Hamster History

How did hamsters become pets?

When I first got Spider-ham, I always found myself wanting to learn a little about hamster history. I mean, where do they come from? I couldn't resist finding out! It all started in Aleppo...


From Wild Hamster to Lab Specimen

The very first hamster documented on paper was the Syrian hamster. It was found in Aleppo, Syria in the mid-1700s. People of the time didn't take much notice of the wild hamster.

About 200 years later though, a scientist named Saul Alder commissioned several hamsters to be captured for his lab research. Upon capture, Alder quickly began to learn of the amazing characteristics of the species.

  • These wild hamsters were tamed within just 3 days.
  • And within a year of captivity, the three captive hamsters had spawned a colony of 150!

Beautiful Syria

hamster history begins in Syria, Aleppo

Alder was so delighted that he sent pups to other lab facilities as gifts. Suddenly, Syrian hamsters were finding homes around the world.

Fun Fact

  • Believe It Or Not - It is said that the lineage of our modern day Syrians can still be traced back to the original three captured from Aleppo!

The Pet Market


Around the 1950s, a businessman named Albert Marsh got a hold some of the Syrian hamsters. He quickly recognized this little docile and fertile rodent's potential as a pet!

In a short matter of time, hamsters were the new pet craze. They were popping up in every pet shop and all the kids wanted their own.

And soon enough, fanciers were breeding their own pups, too. All kinds of coats and breedings were being discovered.

Dwarf Hamsters

Syrian hamsters aren't the only pet hamsters. What about the rest? There are 24 types of hamsters total. Four dwarf hamster species: the Chinese, Roborovskii, Winter White, and Campbell in particular proved to be great pets, too.

They, too, are found around the world and used as lab animals, but gained popularity in the 60s - 70s as pets after the success of the Syrian hamster.

Locations Hamsters Are Found

  • Chinese dwarf: China
  • Roborovskii dwarf: China, Mongolia, Russia
  • Winter White dwarf: Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia
  • Campbell dwarf: China, Siberia, Mongolia,

Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands were the first to receive them in their pet stores. And today, all five species are readily avaliable all over the world.

Hamsters rised from rodent pests to household pets due to their gentle and fertile nature. They are still one of children's favorite pets and no doubt have more charming characteristics to offer their owners!








Top Questions:

  1. Creative name ideas?
  2. How long do they live?
  3. How much do they cost?
  4. How to convince my parents to let me get a pet hamster?
  5. Can you recommend a hamster breeder?