Syrian hamsters, the most common pet hamster, are an excellent choice simply because they are generally confined to a small living space. As such, they do not have constant interaction with the home environment. (If you do have a dander allergy, you still may be allergic to the hamster.) The same is true for pets such as gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, chinchillas and rats. Syrian hamsters were discovered in Syria, but received their “hamster” name for the German word hamstern, which means to hoard. The Syrian hamster is a nocturnal animal and prefers digging, scraping, and running on its wheel in the middle of the night.