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How do you tell a WW hybrid from a pure WW?


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#1 Taxonomist

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 01:55 AM

For months now, I've been toying with the idea of getting a Winter White. I do realize that most pet stores tend to label Campbell's dwarfs as WWs. I've seen this myself (I think, lol). However, I was unaware that hybrids are common.

The way I have always seen to ID a WW is that WW will always have a dark dorsal stripe and two wavy dark side arches, regardless of whether they're in their winter or summer coats. Is this the best way to identify them? Or is there a better way?

But how do you tell a hybrid from a pure WW? Or from a Campbell's dwarf, for that matter? I'm totally confused.

Thanks so much for any help!




#2 yourstrulygaby

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 02:39 AM

I've been wondering the same thing too! I kinda want a WW but I don't trust pet stores, and theres no breeders in my area. :/

#3 Plushie

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 04:59 AM

It can be hard. I think the best way to practice is to look at lots of pictures of WWs and Campbells you know are pure (e.g. on reputable breeder's sites) and/or peruse those "What kind of dwarf do I have?" threads on HH and see what others have guessed.

Hybrids tend to have a mix of both species' traits, but even then, there are hybrids which look a lot more like one species than the other.

This page lists some examples, and you can see them side-by-side.

WWs only have three different coat varieties; RCDs have a whole lot more of them. WWs and (some) hybrids change into their winter coats when daylight hours are shortened.
Agouti WWs are darker in their brown coat color. They do not have creamy/yellow undertones, like agouti RCDs have (the cream tones are most noticeable where the stomach fur meets the top coat, and behind their ears).
WWs are much blockier and fatter; RCDs are thinner and more 'sharp'.
WWs have Roman noses, so the bridges of their noses stick out. RCDs have these too but they're less pronounced.
WW dorsal stripes thicken around the shoulder blades (right behind their heads). RCD dorsal stripes are pretty much the same size and shape.
WWs have three "stripes"--their dorsal stripe and two on the side. RCDs will only have one noticeable one, their dorsal stripe (try not to get the shading between their belly + top coat mistaken as a stripe).
WW ears are smaller than RCD ears.

There are more. :P I can't think of them now, but I think you can get the gist of it.
Learning to tell the difference between the two comes with practice. :) If you're really unsure, or you want some clarification, you can take a picture and post it and we'll try our best.

And for future's sake, you may hear about a hamster called a Pudding hamster, that's a very orange/cream color; they're very popular in Singapore and you usually won't find them in the US or UK. Not everyone agrees on whether they're pure WWs with color mutations, or if they're from hybrids that were bred with WWs over and over again.

Edited by Plushie, 01 April 2012 - 05:00 AM.


#4 TheFeldhamster

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 02:08 AM

Some good comparison pics here: http://www.dsungare.de/hybrid.html (page of a German breeder of WWs)
Don't get confused: WW = "Dsungare" in German while in English "djungarian hamster" is often used to mean RCs.

#5 Genevie

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 02:27 AM

I agree with everything that's been said so far Posted Image Winter Whites do generally have the dorsal stripe and the arches (though you don't see the arches in hamsters with the pearl pattern), however hybrids can have these too. There really is no sure fire way to tell. Sometimes what looks like a hybrid is just a poor example of a pure ham, or vice versa. Plushie listed some great ways to tell the difference, but even then there's still a chance that you have a hybrid with mostly the genes of one species.

There's nothing wrong with hybrids, of course. My beloved Olive was one, I suspect. However it's not really something you want to support the breeding of. Is there no way you can go to a breeder?

Edited by Genevie, 21 April 2012 - 02:28 AM.


#6 Azayles

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:01 AM

It kinda looks like they have slightly different eye shapes, too. It is very confusing! I've never been able to properly tell.
Probably why if I ever wanted a dwarf I'd get a Chinese.
(I know, Holly, I know!)

#7 Selina_chan

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:32 AM

>_< its all too confusing, I was told Kriem was a pudding (hybrid colour) but then as winter came she got a complete winter coat still with the pudidngy stripe running down her back ; . ; but whatever she is it makes no difference :D

#8 Amaryllis

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 02:51 PM

It's really very difficult to tell if you have a hybrid or not. Aside from obvious differences like red eyes or no side stripes to tell you its a Campbell, any thing is going to be a guess. Mostly likely a pet store is going to have hybrids due to this fact. Possibly the hamster may express mostly winter white traits. Unless you buy from a breeder, there is no pedigree to look at it and be certain.

My two girls were rejects from my local pet store. Tess had a cyst on her ear and Hazel was brought back due to being aggressive and unfriendly (she was pregnant). Doesn't mean you can't give a wonderful hamster a good home from a pet store, you just need to go into it with your eyes open. Understand that your winter white might be a hybrid and is vulnerable to those genetic risks. Ever since I brought her home, my Tess has been nothing but healthy and the woman who sold me Hazel swears she's a different hamster (although Hazel DOES still bite me, she doesn't draw blood... small victories, eh?).