There are four breeds of Angora rabbit (English, French, Satin, & Giant) that are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association (ARBA). Each breed is a little different, which breed of Angora rabbit is right for you?
The English Angora is the cutest, fluffiest little ball of love around. The smallest of the Angora breeds, they usually top out around 6-7 pounds. What they lack in body size they make up for in sheer volume of fluff. Their coats are very thick and they have long facial furnishings covering their entire face except just around their nose. They have long fur tassels on their ears. Their short, compact body is completely covered with fur giving the impression they are just a round ball of fluff. Their fur is very soft, silky, & dense, requiring frequent grooming, and is prone to matting if not groomed regularly. It spins very easily into a luxuriously soft yarn with a lovely halo.
Best fit for: people that want lots of fiber but don’t have space for the giant breeds and have the time for lots of grooming
French Angoras have a thick undercoat and smooth, silky fur. Generally, French is considered to have the easiest to maintain coat making them a popular choice. The silky texture of their coat can make it slightly harder to spin than English, but the finished yarn has a wonderful weight, texture, and warmth. Adults weigh in around 8-10 pounds with a more conventional “rabbit” oval shape than their English cousins. The French are most easily distinguished by their entirely clean faces, ears, & front legs.
Best fit for: busy rabbit owners who want a good amount of fiber with fewer grooming chores
The Satin Angora is the result of crossbreeding a Satin rabbit and a French Angora. The fur on the Satin Angora has an extreme sheen from head to toe, has high luster, and is very soft. The sheen does make it slightly harder to spin but makes for a very strong & soft specialty yarn. Their appearance and body shape are similar to the French with a clean face, ears, & feet. Also, like the French, their fur is easier to maintain. The fur is fine and silky, with the least wool production of the breeds. They have a medium build, adults are around 7-8 pounds.
Best fit for: busy rabbit owners who want a special fiber & gorgeous pet who doesn’t need a ton of fiber
As the name implies, this is a GIANT rabbit! In showing, they must be at least 10 pounds full grown but can grow up to 12+ pounds (twice the size of the English!). Bred from crossing German Angoras, French lops, and Flemish giants these bunnies are wool-producing machines. Yielding the most wool of ARBA-recognized breeds, it is not uncommon to get 12 oz of wool or more in one shearing session (for comparison, I get about 20 oz of wool in A YEAR from my English). Some Giant Angoras do not naturally shed their coats, making shearing necessary. Like the English, they have facial & ear furnishings although not as profusely. The only color that is currently acceptable to show is all-white with ruby eyes.
Best fit for: rabbit owners serious about spinning, fiber arts, or selling fiber, and who have the time & space to handle this gentle giant
Other popular Angora breeds
Although not “officially” recognized Angora breeds in America, these are also popular choices if you don’t plan on showing your rabbits.
A very large rabbit, they typically weigh in around 10-11 pounds when fully grown. The German Angora has been bred to never shed its coat requiring shearing every 90 days. They yield the most fiber of any of the breeds. This breed is the one most often used on commercial Angora farms. They look very similar in appearance to the English Angora only much bigger, with very dense fur, facial furnishings (although less than the English), tufted ears, and a round body. Their coat is fairly easy to maintain and tends to resist matting despite the huge amounts of fur. The German is not an officially recognized breed in America as it was determined their body type is too similar to English to warrant it becoming an “official” breed. The IAGARB (International Association of German Angora Rabbit Breeders) has its own set of criteria for selectively breeding and furthering this breed.
Best fit for: rabbit owners serious about spinning, fiber arts, or selling wool, who have space for this big bunny
Although not technically an Angora, they have Angora-like fur and are a good option for someone who might want an Angora but doesn’t have the time or desire to tackle all the grooming needs. Lionheads are a dwarf rabbit, weighing in at just about 4 pounds. They have a compact, upright body, a “mane” of fluff, a long fluffy “underskirt”, and medium-length fur on their body. Don’t expect a huge amount of fiber (although you will get a little) from these little bunnies but you can expect plenty of furry cuddles! We have actually made the switch in the past few years from raising Angoras to raising Lionheads. After years of raising Angoras, I found that I just didn’t have the time for spinning. Lionheads give me the cute look of an Angora but with minimal grooming (about 15 minutes per month).
Best fit for: busy rabbit owners who don’t care about harvesting fiber but want a fluffy friend