Find answers to your questions about the Lionhead rabbit. Learn how big they get, how to care for them, and who should have one. Plus: Your FAQ about the Lionhead rabbit breed.
What Is a Lionhead Rabbit?
As sustenance farmers, we raise animals as our meat source. As such, the Lionhead rabbit would not be one we would have because of it’s a dwarf rabbit breed.
The name inspires images of a large, burly rabbit but the Lionhead rabbit did not get its name because of its size. You might be surprised to learn how it got its name.
Because this rabbit has a large fluffy mane which makes them look like a lion’s head, they received their deceptive name.
Their fluffy mane makes their head look bigger than it really is, but these rabbits are on the smaller side of rabbit breeds. Making them the perfect size for a pet or show rabbit.
Lionhead Rabbit Breed Information
There are two main types of Lionhead rabbits: single mane and double mane. The number of manes depends on the number of genes a rabbit receives from its parents. Two mane genes result in a double mane while one mane gene results in a single mane.
Interestingly, you can’t tell the difference between a single mane and a double mane rabbit in adults of the breed just by looking at them. They’re only discernable at birth.
To tell the difference, look for a V formation around their belly. This will signify it’s a double mane breed.
A single mane Lionhead rabbit will look like any other rabbit.
The Lionhead rabbit was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association here in the United States in 2013. Because it is a relatively new breed here, there are fewer “approved” varieties than in other parts of the world like the United Kingdom.
The ones recognized in the USA are:
- Ruby Eyed White (REW)
- Tortoise (blue, black, chocolate, and lilac)
Other varieties under consideration for approval are:
- Blue Eyed White (BEW)
- Sable Point
- Siamese Sable
- Frosted Pearl
Lionheads are available in most shades of gray and brown. However, different colors are available, including dotted coats and those with darker colors at the tips of their nose and ears.
Origin of The Lionhead Rabbit
The exact origin of the Lionhead rabbit is disputed, but it’s commonly accepted that it originated in Belgium and France. It is believed breeders there were trying to create a miniature long-haired rabbit.
They crossed Netherland dwarf rabbits with the miniature Swiss Fox rabbit. The result was a genetic mutation resulting in the characteristic lion’s mane fur around the neck of the Lionhead rabbit.
The National Lionhead Breed Club still strives to be recognized in some places.
They are gradually gaining attention and are now popular pets for many people.
Personality of The Lionhead Rabbit
These small rabbits are friendly, affectionate, and calm.
They are intelligent animals and can learn a few simple commands and even some tricks. Lionheads have a reputation for being ideal for young children and families.
They can even be trained to a litter box. This makes them good pets for those who live in tiny houses or apartments.
Unlike dogs and cats, which can usually do ok on their own, Lionhead rabbits are incredibly sociable. They are happiest when they are with other rabbits, their humans, or other animals.
If you are away from home or at work a lot, you should get at least two rabbits. It will mean more work and money, but they will play together which will free you from having to be available all the time for play and affection.
How Big Do They Get?
Lionhead rabbits are a small breed of rabbit. The average length of the Lionhead rabbit’s body is only 8-10 inches.
The average weight of an adult is only about 3 pounds.
They are quite small compared to other bunnies! Especially when you consider the largest rabbit breed recognized by ARBA weighs more than 20 pounds when fully grown!
Of course, these are only the average length and weight of Lionhead rabbits. As in any breed of animal, there will be some that are heavier and larger than others.
Lionhead Breed as Show Rabbits
Size may not be important to people considering the Lionhead rabbit breed as a pet. But for those looking to have them as show rabbits, it can be crucial.
According to the ARBA, the maximum weight allowed for Lionheads used as show rabbits is 3.75 lbs.
The North American Lionhead Rabbit Club has slightly different rules.
Their rule is an adult Lionhead should not exceed a weight of 3 pounds 12 ounces and their ear length can’t exceed 3 1/2 inches.
They also say that young lion-headed rabbits must weigh at least 1 pound and 10 ounces to be entered into an exhibition.
Who Is the Lionhead Rabbit Right For?
As I said, they’re not right for sustenance farmers, like us.
But they make ideal pets for those who want an easily managed, calm, affectionate pet. It may be considered a little quirky and definitely unique to have a rabbit as a pet but that can be a good thing!
Lionhead rabbits are the perfect combination of playful, goofy, and offering nice hugs. If you have children, the Lionhead bunny is an excellent choice to consider.
However, there are some things to keep in mind. Although they are small, Lionheads are sociable and are happiest with other domestic rabbits. This may mean you need more than one which could require more available space.
Their small size means they are incredibly delicate creatures.
Small children should be supervised when handling them. They don’t mean to, but because they can’t understand caution related to the size and nature of the rabbit, they can easily hurt it. Especially if they drop it.
It’s a good idea to make sure the whole family helps in the proper care of the Lionhead rabbit just as with any other pet. But it’s critical that everyone has rules and understanding of how to take care of these rabbits to avoid injury or death.
Care of Lionhead Rabbits
Living Space Requirements
Your rabbit’s living space should be a minimum of 12 square feet. It should include enough space for an enclosed sleeping area, a litter box, bowls for food and water, and room to move about and have a few toys.
A rabbit must have the opportunity to move about at will. Their muscles are exercised when they hop, skip, and jump in all directions.
A good indoor rabbit hutch is ideal for when you have to be away from home.
Lionhead rabbits have long fur and are super cuddly because of it, but it requires consistent grooming. Ideally, you should brush your Lionhead rabbit at least once a week.
They do grow a winter coat and shed it during the spring. When it begins shedding its winter coat you will need to brush it three times a week.
The grooming needs of both the single mane and the double mane are the same. However, the double mane Lionhead rabbit has slightly longer fur than single mane rabbits which requires a longer brushing time.
You will need to purchase special grooming brushes to do this job.
How To Brush Your Lionhead Rabbit
Hold the rabbit in one hand and gently start brushing their coat at the head in the direction of the hair growth.
Your rabbit will groom itself like a cat. However, excess hair can accumulate in its digestive tract.
Like a cat, a normal amount of hair will pass through the system, but accumulation will cause a bowel obstruction.
Do Not bathe Lionhead rabbits. They not only dislike water but being immersed in water can cause shock.
Between his own natural grooming and your brushing, your Lionhead will be clean.
When you are brushing your rabbit, be sure to examine it for bug bites, including fleas and ticks, any lumps under the skin, any discolorations, and matting of the hair. This will help you provide for the health and wellbeing of your rabbit and catch any disease early on.
If they are in the wild, rabbits will scratch around trees and bushes to naturally trim their claws. For a domesticated rabbit, this isn’t possible so you will have to provide a scratch post and regular nail trimming.
You will need to clip its nails once a month. Use specially designed nail clippers to avoid injury to the rabbit and yourself.
Nail trimming time is a good time to examine your rabbit closely for any issues you need to address.
How To Trim Your Rabbit’s Nails
- You will need
2. You will need someone to be a rabbit holder for you. Gather your supplies and have them open and ready
3. Have the person helping you wrap the rabbit in the towel. This will comfort them and keep them safely restrained.
A rabbit can kick so hard trying to get free that it can break or otherwise permanently damage its back.
Be sure your holder knows not to squeeze its small body too hard. Remember, they are delicate creatures.
They should support and secure the rabbit by holding it at the hind end.
If your rabbit panics or becomes distressed, stop and let it calm down. Offer treats and let the person it is most familiar with cuddle it while still wrapped in the towel.
4. Cut the nail back to just above the quick. If your rabbit has white or light-colored nails this is easy to see. If it has darker nails, clip only a little bit if you are unsure of where the quick is.
Place the clippers on the nail where you want to cut it. Slowly squeeze the clippers and watch your rabbit’s reaction. If it jerks back, stop. You may be at the quick of the nail. Move the clippers just a little towards the tip and cut the nail quickly and firmly to get a smooth, even cut.
Avoid cutting the quick if possible. Just like us, if you cut the nail to the quick, it will bleed and hurt.
5. If your rabbit is too upset at the situation, you only have to trim the tips of its nails. You will have to clip them a little more often this way but it’s better than no trim at all.
6. If you accidentally cut the nail to the quick, coat the end of the nail with styptic powder to stop the bleeding. Styptic powder also contains a mild numbing agent to help ease the pain.
Don’t be upset with yourself if this happens. We’ve all accidentally trimmed the nails of a pet too closely at some time or another. I know when I did it to Roxie, my heart broke but it does happen.
7. Repeat this for each nail.
8. You can take a break between paws if your rabbit is struggling or it’s taking you a while.
You don’t want to overheat the rabbit so you may have to loosen or remove the towel. Especially if it’s been wrapped up for a while, or if you’re in a warm environment.
9. When you’re done trimming all the nails, check to make sure they are smoothly cut and are not bleeding.
10. Treat time! Offer your rabbit its favorite treat as a reward.
Feeding Your Lionhead Rabbit
In addition to fresh hay, Lionhead rabbits also eat raw fruits and vegetables. You can include leafy greens, celery, chopped up carrots, and even berries in their diet.
You can also offer your rabbit a prepared rabbit food. But this should be no more than 20% of its diet.
A healthy diet consists of hay or fresh grass 75%, High-fiber rabbit pellets 20%, Raw fruit and vegetables 5%.
Always keep filtered fresh water available for your Lionhead rabbit.
How Much Does a Lionhead Rabbit Cost?
The cost of purchasing a Lionhead rabbit ranges from $ 50 to $ 100 (as of the writing of this article).
The biggest cost of having one is food. You can expect an average monthly food bill of around $60.
Another cost to consider is your Lionhead rabbit’s hutch. Since your rabbit is most likely going to be trained to a litter box, it will enjoy free roaming in your house or in an outdoor setting.
But when you are away from home or want him to remain in his own space, you’ll need a hutch of some kind. This is where his bed, food and water bowls, and the litter box are usually kept.
The cost varies depending on how simple or elaborate you go and on your budget. A good shelter ranges from $50 to $200 and up.
FAQ About the Lionhead Rabbit
- Do Lionhead rabbits enjoy being held?
Yes, and they enjoy snuggles and hugs. They are very social animals.
- Do Lionhead rabbits get attached to people?
I’m told they bond with their owners. For this reason, it’s important to be available to them for company and affection. If you are away from home for extended periods of time, they may not be happy.
They learn to recognize people’s voices and know you by sight. Almost dog like, they will follow you around and come when called.
- What is the lifespan of a Lionhead rabbit?
The average lifespan of a Lionhead rabbit breed is 7-9 years of age. This is just an average. As with weight and length, some may live less or longer.
The healthier their food and environment, the increased possibility of a longer lifespan.
- How do you know if rabbits are happy?
When your rabbits are happy, you might notice them do a little “dance”. They hop in the air, twist a little bit, then land back on the ground.
Rabbits that are happy and content will be wriggling and twitching their noses constantly, whether they’re hopping to and fro or just sitting and relaxing.
- Is it possible to keep my Lionhead rabbit outdoors?
The Lionhead rabbit breed is completely domesticated. You can keep it outdoors, but you will need to provide it with a safe shelter.
It is bred to be a pet or a show bunny, so it does not need the outdoor habitat of our meat rabbits or wild rabbits. It will thrive more indoors where it can be near you and safe from predators that don’t know it’s a breed of domestic rabbit.
You should never let your pet rabbit roam free outdoors without protection from predators. It does not have the same natural instincts as rabbits not bred as pets.
Summary of Lionhead Rabbit
- Is a Lionhead rabbit right for you and your family? Here are the things to consider when making your decision.
- They are friendly, affectionate, and calm.
- They are intelligent and can learn a few simple commands and tricks.
- They can be trained to a litter box.
- They are incredibly sociable and are happiest when they are with other rabbits, their humans, or other animals.
- Lionhead rabbits are small with an average body length of only 8-10 inches.
- The average weight of an adult is only about 3 pounds.
- The ARBA says the maximum weight allowed for Lionheads used for show is 3.75 lbs.
- The Lionhead Rabbit Club in North America’s rule is an adult Lionhead should not exceed a weight of 3 pounds 12 ounces and their ear length can’t exceed 3 1/2 inches.
- They make ideal pets for those who want an easily managed, calm, affectionate pet.
- They are incredibly delicate creatures. Supervise small children when they are handling them to avoid damage or death due to dropping it, squeezing it too hard, or shocking it by the mishandling.
- It’s a good idea for everyone to help care for the pet and to follow rules about how to take care of these rabbits to avoid injury or death.
- They require at least 12 square feet of living space per rabbit. It should include an enclosed sleeping area, a litter box, bowls for food and water, and room to move about and to have a few toys.
- A rabbit must have the opportunity to exercise their muscles by being allowed to hop, skip, and jump in all directions.
- They require brushing and nail trimming on a regular basis as part of their grooming habits. Brush at least once a week. During the spring shed, you may have to brush three times a week. Nail trimming is about once a month.
- The best diet consists of Hay or fresh grass 75%, High-fiber rabbit pellets 20%, Raw fruit and vegetables 5%.
- The cost of purchasing a Lionhead rabbit ranges from $ 50 to $ 100 (as of the writing of this article).
- You can expect an average monthly food bill of around $60 per rabbit.
- The cost of a good shelter ranges from $50 to $200 or more.
- The FAQ section offers information to consider as well.
I hope this helps you make the decision about whether the Lionhead rabbit breed is right for you and answered all your questions like how big does it get, how to groom it, and more.
As always, I’m here to help.