The hamster tank I bought is 96 x 47 x 38 cm (L x W x H) and I’m looking to get three winter white dwarf hamsters. Would this be spacious enough for three or two?
It is not much known from the wildlife of this kind of hamster. They are called winter white, because this kind has the whole year the color of the wild animals winter fur. In the wild there were very rare observations of pairs, and colonies only for the winter's time, to warm each other. In conclusion, they can live peacefully together for some time (one winter long), but within hours this could change and will not change back! If you are willing and able to separate them at this point, then yes, you can start with them as group. But be aware, that the "big trouble" could start in the night, or when you are not at home, and it will be a risk for the health (and maybe life) of your hamsters.
In the past, a lot of sources said "white Russian dwarf hamster are the best to keep in pairs or colonies" and this is copy-pasted in near uncounted way in the internet now. There is much less research about this, only long-year owners, who tried and failed in nearly every cage-size. And real research is made for animal testing companies, because this kind of hamster is used for such tests too. This research gets the result, that it is not even animal friendly at the least (because these companies will not do more effort than to fulfill minimal requirements in most cases) to let them live in groups. (Even it would be less expensive for the companies).
SO please, do them a favor and let them have their own space each! They would be happier, healthier and you would have less worries about them.
(My source, a German website of long-term-owners, with detailed description of their experience to try with different groups (male, female, siblings), different cages (type, size, count of houses, count of food-places) hamsterinfo.de. The mentioned facts I let translate by a software is this (please notice, that "Djungarian" is the misleading translation of German "Dsungarischer Zwerghamster", which is the "winter white dwarf hamster"):
Djungarian hamsters - group animals or solitary animals?
A few years ago, when we began to love hamsters, there was no question about it. Many agreed that Djungarian dwarf hamsters should be kept in groups, or at least in pairs. It was a huge mistake that we took this advice to heart.
At first it went very well. The dwarf hamsters apparently got along and even "kissed" each other.
Unfortunately, over time we had to find out again and again that dwarf hamsters kept as a pair or in a group suddenly bitten each other very badly without warning (sometimes after a few weeks, sometimes after 1 year). There are now many people who have made the experience - despite optimal housing conditions.
Research also confirms this.
Unfortunately, there is little good literature on the whole that deals with dwarf hamsters and unfortunately Djungarian dwarf hamsters have not yet been researched in nature.
However, there is certainly literature that proves the loneliness of the Djungars. Djungarian hamsters have rarely been observed in pairs. Colonies are never known (such as in guinea pigs, rats, mice, chinchillas). It is only in winter that Djungarian hamsters form colonies even with other mice, but these are immediately dissolved if the temperatures allow it. Therefore, I would like to point out at this point that Djungarian dwarf hamsters should be kept individually.
Then theses were voiced that it depends on the size of the cage. Some said you needed a bigger cage, others said that they get along better in small cages.
We have tried a lot in our hamster husbandry over the years and have always been taught better.
In order to research this phenomenon, we have several groups, each of siblings together. kept in similar and different cages. When rearing young animals, everything went well at first. The males and the older sisters even helped with the rearing. At first everything seemed fine and the dwarf hamsters seemed to be comfortable in the group.
After a while this changed suddenly. Not at the same time, but gradually it affected each of the groups. We could not find any differences between males and females.
Gradually there were quarrels in the different groups. At that time we did not get too much help, as very few people had this experience at that time, the Djungarian dwarf hamsters were by far not as widespread in pet keeping as they are today.
So we had several groups of females and several groups of men. The animals got on very well and because it was very clear in some books and on the Internet at the time that they had to be kept in groups, we thought this form of keeping was the best.
The "worst" experience in all groups was that it came to biting from "now on". Some biting was rather harmless with "small" injuries. Other fights led to the death of a dwarf hamster.
The first quarrels began in a group of females after a few weeks. That could still be accepted as a "coincidence". We then separated the 4 animals into 2x2 Djungars, but that didn't go well for long either.
Little by little it happened in each group. Apparently peaceful animals became little beasts.
The last peaceful group were 4 females who got along well for over 1 year, suddenly one of them was bitten so badly that it was bleeding profusely.
The whole thing ended in such a way that I had to keep all Djungarian dwarf hamsters individually.
In the meantime, many hamster keepers have made this experience and research institutions have also come to the conclusion that Djungarian dwarf hamsters are loners.
Nevertheless, there is something in more recent books about keeping these dwarf hamsters in groups, and it is difficult to get just one Djungarian in pet stores. Fortunately, knowledge about these animals is increasing and word of the solitary nature of dwarf hamsters has spread more and more. Not least because of the experience of many owners.
Djungarian dwarf hamsters not only avoid each other in the largest hamster home - if they want their territory for themselves - but the stronger defends food and everything else and constantly attacks the weaker, who after a while can no longer defend himself. He lies down on his back (which is a gesture of submission) and is bitten by the other. The weaker would not survive this in the long run.
Such a situation would not occur in nature because then the weaker person could flee. Even in the largest cage, however, this is permanent r unfortunately not possible. Not to mention the constant stress that dwarf hamsters are exposed to.
Djungarian hamsters need attention, animal-friendly facilities and exercise. The cages offered are often unsuitable, and adequate housing and appropriate accessories are often relatively expensive (like the dwarf hamsters themselves).
Djungarian dwarf hamsters have a very cute, bear-like appearance, but are not cuddly animals, they are more suitable for watching than for cuddling, although Djungarian dwarf hamsters, with whom one deals a lot, can also become very trusting.
It is not possible to get dwarf hamsters used to each other afterwards. Even if one of the hamsters "runs away" and wanders around the apartment all night, there is an big quarrel when "re-entering" the cage.
Even then it can happen that the animals have to be separated again. You should definitely not rely on the words of the seller when buying, it is better to inform yourself beforehand.
If possible, you should have a home for the dwarf hamster beforehand so that they don't have to endure the fear in the transport box for too long. It is also nice when the hamster can take litter out of its old cage and thus has a familiar smell around it. It is good if dwarf hamsters get the same food at the beginning as in the pet shop. Afterwards you can mix the food with someone else and compose the food of your dwarf hamster yourself or give a different mix of ready-made food.
Yes, that should be enough space. It is recommended to have at least 2903 cm2 (450 in2) of floor space for one hamster. Having more than one dwarf hamster will require a little bit more space than 2903 cm2. If your tank is 96 x 47 cm, then that is 4512 cm2 (699 in2) of floor space, which is plenty for a few dwarf hamsters.
Note: this answer is solely about the space, Allerleirah's answer has more useful advice.