These animals grow to between 7.5 and 9cm in length. Their body proportions, compared with those of other hamsters, appear “long and thin” and they have, (for a hamster), a relatively long tail. They originate in the deserts of Southern China and Mongolia.
Chinese hamsters are not, technically, true “Dwarf” hamsters since this term refers to animals in the genus Phodopus, (the two types of Russian Dwarf hamsters and Roborovski Dwarf hamsters).
The wild colour is greyish brown above with a black stripe down the spine and a whitish belly. This colouration, combined with their lithe build and longer tail, makes them look “mousey” to some eyes and, in fact, they are members of the group called “mouse like” hamsters.
Apart from the normal wild colour, only 1 pattern variety is available to owners of chinese hamsters, the Dominant Spot. This hamster is white with coloured spots or patches over the body.
Overall, chinese hamsters have quiet temperaments and are easily handled; one of their endearing traits is that of clinging to a finger with all four paws, rather like a harvest mouse on a corn stalk. Chinese hamsters can be quite nervous as youngsters but, once they are tame, display an endearing calmness and gentleness of character.