Angora Rabbits: Their Woolly Fur That Is Long and Silky Is Made Into Clothing.
How Many Rabbits Are You Wearing?
According to the generally accepted theory, Angora Rabbits date back to around 1723. It’s been said that French sailors sightseeing pulled into a Turkish port called Angora, now called Ankara. Were they seen the native women wearing these marvelous shawls that they have not seen before. These shawls had a silkiness and fineness that they had not seen in their country. They asked about the wool and found out that the wool came from the Angora Rabbit. The sailors returned to their country, France, with some of these rabbits.
The French disputed the claim that the Angora Rabbits came from the Turkish origin and claimed they were the first to record the rabbits. The Encyclopedia of 1765 backs up their claim. The French believe that Angora Rabbits have been concurrently produced in various rabbit breeding countries, France being one of them.
The French insisted the long, silky coats were due to the proper conditions for growth. This theory seems to come from the Megnin’s report on which donkeys kept in the coalmines of France without ever seeing daylight. In these coal mines the animals grew long silky coats in the hot darkness. With this in mind, it is interesting why animals working in a hot climate should develop a long coat. Does nature provide them as insulation against the heat as it does against the cold?
The French without a doubt are given credit for seeing the commercial possiblitities for producing the Angora Rabbit’s wool into yarn. France was not the only country to visualize the possibilities of this excellent fiber. England very shortly followed. England probably did the most transporting of the Angoras to other countries that include Germany, Spain, Japan and other European countries.
It wasn’t until around the 1900 that there were any Angora Rabbits in the United States and those were by people interested in showing them or fanciers. Records regarding commercialization of the Angora Rabbits in the United States were around 1925 or 1930. Even though there are not many commercial wool industries in the United States, many individuals keep small herds of Angoras for wool production and exhibition. The Angora wool is known as the Aristocrat of wools, and as of yet, there is no substitute.
Grooming Your Angora Rabbit
It’s true that Angoras are lovely rabbits and are soft to the touch. However, some people are concerned that grooming an Angora Rabbit will take a lot of work. It’s only difficult if you make it so.
Here are some wonderful tips from the National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club that will help ease the process.
The tools you will need are a soft slicker brush, such as an Evergentle, or ones used for cats, a metal comb and for tough mats & shearing, a pair of sharp short blade scissors. You will also need a hair blow dryer with a high cool air setting or a Shop-Vac on exhaust, which can cut your grooming time.
The French Angoras are the easiest to groom, in their opinion, since they do not have the woolly facial fur nor do they have the woolly feet. The senior wool has more guard hairs and that helps them be less matting.
The English Angoras has softer wool and a woolly face and feet. The muffs (side face wool) and bangs and tassels (long hair on the ears) will no doubt need gentle grooming with your slicker and comb two or more times a week depending on how heavily furnished your rabbit is. It’s easier to keep the mats out than get them out once they start.
The Satin Angora can be tricky to groom. They have a beautiful intense color, but their fur is fine and seems to attract mats, especially in the younger coats. Several long-time breeders will clip the coats of young Angora Rabbits when they are 6-8 weeks old to help encourage a more groomable growth. Because of the fine hair shaft, the Stains don’t look as “fluffy” or appear to have as much density.
The Giant Angoras rabbits are massive in size and their grooming is between a French Angora and an English Angora.
The following suggestions will work for all four breeds and you can adjust them to work best for your pet rabbit.
Make sure you have something to put the wool in that you collect in your grooming brush. If you spin, this gives you more wool, if not, it helps keep the area clean.
Start with the underside of the rabbit. If you are doing this alone, this can be accomplished easily with the help of a chair for you to sit on. Remember gentleness and firmness works best on all animals.
Take the rabbit’s ears with you hand and take hold of the back of the neck area, gently turn the rabbit over supporting its back with the other hand. Sit down and place the upside down rabbit’s head between your knees with the feet facing you. Do take care because those feet can pack a punch if they kick out.Place the head far enough between your knees so that you can comfortable hold him snugly. Practice makes this easier for you and the rabbit, and usually when they feel secure they are not upset and jumpy. Now you can groom the belly, feet and legs.
Now on the top half, it helps to have some kind of small table near, waist-high so it saves your back. If you have too large of a space, the bunny may want to hop away and explore, making it longer to groom and more frustrating. (I use the top of my washer to groom Oreo)
This is where the blow dryer or Shop-Vac comes in. There are also pet blowers like the ones used in dog grooming shops. These are smaller than a Shop-Vac, making them easier to transport and they may be a little quieter. They can be ordered from a pet or rabbit supply catalogs and start around $90.00.
Angora Rabbits are wool-bearing animals and you want to keep that wool on the rabbit as unbroken and mat-free as possible. By “blowing” your pet rabbit with a hair dryer, or any of the other means, it helps to get rid of any dust or dander and helps blow out the shedding hair before it can start to mat. This is also healthy for the rabbit’s scalp; it lets air get down in, particularly if the rabbit has a very dense coat. When you “blow” the rabbit coat it’s gentler on him and helps cut down on the grooming time. Use the slicker to help lift the wool as you blow the coat, this helps to gather the shedding hairs.
Make sure when blowing that you give your pet rabbit a good going over, especially in problem areas, such as behind the front legs and around the hind end. If you see mats developing, you can work on those areas with the brush or comb. The rabbits don’t mind the blowing and it has helped keep those nice coats longer.
Don’t forget the faces on the English and Giants Angoras. Remember, do not use the blower on their faces that much, it will irritate the eyes and don’t blow into the ears.
If you get into a good grooming habit, you’ll enjoy your Angora Rabbit and he may be mat free.
Angora Rabbits can die from wool block. This is where your rabbit has digested too much of their fur and it has not passed through their digestive system. The first sign of wool block is the size of their droppings. If their droppings get smaller than usual or if he is not eating. A good treatment seems to be dandelions (make sure they are chemical free). Feed two large handfuls per day along with all the alfalfa hay and birdseed the rabbit will eat. Do not give him any of his pellets during this time. Once his droppings are large again you can start him back on his pellets.
Other remedies that can be giving are pineapple juice (frozen concentrate) one tablespoon of juice to two tablespoons of water, papaya tablets, petromalt (hairball remedy for cats) and Colace syrup.
You should also clip the wool as short as possible so that the rabbit does not ingest anymore wool.
Here are some interesting facts about rabbits!
Angora Rabbits and Pet Rabbit Care
Here are the descriptions of other breeds.
Back To Home Page