Angora Rabbit

White angora rabbit on grass

Most Angora rabbits are white.

Angora rabbits are primarily known for their fluffy fur consisting of angora wool. Due to their numerous health problems, you shouldn't support the breeding of Angora rabbits. If it has to be an Angora rabbit, it's best to go to an animal shelter.

Appearance: Long fur is the defining feature 

Angora rabbits are medium-sized longhair rabbits. An adult rabbit weighs between 3 and 5 kilograms.

The special thing about this rabbit breed is its long, soft fur. Angora wool is still used to this day in the textile industry. An Angora rabbit up provide up to 2kg of wool per year.

Angora rabbits can also be recognised by the large tufts of hair on the ears.

Angora wool: The fur of Angora rabbits 

Unlike other rabbit breeds, Angora rabbits do not moult. Regardless of the time of year, their fur just keeps on growing. This means that they need shearing roughly every three months. 

The Angora rabbit's hair is hollow on the inside, therefore provides ideal thermal storage. As well, they can absorb up to 60% of their own weight in moisture. Nevertheless, the wool doesn't feel wet – ideal for producing pullovers and other textiles. 

Another peculiarity regarding this breed is that Angoras have no top hair. Normally a rabbit's fur is made up of a dense undercoat that protects against the cold and a layer of top hair that keeps out water. 

Since Angora fur doesn't have protective top hair, it soaks up fully like a sponge as soon as it comes into contact with water. 

Most Angora rabbits are white. White Angoras are generally albinos. There are different colourings, but only monotone rabbits are recognised by breeding associations. 

Angora rabbits: Colourings 

Here are the recognised Angora rabbit colourings: 

  • White 
  • Yellow 
  • Havana (dark brown) 
  • Blue-grey 
  • Blue 

Production of angora wool 

Around 95% of the angora wool traded worldwide comes from Angora rabbits from China, where the animals are usually kept in questionable conditions. 

Animal welfarists criticise the brutal methods used for shearing and solitary confinement in small cages. They recommend not buying any products with angora wool, because a species-appropriate rabbit life is not possible under these conditions. 

Angora rabbits: Physique 

Under the masses of fur, the physique of the Angora rabbit can only be guessed at – especially if it hasn't just been shorn. Breeders described it as slightly elongated, of equal width at the front and rear and well-rounded at the back. The limbs are medium-length and strong. 

The ears are between 11 and 14 centimetres in length.

Black and white angora rabbit
Angora rabbits only feel truly happy in company.

Character: Angora rabbits are curious and sociable 

These tousle-haired hoppers are said to have an especially friendly nature. They are also suitable for children thanks to their even-tempered manner. In addition, Angora rabbits are considered very curious and sociable. 

Like other rabbits, Angoras have a strong urge for exercise and get bored quickly. Hence, they need regular activity and enjoy outdoor access that offers them plenty of variety. 

Housing and care: Happy amongst fellow rabbits 

Wild rabbits are very sociable and live in colonies. Even their tame descendants should definitely not be kept alone. They need fellow rabbits to play and cuddle with in order to be happy. The same applies for Angora rabbits. 

Rabbits are very fertile 

A female rabbit is sexually mature at three months and can have offspring several times a year. Three to four young are born in each litter. 

You should definitely get your Angora rabbits castrated so they don't breed, quite literally, like rabbits. Castration doesn't just prevent unwanted offspring, but also has the advantage of castrated males being less involved in fights regarding territory and hierarchy. 

You should neuter females too 

Get females neutered too, because unneutered rabbits are prone to painful inflammation of the uterus and tumours. You can spare female Angoras such illnesses with the procedure. 

Did you know?
Male rabbits are still fertile for four to six weeks following castration. 

Angora rabbits and other pets 

Under certain conditions, you can keep your Angora rabbit together with cats or even dogs. However, for safety reasons you should never let predator and prey encounter one another unsupervised. 

Rabbits are often kept together with guinea pigs – but unfortunately the two species have little in common and don't get on well at all with one another. Misunderstandings and aggression are inevitable. 

Rabbit enclosure 

Rabbits love to move and need plenty of space to hop, run and twist and turn. A large enclosure is an essential part of species-appropriate housing. 

This is part of the basic equipment for a rabbit hutch: 

The hutch and enclosure should of course be regularly cleaned so that your rabbit feels at ease. 

You can find a large range of rabbit hutches and outdoor enclosures in the zooplus online store, where you can also find play tunnels and tubes for hiding. 

Outdoor housing 

Due to their lack of top coat, Angora rabbits are very sensitive to the cold and wet. Water can seep into the undercoat and even freeze in subzero temperatures – this can be life-threatening for rabbits. Hence, this rabbit breed is not suited to being kept outdoors in winter. 

During the other seasons, make sure that the outdoor enclosure is in a windproof location. In summer, these woolly rabbits definitely need a shadowy spot to protect against the heat. 

Find a detailed article on outdoor housing for rabbits here in the zooplus magazine. 

How to shear Angora rabbits 

Angora rabbits don't moult, meaning that their hair doesn't fall out of its own accord. Hence, they need to be shorn at regular intervals. The recommendation is four times a year. 

You can get your vet to shear your rabbit or show you how it is done. 

Before reaching for the shears, you should thoroughly brush your rabbit's fur. Remove everything caught in the fur with a comb or brush: hay, straw or even dirt. 

You can cut off the hairs with standard scissors and can also carefully shorten the ear tufts. If your rabbit fidgets during the procedure, you're best off using trimming shears with a rounded tip to avoid injuries. You can also use clippers. 

Find products for grooming small pets in the zooplus online store. 

Important: Keep warm after shearing 

Shorn rabbits freeze easily and can soon catch a cold. Hence, in cool weather you should put your Angora rabbit in an indoor hutch with straw and hay after shearing. Eating hay contributes to heat regulation. 

In addition, you have to brush the fur daily otherwise it gets matted. Matted fur prevents heat regulation and is a magnet for parasites such as mites. A fly maggot (myiasis) infestation is also possible. 

Regularly check the claws of your little hopper too. You should cut claws that are too long with clippers.

Diet: Angora rabbits love vegetables and hay 

Rabbits are pure omnivores. They like fresh vegetables like carrots, as well as fresh grass and dandelion. 

Like all rabbits, Angoras also have a rather sensitive stomach. You can prevent digestion problems with a daily portion of fresh hay and straw. Fresh water should always be available too. 

Give your rabbit branches and twigs to gnaw on too. 

Ensure ready-made food mixes are of a high quality and free of sugar and other harmful additives. 

Find out all you need to know about species-appropriate rabbit food in the article rabbit diet in the zooplus magazine. 

Health: Angora wool causes problems 

Angora rabbits cannot survive without human assistance. Their fur is bred for extreme growth. If it is regularly groomed, it becomes so matted that the rabbits become immobilised. 

Long angora wool causes even more problems: 

  • Stress and risk of injury due to regular shearing. 
  • Irritation of the eyes due to abundant fur hanging over the eyes. 
  • Disturbance of the gastrointestinal tract due to hairballs (trichobezoars), because rabbits groom themselves regularly and consume hairs when doing so. 
  • With matting: Skin diseases, fly maggot infestations and other parasites. 
  • Prone to overheating due to abundant fur. 
  • Prone to colds because the fur is not waterproof. 

Animal welfarists thus class Angora rabbits as a torture breed, which is prohibited according to the German Animal Welfare act, 

What age do Angora rabbits reach? 

The average life expectancy of a tame rabbit is 9 years. If well cared for, an Angora rabbit should also reach this age. 

Purchasing: What does an Angora rabbit cost? 

Have these fluffy rabbits won your heart and you wish to take in a group of Angoras? 

Angora rabbits are offered for different prices ranging from 50 to 160 euros. 

However, your demand would further stimulate the production of torture breeds. For ethical reasons, you should therefore avoid buying an Angora rabbit online or from a breeder. 

You're best off adopting a rabbit from an animal shelter, where you can find rabbits of all breeds and with a bit of luck, perhaps even an Angora rabbit. 

Health and breeding: Focus on the fur 

The name Angora rabbit is traced back to the Turkish province of Ankara, formerly known as Angora. Angora rabbits also used to be called silk, cashmere or plucked rabbits. 

These longhair rabbits have been well-known in England for around 300 years. In 1777, Mr von Meyersbach was said to have taken the first specimens to Germany. The breed was soon spread across the whole country. Angoras were also part of the first rabbit exhibition in 1885 in Chemnitz. 

The long fur was given great importance during breeding. The breed standard at the time stipulated a length of at least 25 centimetres. Even rabbits with a hair length of 40 centimetres and longer were shown at exhibitions. 

Angora breeding was particularly encouraged during the First and Second World War due to their wool. In 1941, the German army is said to have kept 25,000 Angora rabbits. 

This rabbit breed has now become very rare on these shores. The Society for the Preservation of Old and Endangered Pet Breeds placed the Angora rabbit on its Red List of Threatened Pet Breeds in 2002. 

Similar rabbit breeds 

According to the classification of the Central Association of German Pedigree Rabbit breeders (Zentralverband Deutscher Rasse-Kaninchenzüchter, ZDRK), the Angora rabbit is a longhair breed. Other longhair rabbits are the Fox, Dwarf Fox, Jamora and Teddy. However, they are not recognised by the ZDRK. 

Conclusion 

With their fluffy fur, Angora rabbits are extremely cute. However, caring for them is quite time-consuming. You should only get one or more Angora rabbits if you can dedicate enough time to daily grooming. 

Due to numerous health problems, you shouldn't encourage the breeding of Angora rabbits. If you absolutely wish to give a home to a rabbit of this breed, take a look in the animal shelter. 

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