Giant Angora Rabbits: Description, grooming and care. Are you interested in raising Giant Angoras for their large quantities of warm, lightweight wool? Plus, learn about shearing the Giant Angora.
The Angora Rabbit has been domesticated for its wool for over 2000 years.
See Angora Rabbits for the history of the angora rabbit, as best as can be determined.
The Giant Angora is the result of attempts to gain ARBA recognition for the German Angora Rabbit.
Because it was thought that German Angoras were too similar to English angoras, breeders used the German Angora rabbit and added size and a commercial body type. To do this, they included genes from the French Lop and the Flemish Giant. The result was the Giant Angora, accepted for recognition by the ARBA in 1988.
Giant Angoras are large, commercial typed rabbits. This is the only 6-class breed of angora rabbit. According to the ARBA Standard of Perfection, bucks should weigh 9 1/2 pounds (4.32 kg) or more. Does should weigh 10 pounds (4.54 kg) or more. There are no upper weight limits.
Giant Angora Rabbits are also endangered as a breed, according to the Rabbit Geek. In 2006, they ranked #2 on the Rare Breeds List, the second-rarest rabbit breed, after the American Rabbit. (The Rare List is due for an update.) Other angora breeds may more closely meet the particular needs of many angora rabbit breeders and spinners.
Bred on the German Angora, the Giant Angora has a similar balance of the 3 types of fiber in its wool:
Giant Angora Rabbits do have head furnishings. These will be heavier in bucks usually, but not so extravagant as is seen in the English Angora rabbit.
Of the 4 angora breeds recognized by the ARBA (English, French, Satin, Giant), the Giant Angora produces the most wool.
German angoras don’t molt, however the Giant Angora goes through a sort of partial molt, and needs its wool harvested every 3 months. Some of the wool can be plucked, but you’ll need to cut or shear at least some of the coat.
Care of the Giant Angora's wool coat is not as difficult as the care needed by the English Angora rabbit. However, angoras are susceptible to starvation by wool block, and are more sensitive to temperature changes due to their incredibly thick coats (or during the 1 - 1.5 months immediately following a shearing).
They require additional care specific to angoras. Here are two excellent resources that can help:
ARBA Standard of Perfection
Domestic Rabbits and Their Histories, by Bob D. Whitman