Introducing a New Dwarf Hamster to One You Already Have

Updated on December 23, 2016

Introducing a new dwarf to your current dwarf

Having More Than One Dwarf Hamster

If you already have one dwarf hamster and are thinking about adding a friend to make things more cozy, you should first make sure you are prepared to have two separate cages.  This is just in case the two decide they definitely don't care for each others company.  The next thing to be sure of is that you get another hamster of the same sex.  Unless you want to end up in the dwarf hamster business.  Please keep in mind that when I talk of dwarf issues, I'm speaking from the viewpoint of someone who only owns females.

Neutral Territory

I've found the best way to get your current dwarf and a new dwarf used to each other is by putting them both into a strange environment together, so neither one has established the place as its home. 

If you put a new dwarf into a cage with the one you already have, you're asking for trouble and a big fight.  By fight, I mean to the death.  A dwarf hamster can kill another dwarf.  I've seen it happen.  Your current dwarf gets acclimated to her home and her scent gets on everything.  Then when the newbie is introduced, it's an invasion of "my space". That is why the neutral territory method of introducing a newbie is best.

I mainly use the bathtub in my spare bathroom.  I plug the drain and put both of the dwarfs in the tub at the same time.  This creates a bit of a shock affect to their territorial instincts.  Both are in unfamiliar surroundings.  They will be more busy checking out the place, and not each other at first.  Eventually they will come face to face and there will be a bit of a showdown.  

Dominance and Fighting

The first time you see and hear your dwarfs fight it can be alarming.  Don't panic and separate them right away.  Watch the behavior of both.  You'll find that one will tend to be more dominant, and one will be more submissive.  The submissive one will flip onto its back with its mouth open, and lie still in a sort of "I give up and don't want to fight" pose.  After watching this type of action for a while, you will learn what is real fighting and which is related to dominance.  You'll know when it's really time to separate the two.  

I've had dwarfs do the dominance fighting a couple of times, and get along perfectly from then on.  But, I've also had times where I've had to keep them separated and do the neutral territory bath tub thing a couple times a day for a week or so. 

An alternate method that I use when two dwarfs are really fighting is to put them in a smaller strange place together, forcing them to get along.  This can be seen in the photo above.  I use a really large popcorn or salad type bowl.  Make sure the sides are high enough so they can't jump out.  You can even put a small amount of food in the bowl to give them something to do.

Time to Put Them in the Cage Together

Since the scent of the dwarf you had first is in the cage, clean the cage thoroughly to get the scent out of everything.  Change the litter and food too.  Once that has been done, I take the old and new dwarf in the same hand and put them in the cage together.  Be prepared to see the same type of dominance fighting as you did in the neutral territory test with the bath tub or bowl.  Like I mentioned, you'll start to learn what is fighting to be concerned about, and which is just basically a power struggle for dominance.  Having more than one place for a dwarf to go is beneficial in this case.  If one is rolling over and submissive, at least there is a place to flee to.

Patience and Time

If you're not willing to repeat the above steps and work with your dwarf hamsters, I would recommend sticking with only one.  If you ever see that fighting has drawn blood, I would separate them at this point and try the neutral territory thing over and over if needed.

I've only had one instance of two dwarfs not being able to get along when introduced patiently over time.  She lives in a separate cage and is put in with the others occasionally just to have some "hammie" time with her own kind.  Like a good thing, it doesn't last forever and she goes back into her own home.


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    • profile image

      Ellie 

      2 months ago

      I’ve had a female Russian dwarf hamster since March and I’m going to get another female russian in a few days .. will they get along in the same cage? It’s quite a big cage and I have a spare just in case.

    • profile image

      Mateo Andrade 

      4 months ago

      I have had a robo for 8 months and thinking about adding a young robo is that ok

    • profile image

      Jenn 

      7 months ago

      Hi, if you have a hamster living by itself for a couple of days don't add another. When a hamster gets comfortable by itself anything new provokes a territorial issue. I tried introducing another hamster who had cagemates at the pet store to my hamster, which i had a week and they seemed ok but I found the new one dead the next morning. It's horrible. I didn't even want to keep the one I had because it killed another. If you're going to have more than one hamster get them at the same time, from the same cage and make sure there are no signs of injury on either of them. Go to a pet store you trust keeps good care of their animals.

    • profile image

      Anna 

      8 months ago

      Can i put an adult hamster with a young one? Will the adult hamster fight with the young one or will they be cool

    • profile image

      Natalie 

      13 months ago

      Dwarves should should never be put together unless they are cage mates, or be prepared for them to potentially fight to the death. This is an ill informed and misleading article. Don't do it people!!

    • profile image

      kirby 

      21 months ago

      will this work to introduce a buddy to a 1 1/2 years or plus Robovoski hamster she seems I might lonely in that big cage of hers?

    • profile image

      marian 

      2 years ago

      worked great!

    • profile image

      redwolf 

      3 years ago

      I've got a 1.5 year old Chinese, I want to get a baby one to keep her company, can I?

    • profile image

      Charlotte 

      3 years ago

      I have a female Russian dwarf hamster I've had her for about 5/6 weeks she has never bitten me but lately she has been escaping from her cage I think it's due to loneliness and I would love her to have a friend but I already have three hamsters including her (two are Syrians who live in separate cages ) so if they don't get along I don't have any space to set up the spare cage I have please answer Asap

    • profile image

      David 

      5 years ago

      I tried this but it failed for me after multiple attempts and I had to separate the hamsters.

    • profile image

      Jenn 

      5 years ago

      You have no idea how many times I have looked at this article! I have an adorable Russian Cambell hamster named Black Bear. Hopefully if I ever get a second hamster they wont pick their favorite cage and never travel into the other one. The only reason I don't have a second cage yet and 2nd hamster is the fact that I am only 12 and my mom isn't a big fan of rodents. :))))

    • profile image

      Kezia 

      6 years ago

      I have a male russian dwarf called Nugget, and i've had him for almost a year now.. i'm getting a new and bigger cage and i'm thinking about getting another male russian.. i've been told they will fight to the death so i'll try this.. my hamster is a bit bitey sometimes so i'm worried he won't like the new room mate..

    • profile image

      chelsey 

      6 years ago

      i have a male Russian dwarf hamster named Chester i have had him for a few weeks now so i want to get him a buddy will the two hamsters fight even if they are from the same litter

    • profile image

      Harley 

      7 years ago

      I have a male Chinese hamster called Oscar and I have owned him for a long time now but he is no where near a year old yet. I am thinking about getting another male Chinese hamster in a few weeks but I am really worried that they will end up killing eachother because of the massive age gap. Will they both be okay or is fighting just common in females or something? I will try your bath tub idea but please can you reply to this because I really need some more information, thank you.

    • profile image

      Kendal 

      7 years ago

      I just got a new hamster and have put it with my old hamster to see how they get along it seems as though they just need to get to know each other. I'm going to try this activity and see how it works.

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