Downspout Diverter

Winter White Dwarf Hamster - What You Need to Know

Winter white dwarf hamsters (Phodopus Sungorus) resemble Campbell’s dwarf hamsters (Phodopus Campbelli) so closely that for many years people assumed they were just two different color varieties of the same species. But they are two different species, although their needs and behaviors are remarkable similar to the Russian dwarf. Both species can even breed together, but the offspring are sterile.

General Description

Winter white dwarf hamsters, also called Siberian hamsters, average a mere four inches (10 centimeters) in length from nose to tail tip. They weigh a barely perceptible 1 to 2 ounces (up to 56.7 grams) and can live up to 2 years, although some people have claimed their hamsters made it to a staggering 3 years of age.

When compared to a Russian dwarf hamster, the winter white is shorter and has a back that is far more rounded. However, if you happen to have a Russian dwarf hamster for comparison, determining what species of dwarf hamster you have can be difficult until the winter sets in.

Winter White Dwarf Hamster

Then you will see why the winter white gets its name. In the winter, the coat lightens remarkably, even to the point of being white with silver-grey head and dorsal stripe. Since winter whites hit the pet trade in the 1970s, different colors have been created but they are remarkably difficult to get a hold of.


Winter whites, like Russian dwarf hamsters, prefer to live in the company of another winter white. They can also live in small family units, but the cage needs to be very large (such as a 50 gallon aquarium) so that the hamsters have enough room to be comfortable. But keeping more than one male in a colony is not recommended. They will fight for access to the females.

Winter whites are nocturnal, so do not expect a lot of action during the day. It is not good to disturb a sleeping hamster of any species because it will get scared and may bite. Winter whites still retain the wild instincts to run around for miles each night searching for food to store for the winter. This means pet winter whites are escape artists. Pick cages with wire mesh or solid walls so that the hamsters cannot escape.

Special Notes

Although winter whites have been successfully housed with Russian dwarf hamsters of the opposite sex, never house a winter white with any other rodent or even any other species of hamster. They will fight – sometimes to the death.

Dwarf Hamsters