Q: I am new to the ferret world, having just obtained an 8-month-old male and a 2-year-old female. Both are fixed and de-scented. My son-in-law told me that when he was a child that he had a couple of ferrets. One was a long-haired ferret, which was news to me. I have looked around for long-haired ferrets online but can’t find much information about them. Out of curiosity, I would like to know more about them and maybe where to buy one. What do you know about them? Can they be purchased as pets?
A: There are long-haired ferrets and there are also Angora ferrets. Long-haired ferrets are just standard ferrets that have been bred for longer hair growth. They have the same basic characteristics of a regular ferret, but maintain a longer coat for most of the year.
Regular ferrets will generally shed their longer top coats for the summer, which is replaced by a shorter top coat, and regrow them in the fall. Many ferrets, including long-haired ferrets, which are kept indoors under artificial lighting do not grow as long of coats as those that are kept in natural lighting.
Angora ferrets are thought to be a subspecies of ferrets. They have distinctive differences from standard or long-haired ferrets, but actual genetic differences have not yet been determined.
Angora ferrets have fine hair that usually reaches about 4 inches in length in mature animals. They do not have an undercoat so they may develop a sparsely haired tail. Angora ferrets are usually larger than regular ferrets and the males may reach 9 pounds and the females may reach 3 or 4 pounds. Another distinct feature is their nose, which is usually up-turned, hairy and slightly cleft. Angora ferrets are said to be a lot more active and inquisitive than regular ferrets so if you decide to get one, ferret-proof your house extremely carefully!
Angora ferrets were originally bred exclusively in Denmark, but there are other breeders world-wide now who have gotten their stock from this line. For more information about obtaining either a long-haired ferret or an Angora ferret, contact the American Ferret Association. They maintain a list of recommended breeders. Be aware that Angora ferrets are not very common and the price for one is usually a lot more than what you might spend on a regular ferret.