ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Long Haired Rabbit Care

Updated on November 9, 2012

Long haired rabbits have slightly different care requirements to short coated breeds such as the Polish. Coat care is the obvious one and if you are wondering what sort of effort it takes to maintain a long coat then read on. Long haired rabbits' accommodation needs careful consideration too and disease wise there is the menace of fly strike to be vigilant for.

Long haired rabbits come in a few different varieties. If you want a rabbit with some long hair, but don't want to have to do much grooming, then the lionhead rabbit is the one for you. Lionheads have a varying amount of longhair around the head and neck with an ordinary short coat everywhere else. The traditional breed, long used commercially for wool production, is the angora. It has the heaviest coat. There are also cashmere lop rabbits whose coats are long but a little finer.

As you can see in the picture below, baby angoras and cashmere rabbits have short hair. Don't be tempted into buying them unless you really are prepared to care for the long coats that they will quickly grow. It's also worth bearing in mind that long haired rabbits can live from 8-12 years, so they are quite a long term pet.

Baby Angora Rabbits

angora rabbit kits have short coats
angora rabbit kits have short coats | Source

Lionhead Rabbit

You can see the longer hair around the neck and head of a lionhead rabbit
You can see the longer hair around the neck and head of a lionhead rabbit | Source


Traditional housing for angora rabbits being kept for wool production is wire bottomed cages with a small board large enough for the rabbits in the pen to sit on. Underneath the cage is a tray to catch the droppings and urine. The aim of this is to prevent the rabbit's wool getting tangled up in bedding or becoming damp from trailing in urine.

If you're keeping a long haired rabbit as a pet you can use an ordinary rabbit hutch or convert a shed in to a pen for them and use straw for bedding. You can use a base of shavings underneath the straw, but shavings do have a habit of getting really entangled in the long hair, so you may want to do without them.

Accommodation for an Angora 'House Rabbit'

You might decide to keep your long haired rabbit as a 'house rabbit', in which case it will need a pen which you can shut it away safely in, but it will get plenty of exercise running around your house for much of the time.

The crucial thing with housing your long haired rabbit, with the exception of some lionheads which don't have much long hair, is that they have good sized indoor accommodation because unless you live in a dry place they won't be able to spend much time outside. Angora and cashmere rabbits don't have waterproof coats so if they get wet they get soaked to the skin and don't dry quickly which isn't good for their health.

They will still enjoy a run outside on a dry day when the ground is dry as well. However if you live somewhere soggy like I do in Lancashire - those sorts of days are few and far between!

Black, fawn and albino angora rabbits
Black, fawn and albino angora rabbits | Source

Feeding Long Haired Rabbits

Pelleted Food - As rabbits can be selective eaters a pelleted food, which contains all the nutritional balance a rabbit needs in each pellet, is ideal to give your rabbit most of the nutrients it needs.

Hay – In addition to the pellets a good quality hay is essential to keep your rabbit's digestive system working properly. Munching on hay will also help to wear their teeth down.

Greens – most rabbits enjoy eating greens, so a little cabbage or broccoli, some dandelion leaves or chickweed will usually be appreciated.

Fruit and Root Veg – although rabbits are traditionally known to be partial to carrots these should only form a tiny part of your rabbit’s diet and can be omitted altogether. Fruit and root veg are higher in sugar than is ideal for a rabbit, so green veg is a better option for them.

Black Angora Rabbit

You must be prepared to care for the coat of an adult angora rabbit
You must be prepared to care for the coat of an adult angora rabbit | Source
Oster Professional Pet Grooming Comb, Coarse with Handle
Oster Professional Pet Grooming Comb, Coarse with Handle
I found a comb like this best for grooming my angora rabbit

Grooming your Long Haired Rabbit

Grooming your long haired rabbit once a day is the best way to keep the coat tangle free. You can of course shear the coat off every so often if you want to use the wool for spinning, but you will still need to groom in in between times otherwise you will have an unusable matted lump of hair.

If you do get behind on grooming duties, you will end up with matted fur which usually needs to be cut out. If you try to pull a comb through a thick mat of hair you will most likely end up tearing the hair out by its roots which is painful for your rabbit and will leave it with sore red skin.

I found a comb with quite widely spaced teeth was most effective for grooming Jynx my angora rabbit who is pictured right. I made the job a little easier by trimming some of her undercoat down her flanks, which left her with the appearance of still having all her hair but it was a bit thinner for combing.

Angora rabbit friends
Angora rabbit friends | Source

Keeping your Long Haired Rabbit Happy

Most rabbits are sociable animals and I found that to be especially true of angora rabbits. My angora girls lived very happily together and with a selection of other rabbit breeds too. A neutered pair should live contentedly together too. The only thing to watch for is that if they are bored or don't have continual access to hay they can start chewing each other's hair.

To keep your long haired rabbits from becoming bored it is worth having a variety of toys for them which you can rotate in and out, so that they are not always faced with the same toys. Some things they are likely to enjoy are tunnels, applewood or willow logs, woven grass play balls and food dispensing balls so they have to work harder to get their food pellets.There is even a sisal digging and chewing station, pictured right, which looks as though it might provide your rabbit with something it can really get its teeth into. With a bit of ingenuity you could probably make something similar.

Long Haired Rabbit Health

If you live in a country where myxomatosis or rabbit hemorrhagic disease is present you may choose to vaccinate your rabbit against these diseases.

Otherwise you should handle your rabbit every day and carry out a health check so that you are consciously taking note of changes in its appearance and weight. A particular thing to watch out for in long haired rabbits is fly strike. Fly strike can happen to any rabbit, but is more likely in long haired ones because droppings can get mixed into their hair or damp patches from urine and these attract flies which lay eggs that will hatch into maggots and literally eat your rabbit alive. A rabbit with fly strike can quickly die of shock.

Earless Rabbit - an Angora Cross

crossbred angora rabbits usually have long hair
crossbred angora rabbits usually have long hair | Source

A Rabbit without Ears - Fraud's Story

Although rabbits are very occasionally born without ears, more usually earless rabbits occur when an inexperienced mother rabbit chews her baby's ears off. It's hard to know the psychology behind this, but it may be overenthusiastic grooming on the part of the mother or perhaps she eats the birth sack and then has a nibble at the ears as well. What you end up with is a rabbit with stumps for ears. They can still hear perfectly well though.

Fraud was one such rabbit. His mother was a large crossbreed and his father an angora rabbit. Fraud was a baby from her very first litter which she had reared very well - apart from chewing off some of their ears. I was given him because the mother's owner hadn't been able to sell him without any ears. He proved to be the sweetest natured rabbit I've ever had,very gentle and very affectionate. Although his coat didn't grow as long as that of a pure angora rabbit, it still required regular grooming to keep in good shape.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • By Lori profile image

      By Lori 

      7 years ago from USA

      I liked this a lot. It reminded me of my childhood - my father raised dutch bunnies ,both the grey and white and the black and white types.

      It was really sweet looking at the baby bunnies, we'd have several mom bunnies at a time. I used to be "in charge" of making and giving the moms strips of newspaper for their nests. Not sure of the newspaper was OK for them but that's the my Dad did it-

    • Nettlemere profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thank you Mama Kim, I'm pleased you liked Fraud - he was a very special and adorable rabbit.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      7 years ago

      I just love what you wrote about Fraud... he's adorable and such a shame ear-less rabbits are so hard to sell. Lovely hub, voting a bunch

    • Nettlemere profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Lifespan is a good point I shall add to the hub, hawaiianodysseus. I've found with rabbits I get an average age of around 8, but less for the giant breeds I've kept and often less for rexs too. I've had several rabbits live to 12 or more, so they can be quite a long term pet.

      Veg wise avoid onions and leeks and feed small quantities only of spinach and parsley as there is some indication that a lot of those can lead to kidney failure. Thank you for visiting and lovely comments.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      7 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Thank you for this most interesting information. We raised a couple of guinea pigs a few years ago and loved them so very much! It was so hard for my wife, two children, and I to say goodbye to them when they passed.

      What is the average life span for rabbits?

      Also, are there any vegetables that one should not feed rabbits?

      Best wishes for your continued success here on HubPages. I always enjoy reading your work. Aloha!

    • Nettlemere profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thank you Eddy - I'm glad you liked it. Looking at pictures of my angoras made me very nostalgic because I enjoyed having them so much.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful article which will beneft many rabbit owners.

      Great work.



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)