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Moulting and Fur Matting | How To Groom A Long Haired Rabbit

Updated on January 19, 2010
Want a rabbit like this? Be prepared for some serious work.
Want a rabbit like this? Be prepared for some serious work.

If you own a pretty long haired rabbit, you'll have learned by now that the long fur that makes the rabbit look so gorgeous requires daily care.

This is especially true in the case of Cashmere and Angora type rabbits, but it applies to all long haired rabbits, and indeed, most long haired domestic pets. When moulting time comes around (if you are fortunate, once or twice a year, but some animals seem to be in an almost constant moult,) mats can form in a rabbit's fur within a day or two. If left for a week or weeks at a time, rabbits will quickly develop large clumps of fur that can stop them from being able to move properly and can also result in torn skin and infections.

From personal experience, if you don't already own a long haired rabbit, I would encourage you to buy a short haired animal instead. If you do not have half an hour, every day, to spend on grooming, then rabbit fur problems can mount up quickly, ending up in a trip to the vet for the rabbit to be sedated and groomed, which is not good for the rabbit and is not cheap for the owner.

If you already have a long haired rabbit, it is a wise idea to invest in clippers. They are the safest means of clipping clumps out of a rabbit's fur. Scissors will work, but can easily cause cuts and tears that are painful and which will make you feel entirely evil. Most rabbits don't like to be groomed, especially on their backs, so if you have to clip sensitive areas, a pair of electric clippers is a sound investment.

Other than that you will need a wire comb. This may look fairly mean, and if used too roughly can cause pain, but it is very effective at combing out small mats in the fur that have not developed too far. A human small toothed comb is also quite useful for running through long fur. If it catches anywhere, you know you have a matt to deal with.

The problem with long haired rabbits is that you won't often be able to see mats, it is a matter of finding them out, which is why daily grooming is so vitally important.

To groom your long haired rabbit, run the comb through all the fur on the rabbit's body. On a well groomed rabbit, you should be able to blow on the fur and see it part all the way down to the skin. If this doesn't happen, then you need to spend more time grooming. Use the wire comb to gently comb out any small mats (making sure to support the rabbit's skin so it is not pulled and torn,) and use the clippers on any areas that need them.

If your rabbit has gotten past the point of basic grooming and is covered in a mass of fluff (as I mentioned earlier, this can happen easily in a week or two during a moult,) then a professional is the person to call. Either a grooming clinic that can work with rabbits, or a vet.

There are some regions on a rabbit that will always be difficult and dangerous to groom, (under the neck, around the tail area,) and if you are unable to handle your rabbit to be able to groom these areas, then a 6 monthly to one yearly appointment with a professional may be what you need to do to keep your rabbit healthy.


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      Caitlin 2 years ago

      What type of clippers do you recommend? I have 2 long hair bunnies so it's a must have.

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      nola 6 years ago

      i bought an angora rabbit at a show, and he was covered in matts to the skin, i started trying to comb them out but they were so bad that he started getting bald spots where he was pulling his own hair out, so i then starting cutting it out with scissors, but he only lets me work on him for about 15min and then he starts biting. so after 2 weeks of cutting and cutting, they are almost all out and he has hardly any hair left, so now i have a doggy jersy on him, as its winter here is R.S.A, Did i do the right thing to cut all the masses of matts out? and how long will it take to grow back? and how do you prevent this from happening again?


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      Rabbit Breeders 6 years ago

      Angora rabbits look so funny and cute however I would hate to be the person having to cut and clean that long fur.