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History of the Hamster

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Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster
Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster
Photographer: Eleassar

Hamsters belong to the family cricetidae which includes almost 600 species of hamsters, voles, lemmings, rats and mice. It is the second largest family of mammals and its members are distributed throughout North and South America, Asia and Europe.

In 1930, Dr Aharoni collected one wild female golden hamster in northern Syria and from this hamster and her twelve off spring, domestic hamsters were derived.

Dr Aharoni set up a breeding programme in Jerusalem and in 1931 he sent several hamsters to the UK, and in 1938 to the USA, for use in laboratories.

In 1945 hamsters were introduced to the pet trade and today they make popular pets for both children and adults.

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