Chinese dwarf hamsters are awesome pets. They are just as cute, if not cuter, than normal hamsters yet they still seem to be quite a rarity amongst pet owners. There also seems to be a sort of mystique around them. Two of the qualities that add to this elusive image are the fact that they’re hard to find and the fact that there’s ambiguity over whether or not they are really dwarf hamsters. Although they may be mysterious to some, to many hamster lovers these ‘mysterious’ qualities just make them that much more cherished.
Probably the main reason Chinese dwarf hamsters appear so mysterious is the fact that it is not easy to find them. In fact, they aren’t even legal in all fifty U.S. states. In California it is illegal to own them as pets (they are considered to be a threat to agriculture). Not only are they hard to find today, but their rarity seems especially surprising due to their long history of captivity. Chinese hamsters have been in captivity for a long time. One record has Chinese hamsters being kept in laboratories in the United Kingdom in 1919. But despite this history, it is not surprising if you’re unable to find one at your local pet store.
Another reason why Chinese hamsters might seem mysterious to some is the fact that some people don’t even know whether or not they are dwarf hamsters. What some experts say just might shock you. One of the most intriguing things about the Chinese hamster is that they aren’t really dwarf hamsters. Some of you might be thinking, “Is this true? Are they impostors??” Technically the Chinese hamster is classified under the rat-like hamster family and not part of the family of the dwarf hamster (say it ain’t so!). No need to start shouting words of betrayal at your hamster just yet. Chinese hamsters are still considered to be dwarf hamsters by many (including myself). They are so similar to Russian hamsters that any mention of dwarf hamsters would not be complete without including the Chinese hamster. Although they may not technically be part of the dwarf hamster family, they are, at the very least, honorary members. Not only is the Chinese hamster extremely similar in size to the Russian hamster, they are also similar in more ways than just appearance and have similarities in care as well.
Although Chinese dwarf hamsters may be a bit mysterious to some, they are great pets and incredibly cute as well. They may be hard to find, but they are worth the search. Maybe one day this cloud of mystery will be completely gone and they will become more widely known about. Who knows, this day might come sooner than you think. After all, it was only recently that Russian dwarf hamsters were better understood (Russian dwarfs weren’t legalized in California until 1994).