There are four major breeds
of angora rabbit
s: the French
angoras. A description of all four breeds follows, but first let me mention something about rabbit hair
. Rabbits' coats have two different hairs in them of two different lengths. There is a longer, coarse
r hair called the guard hair, and a shorter, silk
ier hair that is very dense. The guard hair is very strong and helps to keep the rabbit warm, the silkier hair is sort of dense and allows the rabbit to get into things like briar patche
s without getting scratched or followed by predator
s without this dense hair. The longer of the two hairs is called the guard hair, although I think it sounds like it should be the other way around. An organization that sets the standards for breeding rabbits for show is called the American Rabbit
, and most websites I've found conform
to their standards.
Angora rabbits are wool-producing rabbits. The French was bred for wool production and for meat. Their ideal weight is 8lbs, but they can get as big as 10 1/2 at maturity. The outer guard hairs usually grow to be about 6" long and it is very important that any angora rabbit be groomed. For one thing, rabbits can't vomit and when their hair is as long as it can get there's always a chance of them grooming themselves a lot and choking. You have to hand it to genetic engineering. The hair can also get badly matted which makes it difficult to process. They come in white, most solid colors, and a broken pattern. A French angora should have only short hair on it's face, and long hair only on the tips of the ears if at all.
The average wieght of an English Angora is about 6 1/2 lbs. They are the smallest angora breed recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. They have fuzzy faces and ears, and are popular both as show rabbits and as pets. They are said to have friendly personalities.
produce the softest angora fiber. Frequently mixed with silk, this fiber is said to have an amazing shine and luster. The wool can be difficult to care for at first but after a few shearings seems to clear up a bit. They can get to be about 9 1/2 lbs. They have varied personalities. They are apparently very similar to French Angoras.
Come only in white unless cross-bred. The largest of the angora family and the best wool producers. These can reach up to 12 lbs or more at maturity, and their wool can reach up to 10" long if allowed. The wool has a minimum of coarse guard hair and so is very soft and more or less matt free. Somtimes angora fur is plucked from the rabbit (a reletively pain-free process I understand) but Giant angoras must be sheared. They require shearing several times a year and must be well groomed when their coat is growing out. They tend to be placid and slow moving and have sort of genial personalities. Like all rabbits, they make good pets as well as for show or wool production, and I suppose, like all rabbits, one could eat them.