Breed Introduction and Recognition
The lionhead rabbit breed was first brought into the United States in 2000. As the unique breed rose in popularity, the North American Lionhead Club was founded on September 29th 2001.
The breed is believed to have possibly originated in Belgium. The rabbits unique fur appearance may be a gene mutation that occurred during the breeding of the Dwarf Angora rabbit. The lionhead sports a wool fur only on the ruff of its neck, which gives it the appearance of a lion’s mane. The rest of the rabbit’s body is covered in normal rabbit fur. Once established, the gene is dominant, and causes the young to inherit the distinct appearance. Fur genes in rabbits tend to be recessive which makes them difficult to recreate, but this does not appear to be the case with the Lionhead, which gives it the ability to be its own unique breed.
The dominate gene was introduced to the lop ear during breeding, which has created a lop-eared lionhead bunny. Both the erect eared and lop-eared lionhead, is recognized by rabbit clubs in Europe, but in North America only the erect eared lionhead has been officially recognized.
The lionhead rabbits exhibits a sweet, loving personality. The rabbits appear to genuinely enjoy the company of humans and bond closely with their owner. When raised from a young age they become friendly, outgoing and readily seek out human companionship
Taking care of rabbits, is a little more complex with the lionhead breed. The lionhead’s mane requires brushing to remove any possible mats. Care must be taken when grooming the mane of the rabbit, because the consistency of the fur is similar to that of the Angora and easily pulled from the rabbits body. Handle the mane gently and with great care, to avoid removing the fur through vigorous brushing or grooming practices. As the bunny grows, its mane may become more prolific, or it may molt the mane away and barely have any hair remaining. The bunnies coats come in a range of colors and color patterns.
The bunny does tend to easily get a messy bottom which requires diligent care and cleaning to maintain.
Housing and Feeding
A social animal, the lionhead rabbit enjoys the companionship of other rabbits, so the pet owner many wish to consider purchasing two of the small rabbits to reside together.
Highly intelligent, lionhead rabbits can easily be litterbox trained to help maintain their hutch in a sanitary fashion. Provide a cage that offers the rabbit ample room to hop around. Don’t forget to provide toys for your lionhead to enjoy too.
The diet of the lionhead does not vary from other rabbit breeds, but the owner should provide daily hay to the rabbits diet, to help prevent wool blockage from occurring within its intestinal tract.
Prospect owners may face a waiting list to acquire a lionhead rabbit. Inquire with the breeder early to determine how long you may have to wait to purchase your pet. The North American Lionhead Rabbit Club can direct prospect owners to local breeders.