Rabbit Breed – Lionhead Rabbit (Facts, Diet & More)

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What Is The History And Origin Of The Lionhead Rabbit Breed

The Lionhead rabbit is a small breed of rabbit and it is relatively new to the United States. The scientific name for this breed is Oryctolagus cuniculus. It was introduced in the United States in 1998-1999 and the American breeders have worked to refine this breed into what it is today. It originated in France and Belgium where this breed was produced by breeders to make long-coated dwarf rabbit by cross-breeding a miniature Swiss Fox and a Netherland dwarf. The cross-breeding resulted into a genetic mutation causing this new breed to develop wool around their head and on the flanks. This gene is named as ‘mane’ gene.

Although some reports say that the lionhead breed was made by crossbreeding Netherland Dwarf and Jersey Wooly.

How Do Lionhead Rabbit Look

A Lionhead rabbit is a small breed and has a wool mane encircling its head. It has a well-rounded frame and its head is bold with a well developed muzzle. Other Lionhead characteristics include short well-furred 2- to 3 1/2-inch ears, a high head mount, weighs 2.5 to 3.75 pounds and has a compact upright body type. Based on the number of genes transferred to a Lionhead rabbit from its parents, it can have a double mane (two mane genes) or a single mane (one mane gene).

To identify a double mane Lionhead, look for a noticeable V form around their flanks. And a single mane Lionhead looks almost the same as a common rabbit directly after birth. Past that, there are multiple factors that contribute to how much mane the rabbit has including chewing on the mane by themselves or others and matts. They have medium-sized legs and due to their mane, their neck is not visible. Their hindquarters are deep, broad and well-rounded.

Due to it having a soft wool coat, this breed requires a lot of grooming. Learn everything you need to know about grooming your rabbit’s fur the right way here.

Behavior Of The Lionhead Rabbit

The Lionhead Rabbits are friendly and affectionate. They have a fantastic temperament and loves to be around their human family. They won’t be afraid to jump in your lap for a cuddle and some attention. They have lots of energy and are found the most active during the daytime.

It’s hard to confine this breed in their hutch, you’ll find them running around, chasing something or the other, playing with their chewy toys or eating to their heart’s content. They bond very easily with the pet owners and loves petting and stroking.

You’ll find the Lionhead running around, chasing things, playing with their toys and trying to get their owners attention. They need lots of time with their family members to bond and, once bonded, will love to be picked up, petted and stroked as often as you want! But like every other rabbit they too need their personal space and when scared, they too can bite. Rabbit bites are not dangerous most of the times, but may need medical help. Learn what happens and what you should do when a rabbit bites you here.

Diet Needs Of The Lionhead Rabbit

The Lionhead Rabbit needs a healthy diet full of vitamin A, D, E and fiber like any other rabbit. Majority of their diet should contain hay, medium amounts of leafy greens and a small amount of fruits. Besides feeding them hay, it is essential to provide your pet rabbit with fresh water.

When feeding the rabbits, many pet parents like using hay feeding dispensers which is an amazing solution. That way, you can make sure the area is clean and a large pile of hay can be stacked in a tidy fashion. Whereas baby rabbits up to 8 weeks old needs their mother’s milk only. They cannot have any solids and their main source of nutrients is their mother’s milk. If you adopt a baby or the baby rabbit doesn’t have a mother, they can be fed the kitten formula or goat’s milk as a replacement.

Food Options For Rabbits Available On Amazon

Note: These food options are for rabbits older than 3 weeks. All details are accurate as of the publication date and subject to change.

Do not give them the following foods:
Nuts, Breads, Grains, Cookies, Cake, Seeds, Chocolates.

Health Issues Of The Lionhead Rabbit

In addition to the common health issues any rabbit can suffer, they are prone to some breed-related health problems too. Following are some common health issues you need to look out for as a pet parent:

GI Stasis: Rabbits often suffer from GI Stasis and it can happen multiple times in their lifetime. It is a deadly condition in which their digestive system slows down or stops completely. Common symptoms are low on energy, loss of appetite, change in behavior, hunched shoulders and no poop. But, there are treatment options that can help cure this condition before it becomes fatal. Learn more here.

Flystrike: Rabbit’s fur is the best place for flies to lay their eggs and when the eggs hatch, the new born flies eat the rabbit from the inside out. Grooming and checking their fur frequently is important. Common symptoms is a rabbit has flies on their body are loss of motion, skin irritations and even seizures.

– Dental Issue: This is a common issue among the rabbits and is often associated with poor diet. Alongside that, poor dental hygiene also affects the overall dental health. Regular check-ups are important to make sure their teeth are growing in the right proportion and there are no signs of decay or any dental disease. Learn about dental care here.

Malocclusion: Malocclusion means the upper and lower teeth are not aligned properly. This affects the chewing which results in improper wear down of the rabbit’s teeth. Their incisors and molars may overgrow if that happens and their teeth may cut the tongue, cheeks or gums badly, injuring the rabbit.

Ear Mites: It’s a common form of parasite and are responsible for the condition known as ear canker. This parasite can cause inflammation, irritation and discharge that can lead to infection in the rabbit’s ears. Common sign of your rabbit having mites is their constant shaking of their head to drop the mites down.

Following are the breed-specific health issues you should look out for:

– Hairballs: It’s a common concern with Lionhead rabbits. They tend to consume their fur, usually during molting, and the hair can get stuck in their digestive tract. Unlike cats, who too can consume their hair more often than not, rabbits cannot puke them out. And anything entering their stomach can lead to bloating and gastrointestinal tract.

– Obesity: Lionhead rabbits too can gain extreme weight if their diet is not monitored. Excessive eating of pellets and fruits can lead to weight-gain. Instead, they should be provided with unlimited hay and leafy vegetables.

To prevent these conditions, regular vet checkups are recommended. After all, prevention is better than the cure.

A quick look at what you should ask the pet expert:

Bottom Line

Lionheads a tiny, cute and extra fuzzy making them the best choice as a pet. They are among the new rabbit breeds suitable to become domestic pets in the United States. Gradually, they have become the most popular breed. But, if you are looking for a rabbit pet, make sure to do your research so you know when you get a rabbit at home what you are up against.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– What are Californian Rabbit Breed?

The first Californian Rabbit was made by cross-breeding a Chinchilla rabbit with Himalayan white rabbit. This hybrid was then bred with some New Zealand white rabbit to give birth to Californian Rabbit. The average life span of the Californian is between 5 and 10 years.

(1). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionhead_rabbit

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