Where Bloggers Live: Hare/Hair Care
Welcome back to the monthly edition of Where Bloggers Live! I am lucky to have joined a terrific group of bloggers who give a peek into the places and spaces where they spend their time.
Today's topic is Hair Care...or is it Hare Care...oh, I know, it's Hare Hair Care! When it comes to wild hares, well, they have wild hair. I can relate; I do too. Domestic rabbits are another story. Luckily for all of us this is a topic I happen to know a fair bit about.
Let's start with the good news: Rabbits are pretty much self-cleaning. They will groom and wash themselves (and each other) so you're more in a cat situation than a dog situation when it comes to pet cleanliness (and litter box training!), if you know what I mean. (And if you've only ever had dogs and don't know what I mean...well, it's probably better you don't know how easy the cat and bunny people have it.)
Of course rabbits will occasionally get messy enough that they would benefit from some human assistance!
And this is fine because being the amazingly soft, warm little mammals they are, rabbit fur is wonderful to touch.
All rabbit fur (wild or domestic) has three kinds of hair in it:
-Guide hairs, which are long external hairs;
-Guard hairs, which surround the guard hairs and seal the coat;
-Down (undercoat), which are short, barely visible hairs that insulate the rabbit.
Some rabbit breeds will do very well with regular, thorough brushing of their fur.
Other rabbit breeds don't want you to get anywhere near them with a brush.
This is because domestic rabbits have one of five different types of fur depending on their breed!
The vast majority of rabbit breeds have so-called "normal" fur, which produces a coat that lies smooth over the body from head to tail. Normal fur is broken down into two types:
First is fly-back fur: when you run your hand over the rabbit's back from tail to head, the fur immediately "flies" back into its original position. These are just a few examples of the bunny breeds with fly-back fur.
Second is rollback fur: when you run your hand over the rabbit's back from tail to head, the fur slowly "rolls" back into its original position. Here are a few examples of rabbits with rollback fur.
The third kind of fur is satin fur. It differs from normal fur because the hair shafts are narrower in diameter and somewhat transparent, producing a gorgeously lustrous and translucent sheen to their fur that can deepen the color's appearance. The recessive gene responsible for this shiny fur exists only in the Satin and Mini Satin breeds.
The fourth kind of fur...which is also my very favorite type...is the miraculous rex fur. Rex fur is incredibly soft and plush to the touch (like an especially luxurious velvet) for a couple of reasons. One, a rex hair follicle contains up to 50 hairs each, compared to 14 hairs in normal rabbit fur, so it is a lot more dense. Two, the guard hairs are the same length as the undercoat (rather than much longer than the undercoat as in normal fur) so the fur stands straight up rather than lying down smooth against the body. The recessive gene producing rex fur exists only in the Rex and Mini Rex breeds.
The fifth and last type is wooly fur, which is what is used for rabbit wool yarn. Wooly fur is much longer than normal fur: each hair is 4-5" long rather than the usual approx. 1" long. Rabbits with wooly fur need a lot of hare hair care! Angora rabbits are famous for their fur, which is warmer, softer, and lighter than goat wool. The Jersey wooly and American fuzzy lop breeds have wooly fur as well.
The Lionhead rabbit is interesting because it has a combination of both wooly and normal fur. In "single maned" Lionheads, there is longer wooly fur on the head and neck while other parts of the body have normal fur. In "double maned" Lionheads, however, the longer fur exists over much of the body, especially the head and hindquarters.
One thing to be aware of with all rabbit breeds is that rabbits shed...a lot...constantly, it seems. The two big shedding seasons occur when they shed their summer coat and then their winter coat. You can help remove the tufts of loose fur through brushing (if that's something your rabbit tolerates), plucking, and/or extra petting.
Photos by Sally in St Paul and Mr. in St Paul, starring the rabbits of the Minnesota State Fair.
Thanks for joining me in sharing what I know about Hare Hair Care. I hope you enjoyed seeing domestic rabbit breeds with different kinds of fur and different kinds of hair care needs. Congratulations, you will not be tested on this material! Just ensure that the next time you are at a county or state fair (in the US; I don't know how this works internationally) that you stop by the rabbit barn because if you're lucky, some friendly 4H kids will have their rabbits out and available for you to pet. Make sure that petting a Rex or Mini Rex rabbit is on your bucket list!
Next month's topic is Top 10 Things I'm Grateful For...and I think you can guess what one of them will be!
In the meantime, visit these lovely bloggers as they share about their hair care:
Bettye at Fashion Schlub
Daenel at Living Outside the Stacks
Em at Dust and Doghair
Iris at Iris’ Original Ramblings
Jodie at Jodie’s Touch of Style
Leslie at Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After
Do you have any pets that require hair care? Do you do it yourself and/or have them professionally groomed?
Blogs I link up with are listed here.