Find out what you need to know before bringing home an angora rabbit.
Angora rabbits are absolutely beautiful. They have long, flowy fur and have fun little tufts on their eats. They look totally cute and cuddly. However, this breed is not easy to care for and requires special grooming. This guide will take you through the basics you need to know before deciding to bring home an angora rabbit of your own.
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Right off the bat, I want to say that I do not recommend angora rabbits for first-time rabbit owners. I had no experience owning rabbits before I adopted my angora, and while it did force me to learn a lot about handling, grooming, and everyday care very quickly, that is not the experience I’d recommend. If you are looking to get angora rabbits for wool production purposes, I’d still take the following factors into consideration since they will still impact your experience owning them!
Read More >> Beginner’s Guide to Pet Rabbits
Angora Rabbit Basics
Angora rabbits are one of the oldest breeds of domestic rabbits. They are usually bred for their long fur, which is actually called wool. Many people keep them to collect the wool and use it to spin into yarn. Angora rabbits are also kept for showing and there are a few different angora rabbit associations as well.
Although angoras look like a great extra fluffy and cuddly option if you’re looking into getting pet rabbits, there are a few important things you need to consider before committing to this breed. Let’s quickly run through the types of angora rabbits, and then we’ll get into their special care.
Types of Angora Rabbits
There are actually quite a few different breeds of angora rabbits, but there are five that are the most common: English, French, Satin, German, and Giant. Here’s is a breakdown and a little bit about each of these types:
The English Angora is the oldest breed of angora rabbit and one of the four breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association (ARBA). They are the only type of angora that has long hair that grows on their face – this means they end up with long hair on their entire bodies. Their fur is thick and silky and comes in a wide variety of colors. They are also the smallest angora breed and usually grow to be around 5 to 6 pounds.
French Angora rabbits are another older breed of angora and are commonly kept for their meat and their wool. This breed is also recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association. Unlike the English Angora, they do not have long fur on their face, ears, or feet. They come in a wide variety of colors and usually weigh in at around 7 to 10 pounds. This breed is very popular with first-time angora owners as they are pretty calm bunnies and their fur is the easiest to care for.
This breed differs from the other angora breeds because they have distinctive silky wool (hence the name). This wool is considered the most valuable of the Angora wools. They only come in general colors (white, tan, brown, and grey) as more focus was put on the quality of the wool.
This breed is also recognized by the ARBA and usually ends up being around 9 to 10 pounds. They are also pretty docile bunnies that don’t mind attention or handling.
The German Angora breed was developed to provide more wool than the English Angora. They are not recognized as an independent breed by the ARBA. They usually weigh between 5 and 7 pounds and are pretty friendly bunnies that don’t mind being handled too much.
German Angora rabbits do not shed like other rabbits do, so their fur must be regularly brushed and clipped. The most common color pattern is totally white, but there are a few other colors available as well.
Giant Angora rabbits are similar to German Angoras, just larger. These bunnies are usually around 9 or 10 pounds but have no max weight according to the ARBA. Like the German Angora, they need to be clipped because they do not shed are are pretty chill bunnies.
Angora Rabbits Require a LOT of Grooming
Since angora rabbits do have long hair, they require a lot more grooming than short-haired rabbits. If they do not get the grooming attention they need their fur can very quickly become an out-of-control matted mess that is uncomfortable for the bunny. Rabbits are self-groomers like cats, but they are not able to keep up with the longer fur themselves.
An angora rabbit will need to be brushed very often, likely on a weekly or possibly even daily basis. Their fur can get tangled or matted very easily so it’s important to brush it out before these mats can take hold.
I use my grooming scissors to cut out any mats that are too tangled to brush out. My angora gets looked over at least once a week to take care of any mats and give him a good brushing.
About once a month (or more during shedding) I use our clippers to give my angora bunny a full haircut. I don’t shave him down to the skin, but I like to cut off enough hair that what is left is much less likely to get matted and is a lot easier to manage with brushing.
All of this is in comparison with my short-haired rabbit, who gets brushed a couple of times a month, maybe once a week when he’s shedding.
They Require Confident Handling
As they are prey animals, rabbits, in general, do not like being picked up or handled. It makes sense because in the wild if a rabbit was picked up it would only be when a predator caught them.
Angora rabbits need to be handled quite a bit more than short-haired rabbits since they do require so much grooming. These rabbits can also be on the larger side (5+ pounds) depending on the breed. This means confident handling is extra important to avoid injury to both you and your bunny.
I would highly recommend being very confident handling animals or having prior experience handling bunnies before committing to an angora rabbit. You’ll have to control a squirmy bunny while scissors and clippers are involved, so be sure you’re up for that.
They Shed A LOT
If you’ve never owned rabbits before, you might not know that they actually do shed. All bunnies shed 3-4 times a year (except German and Giant Angoras), but with long-haired angora rabbits, there is a lot more hair to deal with. You definitely want to keep this in mind if you have allergies or don’t want to be sweeping up hair all the time.
This goes hand in hand with angoras requiring more grooming, but you will be cleaning up a lot of hair. My angora rabbit has a few favorite spots around our house that generally have a thin film of white bunny hair on them. I have to vacuum up rabbit hair pretty often.
Along with creating a mess in your house, the extra shedding can also cause health issues in your rabbit. As I mentioned before, rabbits are self-groomers, which means they clean themselves by licking similar to a cat. Rabbits can get hairballs too, but unlike cats, they are not able to throw up. If they get too much hair in their system they can get hair balls or “wool block.” This can very quickly turn life-threatening for the rabbit.
Removing extra hair through grooming, especially during times your rabbit is shedding, will go a long way toward helping avoid wool block or other digestive issues.
Final Thoughts on Angora Rabbits
After owning an angora rabbit for the past 4 years, I would not recommend this breed for the first-time rabbit owner. Before you bring home an angora rabbit, make sure you are prepared for the specialized care and are willing to put in the time and effort these bunnies require.