Often referred to as the Siberian Hamster, the Winter White was introduced in the early 1970’s. Although currently less common than the Campbells Dwarf
, they are rapidly increasing in popularity. Because of the unique ability to change colors (from dark grey to white) as a winter camouflage in the wild, they have earned the title of Winter White. Around 1988, a mutation appeared in the Winter Whites— a pure white top coat with black guard hairs, grey ears and black eyes. This is now commonly referred to as the Winter White Pearl. At about the same time, the SAPPHIRE appeared with it’s smokey grey top coat (with a slight blue tinge). Again, the eyes are black and the ears a soft grey. Crossing the Sapphire to the Pearl creates a Sapphire Pearl.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
The Winter White Russian hamster is often confused with it’s very similar cousin, the Campbells Dwarf Russian, don’t feel bad if you don’t know which you have.
For many years even scientists classified them as the same hamster, then they considered the Winter White a subspecies of the Campbells and only recently have they become classified as two separate species. If you are wondering which you have, check out our explanation on our Dwarf Hamsters page. Winter Whites are not often found in pet stores, and if you bought a Siberian hamster it is almost certainly a Campbell’s and not a Winter White. If you absolutely want a Winter White you should be able to find them through a breeder.