Originally from Angora, Turkey, French Angoras are known for their sweet and docile nature. They enjoy hopping around, whether they’re indoors or out. Although they’re popular for their wool, they also make excellent pets for single individuals and families with older children.
Weighing between 7.5 to 10.5 lb, the French Angora is the second-largest ARBA recognized Angora rabbit. The French Angora’s wool is largely confined to its body with no facial furnishings. It’s a low-maintenance breed in terms of diet and bedding, but its coat does need frequent grooming.
French Angoras were initially bred for just their meat and wool. However, they make loving and playful pets for people with rabbit-keeping experience. French Angoras become sweeter and friendlier the more they spend time socializing outside their cages.
Angora Rabbit Care
|Place of Origin:||Ankara (Angora), Turkey|
|Average Weight:||7.5 to 10.5 lb|
|Ideal Weight:||8.5 lb|
|Physical Appearance:||Strong, oval-shaped body, wooly coat, and no facial furnishings|
|Grooming Requirements:||Daily brushings (minimum 1-2 times a week). Sheared every season|
|Colors/Groups:||Pointed white, self, agouti, chinchilla, shaded, ticked and wide band|
|Temperament:||Calm, docile and friendly|
The French Angora is the second most popular Angora rabbit, after the English Angora. Human exposure and frequent socialization can really allow their personalities to flourish.
Size and Appearance
A fully-grown rabbit can weigh anywhere around 7.5 to 10.5 pounds, making it a large breed. The ideal weight of a French Angora is 8.5 lb.
Because the French Angora was originally bred for just its wool and meat, it has a strong, oval-shaped, and firm body type. The head is required to be oval-shaped and proportionate to the body.
Unlike English Angoras, French Angoras do not have thick wool coverings on their face, ears and feet. However, the rest of their bodies are covered in crimped underwool and coarse guard hair.
Their coat is called wool, which is used for making sweaters, mittens, and baby clothes. Angora wool is known to be warmer than sheep wool.
French angoras have two coats of hair. They have a coarse guard hair that extends past the undercoat, and a thick, crimpled underwool coat.
A French Angora’s wool may grow as much as 6 inches in length and shouldn’t be less than 2 inches. Its wool is largely confined to its body, but the hind legs and ears may have some tufts of wool. The front feet from toes to ankles and the face do not have any wool.
Because of their long wool, French Angoras aren’t recommended for novice rabbit keepers. French Angoras need plenty of attention when it comes to their wool, which means frequent brushings on an as-needed basis. This could be as much as daily to as little as weekly.
Their wool can grow as much as 6 inches per season, but the ideal wool length is about 2-3 inches. This means their coats need to be sheared about 3-4 times a year. They also need regular blow dryings (no baths) to keep their coat clean and separate.
|Pointed White Angora:||Pure White. Markings on the ears, nose, feet and nails.|
|Self:||Blue-eyed white. Blue-grey eyes, white wool.|
|Ruby-eyed white:||Red/brown eyes, white wool.|
|Black:||Brown eyes, dark slate wool.|
|Blue:||Blue-grey eyes, slightly lighter than black.|
|Chocolate:||Brown eyes, light brown wool.|
|Lilac:||Blue/gray eyes, pinkish-dove grey coat.|
|Agouti:||Chestnut. Brown eyes, blue, and pearl wool.|
|Chocolate Agouti:||Brown eyes, rich brown wool with tan bands.|
|Copper:||Brown eyes, reddish wool with black tips and red-orange bands.|
|Lynx:||Blue/grey eyes, light-tan wool with light lilac or tan bands.|
|Opal:||Blue/grey eyes, blue wool with tan-colored bands.|
|Chinchilla:||Chinchilla. A mix of pearl and slate with pearl and blue/grey bands.|
|Chocolate Chinchilla:||Blue/grey, marbled or brown eyes Pearl or brown wool with chocolate/pearl bands.|
|Lilac Chinchilla:||Blue/grey eyes, lilac, and pearl wool with pearl/lilac bands.|
|Squirrel:||Blue/grey eyes, blue/grey wool with similar-colored bands.|
|Shaded:||Pearl, smoke pearl, sable, seal, tortoiseshell, lilac tortoiseshell, blue tortoiseshell, and chocolate tortoiseshell.|
|Ticked:||Steel colors, chocolate steel, blue steel, lilac steel.|
|Wide Band:||Fawn, cream and red colors with distinctive markings.|
French Angoras can live up to an average of 7 to 12 years. You can expand your rabbit’s lifespan and improve its quality of life by neutering or spaying it. This reduces its risk of reproductive system complications.
Regular maintenance of its fur, a proper diet and good husbandry techniques can also help your rabbit live longer and better.
Behavior And Temperament
Although they were originally bred for their wool and meat, French Angoras also make loving pets that enjoy human attention. French Angoras are known for the gentle and mellow temperament. However, all rabbits have their own unique personalities.
Socializing outside of their enclosures makes them sweeter and more interactive. French Angoras love hopping around freely, whether they outdoors or in.
Keeping their fur well-maintained with regular grooming and harvesting of the wool can also help French Angoras become gentler and more loving.
French Angoras are best suited for couples and individuals with some experience taking care of pets. Families with older children who understand how to handle rabbits can also do well with a pet French Angora rabbit.
The more they are handled, the more even-tempered and friendlier they become. Rabbits need to be socialized early in their life. Rabbits that aren’t handled regularly from a young age may get stressed from human contact. The same goes for rabbits that are handled roughly at any age.
Like most rabbits, French Angoras enjoy getting attention from their owners and love being petted.
When it comes to handling, make sure you’re mindful of your rabbit’s sensitive back. When picking it up, talk quietly and move slowly to avoid startling your rabbit. A calm and quiet environment will help your rabbit feel more relaxed.
Always pick your rabbit up when you’re close to ground level. This is much safer and is less likely to scare your pet. All interaction, such as play and handling should be done at ground level, when possible.
If your French Angora is easily startled, covering its eyes in the crook of your arm can help it feel more relaxed. Make sure the nostrils aren’t covered when you’re doing this. It’s best to keep young children and children with no experience carrying rabbits away as poor handling can easily distress them and cause them to dislike human handling.
Exercise and Play
Chewing toys are incredibly important for pet rabbits. Not providing enough chewing toys for your rabbit will cause it to gnaw at objects it’s not supposed to, such as wires, wooden furniture or your brand-new shoes.
Allow your rabbit to play with rabbit-friendly toys from the pet store or rabbit-safe blocks of wood. You can also DIY your rabbit toys using empty rolls of toilet paper.
Unlike cats and dogs, French Angoras can be slightly trickier to litter train. Luckily, they’re highly intelligent animals. It only takes a little bit of time and patience to litter train and French Angora rabbit.
Identify the corner of the cage where your rabbit usually does its business and place one litter box there. Soon enough, your rabbit will associate the litter box as its designated area to poop. However, one litter box isn’t going to be enough for a French Angora.
Place multiple litter boxes around the house so that your rabbit will not be tempted to poop in a corner of your home because it cannot hold it in. If you notice your rabbit pooping somewhere it is not supposed to, place a litter box in that corner.
The French Angora’s coat is called wool. Grooming is a large part of a French Angora’s care and maintenance routine, as their long fur needs to be cleaned and brushed regularly to prevent matting and wool block. To groom a French Angora, you’ll need:
- A grooming brush (slicker-brush)
- A small-tooth comb to comb out facial mats
- A double-sided comb for mats that are close to the skin and for wool harvests
- Rabbit-safe trimmers to remove mats
- A blower (optional) to blowing out dry skin, debris and loose hairs (a must-have for show rabbits)
- Pet-safe nail trimmers
French Angoras needs to be brushed with a slicker brush every day, or at a minimum of 1-2 times a week. Because baths can cause stress and cardiac problems in rabbits, it’s important that you spot clean your rabbit’s fur whenever needed.
Regularly blow-drying can also help keep your rabbit’s coat clean and separate. You can find a rabbit-friendly blow dryer in dog grooming catalogs and online.
A French Angora’s coat can grow as much as 6 inches per season. However, the ideal length is around 2 to 3 inches. Therefore, you need to take the time to trim or shear your rabbit’s wool 3-4 times a year.
You can shear your French Angora using rabbit-safe clippers. Using electric trimmers is the fastest way to remove rabbit fur. The downside is that it impacts the quality of the harvest. When you shear a rabbit, you’re removing fully-grown long fur, short fur, and coarse guard hairs. When you’re spinning sheared wool, the shorter fibers will shed out of the yarn.
Combing is a more time-consuming method of removing excess Angora fur than shearing, but it yields a better-quality harvest. Sitting down and grooming your French Angora should be a relaxing part of your day where you and your pet can spend some time bonding together.
You can also pull your rabbit’s hair when it starts to molt. If you’re using this method, make sure the fur pulls easily and doesn’t require your force. If it hurts your rabbit or if you’re rabbit isn’t ready, wait another week before trying again.
French Angoras need to have their nails trimmed regularly. Overgrown nails can easily get caught on the floor and in different crevices around the house. Long nails that get caught to objects can lead to ripped, bloody nails and even broken toes.
The longer you neglect your rabbit’s nails and the longer they grow, the more difficult they become to manage and shorten.
Cat nail cutters work well for rabbits. Just make sure you don’t cut the quick of your rabbit’s nails to avoid pain and bleeding. If you cut the quick by mistake, use styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding.
French Angoras are vulnerable to heat, wetness, and drafts because of their long fur. While rabbits are well-adapted to cold weather, it’s important to make sure they are protected from rain, wind, and snow at all times.
During the summer months, placing a bottle of frozen water or a cold ceramic tile in your rabbit’s cage can help cool your rabbit’s body. Terracotta hideaways can also help cool your rabbits and guard them from sunlight. Adding a fan can allow cool air to circulate inside the cage.
Wire hutches are the most common housing options. It’s important to make sure that the base of the hutch is solid and not made out of wire to prevent sore hocks. Add a thick layer of bedding on the floor and spot clean as necessary with a complete weekly replacement.
In most cases, keeping one rabbit per hutch is the easiest way to avoid fights, unless they’ve been bonded at a young age. With wool breeds, such as French Angoras, housing them together can cause static when their wool rubs against each other, causing matting.
24×30 inch hutches work well for bucks and 30×36 inches hutches are more suitable for does with litters. Outdoor hutches should be sturdy and raised from the ground to protect rabbits against predators, such as coyotes, raccoons, and wolves.
French Angoras can also be pastured on the ground in pens. However, if you’re keeping multiple rabbits, your space will have to be quite large to accommodate individual pens as this is the only way you can keep your rabbits from fighting. Furthermore, allowing French Angoras to come in contact with dirt and grass can lead to difficult grooming issues, making their coat useless.
Whether you decide to keep your rabbit indoors or out, make sure it has plenty of time outside its enclosure to play freely and interact. Your yard should be fenced and protected from other animals and neighborhood pets if you’re letting your rabbit roam around outside.
A French Angora’s diet contains primarily of high-quality hay (70 to 80%), with the remaining being a balance of leafy greens, pellets, vegetables and some fruit. Talk to your vet to find out the best type of rabbit food for each stage of your rabbit’s life. Younger rabbits have a more specific feeding plan compared to older rabbits.
Between 3 to 7 Months
Young rabbits between 3-7 months of age can be given as much alfalfa hay and pellets as they like as this is their growth and development stage. You can add one type of vegetable per day to their diet. Avoid starchy vegetables and any type of fruit until your rabbit’s digestive tract has been acclimated to such foods.
7 Months to 1 Year
Switch over to Timothy hay from alfalfa and provide access to unlimited amounts of the former. Avoid alfalfa as much as possible as it is much richer in calories and isn’t suitable for an adult rabbit.
Pellets can no longer be given in unlimited amounts. Provide no more than ½ cup per six pounds of your rabbit’s body weight. For example, if your rabbit weighs 8 pounds, offer 2/3 of a cup of high-quality pellets per day.
Vegetables can be given at about 2 cups per 6 pounds of body weight per day and fruits at 2 ounces per 6 pounds of body weight, 2-3 times a week.
6 Years and Older
Healthy rabbits above 6 years of age can follow the same diet as an adult rabbit. If your rabbit seems to be losing weight, increase the amount of pellets or alfalfa until your rabbit’s weight returns to normal.
French Angoras need more protein than other, non-wooly rabbits to support their continual wool production. Therefore, while choosing rabbit pellets, pick a type that contains 18% protein.
Your rabbit can be given an unlimited about of pellets and alfalfa hay until it reaches 6 months, following which you’ll have to limit your pet’s pellet intake and switch over to Timothy hay.
French Angoras have an average lifespan of about 7 to 12 years. The most common health concerns associated with French Angora rabbits are associated with their wooly coat.
Rabbits have a self-grooming process to keep themselves clean. As their coats start to shed, they ingest more loose fibers than they do when they aren’t molting. Because French Angora’s have denser, thicker coats, they’re more likely to ingest large amounts of fur.
Rabbits lack the ability to regurgitate swallowed fiber. Therefore, accumulation of wool in the stomach can block a rabbit’s intestines and overall digestion. This can cause your rabbit to stop eating and drinking because it feels too full. Common signs and symptoms of wool block in French Angoras include:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of thirst
- Lack of urination
- Small, dry or infrequent feces
- “String of pearls” feces due to strands of wool running through fecal pellets
Always keep an eye on how much your French Angora is eating. Wool block is a serious condition that can lead to death.
Wool block can be prevented by regularly grooming your rabbit and removing all loose fibers. This reduces your rabbit’s risk of ingesting wool. Increasing its water intake can also help as it boosts the motility of your rabbit’s digestive tract.
Fur mites are common in French Angoras. They’re tiny parasites that burrow under your rabbit’s skin and look like dandruff.
Fur mites can cause itchiness, scratching and loss of wool. Treatment often includes Ivomec, Revolution or Cydectin.
Fleas are jumping parasites with tough exteriors that feed off your pet’s blood. They often leave black specks (flea feces) and less noticeable white specks (flea eggs). Flea bites are itchy and should be treated promptly.
Rabbits with diarrhea have mushy poops with a foul odor. Often, their feces stick to their bottoms. Diarrhea is different from cecotropes or night feces. A rabbit that is defecating normally and is producing night feces will also produce healthy, dry stools.
French Angoras are susceptible to diarrhea if given too much fresh food, especially fruit and starchy vegetables.
If your rabbit suffers from diarrhea, remove all fresh food from its diet and increase its access to Timothy hay. Offer your rabbit fresh hay one hour before you introduce pellet feed so that its already filled with hay.
Mushy feces should be washed with soap and water. Remove any soiled wool around the bottom, tail, and hind legs. Because of French Angoras have dense, fluffy coats, it’s important to dry their fur after any type of washing and cleaning. Use a hairdryer, if needed. Not drying off moisture can cause water to get trapped under the skin, resulting in other issues.
French Angoras have stunning, dense wooly coats that help keep them (and humans) warm.
However, this increases their risk of overheating in warmer months. Your rabbit may be overheating if it lays sprawled and is breathing rapidly. Its ears may also be red and warm. According to the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations, rabbit ears have a radiator effect.
The ideal temperature range for a French Angora is 50 to 70 degrees F. Never keep French Angoras in the hot sun. House your Angora indoros if temperatures go above 75 degrees F. You must also provide access to cool, shady areas for your rabbit to rest in.
It’s important to keep your French Angora well-groomed. The more wool they have on their bodies, the more likely they are to overheat in the summer. You can keep your rabbit cool by placing frozen bottles of water near its resting area. Rabbits like to lick cold water bottles and breath in the cool air.
French Angoras make good pets for people with some rabbit-keeping experience. They can also be used for breeding, showing, and wool production. Their calm and friendly nature, combined with their love for being handled and petted, makes them an excellent breed for people looking for an animal companion.