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 wool fibers 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 blow out the bunnies wool a few times a week for the best coat care.
Just in case someone doesn't know, you do not bathe English Angora (EA) Bunnies.
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Top 10 List Of Grooming Tools For Your Angora Rabbit
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 started with.
We recently purchased this one so we would have an extra to keep in the house for our dogs as well (one is in the bunny barn). Just be sure to blow out bunnies WITHOUT heat. Remember, heat will come off of the motor once it is on for a bit (that is okay). Some have heat and you will want to turn off this setting while using on a bunny.
These are also called forced air dryers for pets. As a groomer, we already owned a blower and it works great for many years! These blowers are what pet groomers use in blow drying their clients (animals) and last for years.
Shop vac on reverse or hair dryer without heat are options if you want to try using one of those before investing in a blower. Hair dryers are not normally strong enough but definitely give it a try if you want. Do so outside because the film that comes off a bunny is unbelievable and messy!
2. 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 ever.
This is my favorite bunny brush! There are many different kinds of slicker brushes available. Try not to buy one that has the little protective tips on the ends of the wires or you will not be able to get through tiny fibers as well.
3. A mat breaker
A mat breaker can be 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 won’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 (and my favorite).
We make sure there is a water dish with mom and babies
4. Combs we like
Our favorite grooming combs are all listed in our Bun Shop. The first is called a poodle comb or a greyhound style comb. I have never used any other comb on my poodles or angoras other than this one. I no longer need to buy this comb when I misplace one because it is included in the grooming clipper kit that I highly recommend! 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. If you have a tangle at all, this comb will find it!
Other types of useful combs we recommend and own are flea combs.
You can get flea combs that are small and only a few inches long or flea combs that have longer handles. I find that there are uses for all types of combs when grooming an Angora rabbit. I use a flea comb especially on the face of my English Angoras just under their eyes. 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. You will find our favorite grooming combs all listed in our Bun Shop.
All of these combs are wonderful tools to have on hand when grooming angoras. The flea combs are nice for pulling any tiny tangles that have broken off and left behind in the coat after blowing out. 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! Do not over comb or brush though.
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!
These are actually the clippers I use. After many years of professional grooming and using Oster, Andis, and Wahl clippers, I found something that worked better! I swore by my And is clippers since they were quiet, small, lightweight and I groomed my poodles with them often. I was NEVER a fan of Wahl products until owning an Angora rabbit. Then I realized they reminded me of grooming our Persian cats many years ago. Cat groomers used to swear by their Wahl Bravura clippers for grooming cats. So I gave in and purchased a pair. I liked them but the blade tips were very pointy and sharp. It was too easy to poke and damage the skin on a bunny.
For anyone using clippers that require blade changing. Here is a run down for what number of blade works best for different body parts.
#5 – #7 maintenance clips on body
#10 & #15 short body clip and underside
#30 & #40 to get under tightly matted wool and tangles and clean up sanitary area
I used to use a number 10 blade for shaving down in a summer clip. I kept at least 5 or 6 of these blades for each time I groomed.
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. If the blade is hot, it can leave razor burn as well. 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 (chinning). This will get under the mess and cut that nasty furnishing off so you can start over.
The infamous cheap Gimars clippers that most Angora breeders have grown to love are our grooming clippers of choice for grooming an English Angora rabbit.
I read a review in a rabbit group about these clippers 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. After using these dozens of times, I haven’t touched my Bravura or Andis clippers again, not even for my poodles!
Since this clipper was so cheap, I actually ordered several more pairs. It is lightweight, has a rechargeable battery, comes with guards for grooming even a human being (hubby’s beard lol), dog grooming and cat grooming, and works great for everything 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! Please note that you do not want to use a guard on clippers when grooming more than an inch of wool on an Angora. I personally do not recommend using a guard on clippers when grooming wool. Guards are hard enough to use on a poodle coat without getting hair caught in them. Angora fiber is so fine and rips out so easy that you would do more harm than good.
find these awesome clippers in our Bun Shop!
6. Blade Coolant and Cleaner
Blades get hot very fast and you will want to switch them out if you are not using a 5-1 blade. Cool Lube or Cool Care product is a spray that I use to put on my blades to clean them and cool them quickly. I use Cool Care spray on my gimmar blades to clean them after they get gummed up with dirt and hair from grooming. Keeping your blade clean and oiled will make it last so much longer! Clean blades cut like butter!
Honesty, scissors or shears 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. If you know you are going to be careful and are confident that you won’t puncture the animal, this is not necessary.
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 quickly and it has become problematic.
I did invest in nicer sheers and I’m still on the fence. What a difference it was when I first got them. However, they did dull quickly and they weren’t lined up perfectly. I can send them off to be sharpened along with my blades too. This is the good side of owning nice shears. 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. I’m wondering if the misalignment is from the bunnies throwing them off the table (sigh). They are not as nice as I expected but it really could be due to my little stinkers that like to play with everything on the grooming table. I can never look away and distractions are just going to happen. Here is a link just in case you would like to check them out: Harebone Shears
Just a quick reminder: Don’t forget, the Gimar clipper kit comes with a pair of scissors! Those are all some might ever need.
8. 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. Do not use a noose on a rabbit.
In extreme situations, the noose could go around their belly, NOT their neck. Bunnies will jump without warning and it is best that you just keep one hand on the bunny at all times. Be advised, I do feel that using a noose would do more damage or could be fatal.
Never leave it unattended on any table! 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! Don’t forget to remove the grooming arm and noose!
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.
9. Third Arm
A Groomers Third Arm is a wonderful accessory to have when grooming any small animal! I have been fortunate to know a few tricks to grooming since I was a professional groomer for many years. I have implemented some of these help-mates into our rabbitry for keeping good husbandry. I have used this tool to hold my blower nozzle while using one hand to hold the bunny and another to pick out hay and debris from the rabbit coat. There are many uses for this handy tool and you can find it in our Bun Shop as well.
10. Toenail Clippers
There are all sorts of pet nail clippers that you can go out and buy. I don’t use any of them for my dogs as I use a grinder on them every single time I do their nails. I have never liked nail clippers for dogs. So I decided long ago, I like human toenail clippers best for both our Angora rabbits and even our Maine Coon cats. They are so simple, closely put together so you don’t have to squeeze for long to make that connection. Remember, animals sometimes jerk with no warning. The quicker you clip, the sooner it is over for both of you! I actually read an Angora breeders post once that said to never use human fingernail or toenail clippers on a bunny. I asked this breeder why and they actually told me they didn’t know. So for me personally, I use the toenail clippers on all of our bunnies. Once in a while I will use fingernail clippers on young juniors. It’s simple, something you most likely already own, and it works!
Angoras are intelligent, gentle rabbits who love to play, especially with certain cat toys.
Helpful Bunny Grooming Tips for Your English Angora Rabbits
Angora wool comes off your clothes by using a blower or wetting your hands and rubbing it into felt balls and plucking off. We recommend wearing a smock or apron when grooming if you don’t set aside “bunny grooming clothes” for grooming day. Expect to have rabbit fur on your clothes even after laundered. Sorry guys, it’s part of owning these beautiful bunnies!
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 over the top webbing or comb over the difficult areas that are more troublesome 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.
You may use cornstarch to dry areas on the bunny that have gotten wet or oily. The back of the neck or bottom are areas that are mentionable. Use the blower to get all of the cornstarch off the bunny when dried.
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 the coat. As you blow out the wool, 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 accidentally package it with the “prime” cutting if harvesting. Prime is the first cut that you keep when harvesting and considered the highest quality staple of the harvest. It is normally taken off the top/backside of the bunny. It should be free of any VM and tangles as well as no second cuts/clippings. Second cuts are small or short pieces of hair that get 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 a shorter staple of a nice harvest in case anyone was interested in knowing. I consider this 2-4 inches. There are many terms that can be used. Plucking is also acceptable on placeable, ready, wool coats.
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.
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, it will bleed. Trim small amounts at a time if they are dark nails.
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, it will bleed. Trim small amounts at a time if they are dark nails.
Grooming the Underside of an Angora Rabbit
When grooming the underside of the English Angora Rabbit be gentle remember they can jerk, kick and try to jump. Watch the video to discover the techniques we use to safely groom the underside of our rabbits.
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 rabbit’s breathing is back to normal. I have never killed a rabbit from the 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 rabbit’s 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.
As mentioned above, 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 as 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. However, it is best to 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 in case 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
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 haircuts 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!
Fusion for English Angora Rabbits
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.
We are blessed to own several poodles and I have done a few doos on our dogs. Now, it is time to try it out on an Angora! I received a set of Asian Fusion shears I ordered some time ago. As soon as I have time to do the grooming and actually remember, I will be posting the before and afters!
The pictured 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 and was recommended in one of my professional grooming FB groups. I find them mediocre in quality but worth the money.