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Knowing the lifespan of your pet hamster is extremely important. It gives you a good idea about how long you will be able to spend with them and allows you to mentally prepare yourself for the worst when you get to the end of your pets life. You also need to make sure that you are available to look after the hamster for the length of its life so that they get the best care possible throughout their time with you.

What is the average hamster lifespan? Cute hamster
Roborovski Hamster grooming

It is a sad topic and not a topic that people like to discuss but your hamster’s life expectancy is important to know. This is why this article is going to look at various hamsters and their lifespans, giving you a better idea of how long you will be able to spend with them.

What is the average lifespan of a hamster?

The average lifespan of a hamster depends heavily on the breed of hamster that you own. Certain hams will live longer than others which means that it is important that you know the breed of your hamster before researching.

Hamster breedLifespan
Syrian Hamster/Golden Hamster/Teddy Bear Hamster2 to 2.5 years
Chinese Hamster1.5 to 2 years
Roborovski Hamster3 to 3.5 years
Russian Hamster2 years
Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster1.5 to 2 years

Remember that these lifespans are just an average and that hamsters can live for longer than the years stated above. Guinness World Records puts the oldest hamster at 4.5 years so this is just a rough guide.

What impacts a hamster’s lifespan?

Many things impact a hamsters lifespan, some of these things you can change and some of them you can’t.


Exercise is extremely important for your hamster as it allows them to imitate their natural environment and burn off calories. Hams with no options for exercise will be unhappy and stressed, they might show this by biting on the cage bars. Hamsters without any proper exercise may gain weight and become obese, this can cause their health to deteriorate and lower their lifespan. Make sure you get a good hamster wheel as this will raise your hamster’s average lifespan.

Cage Size

A hamsters cage size will drastically affect their happiness and health. The RSPCA recommend that a hamster should have a cage as large as possible. This is around 80 x 50cm in size. A cage size affects a hamsters ability to exercise and their ability to feel comfortable which are factors that will affect their a hamster’s average lifespan.


Enrichment and the size of the cage go hand in hand, both are required to make sure that your hamster has a happy home and therefore a healthy life. Items such as toys help a hamster to gnaw which prevents their teeth from getting too long and causing them to have dental problems. Dental problems can hurt your hamsters and reduce their average lifespan.

What is the average hamster lifespan? Cute hamster
Make sure you give your hamster lots of space to hide


A hamsters diet is very important for a hamster’s health, just like how our diet is important for our health. Hamsters should be fed a balanced diet with all of their essential nutrients, this can usually be found in a food mix sold by a local pet store. They must also have constant fresh clean water with constant refills. Treats must be given in small qualities and the best kinds of treats are little treats such as small pieces of apples

Wondering if your hamster likes their hamster ball? Check out our latest article!

Living Environment

Hamsters must have a clean cage and a clean environment to ensure that they stay healthy. Cages need to be cleaned out once a week and used bedding needs to be taken out and replaced with clean bedding. Failure to do this can result in your hamster developing health conditions such as:

BumblefootSwollen feet, ulcerations, sore feet, lameness
Wet TailFoul odour, diarrhoea, lack of appetite, lethargy
We will be writing an article later about various illnesses in hamsters, stay tuned

Therefore it is extremely important that you keep your cage clean, this will help to improve the lifespan of your hamster and it will help to keep them happy. The surroundings of your cage is also important for keeping your hamster healthy. Keeping your cage away from drafts, other pets and distressing noises can have a big impact on your hamsters health.

Need more tips on where to place your hamster cage? Learn more with our hamster location megaguide!

Veterinary care

Getting the correct veterinary care for your hamster will drastically help in keeping your pet in good health. If you notice symptoms such as diarrhoea, runny noses and runny eyes then getting your hamster to the vet may help figure out what the problem is because it gets any worse. A hamsters lifespan may be short but adequate vet care can help them live a lot longer.

Why do hamsters have a short lifespan?

It’s unfair that we only have a short time to spend with our furry friends, which leads to a lot of people asking why hamsters have such a short lifespan in the first place. One of the main possibilities is that it is because they reach their maturity a lot faster than other animals. Hamsters grow up quickly and the fast beating of their hearts means that it is possible that their bodies simply get worn out faster. However, you can still give your hamster a long and happy life by ensuring that you follow the tips above.


So, what is the average hamster lifespan? It can be 1.5 years to 3 years depending on the breed of hamster. Hamsters may have a relatively short life but that doesn’t mean that they won’t give you memories of a friendship that will last you for the rest of your life! Have you had a hamster with a particularly long lifespan? Let us know about them in the comments!