There are a number of ways that the 47 official breeds of rabbits can be classified such as body shape, size, markings and fur type. In this article we will look at types of rabbits based on the kind of fur they have.
Rabbits can have one of four different types of fur – normal, satin, rex, and fancy/wool. Each has its own characteristics and pros and cons:
It stands to reason that this is the most common type. This type of fur has two layers – a soft, fine under fur and thicker, heavier guard hairs. In addition normal fur is then broken into two sub groups – flyback or rollback fur. If you pet a normal rabbit in the wrong direction (tail to head) flyback fur will snap back into place. Rollback will return to its correct position at a more leisurely pace!
Out of the 47 breeds recognised breeds by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) 36 have normal fur. While that may be a little too common for some, the big plus is that they require a lot less grooming than other fur types do so make good family pets.
In this group you’ll find most of the very popular breeds: Holland Lops, Mini Lop, Netherland Dwarf, American, New Zealand, Flemish Giant etc.
Satin fur is characterised by its uniquely glossy, glass like appearance. This occurs because satins’ fur differs to normal fur in two key ways. Firstly it is more transparent than normal fur and secondly it has a finer diameter of hair shaft. Together these combine to create a coat sheen which ARBA describes as ‘distinct, glossy, and lustrous.’
Satins and Mini Satins fall into this group
The rex fur type is unique in that the tougher guard hairs are shorter than the soft under hairs making the overall feel of the fur extremely soft, velvety and sponge-like. Think of 1/2 – 7/8 of an inch of amazing softness like dense, thick velvet! In fact this fur type is also known as Velveteen for obvious reasons. Some breeders are able to ‘imprint’ their show rexes which means if you press your hand to its back then remove it there will be a handprint left behind.
The only breeds you’ll find with rex fur are (not surprisingly) the (Standard) Rex and Mini Rex.
Fancy / Wool
This type is also known as Angora. Fur from a fancy or wool type stands away from its body giving it a fluffy, ‘just been under the hairdryer’ appearance!
The wool can range from short and coarse, in the American Fuzzy Lop to dense and silky in the English Angora. Along with guard hairs and under wool, the Giant Angora has a third layer to its coat called awl fluff which are crinkly fibres ending with a straight tip. These give the Giant Angora a denser coat.
While they are stunning fur type to look at they are not for the faint hearted. Minimum grooming of two times a week is required to keep them looking good but to also ensure loose, moulting hair doesn’t get ingested by the rabbit which could block its digestive tract and cause serious harm or even death if your bunny does not have enough fibre in his diet.
The adorable Angoras (English, French, Satin and Giant), American Fuzzy Lop and Jersey Wooly breeds fit in here.