Lionhead Rabbit

Find out everything about the lionhead rabbit: body length, life expectancy, appearance, origin, offspring, and rearing.

  • Body length: 20-40 cm
  • Weight: 1-2kg
  • Body: Stocky, cylindrical
  • Head: prominent, with a broad forehead
  • Coat hair: short
  • Life expectancy: 8 – 12 years

The appearance of the lionhead rabbit

A characteristic of lionhead rabbits is their “mane”, which is up to 10 cm long and runs from the forehead over the ears to between the shoulder blades. The long hair also appears on the cheeks, on the stomach and on the right and left of the tail.

The lionhead rabbit has an ideal weight of 1.3 – 1.6 kg. The minimum weight is 1 kg, the maximum weight is under 2 kg. Despite their small body size, lionhead rabbits do not possess a genetic dwarf factor.

However, the physique is based on that of the colored dwarf and is short and stocky. These are other visual characteristics of lionhead rabbits:

  • The hind legs are short, small and delicate.
  • The head of the lionhead rabbit is short, thick and very prominent in relation to the body.
  • The ears are ideally 5 to 6 cm long.
  • The fur of the lionhead rabbit is dense, soft and relatively short at 18 to 23 mm.
  • The guard hairs are fine, elastic and even.
  • The color of the eyes matches the coat color.

Origin of the Lionhead Rabbit

The lionhead rabbit (also known as the lion’s mane rabbit) is one of the most popular rabbit breeds to keep as pets. The breeding of this still very young breed began in the late 1980s on a large rabbit breeding farm with long-haired squirrel rabbits. Here, rabbits were selected where the fur on the head and neck was particularly long, but the rest of the fur was short.

To date, lovers of this breed have bred countless color and pattern variants. However, there are no binding breed characteristics and colors so far. Due to the lack of homozygosity in the lionhead rabbits, the offspring still look very different. Some animals are completely long or short haired, while others have single tufts of hair on the back of the body.

Offspring and breeding

Unlike wild rabbits, domestic rabbits do not have a fixed reproductive period. The doe’s ovulation is triggered by mating (i.e. the jumping up of the buck). After a gestation period of 29 to 32 days, about 3 to 5 young are born in dwarf breeds. The birth takes place in special whelping boxes, which are padded with straw and fur hair of the rabbit.

The mother suckles her young once or twice every 24 hours, suckling for only about 3 to 4 minutes. Rabbits are hairless and blind at birth, but they develop relatively quickly:

  • At the age of 9 to 11 days, they open their eyes and start nibbling on hay and straw.
  • As so-called nest stools, they only leave their nest when they are about 14 days old. From this point on, they gradually explore the entire barn.
  • At about 8 weeks of age, the young are separated from their mother.

The Lionhead Rabbit

Lionhead rabbits can be kept in sufficiently large enclosures in the home or in the garden. The enclosure size for two rabbits should be at least 6m² (recommendation of the Veterinary Association for Animal Welfare e.V.). If you build the enclosure yourself, you can make it larger.

In addition, the animals need daily exercise in the apartment or (if kept outside) in the garden. The enclosure consists of a feeding and drinking bowl and at least one sleeping hut, which should be large enough for two rabbits to lie in it. In addition, the interior design of the rabbit shelter must provide employment opportunities for rabbits.

Rabbits have a sensitive gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, feeding errors and rapid feed changes must be avoided. The basic feed should consist of high-quality hay (freely available), fresh feed (grasses, herbs, vegetables, and fruit) and, if necessary, small amounts of dry feed. Pellets rich in crude fiber (pressed feed made from hay, grass, and herbs) that contain neither grain, sugar nor molasses are suitable as dry feed. Fresh drinking water must always be available to the animals.

Before purchasing rabbits, please inform yourself in detail about their housing requirements.

Did you know?

In April 2002, a number of lovers of lion head rabbits and lion-maned rams came together in the so-called “Lion Club” to breed and further develop lion head rabbits.

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