Lionhead Rabbit - Origin, Characteristics, Feeding and Care

Lion head rabbit: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Did you know that there is a rabbit with a mane like that of a lion...

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Do you know there's a rabbit with a mane like a lion's? Yep, it's the Lionhead Rabbit, which has a crown of fur that makes it look like the famous king of the jungle. These graceful lagomorphs appeared by pure chance in Belgium a long time ago although, until recently, they were not so popular outside European borders.

Do you want to know more about the lionhead rabbit? Stay with us on PlanèteAnimal and discover in this article all the characteristics of the lion's head rabbit, its care and much more.


  • Europe
  • Belgium

Origin of the lion's head rabbit

Although the breed has only recently become known worldwide, lionhead rabbits are an old breed that originated in Belgium. This breed is the result of crossing Dutch dwarf rabbits and Swiss fox rabbits, with the first specimens emerging with this lion's mane.

Although the breed originated in Belgium, it was instead developed in the United Kingdom, the first country where the breed was made official in 1998. Currently, many other countries have also endorsed the official breed standard. lion head breed, although many others have not yet officially recognized it.

Characteristics of the Lionhead Rabbit

Lionhead rabbits are small rabbits classified as dwarfs, ranging in size from 1.3 to 1.7 kg, although specimens weighing up to 2 kg have been recorded.Therefore, there is no dwarf lionhead rabbit variety, as they are all dwarf rabbits. The average life expectancy of a lion head is around 8 or 9 years.

The lionhead rabbit's body is compact and short, with rounded shapes and a broad chest. What stands out the most, apart from his mane, are his long ears, which can measure about 7 centimeters. The tail is straight and covered with a good layer of hair. Its head is oval and relatively large, its muzzle is rather long and wider in males. He has round eyes that protrude slightly and are very bright.

However, the Lionhead Rabbit's most notable feature is its mane. Its fur is what made it famous and it is the badge of the lion head breed. Without a doubt, the most remarkable thing is the tuft of hair that covers their heads when these rabbits are still young, because when they are adults this mane disappears, which makes this characteristic trait ephemeral.This mane can be of two types, which are determined by the rabbit's genes:

  • Lionhead rabbits with single manes: less bushy and shorter, these hairs disappear early. These rabbits are typical of crossing a lion's head with other breeds.
  • Lion Head Double Mane Rabbits: Truly fluffy and bulky. These tend to retain their mane even into adulthood.

The hair of the lionhead rabbit is of medium length, except on the head, where, at birth, the hair is extremely long and thick compared to the hair on the rest of the body (5 to 7 centimeters in length ). But, as we commented, this will only last until the lion's head is about 6 months old, at which time these hairs begin to shorten and thin until they are completely gone. In very rare cases, they grow back a little, but they will never regain the panache of their young years.

Colors of lion head rabbit

According to the various official associations and organizations, such as the British Rabbit Council or the ARBA, all colors are accepted in this breed of rabbit, the one and only condition is that they are recognized colors ( existing, not new). Likewise, in the case of this breed, it is mandatory that the color of the outer coat be the same as that of the undercoat of the area.

However, the most common Lion Head Rabbit colors and color patterns are: Black, Sand, Siamese Saber, Chocolate, White, Blue, Chinchilla, Orange, Brown, Beige, Butterfly, Two-color combined with white and tricolor combined with white.

Baby Lion Head Rabbit

As we mentioned, the special thing about the baby lionhead rabbit is its lush mane around its head. Undoubtedly, this is one of the ways to identify the breed of the rabbit from birth.

Lion head rabbit character

These funny rabbits have a very particular character, as they are extremely affectionate and continually seek affection from their humans. This characteristic behavior is reflected in their adorable way of asking you for petting.

They are ideal to have as pets, as they are calm and sociable. Of course, if they live with children, it is essential to teach them to treat the rabbit with respect and above all with love, because due to their size they are a little more delicate than other rabbits.

Rabbits, in general, are sensitive and quite fearful animals, so when confronted with noises or new situations, our lionhead rabbit gets stressed. This is normal, even if this stress should be limited as much as possible, because it can affect the animal's he alth.

Caring for a Lionhead Rabbit

Lionhead rabbits, with their thicker and longer coat than other rabbits, need almost daily brushing, about 4-5 times a week. If we do not perform this care, there is a risk that tangles will form which will be almost impossible to undo. Failure to brush not only has aesthetic repercussions, because if dead hair is not removed from around the eyes, there is also a high risk of conjunctivitis and other conditions that impair the rabbit's sight. Brushing is also important to avoid the formation of hairballs in the digestive system, which can be very dangerous and lead to life-threatening intestinal obstruction.

Also, we must take extreme hygiene measures, removing dirt and remains of feces from the back part of the body, otherwise flies can be attracted and, if they lay their eggs, they cause myiasis or parasitism, a very painful and complicated condition to treat.To keep these areas clean, it is advisable to use a damp cloth or wipe. Never use baths for regular hygiene, as they damage the oily layer that protects the rabbit's skin.

For all of the above, the most important care for the lion's head rabbit is that concerning hygiene and maintenance of the coat, because the consequences of poor hygiene are really negative. But these are not the only concerns, because it is also necessary to monitor the diet of this little rabbit. We must be very aware that rabbits are herbivorous animals, which means that their diet should never include food of animal origin. They should be offered vegetables and fruit as well as plenty of fresh hay and clean water.

Finally, we would like to stress the importance of providing the lion-headed rabbit with a sheltered place to rest and shelter. Typically this is done by introducing a burrow into the cage, which should be large enough for the rabbit to move freely and stretch out fully.Of course, it's essential that the lionhead rabbit takes advantage of the hours out of the cage to exercise, explore, and interact with humans. Under no circumstances is it appropriate to keep the animal confined 24 hours a day. Also remember to provide your rabbit with adequate environmental enrichment, with toys that he can gnaw on to wear down his teeth, a lot hay, exercise tunnels, etc

See our article on rabbit care for more details.

Lionhead rabbit he alth

Due to the characteristics of its coat, the Lionhead Rabbit tends to suffer from hairball buildup in the digestive tract, something that can cause bowel obstruction. On the other hand, and also due to the lack of hygiene and care of the coat, fly strike is another of the most frequent he alth problems in this breed. Both of these problems can be avoided with proper care.However, it is sometimes very difficult, especially during the moulting period, to prevent our rabbit from ingesting large amounts of hair. In these cases, the important thing is to turn to our trusted veterinarian because he can help us by recommending products that facilitate the evacuation and dissolution of these hairballs.

The teeth of the rabbit never stop growing, which is why with the lionhead rabbit, and for any other breed, it is possible to observe oral problems due to this overgrowth, such as malocclusions. That is why we must provide them with toys and sticks so that when they gnaw on them, they can wear down their teeth adequately and sufficiently.

To confirm that the he alth of our lionhead rabbit is the best possible, we must submit it to regular veterinary checks. During these checks, the veterinarian will be able to detect any anomalies and suggest the most appropriate treatment.It is also recommended to know the vaccines that exist to best protect our rabbit against diseases such as myxomatosis, which is fatal in practically all those who are affected by it.

How to adopt a lion-headed rabbit?

Before adopting a lion's head rabbit, it is necessary that you carefully assess whether you can offer him all the care he needs. Remember that weekly brushing and time for play, exercise and interaction are necessary. If after evaluating all the information shared, you are sure that you can assume all their care, then it is best that you go to animal shelters and associations to adopt a specimen of this breed. Although finding lionhead rabbits to adopt is complicated, and even more so if you are looking for a baby rabbit, it is not completely impossible.

Today, in animal shelters where there are dogs and cats for adoption, it is also possible to find other animals such as rabbits. Likewise, there are associations dedicated to rescuing and then adopting exotic animals or small animals such as rabbits, chinchillas and ferrets.

Photos of lion head rabbit

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