Grooming an English Angora Rabbit

This is what we recommend for grooming your bunny.

Grooming Your English Angora Rabbit

Not everyone grooms the same way and uses the same tools.
This is what we use and it works for us.

This is what we recommend for grooming your bunny.  Not everyone grooms the same way and uses the same tools. This is what we use and it works for us. Please keep in mind that over brushing will thin out your fiber so if you are using your rabbits for their fiber, you will want to comb and brush much less and blow out more often.

Guard hairs will be removed in over brushing and your bunny will not look like a beautiful show bunny if you do not blow out more than you brush.

Even though a daily blow out is best, not everyone has the time to do that.  Just try to get yourself on a schedule and try to blow out a few times a week for the best coat care.  Grooming tips are at the bottom of this page.

top 8 list of Grooming Tools for your angora rabbit

OwlCroft Angoras, Ian Beck

1. Forced air dryers for pets;
- We do not necessarily recommend a specific brand of blower.
 In fact, this is not the same brand of blower we own.  This one was listed as the best economical blower on a website we found. Just be sure it blows without heat.  Remember, heat will come off of the motor once it is on for a bit (that is okay).

These are also called forced air dryers for pets.  As a groomer, we already owned a blower and it works great.  These blowers are what pet groomers use in blow drying their clients (animals).

Slicker brush;
- A self cleaning slicker brush is my favorite brush for grooming any animal.  The button on the back of the brush can be pushed in, which will slide the backing forward and push the hair off of the prongs.  This is a very handy feature on a slicker brush.  I personally would not use any other type of brush other than a slicker brush on an angora rabbit.

We do not use any specific brand, just look up a self cleaning slicker brush for pets and you will find several different ones available.

A mat breaker
- A mat breaker is a groomers best friend!  No matter what kind of animal you have with fur, a tangle is bound to show up.  This little handy dandy tool has razors that will cut through the mat without hurting the animal and you can't cut yourself with it either!

There are many different styles of mat breakers out there and I have owned several.  So far, I like them all but this is one of many, that I own and use.

we make sure that there is a water dish with mom and babies

Top 8 list of Grooming Tools for your Angora Rabbit.

Greyhoud Style Comb
Wooden Handle Oster Combs
Flea Comb for Tiny Tangles

4. Combs we like
- The above three combs are our preferred combs for different reasons.  
The first on the left is called a poodle comb or a greyhound style comb.  I purchase the poodle comb online from places like Chewy, Revival Animal Health or Groomers Choice. This type of comb will reach all the way to the skin and glide right through a coat if the coat is in pristine condition.

The wooden handled combs are made by Oster and even sold at Wal-Mart.  One is just a regular metal pronged comb that is used the same way as the poodle comb is and the small one is a flea comb (comes in a set of the two). Flea combs are great for combing under the eyes to get dried eye drainage removed and tiny pieces of felt or loose hair/tangles removed.

The one on the far right end is a simple flea comb with handle.

All of these combs are wonderful tools to have on hand when grooming angoras.  The flea combs are nice for pulling tiny tangles that have broken off and left behind in the coat.  I can't live without my comb when grooming our angoras!

Although lots of breeders swear you are not supposed to brush (or comb) an angora, not all coats are the same.  Some coats can go weeks without touching and look lovely.  Other, lesser quality coats need daily care!  

If a bad coat is let go for too many days, you will certainly need a brush and comb!  Most likely a pair of scissors  too!

5. Clippers
- These are actually the clippers I use.  
They are my all time favorite and I have owned several pairs in my many years of grooming.  There are many clippers out there but be careful in purchasing, because not all clippers do a nice job on angoras.  So far, I have not had a complaint with my Andis!

I use a number 10 blade for shaving down in a summer clip.  I keep at least 5 or 6 of these blades for each time I am grooming. Blades get hot very fast and you will want to switch them out.  Cool Lube or Cool Care product is a spray that I use to put on my blades to clean them and cool them quickly.

For a badly matted coat, it may be necessary to use a number 30 or 40 blade.  However, please keep in mind that the 40 blade is a surgical blade and will take it down to the skin.  You can cut the bunny easily if you are not careful.  This is my emergency go to for something that has gotten out of hand or the potty area got messy and needs cleaned up. This is called a sanitary trim.

A number 40 blade is great for when you have a bunny that likes to dip its face in the water dish DAILY.  We have had those!  Some rabbits like to rub their face on the nozzle of the water bottles too. This will get under the mess and cut that nasty furnishing off so you can start over.

Update. Clippers
- Although I still use my pink Andis that is pictured above.  I just happened to borrow my moms rechargable hair cutting clippers she uses for trimming my dads hair (she used to be a hair dresser).  

Wow!  I kept them lol.  I love these things.  I can groom 5 or 6 bunnies completely before they need recharged and they work awesome.  They are cheap too!  They were not meant for pets but work just as good as the pet clippers. They are light weight and ergonomic for small hands as well. I actually use these more than the electrical Andis now.

The brand, if you want to google them is Andis (my favorite brand)  and it's model CLC-2.  I have seen them on Ebay and Walmart online (click on link if interested in seeing).  

Just an FYI, rabbit hair is more difficult to clip than a Persian cats hair
.  Cat groomers highly recommend using the cordless Bravura clipper.  I can compare this Andis clipper to the Bravura but just a fraction of the cost!

Since I originally wrote this post, I have bought a second pair of these clippers as a back up and I have ordered a replacement blade as well.

Another Update. Clippers
-I decided to go against my past judgement
on Wahl products and I purchased a Wahl Bravura. I now have added the Bravura to my clipper collection. It works well as long as the blade is sharp.
Just be careful because the teeth on the blade are very point and can scratch the bunny. They do cut well for the most part. I did notice the blade dulled quicker than my Andis blades but the lithium battery life is amazing on the Bruvara. This battery might be why it is a little heavier of a clipper.  However, not too much that it makes a difference for use.  I have replaced the blade a few times while getting the old blade sharpened. I like to purchase grooming supplies from Groomers Choice and have shopped with them for many years.

Gimars PROfessional Electric Clipper Pro
Click on picture to discover more...

Once More Update. Clippers
This clipper is a new one we tried out and really like as well.  It reminds me of the Andis CLC-2 clipper we have.  Even the blade is almost identical.  

I read a review on a rabbit group about it and they were all raving about the price and how it cut so well.  Of course, I had to try one out.  I am extremely pleased! It was dirt cheap too! It even came with a decent set of cheap shears and a poodle comb.  

Since this clipper was so cheap, I actually ordered a second set. It is light weight and I don't really use it often enough to give a review but it seems to work great for what we need. If I had to guess, it wouldn't work as good for a heavy coated dog for very long but that is an assumption. Very decent clipper for the price!

You can click on the photo to see an advertisement on Amazon for it and the price (as long as the ad does not expire). This set is listed as Gimars PROfessional Electric Clipper Pro.

one of the quickest ways to entice it to eat is by putting it in the yard with grass, clover, plantain,  and dandelions at his/her leisure!

Top 8 list of Grooming Tools for your Angora Rabbit.

- Honesty, scissors or sheers are a matter of opinion to me when choosing the right ones.  
Many years ago, an old school groomer told me to buy cheap scissors from the hair section at Walmart or Sally's Beauty Supply.  They do not have to be nice, they just have to work well.

The only thing I will recommend to someone new to grooming is to buy a blunt end scissor (example in photo) so you are not going to poke yourself or your animal. There are curved, straight, short, long....all types of shears available.

Pick something that is comfortable in your hand that works well.  Don't be surprised if they get kicked off of the table multiple times.  This is why I was told not to spend a lot of money on scissors.  Animals ALWAYS knock them off of the grooming table. Hundreds of dollars invested into a pair of shears that get kicked to the floor and possibly ruined are just not worth it.

However, what I have noticed in the last few years is that even those cheap scissors are not made like they used to be.  I am having them fall apart, dull extremely quick and it has become problematic.  I have now invested in nicer sheers and I'm happy I did.  What a difference. I can send them off to be sharpened along with my blades too. They aren't the extremely high end or even meet me in the middle kind of nice scissors. I bought a set for a couple hundred dollars and so far they aren't too bad. They are not as nice as I expected but it could be due to being kicked to the floor already (rolls eyes). Here is a link just in case you would like to check them out: Harebone Shears

Just remember this, a bunny can stress and you may not even know it.

Top 8 list of Grooming Tools for your Angora Rabbit.

Grooming table
- You do not have to own a grooming table to groom anything.  I am a groomer and refuse to groom anywhere else.  
Grooming tables can have arms attached and a noose added to keep animals in place.  

However, I do not use a noose on rabbits unless they do not want to stay on the table.

In those extremely rare instances, the noose goes around their belly NOT their neck.

There is something about the rope that makes a bunny think it can't move!  Never leave it unattended on any table (noose or no noose)!  NOT EVEN FOR A MOMENT!

These are nice little turn tables that can sit on top of a table and the bunny sits still as you turn the table to whatever angle you want facing you. It is easier on the bunny and not slippery on the bottom either. I use this table inside on top of my craft table in the winter months and love it!

Bunnies don't need Bedding but if you feel they need something
A messy alternative is a pile of hay or a simple fleece blanket

Top 8 list of Grooming Tools for your Angora Rabbit.

Third Arm
- A Groomers Third Arm is a wonderful accessory to have when grooming any small animal! I have linked each picture below to where it can be found on amazon. I have used this tool to hold my blower nozzle while using one hand to hold bunny and another to pick out hay and debris from the rabbit coat.

Angoras are intelligent, gentle rabbits who love to play, especially with certain cat toys.

Just a few tips on grooming English Angora Rabbits:

First, put the bunny on a table, not your lap. It needs to be sitting somewhere flat and it feels safe.  
Blowing out a bunny is the first part of grooming.  Blow the bunny to get the dander and loose hair off of it.  It will make it much easier for anything you need to do to the coat next.  If all you are doing is keeping it clean and tangle free, you may just need to run a slicker brush or comb over it to get any loose hair or webbing that is stuck or tangled and not coming off after you blow its coat out. I have found this to be a very helpful step if I am going to use clippers on the bunny coat.  Clippers glide through much smoother after a blow out. Just remember the more you comb or brush, the more fiber (and guard hairs) you pull out so use those tools sparingly.

If you are going to clip the bunny, I suggest going through the coat closely to check for any debris that could be stuck in there.  As you blow the coat, you can move the blower slowly as you watch carefully and pull out any hay, pellets, or any vegetable matter (VM) that is caught in the coat. Use a slicker brush or comb as a last resort.  Also try and remove any tangles or mats so you don't accidently package it with the "prime" cutting..  Prime is the first cut that you keep when harvesting and considered the highest quality staple of the harvest. It should be free of any VM and tangles as well as no second cuts.  Second cuts are small or short pieces of hair that gets cut off from a second swipe through with the clippers or scissors. These are usually just tossed as waste. Sub-prime is what I call shorter staple of a nice harvest in case anyone was interested in knowing. I consider this 2-4 inches.

Just in case someone doesn't know, you do not bathe English Angora (EA) bunnies. I have sprayed water over areas to clean but never submerged an EA in water.  You are looking for a disaster in coat care if you do!  Unless you have shaved all of its hair off, you will do nothing but tangle every strand of fiber it has and stress it out something terrible!  There are circumstances where it must be done but be prepared for hours of work on a rabbit that may stress and have a heart attack (literally)! In fact, the only time I know of someone that HAD to bathe an EA was because it was a rescue, infested with fleas and matted to the skin.  In that case, she shaved the hair/mats off completely until the rabbit was naked and then bathed the rabbit in Dawn dish soap to kill as many fleas as possible before any flea treatments were administered by her vet.  The only other time I have read that someone bathed their EA was out of ignorance and just didn't know any better.

Just in case someone doesn't know, you do not bathe English Angora (EA) Bunnies.

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If you choose to scissor your bunny, learn its anatomy!  There are folds and bends in places you may not notice and you can cut your bunny and not even know it until you see blood (rabbits are very good at hiding pain). Some rabbits have not been handled a lot and won't appreciate all of the grooming right at first.  Our bunnies are handled often so hopefully you will never have any issues with grooming once you get them home.  One thing that I have noticed with all animals in all of the years I have groomed, is that once you let an animal get away with something, they won't forget! If you give up and stop because it doesn't like it, it will continue to fight or pull away.  You do have to be stern but show them love.  Rabbits are fragile and upset easily.  Learn your bunnies boundaries.

They can be like children and just misbehave because they can!  Do know that heavy, rapid breathing is a sign of stress and at that point, you may want to give the bunny a break to calm down and try again after the rabbits breathing is back to normal. I have never killed a rabbit from stress of grooming.  I have seen a past customer make a rabbit stress terribly from grooming too much the first week it was in her care.  Please give a new rabbit a minimum of one week to adjust before daily handling or grooming in any way.

Not many bunnies like the blower the first time around.  Maybe not the second or third time around either.  Always keep one hand on the bunny and slowly introduce the blower.  They will eventually be alright with it and get used to the noise.  Some even learn to love the blower!  If it is a bunny that comes from us, don't let it fool you!  Our bunnies are used to being blown out by the time they go to their new homes. One tip in blowing out a bunny for the first few times, if not every time, is to turn the blower on and let the bunny get used to the noise for a bit before you get too close with the blower.  Turning the blower on at the time the air hits the rabbit, simultaneously, could very easily startle it and that is not good.  

If you have a spoiled bunny and it doesn't like to be brushed, I recommend holding the bunny by the scruff of the neck (do not lift, leave its weight on the table) which will tell it that you are in control.  Hold the bunny in place on the table and brush with the other hand.  You can even hold the bunny this way as it sits on its bottom and be able to brush its belly.  This works if it is willing to stand for you and you are not pulling its weight upwards. Some animals require an extra hand in grooming if you are not able to do it alone.  This is not intended to be harmful in any way.  When I hold a rabbit like this, I am not lifting weight.  I have held a rabbits ears and scruff at the same time so they know they cannot move.  All of their weight is on the table and they feel like they are just stuck in that position.  

We use human toenail clippers to trim nails.  The reason for this is because they are small and I can control them much easier than a larger pair of pet nail clippers.  Always be prepared for an animal to jerk on you when you are doing something as tedious as clipping nails.  If you clip into the quick (vein), it will bleed.  Trim small amounts at a time if they are dark nails.  If they are white/clear nails, you can see through and see the vein so not to cut it.  Use styptic powder to stop a bleed.  If you do not have any styptic powder, you can use flour or corn starch and hold it on the bleed until it clots. It will just take longer than styptic powder. Check your bunnies nails every time you groom and you will know how often they need clipped.  In the warmer summer months, we sometimes keep the bunnies clipped down (rabbits not going to shows or growing out for fiber). In these months we groom every two months.  We clip nails every month typically.

No matter how nice your bunny is, never forget that they have teeth! Rabbits have a blind spot right in front of their nose.  Do not mess around the mouth without holding onto the rabbit with the other hand.  If the bunny tries to bite, you will be able to pull it back with the other hand.  This is another instance where you can hold the scruff and ears just incase they try to lunge at you.  Do NOT pick up the rabbit by its ears or neck though.  I find that the only time our rabbits want to nip at me is when i am grooming around the face or I hit a tangle that I did not know was there and tugged too hard.  For the most part, they are not trying to be mean, they just want the process over.  Never put your arm in front of the bunny face too close while you are working on another area either.  ALWAYS be aware of where you place your hands and arms and where the bunnies mouth is!  

This is something that some people learn the hard way but with any animal, you have to be cautious.  Rabbits do not always give off a warning sign (like a dog or cat will growl) before they bite. Never trust a rabbit even if it will eat out of your hand. Any animal can be temperamental, especially when scared, stressed, or feeling threatened.

Creative Grooming on an English Angora Rabbit
For all of you non professional groomers, Creative Grooming is exactly what it sounds like.  Being creative and making an animal stand out or look different than the norm.  Creative Grooming is coloring animals and doing creative pet styles with their coats.  This is a bit controversial but let me tell you, any animal that I have witnessed getting the extra attention and time being handled in coloring, LOVE it! You don't see neglected animals getting their fur dyed or pretty hair cuts with nails painted.

As for products, there are many on the market but we use pet friendly dyes ONLY. The picture posted here of supplies is of our products we currently use. They are made by OPAWZ.  We have a full set of brushes, the chalks, blow pens, temp ink with air brush kit, color paste, paint pens, hair lightening cream and developer, grooming spray, stencils, and glitter gels.  These were actually purchased to use on our dogs and cats for one of the Grooming Spas I owned.  However, they are pet safe and work just as wonderful on rabbits! Watch out Rabbit world! I just remembered I had this stuff packed up in the basement lol.  Look for new pics and videos to be added in the near future!

Asian Fusion on an English Angora Rabbit!
Asian Fusion grooming is fun grooming styles that are cartoonish or give a teddy bear look to your pet. It is sometimes also called Asian Freestyle grooming. It obviously began by some awesome Asian groomers and it has become a viral, very cool style of grooming  that has now swept the western world.  The most popular Asian grooming is done on non shedding breeds of dogs like poodles, shih tzus, and schnauzers.  

​Harebone Shears, Moonstruck Asian Fusion Set (pictured to right)

We are blessed to own a mini poodle, mini schnauzer and used to own a shih tzu (she passed).  So I have done a few doos on our dogs.  Now, it is time to try it out on an Angora! I just received a new set of Asian Fusian shears I ordered. As soon as I have time to do the grooming, I will take pics, videos and document it all for you right here! Stay tuned :)

The above styles of shears are what you need to do a nice Asian Fusion clip. The company I purchased my shears from is extremely fair in prices.  I will update as I add to my shear collection. I found this company from a referral from other professional groomers across the United States.  They also do an amazing job sharpen blades!

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'Rabbits have a subtle repertoire of body language to communicate so they don't draw attention to themselves. They use these signals to bond with their hutch mates, and the humans in their lives to say 'I love you'.
- Rosie Bescoby, animal behaviourist

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