Animals / Rodents

The Dwarf Lionhead Rabbit

Синонимы и названия на других языках

Zwergwidder Löwenkopf


Order: lagomorpha

Family: leporidae

Genus: oryctolagus

Species:  orictolagus cuniculus 


The lionhead rabbit originated in Belgium as a result of attempts to breed a dwarf long-haired rabbit by crossing the Swiss Fox and the Netherland Dwarf breeds. It resulted in genetic mutation: the long coat appeared around the rabbit’s neck and on the flanks. This gene is now referred to as “the mane gene”. In 2002 the breed of Dwarf Lionhead Rabbit was recognized by the British Rabbit Council and the North American Lionhead Rabbit Club. The American Rabbit Breeding Association allowed the representatives of the breed to participate in exhibitions starting from 2004. In 2014 ARBA recognized two color morphs of the breed: Tortoise and Ruby Eyed White.

Внешний вид

The lionhead rabbit has a sort of mane around its head and neck (hence the name), small vertical ears and short coat on the other parts of the body. Some specimens have long coat on their sides, but this is considered to be a fault. Specimens that have dark circles around their eyes are particularly popular because of their cute looks. The most common morph is smoke-colored rabbit. Dark gray and brown lionhead rabbits also occur. If you want to get a pure-bred lionhead rabbit, the body should be compact, ears should be vertical, and the rabbit has to have mane around its head. On average a lionhead rabbit weighs around 1.2 kg. 


Lionhead rabbits tend to have friendly, easy-going and peaceful personality. Therefore such a pet will become a good friend both for adults and for children. 

Содержание и уход

Under proper care a lionhead rabbit can live up to 11 years. Moving house is a stress and don’t make it worse by trying to handle the rabbit immediately. Let your pet adapt to its new house.  Avoid piercing sounds and abrupt movements around the rabbit.  Rabbits can be litter box trained. The litter box should be in the cage. The cage should be as big as possible, so that the rabbit can move around freely. Don’t invade the rabbit’s enclosure too often.

The cage should contain a water bowl, a shelter and a food bowl. It is best to put the cage on the floor in the room where people often are presented. Lionhead rabbits are easily trained. The only thing you have to remember is that you mustn’t ever scream at your rabbit. The best solution is to offer treats and praise the pet.

You will have to brush the mane of the lionhead rabbit regularly. If a rabbit swallows a hairball, it can result in its death.  When you choose a comb, remember that rabbits have very fragile skin. 


In captivity rabbits should be fed with vegetables (cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, beetroot in small portions), fruit (pears, apples), greens (dandelion, plantain, alfalfa), hay and tree branches. 


If you would like to get a lionhead rabbit as a pet for children, don’t forget that that all rabbits have a great amount of nerve endings in their ears, and a careless touch can be extremely painful. The rabbit can even bite because of pain in such a situation. Also the rabbit’s ears are very sensitive to all loud sounds, including music and screams. So you shouldn’t get a rabbit if you have children younger than 7 years old in your family.  


As always, prevention is the best treatment.  You should observe your pet carefully and pay attention if you notice one of the following symptoms: diarrhea, constipation (rabbit are prone to digestive system disorders), vomit and increased salivation can indicate certain infections. Convulsions and trembling can appear as a result of hyperthermia under certain diseases. Other symptoms of possible diseases include eyes and nose discharge, frequent or heavy breathing, hair loss, lethargy. If you have noticed one or several of the above listed symptoms, you should make an appointment with a vet as soon as possible. Isolate the sick animal so that it doesn’t contaminate other rabbits. The infections can be airborne, or rabbits can contaminate each other through food and water bowls, so you should disinfect the cage.  

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