|Weight:||Up to 4 pounds|
|Temperament:||Spunky, friendly, adaptable|
|Best Suited For:||Experienced rabbit owners, homes with multiple rabbits|
|Similar Breeds:||Netherland Dwarf, Jersey Wooly, Dutch, Holland Lop|
With their pronounced facial hair, it’s easy to see where the Lionhead gets its name! Taking after the robust manes of the king of the jungle, these adorably compact rabbits are the most popular newcomer to be recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
The Lionhead’s increasing popularity as a house and show rabbit has sparked many questions about this attractive breed – and this article aims to answer them. Starting with an examination of their history and origin, we will also be covering everything you need to know about keeping one as a pet. Read on to see if the Lionhead is right for you!
History and Origin of the Lionhead Rabbit Breed
Speculated to have come from Belgium, the Lionhead is the most recent development of a series of “bearded rabbits” tracing back to the 1960s. While its exact history of breeding is unclear, by the 1990s there were enough Lionheads in central Europe to begin exporting them to England.
The United States followed shortly thereafter, where a group of breeders in Minnesota set out to improve the Lionhead’s sometimes frail genetics. Crossing it with a variety of smaller breeds including the Netherland Dwarf, they successfully stabilized a healthier disposition for the breed.
First accepted into the American Rabbit Breeders Association only as recently as 2014, they have steadily become a staple of the rabbit showing scene. As of now, their popularity shows no signs of waning, with more Lionheads being adopted year over year.
Immediately recognizable by their full-face mane, Lionheads can display a wide variety of fascinating facial hair styles. From mutton chops to mohawks, almost any hair style is possible with this adorably funny-looking breed.
The ruby-eyed white is the most typical color for Lionheads and shows their pronounced coat off well. Rarely weighing in at more than 4 pounds, they are an easy and compact option to care for as a house pet.
Nutrition and Health
Thanks to the American breeders who improved its base genetics through cross breeding, Lionheads now enjoy the same quality of health as many other smaller breeds. Not prone to any specific health problems, they maintain a high standard of health simply through proper diet and exercise.
Given an abundant amount of fresh hay and filtered water, most lionheads will be able to look after their own nutrition without a problem. Always add a daily serving of dark, leafy greens to their diet to help supplement their intake of vitamins and minerals.
With their petite frames, Lionheads do not require much space in their enclosure to be able to move and stretch freely. Consider litter training them as well, so that you can let them out to roam freely about your house (under supervision).
Though most rabbits with distinctive coats require significantly more maintenance, Lionheads do not. Just a small amount of weekly grooming is enough to keep them in fine shape. Be on the lookout for spring’s shedding season, where you’ll need to brush them more frequently to make sure they’re not ingesting too much of their own hair.
Sweet and energetic, Lionheads are prized as house pets for their constant companionship. When trained to roam freely about your home, they have been known to follow their owners around like a small dog. Rather adaptable to any circumstances, they also make excellent pets for apartment-dwellers.
Final Thoughts on the Lionhead Rabbit Breed
No other rabbit breed has the exact same combination of a unique coat and pleasant disposition that the Lionhead enjoys. Though they’re a relative newcomer to the rabbit breeding scene, their increasing popularity is testament to their suitability as both pets and show animals. If you enjoy their signature look, consider bringing a Lionhead into your home!
Featured Image: Chan Swan on Unsplash