Angora Grooming 101

It’s a long way from San Diego, but a recent rescue of over 100 angora rabbits in eastern Canada from a private home reminds us of the special care this breed requires. Looking after just one angora rabbit takes more effort to look after their beautiful, long coat, but according to those who live with angoras, it is so worth it.

Did you know there are six varieties of angora rabbits? The English, French, Satin, German/Giant, American Fuzzy Lop, and Jersey Wooly. English angoras are covered all over with fur, even the bottoms of their feet! French angoras have short fur on their face, ears, and legs. Satin angoras look like French but are very satiny with a lovely glow. German/Giant are big bunnies; they can be up to 11 pounds!

It is thought that angora rabbits originated in Ankara, Turkey, but there is no proof of this. It may have originated as early as during the time of the ancient Babylonians because they worshiped a long-haired, benevolent rabbit god. Merchants of the Middle Ages brought back goods to Europe made of the wool of the “silk rabbit” or angora. The rabbit itself was brought to Europe by sailors who found them in the marketplace of Constantinople.

The angora rabbit produces over two pounds of wool per year, which is three to four times more hair than a typical rabbit. Regular, daily brushing is an absolute must with an angora rabbit. Digestive failure due to ingesting fur is a danger with all rabbits, but with angoras, especially so. Angoras also need extra protein to sustain that growth. Our volunteers recommend feeding alfalfa rather than timothy pellets for angoras. Hay is also very important to prevent “wool block” which becomes more prevalent when the bun is close to shedding.

Angora rabbits shed every three to four months. It’s important to comb the fur so the old fur doesn’t get tangled up with the new fur, which causes mats. Many people give their angoras a “puppy” cut during the summer so they don’t get overheated.  One can clip with scissors or pluck fur that has already released from the hair follicle.

What do you do with all that fur after brushing it off? If you are lucky enough to have an angora as a house rabbit, you can spin the wool for weaving into clothes. Rabbit angora is the lightest and warmest of all the animal fibers. Angora wool is two and a half times warmer than sheep’s wool and makes excellent sweaters and scarves when spun into yarn. Angora fur was a very important material during World War II, used to make clothing to keep troops warm during the harsh winters in Europe & Russia.

Okay, so maybe we don’t need that much insulation in San Diego, but angoras are still cool rabbits and make wonderful companions.

Want to learn all about angoras? Come to our Angora Grooming Class!

Angora Grooming Class

Saturday, September 18
4 to 6 p.m.
$5 donation at door
SDHRS Adoption Center
4805 Mercury Street, Suite C, Kearny Mesa

Bring your own bunny.

The House Rabbit Society has more good tips on grooming angoras, here:

http://www.rabbit.org/care/angora.html

You can read about how to help the angoras rescued in Canada, here:

http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/front/article/1044378

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