FAQ: Angora Rabbits

What are Angora rabbits?
Angora rabbits have long, silky coats and erect ears. This breed is normally kept by enthusiasts for showing purposes or for their fur, which is clipped and subsequently spun. If they are to be kept as pets, the owner must be prepared for a comprehensive grooming routine.

Which breeds are classified as Angoras?
The Angora rabbit was first created in England in the 12th century, reportedly by a monk who enjoyed breeding domesticated rabbits. Later in the 18th century, one was mated with a Belgian Blanc de Bouscat in France to produce the French Angora. There are currently 4 varieties of Angora rabbit recognized in the US. There are also the Giant Angora, Satin Angora, and German Angora, which are not recognized in the US, but are used in commercial wool production.

What colors are there?
There are currently 32 varieties of Angora rabbit recognized in the US, including white (the most popular) and Black, Brown, Chinchilla, Chocolate, Blue, Sable, Fawn, Smoke and Lilac.

What grooming does the Angora require?
From about 8 or 9 weeks, the Angora rabbit will require comprehensive grooming to maintain the appearance of a snowball. If this is not maintained, the coat will become tangled very quickly, and unnecessary suffering will be caused. IF possible, it is best if the same person grooms the rabbit at the same time every day. Despite their being a thriving craft industry based on the fur of Angora rabbits, it is not necessary to clip the hair of pet Angoras.

Should Angoras be bathed?
Bathing your Angora should not be necessary if cleaning and brushing is carried out daily. If fur becomes stained, you can wipe it gently with cotton wool soaked in white spirit or warm water. When dry, brush through the area after applying a little talcum powder.

Need anything be done when an Angora molts?
Your normal grooming routine should be sufficient, since the hair will come away with normal brushing. You should not attempt to pluck the hair by hand unless you have been trained to do so, as this can cause pain if not done properly.

Do Angora rabbits need a special diet?
Angora rabbits will easily become overweight if overfed. If the rabbit is kept purely as a pet, then a normal rabbit diet of dry food and a small amount of green food is sufficient. Good quality hay and fresh drinking water should always be available. They require at least 18% protein to maintain their coat and avoid health problems.

What diseases are Angora rabbits prone to?
Few problems are specific to Angora rabbits. Much like cats are prone to ‘Fur Ball’, Angora rabbits can have ‘Wool Ball’, which can cause constipation and in rare cases death can result. To help prevent this you can try feeding fresh kiwi, mango or papaya. The enzymes contained in these fruits help break down the wool in the stomach. If your rabbit shows symptoms you should seek veterinary advice. Pneumonia can be caused by dampness or draughts after clipping.

How much space do Angora rabbits need?
Angora rabbits should not be kept in a hutch any smaller than 2m x 1m. Some breeders recommend a mesh base in order to maintain coat condition, but this can cause foot disorders. Finely chopped straw is good for the floor of the hutch. However, remember that all rabbits enjoy plenty of exercise outside their hutch. Like other rabbits, but especially because of the Angora’s fine fur, it is ideal if you can accommodate your rabbit in the house.

Can Angoras be kept with guinea-pigs?
Opinion is always divided on the great rabbit and guinea-pig debate. Only consider this if both animals have access to plenty of space and their own quiet areas, and preferably only if the animals have been together since weaning.