lionhead rabbit

11 Good Reasons Why a Lionhead Rabbit Should Be Your New Pet

Pets are a great addition to your family and community. And if you’re one of the more adventurous types of pet owners, you may be looking for something more unique, much like a lionhead rabbit. With its recent recognition in the pet community, lionhead rabbits have become one of the most popular pets. Here are the reasons if you want to be charmed into buying or adopting a lionhead rabbit.

From its name itself, you can already deduce how lionhead rabbits are cute and fearless at the same time. These furry companions are a mixed breed from two dwarf-sized rabbit breeds. The exact breeds of the dwarf rabbits used are still up for debate. However, some experts believe lionhead rabbits to be a cross between a Swiss fox rabbit and a Netherland dwarf rabbit.

The crossbreeding led to a rabbit with a wool mane surrounding its head, hence the name. The mane is around 2 inches in length and stops behind the ears, making a V-shaped cap.

The belly and flank of a lionhead rabbit may even look unique because of it. This pet resembles a furry ball because of its compact body type with short fur. The head is not quite round, topped with small ears not exceeding 3 inches. These features make it cute and adorable. 

  • A lionhead rabbit is easy to carry around.

  • Lionhead rabbits are generally bigger and heavier than dwarf-sized rabbits but are still very lightweight companions. Most lionhead rabbits weigh from 2.5 to 3.75 pounds. Due to their weight, even your kids can take them to places. You can buy this transparent rabbit carrier to help you with your pet.
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  • The lionhead rabbit comes in all varieties and colors.

Lionhead rabbits are classified into six distinct color groups: tan, marked, self, wideband, agouti, and shaded. There are also different colors among these color groups, such as chocolate chestnut, lilac tort, and smoke pearl. The variety in appearance makes the picking process even more exciting.

  • Lionheads have varying bushiness.

Aside from coming in various colors, lionhead rabbits also come in different levels of bushy fur. A lionhead rabbit can have a single or double mane, determined by its parents’ genes. Since it all depends on genes, some may even have no mane at all. These non-maned rabbits, therefore, look much like other types of rabbits. Check this rabbit brush and combing glove.

A single-maned lionhead rabbit will look just like any rabbit at birth. On the other hand, double-maned lionhead rabbits have a V shape at the top of their heads, between their ears. Double-maned rabbits have a very bushy mane and thus look the closest to a lion than the others. The double mane’s thickness reaches the bunny’s flank, which is what you call a skirt.

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With all the fur in your rabbit, cleaning its hutch or room may become very challenging. Make sure to clean at least once every week to maintain a livable space for your rabbit. Improve your pet’s room with the best air purifiers for pets ranked by us here at The Furry Companion. This house accessory will help clear out dust and hair in the air. 

  • Grooming your lionhead rabbit will be a fun and relaxing bonding activity.

Because of their unique fur, they require more attention than other rabbits when it comes to grooming. Grooming a lionhead involves no water and bathing time because these rabbits can’t handle it. According to Dr. Claudine Sievert, DVM, “Wet rabbits can get cold, suffer from pneumonia, respiratory infections, hypothermia, and other life-threatening conditions.” She adds, “Plus it’s a stress that may lead to thrashing and spine damage.”

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Rather than a bath, you should instead brush its fur and mane weekly. This simple gesture will help avoid wool blocks, which can be harmful to your rabbit. Unlike cats who can spit out hairballs, lionhead rabbits are incapable of vomiting the wool block out. 

The Mane of the Lionhead Rabbit

For single-maned lionheads, you can groom them once a week to keep their mane tamed. On the other hand, you should groom double-maned lionheads multiple times a week because of their bushy fur. Focus on their skirt and flank since this is where most of the double-maned lionheads’ fur is. In the spring, keep in mind that you must groom them every day to help them shed and molt.


Aside from its majestic mane, also look after your pet’s nails. These nails help survive harsher conditions, with all the scratching and foraging in the wild. However, domesticating them will leave them with nothing to scratch, and thus their nails continue to grow. As a substitute, you can buy scratching blocks for your rabbit to help chip off some of those long nails. But you can also opt to clip your rabbit’s nails manually. Check this cute rabbit nail clipper.

All these grooming tasks are perfect opportunities for you to bond with your pet. Try petting your rabbit while brushing its mane for added comfort. It is also a good time for special treats to strengthen your bond further. You can also try dressing up your pet after you groom them.

  • A lionhead rabbit is very amicable and sociable.

These rabbits are very friendly and easy to tame. They have the versatility to do just about any activity with you. You can snuggle up with a lionhead rabbit on a chilly day, or you can also have an active summer playtime.

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Aside from being friendly, lionhead rabbits are also friendly. Because of this trait, these rabbits would use some company of the same species. You can adopt two of the same kind, or if you have a friend who also has a lionhead rabbit, you can pair theirs with yours.

On the other hand, they can also be easily disturbed and jumpy when they are nervous. These rabbits are prey animals and are thus built to flee danger. Aside from that, shocking or traumatic events can also cause them to show aggressive behavior. So, before immersing your pet in surprising games, be sure to establish trust first. Make sure your rabbit is comfortable before slowly engaging it in new environments.

  • You’ll enjoy their cute quirks and high-energy personality.

They are known to burrow and chew as a hobby. These animals have high-energy, which is why they love running and moving around. Take your rabbits to your backyard or to a park to see them in action.

If you finally get a lionhead rabbit for a pet, you should remember these rabbit behaviors. Build a wide enough hutch for your lionhead rabbit so it can roam around freely at home. You can also add scratching boards and chewable accessories on their hutch.

Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, also believes rabbits, in general, can stay in small cages if and only if they still get enough physical time. She says, “As long as bunnies get a couple of hours of exercise running around outside of their cages in a bunny-safe room or house, they may be kept in relatively small cages. The space needs to be large enough for them to stretch out in and allow room for a litter pan in one corner and a feeding station for hay and pellets in another.”

  • These rabbits have a maintenance diet.

The diet should consist of protein, fiber, calcium, and fat, which you can find in hays and pellets. Pellets are just like hay, but more compact and have either less or the same amount of nutrition.

Much like people, the first months of a growing rabbit require the most nutrients. Thus, your rabbit should be eating high-nutrient hay and pellets.  Also, remember to avoid giving any treats to your lionhead rabbit before they turn seven months old. And once they grow older, you should feed them with fewer nutrients to prevent obesity.

The best way to keep your rabbit fit is to feed it with 75% hay with occasional pellets. You can also give your bunny some high-nutrition treats made of banana, carrots, or blueberries from time to time.

Of course, a rabbit would also need clean drinkable water throughout the day. With this low maintenance diet of hay, pellets, and water, feeding a lionhead rabbit won’t be much of a problem.

  • You’ll spend a long time with them.

Much like other domesticated rabbits, lionheads have a much longer life expectancy than their wild counterparts. The average lionhead rabbit has a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years. 

Because of this long lifespan, you can enjoy more time playing and cuddling with your lionheart rabbit. Just make sure you feed and groom your rabbit regularly. Besides that, you should also take your pet to the vet for check-ups to maintain their health.

Most lionhead rabbits carry the E.cunili parasite, which can result in infections for your pet as well as leg paralysis. So, monitor their health and ask your vet for routine tests. You should also check for lice or mites in the bushy fur of your lionheads to keep them hygienic.

  • Lionhead rabbits are smart. 

Lionheads are not just friendly and high-energy, but they’re also brilliant. Because of this trait, you can quickly train a lionhead rabbit. You can teach them the basics, such as going to the toilet or jumping on a couch. These rabbits can also learn tricks for pet shows.

A small animal veterinarian, Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, says, “Rabbits love to keep their space clean and will commonly eliminate in one corner of their cage.” She adds, “The easiest thing to do is simply put a litter box in that corner and they will learn that is the place to go potty.” 

Sufficient and repetitive training will help your lionhead learn proper behavior and showmanship. Prepare your lionhead’s favorite treats as a reward when training them. 

However, since too many treats can lead to obesity, you can also use a clicker instead. In the beginning, you will need to establish a connection between clickers and treats. As you go forth with the training, you can gradually lessen using treats as rewards. In time, they’ll learn to respond even with just the clicker sound.

Some lionheads even prefer warm touches or a light tap on their heads as a reward. Thus, you can use your training time as another opportunity to build trust and a better relationship. 

  • You can join specialty shows with your pet rabbit. 

As the owner, you can register it for pet shows. Perfect for pet owners who love joining pet communities and talking to fellow enthusiasts.

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Lionhead rabbits have been registered in the UK since 2002 and in the US recently in 2014. The British Rabbit Council and American Rabbit Breeders Association each have different criteria for judging. So be sure to check those before registering your rabbit. 

However, before you join any specialty shows, make sure you know all your pet’s triggers. As mentioned before, these rabbits can be aggressive when shocked or frightened. Watch out for surprising props or special effects to keep your rabbit from stress.

These eleven reasons are just some of the ways a lionhead rabbit can charm you. And if you want to know more, then the next best thing is to experience it! However, always remember that getting a pet comes with responsibilities. Here is a quick guide of the major dos and don’ts when taking care of these rabbits

  • Don’t wet or bathe them.
  • Do check on its fur, teeth, nails, and ears for hygienic purposes.
  • Avoid petting them by the flank or belly.
  • Pet them in the head.
  • Refrain from subjecting them to stressful events, activities, and environments.
  • Take them out to parks to let them burn some energy.
  • Don’t overfeed your rabbit.
  • Provide them sufficient water, hay, and the occasional pellet treats.

When you’re ready to take on these responsibilities, then you can take one home. 

Before sealing the deal, make sure to prepare its place, food supply, and other playful accessories. Of course, you also have to be emotionally, mentally, and physically ready to welcome a lionhead rabbit into your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Lionhead rabbits good pets?

Yes, they are good pets. What makes them great is their friendly and pleasant personality. They are also small enough for easy handling. 

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How long does a Lionhead rabbit live?

Domestic rabbits have a life expectancy of 7-10 years. Meanwhile, those in the wild usually last up to a short-lived two years. So, you have to properly care for your pet if you want it to reach the average life expectancy of domesticated rabbits.

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Do Lionhead rabbits like to be held?

Yes, they very much like to be held. Their lightweight body makes it easy for anyone, even kids, to carry lionhead rabbits. However, remember to avoid their flank and skirt when petting as this can upset them. If they don’t respond well to being held at first, especially during grooming, you can give them special treats. 

What breed of rabbit is the calmest?

Most rabbits, such as Harlequins, Lionheads, Mini Lop, and Dutch, are calm and friendly. However, since rabbits are prey animals, they can become skittish and jumpy when they sense danger. Thus, to maintain calm behavior, you have to make sure your rabbit’s environment is also quiet.

What can Lionhead rabbits not eat?

They can’t eat legumes, alfalfa, and clover hays. Besides these, you should also avoid avocado, bread, cereal, and other high-carbohydrate foods, chocolate, and peanut butter. Look at PETA’s list of what types of food can harm rabbits. The best way to keep your lionhead rabbit healthy is to feed it with timothy, orchard, or oat hay.

Do Lionhead rabbits need haircuts?

Some may require the occasional trim and haircut. Although grooming should be sufficient, some lionheads like those with double manes can grow too much fur. This gesture alone will keep them well-groomed and avoid wool blocks.

Can you bathe a Lionhead rabbit?

As a rule, you shouldn’t bathe any pet rabbits because a wet body is harmful and can even be fatal. A light brushing of the fur is enough for your pet’s grooming needs. However, if your rabbit needs a thorough cleaning, you can use a damp cloth for mild bathing.

What are the common health issues of Lionhead rabbit?

Because of their smaller heads and particularly longer jaws, lionhead rabbits are prone to dental disorders. Some can suffer from mandibular prognathism leading to bizarre patterns of dental wear. This can cause elongation or alteration of their teeth positions. Make sure to consult a veterinarian if you observe these symptoms.

What age can you consider a Lionhead rabbit full grown?

They are considered fully grown after 6 months. Their weight should be tracked until they are fully grown to keep them from adding weight.

Can I train my Lionhead rabbit?

Of course! A Lionhead rabbit can be considered a cross between a dog and a cat. It not only cuddles like a cat, but it can even be taught to do tricks like a puppy! Since lionhead rabbits, they normally adapt and learn faster than the average bunny. You can teach them litter training, jumping, and getting into their cage. Just don’t forget to give them tasty treats. This is a great way to show your Lionhead that they did a great job.

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