Introduction to Angora Rabbits

Angora rabbits are one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit. They are commonly bred for their long, soft wool which is sheared, collected, and spun into yarn. Today there are four main types of Angora rabbits: English, French, Giant, and Satin Angora. Angoras are medium-sized rabbits usually weighing between 5-10 lbs. fully grown.

Regardless of the type of Angora rabbit, they will typically have a long, fine wool coat that requires regular grooming and shearing. Depending on the breed, this hair may only cover the body or also the hair and ears. They have a compact, well-rounded body, but can range in size with typically medium-sized legs and paws.

Given their docile temperament, their sweet, laidback personalities can make them wonderful pets that bond closely with their owners. They are intelligent and curious and enjoy playing with new toys or simply time with their owners. We’ll share all you need to know in this complete guide on Angora rabbits!

History and Breed Origin

Angora rabbits are believed to originate from Ankara, Turkey. They were first imported to Europe, specifically France, in 1723. Soon after the breed’s arrival, the Angora rabbit became a favored pet of the French royalty in the mid-18th century (1700s). By the end of that century, Angoras had spread to almost all of the other parts of Europe.

When Angoras came to the United States exactly is unknown, though it’s estimated they were present as early as the 1800s. At the beginning of the 20th century there was just one type known as the “Angora Wooler” which in 1939 was split into the English Angora, and the French Angora. Also in the 1930s France established itself as the world leader in Angora wool production until about 1965 with as many as 300,000 Angoras producing wool. Today the dominating force is China, producing over 90% of the world’s Angora wool.

Back in the United States, until the early 1970s, ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) only recognized white, black, blue, and fawn Angoras for show. It was through the effort of Mrs. L. P. Meyers of Canada, who showed many varieties of English and French Angoras at the 1973 ARBA Convention that lead the ARBA Board to approve Angoras could be shown in any color moving forward. Which is why today you can find Angoras in every coat color just like any other rabbit.

Appearance and Size

Types of Angora Rabbits

There are four main types of Angora rabbits bred for their luxurious coats and wool production. Each type of Angora breed has slightly different physical characteristics and appearance:

English Angora Rabbit

The English Angora is the oldest and most popular breed of Angora rabbit. The ARBA recognized types of English Angoras include Agouti, Broken, Pointed White, Ruby-eyed White, Self, and Shaded. They have a commercial body type with a compact frame and plush, dense fur. English Angoras have the softest coats and produce the finest grades of angora wool. English Angoras require the most grooming since their coat gets matted very easily. They are the smallest of the Angora breed, and they are the only type of Angora that has hair covering their eyes.

French Angora Rabbit

The French Angora has a rollback coat and is typically the largest of the angora rabbits, ranging from 3.5–4.5 kgs (7.7–9.9 lbs.), with a commercial body type. It is known for having wool fur across its body with a clean, hairless face. The ARBA recognized types include Agouti, Broken, Pointed White, Self, Shaded, Ticked, and Wide Band. The French Angora has a dense undercoat, which if it has the right texture (i.e. not “cottony”), can lead to less maintenance. Their wool fiber is desired for it being lightweight and providing warmth. The French Angora wool fiber is used for many things, including sweaters, mittens and baby clothes. Like other Angoras, they are typically docile, laidback rabbits.

Giant Angora Rabbit

As the name suggests, Giant Angoras are much larger than other Angora breeds. They can weigh up to 10-12 lbs. While there have been other types developed, the only ARBA recognized type is Ruby-eyed White. Giant Angoras have very long, soft, silky fur with a commercial body type. They are the only 6-class animal in the ARBA breed. The Giant Angora’s coat includes three types of wool: soft underwool, awn fluff and awn hair. Their coats require frequent grooming to prevent matting. Given their size, they can be slower to mature than other rabbits often taking up to 1.5yrs for bucks to mature.

Satin Angora Rabbit

Satin Angoras have the same body type as English Angoras, but with a satin sheen to their fur from the light reflecting off the smooth, translucent guard hairs. The satin coat gives their fur extra luster. Satin Angoras come in many of the same color varieties as the English. Their wool production is less than the English but still prolific

In addition to the sheen (for which the Satin is known), true red and copper pigments emerged in the new rabbits. In all ‘satinized’ coats, the hair shaft has a semi-transparent outer shell that reflects light, resulting in deep color, high luster and an extremely soft and silky texture to the hair.

Other Angora Rabbit Types

There are other types of Angora rabbits that are less common (or not recognized by ARBA or BRC), including the German Angora, Chinese Angora, Finnish Angora, Japanese Angora, Korean Angora, Russian Angora, St Lucian Angora, Swiss Angora, Dwarf Angora, and Mini English Angora.

Temperament

Angora rabbits tend to have a very docile and gentle temperament. While any rabbit may be timid at first, especially if they have not been properly socialized, Angoras will often warm up quickly to their owners.

With their sweet personalities, Angoras make excellent pets for adults and children alike. These rabbits form close bonds with their owners and enjoy being cuddled in their owner’s lap. However, Angora rabbits dislike being picked up and held, as they can become skittish and aggressive. Owners of Angora rabbits need proper education on handling their Angora rabbit to prevent injury due the delicate nature of the rabbit’s spine.

Angora rabbits are known to be intelligent and curious. They enjoy playing with toys and explore new tunnels or hutches. Though they often prefer to lounge rather than run around.

The affectionate nature of Angoras means they crave the companionship of their owners. If left alone for long periods, these rabbits can become depressed or destructive out of boredom and loneliness. Proper socialization and playtime are essential for an Angora bunny. With the right amount of love and attention, Angoras become loyal, docile, and affectionate pets.

Care and Feeding

Angora rabbits require some special care when it comes to their diet, exercise, grooming, and housing needs. This helps keep them healthy and comfortable.

Diet and Nutrition

Angora rabbits should be fed a diet of premium-quality pellets, timothy hay, and fresh vegetables. The pellets provide important protein and nutrients, while the hay aids with their digestive system to prevent wool block. Vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. Typical veggies to offer include romaine lettuce, kale, carrots, parsley, cilantro, and broccoli. Limit sugary fruits and treats. Always provide unlimited timothy hay. Fresh, clean water should also always be available.

Exercise

Angoras are active and energetic. They need plenty of supervised exercise time daily to bounce around and play. Allow them access to a safe rabbit exercise pen or rabbit-proofed room. Be sure to watch them carefully since they will chew on any exposed wires or baseboards. Angle exercise pens outward rather than upward since Angoras can climb surprisingly well!

Grooming

Daily grooming is essential for the Angora breed. Their long fur is prone to tangles and mats. Gently brush and comb the coat each day. Trim the fur around the rear and sanitary areas as needed for cleanliness. Provide wooden chew sticks to help keep teeth aligned. We recommend getting your Angoras professionally groomed every 3 months to remove loose fluff undercoat and prevent matted fur.

Housing

Angora rabbits need plenty of space due to their active nature and size, and can live either indoors or outdoors. Though they can only live in an outdoor habitat in temperatures between 50-70 degree Fahrenheit. It is important to place the outdoor enclosure for your rabbits in the shade because Angora rabbits can overheat in the sun due to their excess fur. Angora rabbits need an enclosure at least 6-8 square feet, the larger the better. Wire cages with a plastic bottom work well to allow fallen fur and waste to pass through. Line the cage bottom with newspaper or puppy pads and spot clean daily. A hideaway nest box filled with hay is a good ideas as it allows a private sleeping space.

Products we recommend for starting (Chewy)

Spaying/Neutering 

Spaying and neutering Angora rabbits can have several benefits for their health and behavior long term:

  1. Prevention of Unwanted Pregnancy: Spaying female Angora rabbits and neutering male Angora rabbits prevents unplanned litters, which can be overwhelming for rabbit owners and contribute to overpopulation. Males can be neutered around 4 months old, after their testicles drop and they sexually mature. Females can be spayed as early as 4 months old, after they have sexually matured. Some veterinarians may wait for the rabbits to mature past 4 months before spaying to decrease risks.
  2. Health Benefits: Spaying reduces the risk of uterine cancer and other reproductive-related health issues in female rabbits. Neutering males can help prevent testicular cancer and reduce the risk of aggression and territorial behavior.
  3. Behavioral Benefits: Spayed and neutered rabbits often display calmer behavior, reduced territorial marking, and are generally easier to litter train. They may also be less prone to aggressive behaviors, such as mounting or fighting with other rabbits.
  4. Bonding: If you plan to keep multiple rabbits together, spaying/neutering is essential for successful bonding. Unaltered rabbits can be aggressive towards each other, especially during hormonal periods.
  5. Longer Lifespan: Spayed and neutered rabbits tend to live longer, healthier lives due to the reduced risk of reproductive-related diseases and behaviors.

It’s essential to consult with a veterinarian experienced in rabbit care to discuss the best timing and method for spaying/neutering your Angora rabbit, as well as any potential risks associated with the procedure. Rabbits should be spayed/neutered by a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about rabbit anesthesia and surgery, as rabbits have unique physiological responses compared to other animals.

Grooming for Fiber

Grooming is an essential part of caring for an Angora rabbit. Angoras have continuously growing coats and require frequent grooming to prevent matting, collect fiber, and keep the rabbit comfortable.

Frequency of Grooming

Most Angora rabbits need to be fully groomed at least once a week. Some rabbits may need grooming every 3-4 days if their coat grows quickly. Try to inspect your rabbit’s coat in between full grooming sessions to spot any tangles or mats developing. The stomach and legs are common areas for matting to occur. Grooming more frequently prevents painful mats from forming close to the skin and wool block. Angora rabbits need their coat groomed with shears or an electric razor every 3-4 months due to increased shedding and matting.

Techniques for Collecting Fiber

Use a metal comb to gently detangle and collect loose fiber. Work in sections and hold the comb flat against the rabbit’s body to avoid scratching the skin.

Collect the fiber you comb out and store it in paper bags or cardboard boxes. Plastic bags will compress the rabbit wool and felt it together over time. Always groom Angoras over a solid surface so none of the valuable fiber is wasted. The wool can be spun into yarn or used for other fiber crafts.

Some rabbits tolerate being placed on a grooming table during sessions. Others prefer to sit in your lap. Take cues from your individual rabbit’s personality. Make grooming a calm and consistent experience for your rabbit to remain comfortable.

Processing Angora Fiber

Before spinning or felting, washed angora fiber needs to be cleaned, carded, and hand processed:

  • Cleaning removes vegetation and waste from the fiber. Shake out and comb through raw wool to remove the biggest particles.
  • Carding organizes the fibers and further eliminates debris. Hand carders or drum carding machines both work.
  • Hand processing involves techniques like flick carding and pin drafting to arrange the angora into a continuous, organized strand of fibers ready for spinning.

With proper grooming and fiber processing, Angora’s exceptionally soft and lofty fibers produce light, warm yarn and textiles.

Health and Common Issues

The Angora rabbit is generally considered a healthy and hardy breed. However, like all rabbits, they can be susceptible to certain health problems. Some of the more common issues seen in Angoras include:

Sore Hocks

Sore hocks refer to ulcerated areas on the bottom of the rabbit’s feet. It is caused by improperly padded cages or wire bottoms that put too much pressure on their feet. Signs of sore hocks include redness, swelling, and open wounds on the feet. Treatment involves padding the cage floor and applying antibiotic ointment.

Wool Block

Wool block occurs when the rabbit ingests too much of its own fur while grooming. This can lead to a potentially fatal intestinal blockage. Signs include loss of appetite, lethargy, and reduced fecal output. Regular grooming and a large diet of hay helps prevent excessive fur ingestion.

Flystrike

Flystrike occurs when flies nest and lay their eggs in the rabbit’s fur. Flies typically nest in rabbit fur that is dirty or matted. Once the flies lay their eggs, they hatch into maggots that can cause serious wounds or disease to your rabbit. If your Angora lives outside, it is important that you check their coat daily.

Spinal Injury

Angora rabbits are very affectionate bunnies that enjoyed being cuddled, however, Angora rabbits dislike being picked up and held. Angora rabbits may become aggressive while being held and may kick or jump out of their owner’s arms. Since Angora rabbits have very delicate spines, the act of kicking or jumping out while being held can cause serious spinal damage, such as a broken back or permanent paralysis. Symptoms of a spinal injury include rear leg paralysis or weakness, inactivity, and involuntary urination. Some can attempt to heal their rabbit’s spinal cord injury by rest and anti-inflammatory medications, however, most rabbits will not recover.

Respiratory Infections

Like other rabbits, Angoras can contract bacterial and viral infections of the respiratory system. Common culprits include Pasteurella bacteria and rhinotracheitis virus. Signs include nasal discharge, loud breathing, coughing, sneezing and lethargy. Antibiotics are necessary for bacterial infections while viral infections must run their course.

Malocclusion

This refers to misaligned teeth that can overgrow and cause pain or difficulty eating. Signs include drooling, lack of appetite and weight loss. Overgrown teeth must be trimmed by a vet. Some cases may require tooth extraction for long term relief.

Skin Diseases

Angora rabbits may suffer from skin parasites like mites or ringworm. They are also prone to fungal and bacterial skin infections under the dense coat. Signs include itching, crusting lesions, and hair loss. Treatment depends on properly diagnosing the specific cause.

Eye Infections

Angora rabbits are susceptible to eye infections due to the long nature of the fur around their eyes. Their fur can trap debris in and around the eyes, causing infection. Regular trimming of their fur around the eyes can prevent and treat the infection, as well as antibiotic eye drops or oral medications.

With proper care, nutrition and housing, the average lifespan of an Angora rabbit is 7-12 years. Paying close attention to your rabbit’s health, behavior and eating habits is key to detecting any problems early when they are most treatable. Establishing a relationship with a rabbit-savvy veterinarian ensures you have support caring for your Angora throughout its life.

Angora Rabbit Breeding

Angora rabbits reach breeding age between 7 and 8 months old. The average litter size can range from 1-7 kits. Larger breeds like the Giant Angora tend to have slightly larger litters on average.

It’s important to provide the doe with an appropriate nesting box in advance of kindling (birth). The box should be around 24 x 18 x 12 inches. Fill it with 4-6 inches of nesting material such as straw, hay or shredded paper. The doe will use this to create a warm, comfortable nest for the kits. Place the box in the cage about 5 days prior to the expected kindling date so the doe has time to get accustomed to it.

Monitor the doe closely as her due date approaches. Provide extra protein and calories in her diet during this time. Limit disturbances to her cage area. Once she gives birth (kindles), avoid handling the kits for at least a week to allow bonding. Make sure she has plenty of food and water as nursing takes a lot of energy.

With proper care and preparation, Angora does can successfully raise happy, healthy litters. Be sure to find good homes for the kits once they reach 8-12 weeks old and are weaned. Breeding angoras requires dedication but can be a very rewarding endeavor.

Track key breeding tasks, litter details, and pedigree with Everbreed!

Buying an Angora Rabbit

When looking to buy an Angora rabbit, it’s important to find a reputable breeder that focuses on breeding healthy rabbits with good temperament. Here are some key things to consider:

Questions to Ask the Breeder

  • How long have you been breeding Angora rabbits? Look for an experienced breeder.
  • Do you breed for health and temperament? Avoid breeders who only breed for looks.
  • What is the rabbit’s ancestry? Ask to see pedigree records.
  • Has the rabbit been handled frequently? This supports proper socialization.
  • What is your culling policy? Good breeders remove rabbits with disqualifying traits.
  • What health guarantees do you provide? A good breeder will guarantee the rabbit’s health.

Assessing the Rabbit’s Health

  • Check the rabbit’s fur for any bald patches which may indicate health issues.
  • Look at the eyes, ears, nose, teeth, and underside for signs of discharge, swelling, or dirt/parasites.
  • Check paws and nails. Long nails can cause foot problems.
  • Observe breathing. It should be calm and steady without wheezing.
  • Watch for signs of diarrhea which is common in young rabbits.

Costs

  • Pet quality Angora rabbits range from $50 to $500. Show quality can range from $100 to $500+.
  • Budget $150+ for a suitable cage, dishes, litter box, bedding, litter, hay, and food.
  • Ongoing costs include food, litter, vet checkups, grooming tools, and supplies. Annual budget can range from $200 – $500.

Be an informed buyer – ask questions, evaluate health, understand costs. Finding the right Angora breeder sets the foundation for a happy and healthy rabbit.

Bringing Home Your Angora Rabbit

Bringing home an Angora rabbit requires careful preparation and attention to ensure a smooth transition for both the rabbit and the owner:

1. Preparing the Home:

  • Create a safe and spacious living area for your Angora rabbit. Ensure the enclosure is large enough to allow ample space for hopping, stretching, and playing.
  • Provide a comfortable bedding material, such as hay or paper-based bedding, and make sure it’s kept clean and dry.
  • Offer a hiding spot or shelter where the rabbit can retreat when feeling stressed or tired.
  • Angora rabbits are known for their long fur, so regular grooming is essential to prevent matting and maintain their coat health. Have grooming tools, such as a slicker brush and comb, ready before bringing your rabbit home.
  • Rabbit-proof your home by removing or securing any potential hazards, such as electrical cords, toxic plants, and small objects that could be chewed on.

2. Introducing the New Rabbit:

  • When introducing your Angora rabbit to its new home, allow it time to explore the space at its own pace. Avoid overwhelming the rabbit with too much attention or handling initially.
  • If you have other pets, introduce them to the rabbit gradually and under supervision to ensure everyone’s safety. Keep in mind that some pets may view the rabbit as prey, so monitor their interactions closely.
  • Provide fresh water, hay, and a small amount of rabbit pellets as part of the rabbit’s daily diet. Introduce new foods slowly to prevent digestive upset.

3. Bonding with Your Rabbit:

  • Spend time sitting near your rabbit’s enclosure to allow it to become familiar with your presence. Offer treats and gentle petting once the rabbit seems comfortable.
  • Establish a routine for feeding, grooming, and interacting with your rabbit to help build trust and strengthen your bond.
  • Engage in interactive play with toys, tunnels, and other enrichment activities to keep your rabbit mentally stimulated and physically active.
  • Be patient and understanding, as it may take time for your rabbit to adjust to its new environment and to bond with you. Building trust and a positive relationship with your Angora rabbit will enhance both of your experiences together.

By taking the time to prepare your home, introduce your rabbit gradually, and bond with it patiently, you can create a happy and fulfilling life for your Angora rabbit as a cherished pet companion

Find Angora Rabbit listing on our Marketplace

Training and Handling Angora Rabbits

Training and handling Angora rabbits require patience, consistency, and gentle techniques to ensure a positive experience for both the rabbit and the owner:

Litter Training:

  • Angora rabbits can be litter trained similarly to other rabbit breeds. Start by placing a litter box in a corner of the enclosure where the rabbit tends to eliminate.
  • Use rabbit-safe litter, such as paper-based or pelleted litter, and avoid clumping clay litter, which can be harmful if ingested.
  • Place some of the rabbit’s droppings in the litter box to encourage it to use the designated area.
  • Clean the litter box regularly to maintain cleanliness and encourage continued use.
  • Be patient and consistent with training, rewarding the rabbit with praise or treats when it successfully uses the litter box.

Teaching Tricks:

  • While Angora rabbits may not perform tricks as readily as some other pets, they can still learn simple behaviors through positive reinforcement training.
  • Start with basic commands like “come” or “stay” and use treats as rewards for desired behaviors.
  • Keep training sessions short and engaging, focusing on one command at a time to prevent overwhelming the rabbit.
  • Use gentle handling and avoid forcing the rabbit to perform tricks if it seems stressed or uninterested.
  • Be patient and persistent, as it may take time for the rabbit to understand and respond to commands consistently.

Nail Trimming:

  • Regular nail trimming every 4-6 weeks is essential for Angora rabbit care to prevent overgrowth, discomfort, and potential injury.
  • Use a pair of small, sharp nail clippers designed specifically for small animals.
  • Have a styptic powder or cornstarch on hand to stop any bleeding if you accidentally cut the quick (the pink part inside the nail).
  • Handle the rabbit calmly and securely, supporting its body while trimming its nails one at a time.
  • If you’re unsure about how to trim your rabbit’s nails safely, consider seeking guidance from a veterinarian or experienced rabbit owner.

Overall, training and handling Angora rabbits involve building trust through positive reinforcement, gentle handling, and patience. With time and consistency, you can establish a strong bond with your Angora rabbit and ensure its well-being and happiness

Showing Angora Rabbits

Angora rabbits can make wonderful show rabbits with their soft, fluffy coats and calm temperaments. Here are some tips for showing Angoras:

Show Rabbit Grooming

Grooming is extremely important when showing Angora rabbits. Their long fur needs to be fully detangled, clean, and free of any mats. Use a stainless steel fine comb and gently work through the entire coat before a show. Pay close attention to areas around the hindquarters where fur can tangle. Bathing is not recommended right before a show, as it can stress the rabbit. Instead, use cornstarch or grooming powder to absorb any oils or dirt in the fur. The fur should have a full, fluffy appearance.

Trim nails and check teeth before the show. Clean the fur around eyes, nose, ears, and genital region. Avoid any strong-smelling grooming products.

Following Breed Standards

When showing Angoras, follow the breed standards for that specific variety. English Angoras should have a full coat of fur 7-9 inches long, with fluffy chest fur, a mane around the head, and fur on the feet. German Angoras have a slightly shorter coat of 3-5 inches, with chest fur, head mane, and foot fur. Satin Angoras have the same coat features, with a satin sheen to the fur. French Angoras have the shortest coats at 2-4 inches long, with heavily furnished fronts and rears.

Judges will evaluate the coat based on density, texture, uniformity, sheen, and proper furnishings in line with breed standards. They will also assess the rabbit’s body type, head shape, ear carriage, and temperament.

Showing Techniques

Use proper rabbit handling techniques when presenting your Angora on the show table. Support the rabbit’s body weight with both hands or place them on a showing surface. Avoid pulling on the delicate coat. Gently blow upwards into the coat when the judge is observing to show the fur’s volume.

Confidently present the rabbit in a way that displays its best features while following the judge’s directions. Do not overhandle the rabbit. Answer any questions from the judge accurately and be able to discuss the rabbit’s grooming, nutrition, and health. Good knowledge and sportsmanship are important. Stay calm if the rabbit gets nervous. With practice and patience, showing can be a fun and rewarding way to participate in the Angora rabbit community!

FAQs

Angora rabbits need a well-ventilated cage or hutch that is large enough for them to stretch out fully. The recommended minimum size is 4ft x 2ft x 2ft. Wire bottom cages work well as their fur can get matted if kept on solid floors. Provide plenty of hay for bedding and nesting material. Keep the hutch elevated off the ground and protected from the elements.

Daily grooming is essential for Angora rabbits to prevent their long fur from matting. Gently brush and comb out tangles, knots, and debris. Trimming fur around the eyes, bottom, and genitals helps reduce soiling and urine scald. Thoroughly grooming an Angora rabbit takes 10-15 minutes per day.

Common health issues include gastrointestinal stasis, overgrown teeth, spinal cord injury, ear mites, urinary tract infections, and fur chewing/blockages. Angoras are prone to heat stress and require cooling measures in warm climates. Provide unlimited hay, limit sugary treats, and schedule annual vet exams to prevent disease.

The average price for an Angora rabbit is $50-$500. Show quality Angoras with pedigrees can cost over $200. Consider adoption fees, supplies, vet bills, grooming tools, housing, and feed costs over the 8-12 year lifespan. Budget $400+ per year for an Angora rabbit.

Tips for new Angora rabbit owners:

  • Research the breed fully before getting an Angora
  • Have grooming tools and housing ready in advance
  • Feed a hay-based diet with limited pellets and vegetables
  • Provide litter box training, socialization, and exercise from a young age
  • Be prepared for daily grooming sessions
  • Schedule annual checkups plus emergency vet funds
  • Supply cooling measures like frozen water bottles in summer
  • Avoid handling before shows to prevent fur damage
  • Join Angora rabbit enthusiast groups to learn more

Citations:

  1. Domestic Rabbit History by Bob D. Whitman
  2. General care and breeding of Angora rabbits by Angora Bunny Club https://angorabunny.club/2018/01/03/general-care-breeding-angora-rabbits/#:~:text=The%20Angora%20rabbit%20matures%20at,rarely%20does%20as%20it%20should!
  3. National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club https://www.nationalangorarabbitbreeders.com/index.php
  4. Angora Rabbit Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angora_rabbit
  5. Angora rabbit by Catherine Gose, CVT. https://www.petmd.com/rabbit/breeds/angora-rabbit#
  6. Spaying and Neutering Basics by Rabbit.org https://rabbit.org/care/spaying-neutering/
  7. Images

Similar Posts