Syrian hamster or Mesocricetus auratus is a member of the rodent family. It is a very popular furry small pet that has been around for almost 70 years. You will find different types of Syrian hamsters in the pet shops available in a vast variety of coat textures and colors.
If you are just looking to get a hamster pet, you can feel overwhelmed by a variety, so it can be tricky to choose the one. Moreover, a lot of owners don’t actually know what type of Syrian hamster they have. So, today we will talk about the most popular breeds of Syrian hamster.
This guide will help you to identify what Syrian hamster type do you own. If you are just choosing a pet, this guide helps you to find the perfect ham for you. Pay attention to coat textures as it will determine what type of bedding you should use and if a per requires special grooming routine.
What are the different types of Syrian hamster?
- Short haired
- Long haired
- Self colored
- Tortoise shell
- Dominant spotted
There are more than 20 different species of hamsters in the world! The Syrian hamster is the most common and the largest type of hamster. Today, there are more than 26 different colors, marking and breeds. Coat textures and colors help to classify them into different types.
Short Haired Hamsters
This coat type is the nearest to their wild type. All Syrian hamsters that you can find in the pet shops now are offspring of one female hamster discovered in 1930 by Dr Israel Aharoni. A first hamster was discovered in the Aleppo region of Syria.
A female hamster was hiding in a deep borrow with 12 pups. This first discovered hamster had short hair. Short haired hamsters make perfect pets for beginners. Their fur is short which makes it easy to keep clean and tidy.
Long Haired Hamsters
The ever popular ‘Teddy Bear’ or Angora hamsters have longer fur than usual. It is quite interesting that only males can get the very long coats while females stay fluffy. Their hair can grow to up to 4 inches (10 centimetres).
As you can guess longer fur requires special grooming and bedding. Long haired hams have a skirt formed of hair around the rump. You would need to brush their locks at least several times per week. Also, if you get the wrong bedding, their hair can get very tangled.
Shavings are not suitable for long haired hams. They can entwine into the soft hair causing sores between the hind legs. Sta away from hay as well because it can form tangles making it very uncomfortable for your pet to move around. To ensure that your Teddy Bear hamster is living a happy and healthy life, the best bedding that you can get is a paper based animal substrate.
Rex Haired Hamsters
Rex haired hamsters have a signature coat which is slightly curly with the whiskers around the nose curling forward instead of sticking straight out. They are basically very fluffy and curly all round. Although they look very nice, Rex hamsters are prone to eye infections.
Genetically they have a higher chance of developing a malformed eye. That is why it is not recommended to bred Rex hamsters together. The offspring can be born with eye problems which can then get more severe.
Satin hamsters have very glossy hair that make fur look satin. The larger pockets of hair within the hair strands gives the coat the impression of luster and shine. They can long or short haired and come in a variety of color combinations.
Their hair is very thin which creates this satin-like look as described above. That is why you shouldn’t breed two different Satins together. Their offspring can be born with very sparse coat.
Hairless hamster has a very thin coating of fur which is barely visible. This appearance is the result of a genetic mutation that affects the epidermis. Although hairless hamsters are not fluffy like others, they are very cuddly and playful.
It’s hard not to fall in love with it. You might think that a hairless hammy can get too cold in winter and that is not too far away from truth. Its body has to work extra hard to maintain optimal temperature. I came across a story where a member of staff at Oregon Humane Society (OHS) in Portland knitted the sweater for a hairless hammy to stay warm!
What colors do Syrian hamsters come in?
Different types of Syrian hamster coats:
Golden is the most common type of hamster coat. You have a Golden hamster if it comes in dark tan color with dark lines running under the eyes and along the side of the face. Golden is the most popular pet because it has a close resemblance to the original wild variety.
Self means that the color is continuous, unbroken. The self colored hamsters come in a variety of coloration and coats. The most common colors are chocolate, pink eye, black eye white, cream, cinnamon, black, red, tan and grey.
It is a quite common coat marking and you can find them in many color variations. The main body is white and can have patches of a different color on it. Also, the underbelly, face mask, ankles and feet are white too. They can have just a few or many spots anywhere on the body.
It is a fairly rare type of Syrian hamster that you can find. Most of the time the coat has even bands of red and black, but you can find grey and black coat variation. In addition, tortoise shell hamsters have yellow spots on top. The shade of the yellow spots depends on the color underneath.
A hamster with black color variation will have darker yellow spots. An interest fact is that only female hamsters can have tortoise shell coloring. Male hamsters can’t have it because they are not able to possess the certain combination of genes.
It is a very popular type of Syrian hamster coat. The coat can be any color or texture. The prominent feature is an even band of white running around the midsection of the body. These were the main coat patterns. The less common patterns are Piebald and Roan.
Piebald Syrian hamster is very similar to Dominant Spot. The only difference is that Piebald has white spots and a body can be of a different color. Roans are mainly white, but they have hairs with non-white pigmentation.
When choosing a new hamster pet, it is important to know about the coat texture and types. However, when you go to the pet shop you need to know how to choose a healthy pet. So, I wrote an article where you can learn 10 easy tips that help you to choose a healthy hamster pet.
What Syrian hamster do you own? Let me know in the comments section down below 🙂