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Which Gender of Hamster Should I Get?

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Selecting a new hamster is a decision that should not be made without taking the time to truly consider what you want from your new pet. While each hamster has its own individual personality, some basic differences do tend to exist between males and females. Taking the time to decide what qualities you value in your hamster will help ensure a happy relationship between you.

Syrian Versus Dwarf

Syrian hamsters generally have more recognizable differences between the genders than other breeds of hamster. Dwarf male and female hamsters are very similar in behavior and appearance, while Syrian males tend to be smaller than the females.


Female hamsters are capable of having babies. Picking a female hamster from the pet store means that, at some point in time, you may run the risk of having a litter of hamster pups. If you are intending to eventually breed your pet, you may want a female specifically so that you can have a litter.


Female hamsters go into heat every four days and some hamster owners report their female hamsters having a noticeable, musky odor to them on days when they are in heat. If you are sensitive to smells you may want to think twice about bringing home a female hamster.


Male hamsters are generally considered to be more mellow in terms of personality. If you are getting a hamster for your children to handle and care for, you may want to get a male. The National Hamster Council reports some of its breeders claim male hamsters are overall easier to handle and more friendly. Female hamsters generally tend to be more aggressive than the males, but the level of aggressiveness will vary by each individual animal.

Hair Loss

Male Syrian hamsters tend to have longer, thicker coats than the females and males with especially long hair may require some light grooming or combing. Male hamsters are also more likely to suffer from hair loss as they age. It is fairly common for a male hamster who is over one year old to begin to lose fur on his back, tummy and legs. The loss of fur can also be accompanied by flaky skin and dandruff.