Lionhead Rabbit: Breed Info, Pictures, Behavior, Facts, and More

Lionhead Dwarf Rabbit history

Everything began in Belgium when breeders tried to breed a long-coated dwarf rabbit by crossing a Netherland dwarf and a miniature Swiss Fox. The resulted animal, known as a Lionhead rabbit, had a wool around the head and on the flanks. This gene is known as the “mane” gene.

There are also other stories about the begging of the Lionhead Rabbit, but none have been substantiated. In the United States they found their way in the late 1990s.

The breed is recognized by BRC in the United Kingdom, since 2002 and in 2013 the Lionhead was accepted in the USA as a recognized breed by ARBA.

The North American Lionhead Rabbit Club (NALRC) holds its annual Lionhead Exhibition Specialty show in Columbus, Ohio. Typically, the Lionhead breed is represented by approximately 300-500 entries and 50-80 exhibitors from all over the United States and Canada.

General characterstics

The Lionhead rabbit is a breed of domestic rabbit that belongs to the dwarf rabbits group of rabbits. They have a wool mane encircling the head, reminiscent of a male lion. Other Lionhead characteristics include a high head mount, compact upright body type and  short well-furred 2- to 3-inch ears.

Lionhead rabbit size

The Lionhead rabbit weight is around 2.5 to 3.75 pounds and the lionhead rabbit lifespan is between 8 and 10 years.


They have a small, compact body, and the head is bold, yet not quite round from all sides, with well-developed muzzle. Their legs are of medium length and they are of medium bone. Their ears are not to exceed 3 inches long. Their mane is at to be at least 2 inches long and is to form a full circle around the head, extending to a ‘V’ at the back of the neck. It may fall into a fringe between the ears, creating a “wool cap”. Lionheads have a normal rollback coat of medium length over the saddle, and some have “transitional wool” on their flanks. Some Lionheads have noticeably longer wool on the cheeks and chest. They have outgoing personalities and are a popular pet in the United States.

Lionhead Rabbit Mane types

The Lionhead rabbit mane is thick, woolly and soft. They can have a double mane or single mane, depending on the number of genes it gets from each parent. The only way to determine if a Lionhead is a single mane or double mane is when it is first born. A single mane Lionhead bunny will look like a common rabbit right after birth, while a double mane Lionhead bunny will have a noticeable V form around their skirt.

Single Mane vs Double Mane Lionhead

Single mane Lionhead rabbits have one copy of the mane gene. These Lionheads typically do not hold a mane for their entire lifetime. They have a mane that can be around its head, ears, chin and sometimes on the chest and rump. The mane may be wispy and thin and may disappear on some rabbits altogether as they mature.

Single maned Lionheads are usually the product of a Purebred Double mane Lionhead being bred to a rabbit of another breed in order to strengthen a particular characteristic, or to introduce a particular color into the Lionhead breed. 

Double maned Lionhead dwarfs on the other hand have two copies of the mane gene. They typically have a thick mane of wool encircling the head and sometimes have wool on their flanks that some refer to as a “skirt.” A double maned Lionhead bunny is the product of either two single maned Lionheads (will have single manes in the litter) or two double maned Lionheads.

Lionhead Rabbit as a Pet

In general the Lionhead temperament is friendly and this is a well mannered pet.  They are very intelligent and it is possible to train them. They can comprehend certain orders like come, play, and eat. Lionhead rabbits are good with children, but sometimes they can be aggressive and territorial. Rabbits may bite in a more serious way other than nipping for attention. 

But, of course, like every pet, the Lionhead rabbit care is still a big responsibility. They need a safe environment where they can run around and explore while at the same time not get agitated.

They also need to be groomed often so that their mane can remain clean and tangle-free. While a balanced Lionhead rabbit diet of hay, pellets, and freshwater can make your dwarf Lionhead bunny very happy.

This may seem a lot but this will, no doubt, be the start of an amazing, life-long friendship. You can find a lot of useful and interesting lionhead rabbit facts about the Lionhead rabbit as a pet on our website.