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What is a French Angora?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
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French angora rabbits are some of the largest of the four angora breeds. They feature a woolly undercoat and fine, soft fur all around their bodies. The scientific name for these rabbits is Oryctolagus cuniculus.

Many people prefer French angora rabbits as pets because they are known as gentle, quiet creatures. They are also intelligent, curious animals who regularly interact with their environments. They can be amusing to watch for both children and adults. Other people keep French angora rabbits to breed them and sell their offspring, or to enter them into rabbit shows.

The name for these types of rabbits is thought to come from the word Ankara. It is widely believed that the rabbits originated from Ankara, Turkey. These types of rabbits can come in 30 different colors. Color is assessed by the shade of each rabbit's face, feet, and tail. They can weigh anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds (3.5 to 4.5 kg) and sometimes feature small ear tufts of fur.

Though many angora bunnies have faces hidden beneath long strands of fur, the French angora has a clean, open face that is easily seen. When used for show purposes, several types of French angoras are able to be judged. These include wide band, ticked, self, shaded, agouti, pointed white, and broken varieties.

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Like other rabbits, they are also used as a food and fur source. Unlike many other animals used for their fur, however, French angora rabbits are typically unharmed during the harvesting process. These long-haired types of rabbits naturally molt, causing their fur to fall off and regrow without exterior interference. Angora rabbits need not die when their fur is used to make lightweight, warm coats and other pieces of clothing. Breeders claim that the fur of the angora rabbit is eight times warmer than sheep wool.

Similar to most other breeds of longhair domestic rabbits, French angora rabbits require regular grooming. Without a steady brushing routine, their fur can become matted and dirty. This can even cause pain for the rabbits. Otherwise, the rabbits are considered very simple to care for. It is recommended that these rabbits be handled gently and frequently to help produce the best possible pets.

Hairballs can be an unpleasant experience for French angora owners, as well as for the rabbits themselves. To minimize these, it is recommended that owners feed their rabbits fresh hay regularly. Angora rabbit breeds do not require vaccinations like many other house pets.

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aishia
Post 7

@TheGraham - "Cotton ball woolly" is the perfect description for these bunnies, especially the white ones!

Something in the article made me do a double take. While talking about the origin of the name "Angora", the article says that it's widely believed that this breed of bunny originally comes from Ankara in Turkey. What I want to know is how something this fuzzy can handle the heat there? Why would a bunny develop such a huge, thick coat in a country that has palm trees?

TheGraham
Post 6

French Angora rabbits are beautiful, but I kind of prefer the German Angora rabbit breed instead. The French Angora rabbit's face has only short fur. Some people really like this, but I think it makes their heads look tiny compared to those big cotton ball woolly bodies!

The German Angora rabbit has long fur even on the head, face and ears. They look even more like a cotton ball, but their heads looks the right size to match their bodies.

German Angora rabbits also come in different color varieties than French Angora rabbits, so sometimes people crossbreed the two and come up with a bunny that has medium fur on the face and ears and beautiful long multicolored fur on the body.

gimbell
Post 5

@ahain - It's probably because of their size that French Angora rabbits are also used for meat production. That, and rabbits breed and grow to adulthood relatively fast.

I don't think I would be able to kill such a cute animal unless I was seriously starving to death and had to eat it, but I hear that some places raise the bunnies, pluck all of their fur when it's ready (it doesn't hurt them, but they wind up bald-looking), and then butcher them while they aren't hairy. That does sound efficient...

Personally, I think these beautiful animals are much better used for wool production. Angora is referred to as the "king of wools" because rabbits don't produce as much as, say, sheep, so it's more sought after. A French Angora rabbit takes about three months to grow a whole new coat each time it is plucked.

ahain
Post 4

The article is not kidding about the size of these bunnies! 10 pounds is pretty enormous as far rabbits go, and the fluffy gorgeous coats on these darlings make them look even larger. My two are both white, and sometimes they look like enormous cotton puffs or one of those old-fashioned poufs ladies used to use to powder their faces during the Wild West era.

French Angora bunnies are so gentle and docile that you can sit with them on your lap and pet the fluff just like you would sit and pet a cat. They're wonderful pets, and the best thing is that since they're already used to being petted, you can just gently brush them for their

woolly fur instead and they won't be alarmed by it.

I sit and brush my French Angora bunnies while watching television. It's relaxing and pleasant for me and the bunnies both, and I sell the wool since I don't do spinning or anything like it myself. I adore my bunnies, I couldn't see myself with any other pet now -- or without the bunnies.

Sierra02
Post 3

@ellaferris - If your daughter is serious about showing her rabbit in the ARBA show then there's a couple of things I'd like to point out.

First of all you might want to consider entering in the youth division to start out. The judges are a lot more lenient as they view it as a learning experience.

This way she can get first hand knowledge without all the added pressure. The ARBA judges are a lot less tolerable than those from a state fair especially in the adult division.

Another thing to consider is that the ARBA shows are usually a day and a half long events so she should expect to devote her entire weekend to it.

goldensky
Post 2

@ellaferris - I think it's wonderful that your daughter has found interest in something so exciting.

There's no age limit to join ARBA and at fifteen, she should be able to enter in either the youth or the adult shows.

There are many benefits associated with becoming a member of the association, however I don't believe you have to be a member for a sanctioned show.

When you join ARBA they'll send you an introductory package that explains all their rules and requirements in more detail. They also list their divisions and upcoming shows by region.

The last time I checked the cost to enter a rabbit in the show was about three dollars. It's not that expensive but remember if you have to travel there will be more cost involved, like gas, food, hotel etc. Good luck and have fun!

ellafarris
Post 1

My daughter is fifteen years old and has been breeding and raising angora rabbits for several years. She shows her rabbits at the local 4-H Club and at the county and state fairs.

We both have so much fun caring for the rabbits and getting them ready for their events. We thought it might be fun to go a step further and enter them in the ARBA shows.

Do you have to be a member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association in order to show your rabbit? Is there an age limit for the contestants and how much does it cost?

Sorry for so many questions. I'm just so happy that my daughter is doing something she truly loves. Thanks in advance.

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