Among all the rabbit breeds worldwide, and indeed there are many, the Angora breeds are the most prominent rabbits. It is distinctively different from other breeds of rabbits due to its flowing, soft and flexible wool.
The fact is that angora rabbits are appreciated by both rabbit enthusiasts and fiber artists because of their characteristic fur that has been sought after worldwide since the discovery of their utilitarian uses.
This fluffy cottontail that originated in Turkey is a domesticated rabbit and is bred for its long, soft wool. This species of the rabbit is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit that comes from Ankara, historically known as Angora, Turkey.
These rabbits were sought as pets of French royalty in the mid-18th century and proliferated to other parts of the European continent in the late 20th century.
These furry rabbits first became known in the United States sometime in the early 1900s. Adorable fur balls are largely bred for their long, soft angora wool that is collected by shearing, plucking, or combing.
Angora rabbits come in a myriad of individual breeds. Four of the Angora breeds are currently recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA).
If you’re looking to care for one, or a few, of these generally docile animals for pet or for harvesting Angora wool, you’ll find helpful tips, information, and parts to help you on your quest.
Breeds Of Angora Rabbits
There are currently four breeds of Angora rabbits recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
- Giant Angora
- Satin Angora
- French Angora
- English Angora
These four breeds mentioned above are the ones that appear when people mention and think of Angora rabbits. This is due in part to their easy-to-remember names and sizes.
All angora rabbits have a special diet requirement and need daily care in terms of grooming. A dedicated keeper has their mindset of making the Angora preparation process part of their daily routine.
The giant angora weighs around 12 pounds, and the females weigh more. It has a commercial body with a large oval head that is wide at the forehead and slightly narrowing at the muzzle.
These rabbits have facial forehead tufts and cheek furnishings. Their ears are well embroidered and slightly fringed.
The English Angora weighs about 5-7 pounds, and its thick wool covers the rabbits’ entire bodies, including their faces and upright ears. This gives the English Angora the appearance of a large furball and they come in many colors.
The French Angora weighs around 7 1/2-10 1/2 pounds and has medium, long, rounded bodies with long, erect ears. Its face, ears and front legs have short fur and the rest of its body shows very long and soft wool.
They come in different colors through breeding. As with all Angoras, the French Angora needs a special diet and must be carefully prepared every day to avoid molting.
The other breeds of angora include Swiss, Finnish, Chinese, German, Korean, and Saint Lucian Angora.
Apart from these breeds, Jersey Wooly and American Fuzzy Lop, which are the other types of Angoras, which are noticeably smaller in size; These smaller Angoras (not recognized by ARBA) possess Angora wool, which makes them unique Angoras, however many more rabbits would be needed to obtain the same amount of wool that can be obtained from one of the other breeds of larger angora.
The Angora is a breed of rabbit that requires a lot of grooming and requires it on a daily basis. These long-haired rabbits need to be brushed well every day to prevent their thick wool from sticking.
The coat of the French Angora is thicker than that of the other Angora and has more protective hair than others, making their coats easier to comb.
On the contrary, the English Angora requires daily grooming to maintain the breed standard described by its rounded hairball appearance.
Potential angora rabbit breeders will be happy to know that harvesting angora wool is a fairly easy process if one knows what they are doing.
Angora wool is generally harvested by shearing or plucking; however, the details of the harvest depend on the situation and the breed.
A novice guardian should seek the help of an experienced rabbit breeder to discover the best and safest method of harvesting Angora wool. Let’s focus on the largest and smallest Angora breeds.
Facts About Angora Rabbits
Properly named, the giant angora is the largest of the angora breeds that generally weighs around 9.5-10 pounds when mature. The smallest of the Angora breed is the Jersey Wooly that weighs less than 3.5 pounds.
There is no other breed of angora that combines the softness and translucency of angora’s fur than that of Satin angora. While these angoras generally do not produce as much wool that can be harvested as the other large angoras, Satin angora wool is unique in its satin qualities, making them more attractive to angora enthusiasts.
The origins of the Angora rabbits are unclear. However, these large, furry rabbits have been documented in the distant past and their mention dates back to the 18th century.
Today’s Angoras supposedly descended from a species of Turkish rabbit bred for their very fine wool. Sailors of yesteryear are said to have recognized the value of these rabbits, so they purchased some to take to their home country, France.
It was in France that the breed was said to be mentioned in an encyclopedia from 1765. After which it became a sought-after pet among the French aristocracy.
Many angora clubs have been founded and are committed to the care and advancement of angora rabbits.
The National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club, Inc. is “dedicated to the promotion and care of Angora rabbits” and is the national club for the four largest Angora breeds.
The American Fuzzy Lop and Jersey Wooly have established their own respective clubs, which are the American Fuzzy Lop Rabbit Club and the National Jersey Wooly Rabbit Club.
It was the first half of the 19th century when the first Angora rabbits landed in the United States. Back then, all Angora rabbits were classified together as one breed; The Angora Wooler.
It was in 1939 when this changed and when ARBA began separating the Angoras into French and English type rabbits. These rabbits eventually became distant and separate breeds in 1944. It was then that they became known as the names that are called today. It was in 1987 when ARBA approved the Satin Angora and it was followed by the Giant Angora in 1988.
The English Angora, French Angora, and Satin Angora breed come in a variety of ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) recognized rainbow colors. These rabbits allowed to be shown. The color range includes Ruby-Eyed White, Blue-Eyed White, Tortoiseshell, Seal, Sable, Red, Pointed White, Opal, Lynx, Lilac, Fawn, Copper, Chocolate, Chinchilla, Chestnut, Blue, and Black.
In addition, French and Satin angoras can also be Siamese smoke pearls. It is only the French angora that exhibits the broken color pattern. The giant Angora is only recognized by ARBA in one color and that is RubyEyed White. If the color is not a RubyEyed White, then it is not considered an Angora.
License Requirements To Keep Angora Rabbits As Pets
Determining the licensing requirements for the Angora rabbit is a frequent question from novice caregivers. They want to know how many rabbits they can have and whether a certain number of rabbits purchased consider licensing.
The Angora rabbit is an animal that produces wool fiber and its wool is highly sought after by hobbyists. If a caretaker of an Angora rabbit wants to turn their hobby into a side business and start profiting from the wool of rabbits, he will simply need a business plan and a position at his local Farmers Market.
In New South Wales, the legalization of two domestic rabbits was legalized in October 1995. This opened the way for commercial rabbit breeding there.
It is illegal to keep a wild rabbit as a pet or for commercial purposes in New South Wales, as wild rabbits have been carriers and have spread Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD) in many parts of Australia, dramatically reducing the European population of wild rabbits in places.
Guidelines have been established in these places for people to raise rabbits for meat or fiber production businesses.
United States Rabbit Licenses
Having an Angora rabbit as a pet does not require a license in the United States. Private breeders raise their Angoras with the intention of selling the rabbits for profit to interested buyers.
Those who wish to register their Angora should apply directly to rabbit clubs and associations.
Registration in a rabbit club does not require showing your Angora.
The need and purchase of a rabbit license will largely depend on why a license is needed. A rabbit license will be required for those seeking to venture into the business of supplying rabbits for research purposes.
Rabbit breeders and dealers who earn between $600 and $1,000 are required to obtain a USDA breeder license. Commercial pet producers who sell to brokers, pet stores, and wholesalers are licensed under the AWA.
If a caregiver wishes to venture into supplying laboratory rabbits (not Angoras, of course), they will surely need to obtain a license to operate a business of this scale.
All research facilities are mandated by the AWA to care for animals humanely. To maintain standards, the USDA authorizes and inspects research and laboratory facilities that use animals.
Small, part-time farms of agricultural producers in Pennsylvania operate under the Pennsylvania Clean Stream Act. A specific part of this law is the Nutrient Management Law. All farms are a potential source of groundwater or surface contamination.
Some parts of this law may apply to you depending on the combination of companies you have or want to establish. If a caretaker intends to keep large numbers of pets on a rabbit farm, they should contact their city’s Soil and Water Conservation District to find out which of the regulations apply to the intended operation.
It would be wise to pay a visit to your local municipal hall where you can inquire about state regulations regarding Angora rabbit ownership that may apply to you.
United Kingdom rabbit licenses
The New South Wales Rural Land Protection Act of 1989 currently requires that each individual who wishes to have two or more rabbits apply for and obtain a license.
The Law requires rabbits to be vaccinated with the fibroma vaccine. NSW Agriculture offices can obtain a license kit containing an application form and relevant literature on rabbit breeding conditions.
Rabbits must be kept in compliance with the Model Code of Practice for Animal Welfare – Intensive Rearing of Rabbits. This is a necessary requirement to obtain a license.
The Code provides details on cage size, as well as food and water supplies for farm rabbits. It also stipulates methods for the proper handling and transportation of rabbits.
Pet rabbits should not be in any way, nor should they come from the wild. Instead, the pet rabbit must be a recognized domestic breed or a hybrid of a domestic breed. It should be kept in a rabbit-proof enclosure. Rabbits must not be released, alone or abandoned.
An inspector should pay a visit to the rabbit breeding, is the keeper obligated to allow an eye inspection of the facilities where the rabbits reside.
Kept rabbits should not be vaccinated with the fibroma vaccine, nor should they be kept or brought to the facility. Rabbits that have been vaccinated with the fibroma vaccine cannot be kept or brought to the facility.
All rabbits must be maintained in accordance with the Code of Practice for Intensive Rabbit Husbandary, developed by the Animal Health Committee for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management.
Costs Of Having Angora Rabbits As Pets
Angora rabbits need specialized care, whether they are kept as pets or as wool producers. As pets, they require a decent amount of your time to help them groom their hair, feed, exercise, and affection.
The most important thing to determine when considering taking an Angora is your commitment and dedication to your well-being and daily care.
While a collective number of breeders state that high-quality, healthy, breeding Angora rabbits can be obtained for as little as $50, there are breeders who would sell these rabbits for more than $200. Show rabbits are more expensive than rabbits’ acquires for other uses.
There is a market for high-quality show rabbits. However, show rabbits may not be suitable for breeding purposes. Keep this in mind when considering raising your show rabbit.
The American Pet Products Association has suggested that pet owners give out about $116 each year on their rabbits. It would be safe to assume that show rabbit owners spend a little more than this amount for their high-quality show pets.
Your Angora rabbit will need to replenish its food supplies every month along with a couple of other needs, such as non-surgical veterinary care.
According to the APPA, the average annual cost of caring for and meeting the needs of an Angora rabbit can cost an average of $116 a year.
How Many Rabbits Should You Keep?
Angora rabbits are firmly territorial, and in many cases, when kept together in an enclosure, they will end up fighting at some point. This is not true for this breed of rabbit that prefers silence and its own company. If you are the keeper, provide care and attention to your rabbit daily.
There was, however; reported cases of multiple rabbits being successfully held together in an enclosure without a fight.
If you want more than one rabbit to share the same space, it is recommended that they are introduced to them at a young age, so that they get used to, grow together and discover things as a couple.
Be vigilant and observe aggressive behavior. If this happens, be prepared to separate them quickly to avoid injury to any of the animals.
Do Angora Rabbits Get Along Well With Other Pets?
Rabbits are generally social creatures with gentle natures and distinctive personalities that need as much attention as a cat or dog would seek.
Adult angora rabbits often make the well-intentioned but misguided mistake of acquiring rabbits for gifted children.
This is a big no-no since these rabbits are not kid-friendly pets. Angora rabbits require, almost demand, specific feeds, an environment that stimulates their faculties and specialized veterinary care that are informed, aware and up to date on the ins and outs of rabbit health care.
If, and this is great IF, existing pets like a cat or dog (or both) have been properly socialized and have experimented and been exposed to other animals without incident, then the rabbit must be safe and there is a good chance of everyone to get along fine. Make sure an adult caregiver is present for the initial meeting and can mediate the situation should it escalate.
Pros And Cons Of Having Angora Rabbits As Pet
There are many positives to taking an Angora rabbit as a pet. Not only is it a friendly, docile and intelligent animal to have as a family pet, but its shaggy fur is also highly sought after by artisans and amateurs.
A keeper can earn some extra money with the wool from his Angora and sell it directly to interested buyers. Rabbit manure is another lucrative money generator because it is made for an excellent fertilizer and can be sold to local gardeners and farmers.
Anyone who wants to make a profit from their hobby has to first discover what type of small business they will be willing to undertake because there will be some kind of investment, in the form of time, money and effort, to be allocated.
A person looking to care for an Angora should be ready for the daily grooming routine, as its dense coat, if not cleaned, will tend to shed and tangle.
Angora rabbits are more likely to integrate better as part of a family home if kept indoors. They are smart animals that can be trained to use a litter box and redirect natural tendencies, such as gnawing furniture and chewing on electrical wires, which are harmful.
Chewing on the electrical wiring is dangerous to the rabbit and is also a fire hazard. You can also get used to staying in a room part of the time. Rabbits, when unsupervised, should be confined to safe rooms.
A rabbit hutch located in the basement, backyard, or garage is a popular housing place for rabbits. Diseases caused by neglect are commonly present in rabbits that were abandoned in a forgotten herd.
The rabbit hutch should be easily accessible to responsible keepers in order to provide adequate care and attention to the rabbit. It must be adequately ventilated and protected from large dogs and other predators.
To give the rabbit enclosure a homey feel, equip it with a watering system and feed hopper that it can run to when it craves food and glug.
An empty unfurnished cage is inadequate and boring; The environment of the rabbit dwelling has to be provided with toys and equipped with stimulating elements that hook and allow the rabbit to explore curiously while being given something to physically participate in.
Rabbits should be optimally given time outside their cage for a necessary daily romp around the yard.
Poor sanitation is the perfect breeding ground for diseases that cause disease and ultimately lead to death. Therefore, it is imperative that you are regularly sanitation and thoroughly clean its excavations.
Nest boxes should be disinfected between uses and stored for the next series of kits. Cages, feeders, and watering system should be disinfected periodically with an effective and economical disinfectant solution.
Feeding Your Angora Rabbits
Most of your rabbit’s diet should consist primarily of hay, grass, oat hay, or timothy. The early introduction of certain fruits and herbs should be gradually introduced into the young rabbit’s diet to help the animal acquire flavor.
Juvenile and adult rabbits should be given a balanced portion of dark green leafy vegetables with a considerable portion of hay or timothy. Serve this with your basic granule diet. You can sprinkle their food with sunflower seeds to help the rabbit with digestion.
Vegetables and fruits along with high-quality, high-fiber pellets should be staples for the growing rabbit and should be supplemented with a very generous serving of grass, hay, or oat hay.
Look for the measurement of the fiber content in the pellet pills that you feed to your Angora. They must contain at least 13% fiber, not only allowing better digestion but also getting rid of hairballs that may have been ingested during personal hygiene.
Give your rabbit an unlimited amount of freshwater because fecal impaction can be caused by dehydration, which can be completely avoided. Give it plenty of water. Encourage your angora to drink more by giving her a lick of salt.
Foods To Avoid
Rabbits have a sensitive digestive system that requires a special diet high in fiber, low in sugar, and low in fat. Here is a list of human foods that you should avoid feeding your rabbit:
- Citrus peels
- Fresh peas
- Green beans
- Rhubarb leaves
There are also a variety of plants that are poisonous to your angora rabbits. While most wild rabbits instinctively avoid these plants, in your backyard and being confined to a small area, your pet rabbit may decide to give it a try anyway.
Here is a selective list of toxic plants to avoid:
- All plants that grow from bulbs
- Arum lily (cuckoo point)
- Convolvulus (bindweed)
- Deadly nightshade (belladonna)
- Delphinium (larkspur)
- Fools parsley
- Apple (seeds)
- Apricot (all parts except fruit)
- Tomato (leaves, vines) Tulip (bulb)
- Macadamia Nut
- Tomato Plant
- Most evergreens
- Wild Cucumbers
- Wild peas
- Potato tops • Ragwort
- Wild Parsnip
- Rhubarb leaves
- Woody nightshade
- Wild Carrots
- Rhubarb Leaves
- Wild Carrots
Tips For Feeding
Overfeeding is the worst enemy of any rabbit. When a rabbit is overweight, this obese condition can shorten a rabbit’s longevity, and breeding problems will become a problem along with a number of other complications.
The amount of food your rabbit consumes depends largely on the breed and size of the animal.
Typically, smaller breeds can consume 3 to 5 ounces of food per day, while larger breeds consume 6 to 10 ounces of food per day. Some rabbits will need slightly more food than those of the same breed, depending on their individual characteristics.
You must determine the right amount of feed to feed your rabbits without overfeeding them. However, supplements or treats can be administered; Leafy green vegetables (with the exception of alfalfa hay) are NOT recommended.