For homesteaders interested in raising angora rabbits for wool production, the show table, 4H, or as pets, there’s sure to be an angora breed to suit you. Before you decide, it’s best to research all of them and talk to breeders.
It goes without saying that breeders love whatever they are raising in their rabbit barn. But if you listen to them talk about their rabbits, sometimes they will reveal a bit of information or clues that will let you know if the breed is right (or not) for you.
The English angora weighs 5 to 7 1/2 lbs at maturity and is the smallest of the angora breeds. It’s also the most popular angora for the show table because of its unique face and ear “furnishings.”
This angora benefits from daily grooming to keep the coat free of mats and debris, as it has more wool percentage than guard hair. This means that while they are gentle with children, they aren’t suitable as a child’s rabbit. Coat care is simply too great. They produce 10 ounces to one pound of fiber per year.
The largest of the angora breeds, the giant weighs in at least 9 1/2 to 10 pounds and is one of the highest-fiber producers in the group (from one to two pounds of wool per year). While the giant is of German descent, the giant and the German are two separate breeds.
The giant was created by breeding German angoras with other breeds such as the Flemish giant in order to make a bigger rabbit. The only color recognized by the ARBA is white. This breed doesn’t ever naturally shed, so the wool must always be harvested by hand shearing.
Often mistaken for the giant angora, Germans are not accepted by the ARBA but do have their own association and shows through the IAGARB. This is the breed for major fiber production.
They weigh from seven to 11 1/2 pounds and can produce an amazing 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds of wool per year. German angoras resemble the English in that they have those irresistible facial furnishings (or tassels), albeit much less of them.