Everything You Need to Know About the Lionhead Rabbit

Posted by Katherine Ripley
Lionhead Rabbit
Nature'sAura - C.McKee/Flickr

The Lionhead rabbit is known for being friendly and outgoing.

The Lionhead rabbit breed is relatively new, only accepted by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 2013. The breed originated in Belgium, where it is rumored that a rabbit breeder was trying to create a long-coated dwarf rabbit, and ended up with what is now the "mane" gene mutation by accident.

The Lionhead gets its name because it has a wool mane, like a lion's, encircling its head.

Lionhead rabbits came to the United States in the 1990s. They have become very popular pets in the United States because of their outgoing personalities. They come in a variety of different colors, and their manes can be different thicknesses, but pretty much all of them are friendly, lovable companions.

Lionheadrabbit.com shares some wonderful facts about the Lionhead rabbit breed,

  • They can mat easily! Due to their long wooly manes and long fur, brushings will need to be done at least 2-3 times per week, unless he is molting - then daily brushes are needed!
  • The average lifespan of a Lionhead Rabbit is 8 to 10 years.
  • Do you have a single mane or double mane rabbit?

"Double mane lionhead rabbits have a regular mane of wool around their head. However, in contrast with single mane lionheads, the mane covers the head a lot more and they have also have wool on their skirts, also referred to as their flanks."

  • A healthy diet consists of ½ cup of high-quality pellets daily, plus an unlimited amount of fresh Timothy hay and fresh, clean water. Freshwater may seem obvious but it's crucial in the daily care of the Lionhead breed.
  • The Lionhead rabbit is also recognized by the British Rabbit Council in the United Kingdom (since 2002).

Lionheads are also very intelligent, and can be trained to understand basic commands, like "come," "eat," and "play."

If you're researching domestic rabbits, you could also look at the American Chinchilla, Angora, Belgian Dwarf, and Siamese Sable.

Hover over the image for more information.

General Appearance

Lionhead rabbits are small with compact bodies, prominent heads, and of course, a lion-like main around their necks. They come in all different colors.


The Lionhead rabbit weighs between 2.5 and 3.75 pounds, making this a small breed. Their bodies are medium-boned and their legs are of medium length, in proportion to the body.


Lionhead rabbits have a medium-length coat. Some Lionheads also have longer fur on their chests, cheeks, and flanks, in addition to the mane that distinguishes the breed.


A Lionhead rabbit's mane is usually thick, woolly, and soft, with some crimping. Single-maned rabbits, who have only one copy of the mane gene, probably will not be able to keep the mane their whole lives. Double-maned rabbits, who have two copies of the gene, have thicker manes that will probably last their entire lives.


The Lionhead rabbit has a prominent head with a well-developed muzzle. Their heads are broad and slightly rounded.


Lionhead rabbits have short wide ears that stand upright.


Lionhead rabbits are lively, playful, and friendly. They can become frightened and even aggressive if they are not handled properly, but they are generally good-natured, and you can easily gain their trust by showing gentle, loving attention.

In-Story image: Flickr/The.Rohit

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Everything You Need to Know About the Lionhead Rabbit