful to the hamsters themselves. So what can be done? Talk to store managers, inform people and educate. These small steps are steps toward a more educated group of hamster owners and in turn healthier and happier hamsters.

If you have seen other names used for hamsters please post them along with what the actual species/colour/pattern was and I’ll add it to the list.


  1. Awww, no fake name for a brown banded sirian hamster...? Pity. That's my Lilly ;-)

  2. Excellent post! I had no idea there were so many names, and it's handy to have them all in one list. But isn't "Golden Hamster" technically a correct name for Syrians? Their scientific name is Mesocricetus auratus (as you know), auratus meaning gold or golden.

  3. Stop being a smartie pants. :P I figured that since Golden was used more before there were so many colour/pattern variations and since it is now used as the name of a colour that it can fit on that list.

  4. My smartie pants are glued onto my legs. I can't. ;D

  5. I once went to a pet store that sold long-haired Syrians, short-haired Syrians, and "fancy" Syrians (which basically looked exactly like the long-haired Syrians). The "fancy" Syrians cost like $7 (Canadian) more than the long-haired/short-haired Syrians. I asked the store clerk, "what's the difference between the 'fancy' Syrians and the long-haired Syrians?" and she said "nothing" and I asked "then why do they cost $7 more than the other Syrians?" and she simply said "I don't know". I was kinda speechless at that point.

  6. At least she did know that there is no true difference and was honest with you. It's not up to her how they label the hamsters, they often follow company policy or just listen to whoever supplies the animals. It's just there to make them seem better so that they can make more money.

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