The term "Angora" may be used to cover any Angora rabbit, however the American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes four breeds of Angoras.
English Angora is the smallest of the four breeds. Does should weigh 5 to 7-1/2 pounds, and bucks 5 to 7 pounds. English are my personal favorite, because of their heavy bangs, cheek puffs of wool, tassels and fringe on the ears, and wool out to the ends of the toes. They are just adorable! Their wool should have a rather silky texture, but still a fair amount of guard hair. Wool should not be so fine and soft that it mats easily. The ARBA Standard for English Angoras, states that the ideal length of wool should be 3-1/2 to 5 inches, but many grow much longer lengths, if they are properly groomed and the wool is not harvested often.
French Angoras are a little larger than English, with a weight of 7-1/2 to 10-1/2 pounds. French have a slightly courser texture of wool, which is grown just on their body. They may have small ear tufts, but have fur, instead of wool, on their head, ears, and feet.
Satin Angoras are very similar to French Angoras, but are slightly smaller, with a weight of 6-1/2 to 9-1/2 pounds. Their outstanding quality is the shine of their wool. Colors are more intense on a Satin too. The wool on the rabbit, and in a garment, has a beautiful shine and color.
The Giant Angora is, of course, the largest Angora breed, with a weight of at least 9-1/2 pounds. Giants are sometimes used in commercial wool production, or where a huge volume of wool is desired. Giants sometimes look very similar to English, in regards to furnishings (bangs, cheek puffs, ear tassels and fringes, wool on feet), or may have a clean (no furnishings) head with heavy tassels just on the ends of the ears.
English, French, and Satin Angoras all come in many, many beautiful colors. Broken colored (spotted pattern) French are now recognized by ARBA, and broken colored English and Satins are in the process. Giants are only recognized by ARBA as ruby-eyed white. There are breeders working to perfect colored Giants and these are much sought after by hand spinners.
In their own special way, all four breeds are beautiful, produce wonderful fiber for spinning, make exceptional pets and 4-H projects, and are competitive enough in the showroom to win their share of Best In Shows.
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