Everything You Need to Know About the Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster

Posted by Tori Holmes

Love hamsters with beautiful coats? Here is everything you need to know about the Campbell's dwarf hamster!

Originating from Eastern and Central Asia, the Campbell's dwarf hamster was first discovered in Mongolia in 1902 by W.C. Campbell. In 1968, they began being bred as laboratory animals in the United Kingdom and by the 1980s had become popular in the pet market.

Despite being a popular pet, the Campbell's dwarf hamster has a less friendly temperament than other breeds of hamsters. They are less forgiving to handling mistakes, showing their displeasure by nipping or biting. Campbell's dwarf hamsters also have a tendency to display territorial cage behavior when their owners reach into their cages.

This doesn't mean that they can't be tamed, however, they just require more time and attention to increase their comfort with humans.

Unlike some other breed of hamsters, such as the Syrian, Campbell's dwarf hamsters are sociable creatures able to co-exist with others. If the hamsters are introduced at a young age, ideally before eight weeks of age, they will have no problem sharing a cage.

Campbell's dwarf hamsters have an average lifespan of between 1.5 and 2 years.

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When fully grown, the Campbell’s dwarf hamster is between 4 and 5 inches in length, weighing approximately 27 grams. Their teeth grow throughout their entire life, so it’s important that they have plenty of opportunities to gnaw on objects to curb their growth.

To compensate for poor eyesight, the Campbell’s dwarf hamsters have numerous scent glands. These glands are located on the face, behind the ears, on the cheek pouches and on the belly.



The Campbell’s dwarf hamster can have one of two different types of coats: satin or rex. The satin coat has a wet or greasy appearance caused by a gene designed to enhance the fur’s color. The rex coat is sleek, smooth, and glossy.

Both satin and rex Campbells dwarf hamsters can have coats of agouti, which is the traditional brownish-beige, argente, which is characterized as cinnamon or sandy in color, or albino.

Two distinct patterns are also common in Campbell’s dwarf hamster coats: mottled and platinum. Mottled coats have random patches or white mixed with colored areas of the coat. Platinum coats have white hairs mixed evenly with the colored hairs, giving it a lighter appearance.


Campbell’s dwarf hamsters are less friendly than other breeds of hamsters, and have a tendency to nip or bite if misheld. They also show signs of territorial aggression when hands enter their ages.

Taming them requires more time and attention to ensure that they are comfortable around their owners.


Campbell’s dwarf hamsters have a higher tendency to develop diabetes during their life. They are also prone to developing tumors of the mammary glands, lungs, uterus, and ovaries.

The breed as a whole as extremely poor eyesight and depth perception, and cataracts are common in older hamsters.

Campbell’s dwarf hamsters with mottled markings should not be bred, as they carry a gene that can result in white, anophthalmic babies, meaning that they are born without eyes. If bred, approximately 25% of the litter will be anophthalmic and have significantly shortened life spans.

Body image: Wikipedia

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Everything You Need to Know About the Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster