Lionhead rabbits fascinate me, so I decided to do some research on the breed.
The Lionhead has a wool mane that surrounds its head and ears. Their fur is a bit wavy but otherwise soft and silky. Given the wool, these rabbits do require regular grooming to prevent mats. Lionheads come in a variety of colors and are a small breed with a compact body. They have upright ears which should not exceed 3 inches in length. An adult rabbit of this breed usually weighs no more than 3 pounds 12 ounces. Lionheads have a temperament which is usually calm and friendly. Always remember that every animal is unique and breeding is only a small part of personality. Lifespan is around 7 to 9 years.
The mane is a genetic mutation. The exact origin of the breed is not known, but it is commonly thought that the mutation first occurred from a breeding in Belgium with the cross of a Swiss Fox and a Belgium Dwarf, then crossing those babies with other wool rabbits. This gene is not the same gene which produces wool in other wooled rabbit varieties however. Lionhead rabbits can receive two copies of the gene and have a double mane, have one copy and have a single mane, or have no copies and therefore no mane. The single mane variety has wool only around its head, ears, chest, and maybe on its tail. A double maned lionhead has more wool overall, more around the head with wool that can be on its hind legs, tail, and hips forming a “skirt.” Too much extra wool, or no wool at all, is not desirable for show rabbits but any of these varieties make great pets.
Mane only on neck:
This lionhead appears to have wool only around its neck and on the tail:
In the United States, the North American Lionhead Rabbit Club is a great organization to join if you have or breed this type of rabbit to discover more information. The American Rabbit Breeder’s Association does not yet recognize the breed, but the process to gain recognition is currently ongoing. Lionheads can be shown at ARBA shows currently as an exhibition breed.
Please enjoy these adorable lionhead pictures:
— Fizz Pig