Pets

A Comprehensive Guide to the Angora Rabbit

A Comprehensive Guide to the Angora Rabbit

The Angora rabbit is a wonderfully fluffy pet to individuals and families without small children. However, the animal requires lots of care and grooming, a high-quality diet, and regular vet visits to prevent the health issues linked to this breed.

Essentially, Angoras aren’t for everyone, so if you’re interested in either getting the rabbit as a pet or breeding it for wool, here’s everything you need to know to keep it healthy and thriving.

Angora Rabbits 101: Colors, Lifespan, and Personality

Angora Rabbits 101

The docile nature of Angora rabbits makes them ideal as pets, though they are mostly bred for their gorgeously soft fur. Over the years of breeding, they have gotten used to their fur being picked and shaved, so they don’t shy away from human touch. You can pick them up and pet them without worrying they will react badly.

Angora rabbits are, overall, rather friendly and don’t mind strangers. Better still, they love to have fun and enjoy playing with humans, other rabbits, and toys.

Keep in mind, though, that sudden noises easily spook them. Approach an Angora rabbit slowly by calling its name softly or walking up to it without making loud sounds. Once the bunny gets to know you better, it will become more affectionate and sweet, allowing you to cuddle it often and even keep it in your lap.

As for the lifespan, it usually depends on how well you take care of your Angora bunnies. They are fragile creatures that are usually bred for their wool, so they now even depend on humans to keep their coats from overgrowing. In general, though, Angora rabbits live anywhere from 7 to 12 years.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to the main color groups the rabbits may appear in:

1. White or REW (Ruby-Eyed White)

White

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Bunnies in this color group carry an albino gene, so their fur is pure white while their irises are ruby-colored. The albino gene is recessive, so both parents must have it to produce more REW rabbits.

2. Self

Self

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Self Angora rabbits have solid-colored fur — it’s all the same shade across the face and body. The two primary fur colors are black and chocolate, which can be further diluted to blue and lilac. Black is the dominant gene, while chocolate is recessive to black.

3. Agouti

Agouti

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Agouti Angora rabbits come in a variety of colors, but all of them are based on the four self colors (black, chocolate, blue, and lilac). The wool hair will consist of a few different rings of color. At the surface, the hairs are brown, grey, or rust-colored, while at the skin, they are slate blue or grey. Right in the middle, they may appear golden or some shade of tan or red.

4. Wide Band

Wide Band

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Angora rabbits that are neither self nor agouti are wideband Angoras. Their fur is usually cream, fawn, or red, and since they should have agouti markings, the hairs may also appear to have a few different rings of color.

All wideband rabbits also sport white markings on the face (around the eyes and nose), the belly and underside of tail and jowls, as well as inside the ears and on the nape.

5. Shaded

Shaded

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The easiest way to recognize a shaded Angora rabbit is to check if its ear and face color matches the rest of its body. Typically, these rabbits have self-colored ears and faces. Their bodies, however, may be red, orange, tan, cream, fawn, or white — or a variation of some of these shades.

Another variation here is the Tortoiseshell Angora. Those rabbits have red, fawn, or cream body colors and black, blue, brown/chocolate, or lilac markings on the face, ears, tail, and feet. Other Shaded colors include Pearl, Smoky Pearl, Sable, and Seal variations.

6. Chinchilla

Chinchilla

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Chinchilla Angora rabbits also have the agouti gene, but the wool has alternating bands of only two colors. The classic Chinchilla is based on black expression, whereas Squirrel or Blue Chinchilla is an expression of diluted black. Similarly, there’s Brown Chinchilla and Lilac Chinchilla, with the latter being a diluted brown expression.

7. Broken

Broken

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Rabbits with broken fur usually sport the typical agouti colors in combination with white. The spots can appear in a blanket pattern or be evenly spaced out.

8. Ticked

Ticked

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Angora rabbits with ticked coloring have overall body fur that resembles self rabbits, but their longer guard hairs can have different colors. The body fur can be blue, brown, lilac, and dark grey/black, whereas the ticking is tan or silver.

5 Different Types of Angora Rabbits

The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes four types of Angora rabbits (English, French, Giant, and Satin). The International Association of German Angora Rabbit Breeders also accepts the German breed.

1. English Angora

English Angora

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This type is one of the smallest recognized breeds, but it is quite popular at shows due to its long facial furnishings. English Angora rabbits usually weigh anywhere from 5 to 7 ½ pounds and have a higher wool percentage than guard hair. They can produce 10 oz to a pound of fiber annually and need daily grooming to keep their wool neat and free from mats and debris.

2. French Angora

French Angora

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This breed is easier to maintain due to their thick undercoats and the fact they have more guard hair than wool. It is arguably one of the largest Angora breeds since it can weigh around 10 pounds. French Angora rabbits can produce up to a pound of wool annually.

3. Giant Angora

Giant Angora

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This breed is both the largest and one of the highest wool producers. It can produce up to two pounds of wool a year and weighs at least 10 to 12 pounds. The Giant Angora rabbit looks similar to the German one, as it was made by breeding German Angoras with breeds like the Flemish Giants and French Lops. The only ARBA-recognized color, however, is ruby-eyed white (albino).

4. Satin Angora

Satin Angora

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This type is the result of breeding French Angoras with satin rabbits. The rabbits weigh anywhere from 6 to 10 pounds and have a shiny coat due to the hair shafts having a reflective, semi-transparent outer shell.

The wool is seemingly easy to harvest and spin, and it’s available in a range of different colors. Unfortunately, though, the breed doesn’t yield much wool — only about 10 to 16 oz per year.

5. German Angora

German Angora

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This breed looks similar to the English variety since it was selectively bred from it to boost fur production. The breeding was a success, as the German Angora can yield up to 4 ½ pounds of wool per year. The rabbits usually weigh anywhere from 5 to 12 pounds and can be found in various colors (though white is the most popular one).

How Much Does an Angora Rabbit Cost?

Angora Rabbit Cost

In general, Angora rabbits don’t have to break the bank as the prices start at about $50. However, the better the quality, the more you will have to pay for your rabbit, so the prices can surge to $250+. They usually vary depending on the pedigree, type of rabbit, availability, and location.

How to Care for Your Angora Rabbit

Care for Your Angora Rabbit

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No matter which kind of Angora rabbit you get, they all require similar care and grooming.

1. Habitat

First off, the rabbits need big enough cages (preferably all-wire), and it’s best not to keep them together so that their fur doesn’t get matted. If you live in warmer areas, you should keep the cages inside, in air-conditioned rooms, since these rabbits don’t do well in the heat.

However, if you must keep them outside, you should put up plastic or wooden walls on the cages to combat the wind.

It’s best to spot-clean cages and crates every day since the filth can end up on the fur. You should also change the bedding when necessary, which could be once or twice a week. Once a month, you ought to clean and disinfect the enclosures thoroughly.

Apart from the cage, you may want to invest in a play yard where the rabbit can run around every day. Aim for it to have about 35 square feet of space or more.

Lastly, pay attention to the type of litter you’re using. You don’t want to use cedar or pine shavings, as these can easily cling to the rabbit’s coat. Gravel isn’t a great choice either since it can hurt the rabbit’s paws.

The ideal bedding for Angora rabbits usually boils down to softballs of recycled newspaper. The bedding should be dust-free and highly absorbent, as well as able to lock in the odors to prevent them from circulating around your house.

2. Diet

In order for your rabbits to consistently produce soft and silky wool, their diet has to be impeccable. It should include high-quality pellets with plenty of protein (about 18%), as well as lots of hay and fresh greens.

The rabbits should eat about ½ to a cup of the pellet feed a day and have unlimited access to fresh, clean water. Make sure to measure the food. If you leave it out for them to choose when they want to eat, they’re likely to overeat and gain weight.

Hay is a must as it helps keep the digestive system in top-notch condition. However, go for Timothy hay rather than Alfalfa if you can. The latter choice has more calcium, and since some commercial pellet feed already contains this type of hay, the rabbits may take in more calcium than they need daily.

Finally, you should give your rabbits some fresh produce every day, focusing more on veggies rather than fruit. Offer them a cup or two of fresh herbs (e.g., rosemary, thyme, basil, and mint) or produce like kale, broccoli, beet, romaine lettuce, and similar.

Give the rabbits fruit as a treat since most varieties are high in sugar. They will probably love munching on bananas, apples, berries, papaya, pineapple, and melons.

3. Grooming

You have to keep that thick lovely wool free from any mats, so it’s best to brush out the rabbits regularly. Depending on the size of the rabbits and how efficient you are at keeping their cages tidy, you may have to groom them up to three times a week. With some Angora rabbits, it may be best to make grooming a daily ritual.

The good news is that you only need a few tools to ensure there are no mats whatsoever: a wide-tooth comb and a slicker brush. If you have lots of rabbits, you can save time on grooming them by using an animal blower. This machine essentially blows out webs (future mats) to the top of the wool. You can then just pull the hair out with a slicker brush.

If you want to keep the fur short, you can cut it yourself with sharp scissors. In general, Angora rabbits should get a haircut every 90 days.

The fur can easily clog your clippers, and you can also nick the skin, so leave them to professional groomers. You will have to use them if the rabbits have severe matting, though.

When grooming your rabbits, work in sections and only for about an hour to avoid stressing out the animals too much. However, maintain a regular schedule — if you don’t, they will be at high risk of getting a wool block.

Angora rabbits like to self-groom and are quite good at it, but they tend to ingest some of the fur, which they cannot regurgitate later on. Thus, the fur can block a rabbit’s digestive tract, which prevents it from absorbing enough nutrients and getting rid of waste.

FAQ About the Angora Rabbit

1. Where Does the Angora Rabbit Come From?

The origin of the Angora rabbit can be traced back to Ankara, Turkey, which was known as Angora before. The animal was brought to France in the 18th century, where it became a popular pet.

2. Do Angora Rabbits Suffer From Some Health Issues?

Apart from wool blocks, Angora rabbits can also suffer from ticks and mites. Some of the telltale signs of a mite infestation include flaky skin and patchy hair. If the rabbits have ticks, they will scratch like crazy and have black spots on the fur.

Another parasitic condition to keep an eye out for is flystrike. It is caused by flies that lay eggs on animals, which then hatch into maggots and eat the flesh.

Much like most rabbits, this type is prone to dental disease, which may prevent them from eating enough food. Spinal injury is also common as Angora rabbits have fragile spines that could break with a single drop.

If Angora rabbits are taking in too much calcium through their diet, they may develop bladder stones. Other causes include insufficient water intake, infrequent urination, kidney or bladder disease, and genetic predisposition.

Viral infections are concerning too, specifically VHD (Viral Haemorrhagic Disease). The condition has a 50-100% mortality rate and easily spreads among rabbits via bodily fluids. You can prevent it, however, by vaccinating your rabbits regularly.

3. Are Angora Rabbits Hypoallergenic?

There aren’t any 100% hypoallergenic rabbits. Some, like Angora rabbits, may shed less overall, but they can still cause an allergic reaction during the (somewhat intense) grooming sessions.

4. How Many Babies Can an Angora Rabbit Have?

Angora rabbits aren’t famous for their fertility. Usually, they may give birth to three to five kits per litter. Exceptions are possible, though, with some Angora rabbits producing as many as 15 kits.

5. Should I Bathe My Angora Rabbit?

There is no need to bathe your Angora rabbit if you keep up with its grooming schedule. The bath itself may stress the animal too much, so avoid it altogether.

If you must bathe it for some reason, gently wash only the parts you have to with a hypoallergenic shampoo (preferably one that has some conditioning properties too). Non-medicated dog or cat shampoo would also work.

6. Do Angora Rabbits Have a Particular Smell?

As long as you keep the cages clean and groom your rabbits regularly, they shouldn’t emit a bad smell. The main problem is the fur, which can smell if you forget to brush out all the debris and mess. If it gets wet too, it may smell similar to a wet dog.

7. How High Can Angora Rabbits Jump?

On average, Angora rabbits can jump about 12 inches high. Some may be able to jump up to 36 inches or higher.

8. Are Angora Rabbits Aggressive?

Your usually loveable and friendly Angora rabbit may become somewhat aggressive if it’s afraid — and that goes for any other type of rabbit too. It will defend itself if it has to, but it’s unlikely to bite otherwise.


Featured image source: Pinterest.com

About Author

Priscilla Dreher

Known for her travel blogs, Priscilla Dreher started out as sociologist in her career only to combine her love for writing with her penchant for philanthropy in the later years. A widely traveled author, Dreher has championed many human rights causes and continues to advocate for socio-political inclusivity in all her writing.