Although the Lionhead Rabbit breed has been around since the 1990s, it was only in 2014 that the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) approved the Lionhead Rabbit as an officially recognised breed. The United Kingdom’s British Rabbit Council recognised all known colours and varieties of the breed much earlier, since 2002.
According to the ARBA Standards, the Lionhead Rabbit comes in the following colours and varieties: Tortoise (Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac) and Ruby Eyed White (REW), Chocolate & Seal, Siamese Sable.
IN THE THICK OF IT
Speculation’s been rife about how Lionheads were first created. Many believe that they were bred in Belgium by crossing two different dwarf-sized breeds, although the debate of which two breeds were used, exactly, has left many scratching their heads in wonder.
Top of the contenders in the breed-crossing guesses narrowed to that of a Swiss Fox and Netherland Dwarf. A gene mutation allowed this new breed to consistently produce a head of thick fur around the head region, and sometimes the flanks as well.
With their small bodies and bold heads, Lionheads can look rather comical. Their manes are at least 4cm long and typically form a full circle around their heads, extending to a “V” at the back of the neck.
It may also fall into a fringe between the ears, creating a “wool cap”. It is usually thick, woolly, and soft, with “crimping”. Depending on their genetics, a Lionhead can have either a single or double mane. Single-maned bunnies usually sport wool all over their head, ears, chin, and chest, but these typically diminish as they get older.
There is also the double-maned Lionheads. These have regular wool around the head, while some have “transitional wool” around the hindquarters, tail and hip (usually referred to as a “skirt”). Lionheads are also described as having a dense, roll back coat of medium length all over their body.
As to how big does a Lionhead Rabbit get, the answer is: An average full-grown Lionhead should weigh approximately 1.36kg, although the maximum weight for show requirements is 1.7kg. In other words, they are more similar in size to small-breed rabbits, yet a bit bigger than most of the dwarf-sized cousins.
REGULAR MAINTENANCE WORK
Like regular bunnies, Lionheads can be fed a diet of fresh greens, hay and pellets. Unlimited supplies of hay (alfalfa for young buns and timothy hay for adults) and water should be supplied round the clock. Hay not only fortifies the little furry critter, but it also gives them enough roughage to get their bowels moving.
A daily half cup of vegetables and pellets each will be enough for your Lionhead. They are partial to Bok Choy, lettuce and celery among others. Pellets should be high in fibre and should make up less of your bun’s diet as he or she grows older.
Rabbits like the Lionhead have a sweet tooth, but be careful not to dispense too many sugary treats to prevent obesity. Even sweetened papaya tablets (meant to aid digestion) may contribute to weight gain. Stick to nutritious treats like vegetables and herbs and save the sweets for an occasional raisin or banana snack.
Due to their long woolly manes, these rabbits have to be brushed at least two if not three times every week. However, when they are moulting, it’s best brushing be done daily. They do become matted easily if left unattended, and this can cause the animal pain or develop skin infections. Rabbit-sized grooming brushes are readily available in the market and should eliminate any knots in their fur.
Also, don’t forget the nails. Monthly trimming your Lionhead’s nails is important as when they become overgrown, they can make movement very painful and uncomfortable.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Although bunnies are very clean animals and spend hours grooming themselves, your Lionhead still requires help with their ears. Special bunny ear cleaners can be used to groom and are again, readily available. Simply soak a cotton ball with the solution and wipe the inside of your bunny’s ears, but do not stick anything into the ear cavity. Remove excess solution with a dry cotton ball.
Lionhead rabbits like to have playtime outside of their enclosures. This allows them to explore and form a bond with their owners. The indoor enclosure should be made of wire, be large enough for them to stretch out in and have one or two toys and, have a plastic bottom. The bottom should be spot-cleaned every day and completely replaced every week with good quality bedding material.
|• Size||Most grow to an average of 1.2kg.|
|• Colours||Black, blue, chocolate, and lilac.|
|• Lifespan||8 - 10 years|
|• Temperament||Docile, friendly and attention-seeking.|
|• Feeding||A daily diet of fresh greens, hay, pellets, and water. They relish the occasional treat.|
|• Health issues||May be prone to ear mites, obesity and snuffles.|
|• Exercise||Out-of-cage playtime is necessary.|
|• Suitable for first–time pet owners?||Yes, with the proper knowledge|
|• Suitable for owners with children?||Yes, but only with vigilant supervision from adults.|
|• Suitable for multi-pet households?||Yes, with proper socialisation among all pets.|
|• Suitable for Singapore’s climate?||Yes, but daily grooming is necessary.|
|• Good “Home Alone”?||Yes, but will fare better with a partner as rabbits can become depressed when bored.|
Available in 50g packaging from
Available in 50g packaging from