Getting to Know the Lionhead Rabbit
Lionhead rabbits have become a popular breed in the U.S. in the last few decades. The breed was developed in Belgium through a crossbreeding of the Swiss Fox and Netherland Dwarf breeds, They made their way to the states in the 1990s and the American Rabbit Breeders Association recognized them in 2014.
What Do Lionheads Look Like?
They are small rabbits weighing about 3-½ pounds and are about eight to 10 inches long. Their ears are proportional to their heads and on average are three inches in length. Their coat is particularly soft and they need minimal grooming. A brushing weekly is enough although more will be needing when they're molting. The coat comes in
- Black otter
- Blue otter
- Blue point
- Chestnut agouti
- Frosted pearl
- Pointed white
- Sable point
- Siamese sable
- Silver marten
- Smoke pearl
- White with blue or ruby eyes
The Lionhead Mane
The most distinctive feature of the Lionhead is the tufts of hair at the top of their head that's referred to as a "mane." This mane led to their breed name. They can either have a light or "single" mane of about one to two inches in length. The single mane is found above their eyes and by the ears, as well as their chest and chin area. The double mane is much fluffier and larger and there is hair in the single areas as well as on the flanks which is known as the "skirt."
Lionhead Bunny Temperament
Lionhead rabbits are an excellent choice as a family pet, although they may not do well with very young children due to their small size and delicate bodies. They enjoy handling, are friendly, and have a reputation for being very playful. In fact they love toys and you can generally use toys made for cats with a Lionhead bunny. They are a good choice for a rabbit you can clicker train as they're motivated and interested in being with people. Lionheads also enjoy the company of other rabbits so getting your rabbit another bunny or even a Guinea pig can help keep both animals happy.
Lionhead Rabbit Health and Welfare
The average lifespan for this breed is about seven to 10 years. The Lionhead can have a few common health problems:
- Overgrown teeth can occur if the rabbit doesn't have enough hay to keep them healthy.
- Ear mites can infest the bunny's ears.
- Encephalitozoon cuniculi is a parasite which can cause mobility, vision and urination problems.
It's also recommended to spay or neuter your rabbits to prevent breeding as well as reproductive-related diseases like cancer.
The Lionhead Bunny Home Setup
A Lionhead rabbit will need a cage designed for keeping rabbits and they are best kept inside. A wire cage is recommended and there should be plenty of room for the rabbit to move about. A cage for one rabbit should be a minimum size of 24x24. Your rabbit will also need some regular time outside the cage for exercise and enrichment. Bedding such as paper pulp, straw or Carefresh needs to be added to the floor to keep him comfortable. A rabbit cage will need regular cleanings, even daily and you should change their bedding once a week.
Feeding a Lionhead Rabbit
Rabbits need to have a regular supply of hay which makes up 70% of their diet. In addition they will need pellets designed for rabbits and some fresh fruits, dark leafy greens and vegetables to supplement their diet in tiny amounts.
Getting a Lionhead Rabbit
The average cost for a Lionhead rabbit is about $50 to $100. You can download a list of breeders from the North American Lionhead Rabbit Club and check the American Rabbit Breeders Association website's breeder directory.
Learning More About the Lionhead Bunny
The Lionhead rabbit is a great choice for someone looking for a rabbit that wants to interact with them and enjoy snuggling. They do need more grooming than some other breeds and their size may suit them better for older children, but they're definitely a companion rabbit worth looking into if you want to bring a rabbit into your family.