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Lionhead Rabbits: All About These Cute and Unusual Bunnies

I'm a counselor and freelance writer with years of online writing experience. My work covers a large range of topics.

A lionhead rabbit in the garden.

A lionhead rabbit in the garden.

About Lionhead Rabbits

Lionhead rabbits? No, this is not something like the mouse that roared. Nor are these rabbits genetically modified. Lionhead rabbits are a young breed of bunnies. They are recognized in the UK, but have not yet become a registered breed in the United States by (American Rabbit Breeders Association).

You can find them at the ARBA rabbit show each year classified as the proposed working standard. They made their first appearance in the ARBA show in 2006.

Lionhead rabbits are tiny cute furry creatures. They weigh less than 3.75 pounds and have a mane of wool around their head, reminiscent of the male lion’s mane. In the rabbit version, both females and males have the mane. Fur covers the rest of their body, like all other rabbits.

Where Did Lionhead Rabbits Come From?

There is no definitive answer as to how lionhead rabbits came into existence. The two most popular theories are:

  • Theory 1: The breed origins began in Belgium from crossbreeding the Swiss Fox Rabbit with a Belgian Dwarf. They were then crossbred with other smaller wool rabbits. Some say the Jersey Wooly, or the Dwarf Angora. In the U.S. there is no such breed as the Dwarf Angora. Sometime later the breed was imported to the UK and crossbred again with European rabbits, which created the current Lionhead rabbit that exists in England today.
  • Theory 2: The Lionhead rabbits came about from a genetic mutation in a litter of the Dwarf Angora bunny rabbits when European breeders were working with them. The mutation was spread throughout the breed of Dwarf Angora bunnies. The gene that causes the mane in the rabbits is a dominant gene. So if only one parent has the gene for a mane, it is enough to produce more Lionhead rabbits. although not every Lionhead has a mane. If this version is correct, this is the first genetic mutation in rabbits since the beginning of the 1900s. At that time the Satin fur resulted from a litter of Havana bunnies.

In France, the Lionhead rabbits are called “Tete de Lion” and are mainly bred in the UK and France. Another type of the Lionhead rabbit is the Lop-Eared Lionhead as a result of breeding, you guessed it, the Lionhead and the Lop-Eared. This bunny has a mane with long ears.

Purebred and Hybrid Lionhead Rabbits

Since 1999, Lionhead rabbits began to be imported from Europe to the United States. The first Lionhead arrived in northern Minnesota. The beautiful and unique breed soon caught on across the country. Many breeders started creating hybrid versions after breeding the Lionheads with Netherland Dwarfs Holland Lops and many other varieties.

Lionhead Rabbits have a wonderful disposition. They are friendly, train very easily and are excellent house pets. Overall, they have few health concerns, although some are prone to epilepsy, and breeders are working on this genetic flaw.

Lionheads do require some grooming, but it is not too difficult to manage their fur and mane. Lionhead rabbits love to play and can be litterbox trained. They are loving, affectionate and enjoy the company of people.

It is difficult to tell the difference between purebred and hybrid Lionhead rabbits. Most males have a thicker mane than females. Be sure to be gentle when you are combing their mane so that you don’t pull out the wool of the mane.

Taking care of a Lionhead bunny is the same as taking care of any other rabbit.


Rabbit Care and More Information

Lionhead rabbits come in a variety of colors. Their lifespan is the same as other rabbits, approximately 7-9 years.

The care a lionhead rabbit needs is the same as other rabbits. Just be sure to brush your bunny. It is a good idea to spay or neuter your pet.

Here is a list of equipment if you are looking to adopt a Lionhead or any rabbit:

  • Spacious hutch
  • Litter trays
  • Food bowl
  • Water bottle
  • Rabbit food
  • Toys
  • Large secure run
  • Vinegar for disinfecting the cage
  • Grooming brush
  • Hay
  • Pet-carrying box for visits to the vet
  • Brush for cleaning the hutch

Rabbits are timid and defenseless. Be gentle, kind, and loving and your pet bunny will return love and the pleasure of having them in your family.

North American Lionhead Rabbit Club

For more information, check out the North American Lionhead Rabbit Club.

Remember: Be a responsible pet owner. Rabbits are a long term commitment. They deserve good care, a loving home, and the security that the family who is adopting them will keep them. Rabbits are cute and lovable, so think about them before you adopt.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Teri on March 31, 2020:

Do lionhead bunnies require 70 degrees or lower room temperature.

Eddie Quinn . on February 28, 2020:

No mention of UVB lamps needed for indoor rabbits ?

Jenn on August 31, 2019:

Today I rescued a bunny, I named her Kiwi.

Kiwi is 3 years old and was bred having 3 liters. I'm overjoyed with her. I'm letting her settle in.

If you have any tips feel free to share.

Michelle on April 03, 2019:

I've recently got a blue point double maned lionlop. She's a proper diva! Absolutely adorable, and sooo fluffy. She's a house bunny but she plays outside to when its warm enough and not raining! NIce to know the origins of where the breed started, thanks.

Santanna on July 16, 2018:

I am 13 and have been thinking about getting a rabbit...I know I have the money and time and love to devote to it but I am wondering...are lionhead rabbits good starter rabbits or are they ones only more experienced owners should have

toknowinfo (author) on May 03, 2018:

Your bunny sounds like he has a very loving owner and wonderful home to live in. I hope he brings much happiness for many years to come.

Grannysbiz on April 29, 2018:

I have a male Lionhead rabbit. I got him when he was four weeks old, he is now four years old. He is completely housebroken, he has a three-story condo but he’s free to run in the house. He has lots of toys and he even goes up the dog ramp to get on the bed and sleeps at my feet every night. When he was little he chewed a lot of things, so I rabbit proved the house by putting electrical cords inside an outdoor garden hose. I just slit it down the length , slide the cords inside and then he doesn’t bother them. He doesn’t chew anymore l, except for his wood chunks and wicker play toys. He is adorable, he does require a lot of grooming but he’s worth it. He’s on an all organic diet so he’s very healthy and everyone just loves him.

toknowinfo (author) on May 20, 2016:

It is always difficult to lose a pet. But I feel the joy they bring, the memories they give us forever, and the way they touch our heart make it all worth it. Good luck in your decision.

Amie on May 15, 2016:

I had one lionhead called Leo and another called Fudge. Leo died of miximatoses and Fudge died of cancer. Is this just bad luck or not because I'm desiding if I should get another one or not

toknowinfo (author) on April 04, 2016:

It is wonderful to hear from a happy bunny owner

Sylvia on March 23, 2016:

I have an awesome Lion head rabbit loves to cuddle and sometimes hes crazy but sometimes hes lovey we love him so much and my dog is great with him too!

toknowinfo (author) on May 17, 2015:

Enjoy your rabbit baby!

Ellie on April 25, 2015:

I have a lion head rabbit he is wonderful they are beautiful little things mine is 8 months

toknowinfo (author) on December 27, 2014:

Hi Kristen, All bunnies need care and attention. They are loving and affectionate animals, but their cages need to be cleaned regularly and they need fresh water and food everyday. When you choose to take a pet home, they become dependent on you to take care of them. If you can make a promise to the pet you adopt that you will give them the attention they need, treat them with love and kindness, and let them grow old in your loving home then get one. If you can't keep this promise then don't get a bunny, because you don't want to give it away. After all a promise is promise. Let me know what you end up deciding.

Tea on December 22, 2014:

I recently added a lionhead to my family and he is the sweetest most adorable thing. He's so full of energy and very interactive at 7 weeks. He loves chasing my son and I and running in circles through the house. He's already mastered the stairs (to my surprise). He likes to sit up on my shoulder while I pet him and he has quite an appetite. He is eager to meet almost anyone who comes into my home so long as they are quiet and calm.

Kristen on December 09, 2014:

Hiiiii I just wanted to know what you all think of me getting a lionhead as a starter bunnie ok so I'm a 11yearold girl I want a bunnie I can pet and play with a lot but still does not need TO much attention so what do u all think

Jolina on October 16, 2014:

I just bought my 7 year old daughter and my parents a couple of half bred lionhead bunnies today, they are so cute. One i dont think liked y daughter cuz she was cuddeling holding him standing outside and he bit her, but i think he was hungry because as soon as she put him in his hutch he went right for his hay.... but this is our first time ever experiancing any kind of lionhead bunny. So i hope they are nice and loving like your hub says.. and thank you for all the helpful info, i do have to go buy a brush tomorrow for them lol.

kia on May 08, 2014:

I have two lionheads one(Gary he's a bit smaller) is extra friendly kets me cuddle him and pet him. But (Diego chunkier) is very standoff ish any time I even speak he runs to hide. And never let me pet him. help?!

toknowinfo (author) on March 12, 2014:

Bunnies have that magic to do that to us!

nicole on March 11, 2014:

I love my lionhead bunny she is adorable. Im thinking about getting a second one!

toknowinfo (author) on January 28, 2014:

It is wonderful to hear how happy your bunny makes you. Keep in contact and let me know about her antics and the fun and love she brings you.

Autumn on January 28, 2014:

I have a lionhead! She's the sweetest bunny and I'm so glad I picked her. When I first saw her, I fell in love with her. I just knew she was the one for me. I didn't even pick any other ones up! anyway, she can be a bit territorial and she likes to have to own time, but overall, she is the sweetest bunny that I ever knew!

toknowinfo (author) on November 26, 2013:

Hi belleart, Thanks for your kind comments. I am glad yo enjoyed this hub. I agree, these rabbits are amazing looking

toknowinfo (author) on November 26, 2013:

Hi Barry,

Rabbits are very sensitive creatures. There may be noises outside that could be making him nervous. Observe him and see how he does. All the best and keep in touch.

belleart from Ireland on November 25, 2013:

AAAh, I love this! so glad you put all those pics up to, these rabbits are amazing looking!

Barry Robinson on November 21, 2013:

We have just adopted an 18 moth old lion head miniature rabbit [four weeks ago]. We feed him about a cup full of veggies and two tea cups of pellets [not muesli] each day split into morning and evening. He also gets as much hay as he can eat. He has a large pen by a double glazed window [which I have insulated with cardboard and a thick curtain]. He has a number of toys, cardboard tubes, wood, balls of hay. He has a hutch, and lit box that he uses. When we first got him he "binkied" around a lot more than he does now. He is affectionate, and loves being stroked, but doesn't really like playing and seams to be retreating more and more into his pen [where he seams to feel safe]. He licks and nibbles my trousers when I stroke, and talk to him, but I'm worried that I'm doing something wrong?

toknowinfo (author) on June 05, 2013:

Hi Donna, It was so sweet to read about your bunny. I hope you will come back and tell me how you did in the show. It sounds like he is a lucky bunny to have someone like you loving him, and you sound lucky to have him too. Best of luck finding him a mate and have fun with all of this.

Donna L Evans on June 05, 2013:

I have a beautiful REW Lionhead buck, he's fully pedigreed. I bought him from a wonderful breeder, and our first show debut will be at the September 21st show in Sedalia, MO. I've never shown rabbits, but have shown horses. The Kids Thumper is so sweet. I got him when he was almost nine weeks old, he's nearly 12 weeks old and I love him. He's so sweet and such a loving bunny. I plan to purchase a pedigreed Doe for him at the September show.

toknowinfo (author) on May 02, 2013:

Hi KK, I agree they are so cute. If you can give a loving home to such a cute thing, than dang it, go for it!

kk on May 01, 2013:

They are so dang cute i just want one so dang bad that i can just eat it lol not for real i just love them ones i wanted one since i was a kid............

toknowinfo (author) on February 13, 2013:

I don't know where in Florida you live, but I looked up on the internet the Florida Wildlife Society 24-hour helpline for information and referrals: (352) 371-4400. You also could call a local veterinarian and see what they tell you. Good luck and let me know how it turns out.

Mar on February 12, 2013:

Someone has dropped off two of the lionhead rabbits in my yard, we live on a creek, they are very friendly you can walk up to them, we have not tried to catch them because we didn't know if they were wild or not, we have allot of jack rabbits wild ones that come out at night, so don't know what we should do. We live in Florida so there are a lot of birds of pray and snakes? HELP

toknowinfo (author) on September 16, 2012:

Rabbits do make wonderful pets and it is amazing the varieties they come in. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Enjoy your bunny!

Dave Wojtkowiak from Buffalo, NY on September 15, 2012:

Great article with a lot of great pictures! I always wanted to know more about lionhead rabbits. I adopted a mini lop rabbit about 6 years ago and I will never be without a rabbit. They are highly intelligent and best of all they don't bark. : )

julia on August 20, 2012:

these little guys are so cute

toknowinfo (author) on April 14, 2012:

Hi Alicia, Congratulations on your new bunny. May she bring much joy to you and your husband. Since I don't have a lionhead bunny, I would love to know more about your adventures with her. I hope you will keep in touch and even show me pictures. All the best and lots of love to your cute little lionhead.

Alicia on April 14, 2012:

I became mummy to a beautiful little lionhead girl about 6 weeks ago she is the most adorable little thing.. My husband and i are totally smitten!! :)

Betty Johansen on April 21, 2011:

The bunnies are so fluffy and adorable. Thanks for opening my eyes - again - to the world around me. I'd never heard of these cuties before.

toknowinfo (author) on April 14, 2011:

Hi SJK, Glad you enjoyed this hub. They are almost as cute as your picture!

SJKSJK from delray beach, florida on April 14, 2011:

How cute. And just in time for Easter.

toknowinfo (author) on April 12, 2011:

Hi Kath, Glad you enjoyed this hub. They are cute and there is a story to everything even the furriest of rabbits. Thanks for stopping by.

Kathy from California on April 11, 2011:

These are so cute toknowinfo! I have seen a few photos over the years but I never knew much about these these furry guys! Learning I love! Thanks for sharing.

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi B, It is always nice to see you. I am glad you enjoyed this hub so much. Lionhead rabbits are cute and it is their cuteness that inspired this hub. Thanks for your kind comments.

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi GPS, thanks so much for appreciating this hub and for your nice comments. I have a lop eared rabbit. You can read about him and see his photos at Most of my pets have wound up on my doorstep, so if anyone wants to give me a Lionhead rabbit, I will gladly love it.

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi Dah, There are many more types of dog breeds because their genes allow for more variation. But I am glad you didn't adopt any rabbits based on your comments.

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi Simone, These bunnies are especially cute. They are so cute, I don't think there is a way to make them look ferocious. Thanks for visiting.

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi A.A., Well this may take me a while. I think it will be really hard to find pictures of mean looking bunnies. But when I do I will be sure to let you know.

b. Malin on April 11, 2011:

How much Fun was this Hub to read...LOTS! Very informative and they are so Cute, Wonderful pictures, thanks so much for sharing Lionhead Rabbits with everyone Toknowinfor, just in time for Easter!

GPSWorldTraveler from Washington State, USA on April 11, 2011:

Oh my goodness are they cute! Do you have any as pets? Really glad you took the time to write this hub, made this moment in time for me sparkle!

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on April 11, 2011:

Logically there has to be various breeds of rabbits like there are different breeds of dogs. However, I never thought about it.Probably nobody in our house would have given them proper care if we had gotten any. Good to know these things.

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi D, Thank you for stopping by. It makes me happy to know that I showed you something new.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 11, 2011:

Oh my gosh, these are SO CUTE!!! I'm with A.A. though. I want to se that ferocious bunny.

Augustine A Zavala from Texas on April 11, 2011:

Deal! Any pictures showing Grizzly Lionhead bunnies the better. A picture of a bunny tearing a carrot a new one could go on my chest or back. I could be the only alpha male on the beach with a Lionhead Rabbit Tattoo. Its a win win for me. Thank you so much.

d.william from Somewhere in the south on April 11, 2011:

OMG. this is the first time i have ever heard of these precious little creatures. They are beautiful. It never ceases to amaze me, that even at my ripe old age, i can still find a bevy of new things to marvel at on this site.

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi AA, You gave me a challenge to find a ferocious bunny. How about half bunny half lion?

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi Tom, I am glad I taught you something new. Thanks for stopping by and for the up rating. I am always happy when you visit.

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

I Cog, Awww, I am so happy you shared this with your daughter. The pictures are there anytime for her enjoyment. Thanks for your kind words.

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi Wooded, They are cute. Well, if you don't get to buy one you can always visit my hub again and look at the pictures to get a taste of cuteness.

Augustine A Zavala from Texas on April 11, 2011:

Is it possible to find an image of a ferocious one? Maybe one that looks rabid? I may could work with that. LOL!

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi A.A., I am glad I introduced you to a new type of animal. Are you getting any inspirations for tatoos from these cuties?

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi Pdog, You are just the best! I am always glad to see you. Thanks for stopping by.

toknowinfo (author) on April 11, 2011:

Hi Fay, I know from my other bunny hub, you are trying to decide about a rabbit for your grandson. I hope I am not adding to your confusion. If you have any questions, or just need some help in weighing the pros and cons, you are welcome to email me.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on April 11, 2011:

Hi toknowinfo, a very interesting hub, i did not know there were lionhead rabbits . Great hub and up !

UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on April 11, 2011:

Wow...those are some cute looking rabbits.....I enjoyed looking at the lionheaded rabbits with my 4 year old daughter...thanks for sharing

Wooded on April 11, 2011:

These are so adorable! I wish I could buy one but I don't think my dogs would find them quite so cute!

Augustine A Zavala from Texas on April 11, 2011:

I never knew these species existed. Thank you for sharing. on April 11, 2011:

As a dog, I think I could manage to be kind and loving to one of these defenseless lion heads if he or she happened to enter my territory.

Fay Paxton on April 11, 2011:

Thanks for this excellent article about these cute little rabbits. I am trying to decide whether or not to buy my grandson a rabbit for Easter. Voted up, very useful and bookmarked.