Common names of the species also include Siberian Dwarf Hamster, Winter White Hamster, Djungarian Hamster, Campbell's Dwarf Hamster, and Hairy-Footed Dwarf Hamster.For the sake of clarity, it will be referred to in this article simply as the the Russian Dwarf Hamster.Description Phodopus sungorus is of the Order Rodentia and Family Cricetidae, as are all of the Old World hamsters.
It shares with them the general description of being a "mouse-like animal with a thick-set body, short tail, and cheek pouches." According to the literature, the body length varies from 53 to 102 mm, with an additional 7 to 11 mm of tail.In my experience, domestic hamster sizes seem to run to the larger end of that range.The fur of the upper body is grayish or pinkish buff.
A dark dorsal stripe runs the length of the body.The underside and the sides of the muzzle, upper lips, lower cheeks, lower flanks, limbs, and tail are white.The white areas extend upward forward and rearward of each leg.The grey-buff body color commonly extends to the upper part of each leg.Unlike some other hamster species, the tail and feet are fur covered.
This gives rise to the "Hairy-Footed" designation.There is also an albino strain and a satin-coated variety.Under natural lighting conditions, some Russian Hamsters will turn partially or completely white in the winter months.There is disagreement over whether these are a true subspecies or just a local race.