The Lionhead Rabbit is a fairly new domesticated breed that is available in the United States. Pet owners have been importing them since the late 1990s, but it was not until 2014 when the American Rabbit Breeders Association approved them as an officially-recognized breed. These bunnies were already recognized for their varieties and colors in the United Kingdom, earning their designation there in 2002.
The Lionhead Rabbit is recognizable in the following varieties and colors: ruby-eyed white, tortoise, seal, and chocolate. The tortoise variety features a combination of colors that includes chocolate, blue, black, and even lilac.
Because of their smaller size, compact bodies, and rounded shape, Lionhead Rabbit are usually featured as a fancy breed. Their wool mane around the face is their distinguishing feature, but their perky personalities and overall cuteness will win the hearts of many people as well. They are generally tolerant of children, can work with other pets, and have an overall good nature that makes them a fun addition to the home.
If you are thinking about adding a bunny to your household, then here are some of the pros and cons of a Lionhead Rabbit to consider.
List of the Pros of a Lionhead Rabbit
1. This breed has a long lifespan compared to other rabbits.
The average Lionhead Rabbit will live between 8 to 10 years when it receives proper care in your home. That means you must provide it with the right type of housing, the food it needs, and give it exercise and attention every day. These bunnies don’t like to live in stressful environments, so you’ll need to remove as much anxiety from their routine as much as possible.
If you have any pets in your home that are natural predators, then you will want to keep them away from your Lionhead Rabbit whenever possible. Even if they are in a cage, the mere presence of a dog or ferret can be enough to spook them.
2. Lionhead Rabbits do not grow to be very large.
The Lionhead Rabbit is one of the smallest breeds of domesticated bunnies that is available today, with the average adult weighing only three pounds. The maximum weight for show requirements with this breed is 3 pounds 12 ounces, so they are bigger than the dwarf bunnies, but smaller than what some people may think of as a typical household rabbit as a pet.
There are two types of manes available with the Lionhead Rabbit that you can see: a single mane or a double mane. The only real way to know which option you have is to have someone examine the bunny at birth. Double mane Lionheads usually have a V-shape form around their skirt, while a single mane rabbit will look like any other. Some don’t have a mane at all.
3. These bunnies are fairly affordable for most families.
The purchase of a Lionhead Rabbit depends on the pedigree you choose, your geographic location, and the quality of bunny that you want. You will find that most communities have an average price range between $20 to $150 based on these conditions. If you want to own one as a pet, then investing in a pedigree is not necessary. Future breeders or showers will want this investment so that they can ensure that they’re receiving the best quality of rabbit for their money.
4. Lionheads are very friendly rabbits.
You are going to adore how friendly the Lionhead Rabbit is in general. Although you can find the occasional individual that prefers independence over human contact, most of them love some snuggling. You’ll see the nose twitch happily with some gentle petting. Some don’t like to be picked up since being that far from the ground can be scary, but once you secure them, they tend to be okay. They’ll get fed up with the cuddles eventually and want to get down. Because they are a social animal, it helps to have more than one at home to reduce their anxiety levels throughout the day.
5. A Lionhead Rabbit is very easy to train.
Lionhead Rabbits are exceptionally intelligent. You can train them to use a small litter box without much difficulty. Most of them can even begin to respond to basic commands when you give them enough patience. They are generally obedient and gentle, but with sometimes big personalities that you can see when they want to play. You will need to be strict with your bunny to get them to listen at first, but don’t be harsh with them because that will confuse or scare them. As with cats and dogs, you should consider spaying or neutering your pet unless your intent is to breed them.
6. You can teach an old rabbit new tricks.
When you start looking at the local shelters and rabbit rescues that may be near your home, you will find that Lionhead Rabbits and other dwarf bunnies are sometimes widely available because some people don’t realize how much attention they require. If your pet is feeling lonely, then you are going to hear about it! Don’t shy away from the idea of adopting a rescue if you like the idea of having Lionheads at home. These bunnies are still trainable once you give them a chance to start trusting you.
Until that day arrives, make sure their home is properly secure. Give them a full water bottle every day. A litter box, hay bin, and other favorite food items will help you to start the bonding process as well. Then make sure to keep the cage and the Lionhead clean to maintain their hygiene and health.
List of the Cons of a Lionhead Rabbit
1. You must keep them almost exclusively indoors.
Although you can keep a Lionhead Rabbit outside in a well-constructed cage, their lure will bring predators to your yard to check out your new pet. Even if you live in the city, street dogs will start venturing by if you keep this bunny out in the backyard. Because they have no defenses against these predators, you’ll want to find a place in your home where they can be safe.
If you have dogs or ferrets at home already, then a Lionhead Rabbit is not the right investment to make at this time. Your bunny shouldn’t stay in their cage all day, so you’ll need to balance time with all of your pets and that can be a challenge for some families.
2. The care and upkeep costs of Lionhead Rabbits can be high.
The amount that you need to spend each year on your new Lionhead Rabbit depends on several factors, including the quality of merchandise that you purchase, but it typically falls into the range of $300 to $750 per year. These costs include your medical supplies, grooming needs, food costs, and a home for your bunny. If you decide to participate in showing activities, then your expenses can multiply exponentially based on your entries and how far you travel.
3. You will need to brush out the fur of the rabbit on a regular basis.
Many people love Lionhead Rabbit because they love a good cuddling session. They don’t make much of a fuss like other bunnies either, which is another definite advantage for the breed. You will need to take some time to brush out the mane of the rabbit at least once per week so that it doesn’t get matted. If it has a skirt, then you may wish to keep it clipped to prevent the same issue. Since they can be a little jumpy, you might find that your bunny doesn’t like this process and will turn it into a big headache for you.
4. Lionhead Rabbits can run into dental problems.
You will need to take your bunny in to have regular dental checks as part of the ongoing care that you give them. Although the Lionhead Rabbit is bigger than the dwarf bunnies out there, they encounter many of the same issues with their teeth that the smaller varieties encounter. You can experience this disadvantage of ownership even if you’re giving your rabbit the correct food it needs each day in the write amount. Expect a visit to the veterinarian at least once per year to check on this issue.
5. Their fur can make them be prone to fleas and ticks.
You will love the friendliness of a Lionhead Rabbit. You might adore how they look with the longer fur in their mane. What you will not appreciate with these bunnies are the problems with fleas or mites that occur. Their sensitivity makes it virtually impossible to find a suitable medication to use as a treatment. That means you’ll need to wash and comb their fur out regularly to remove the problem, which can be a hassle at times since it can be thick. All it takes is one trip outside to encounter this problem, so you will want to take the time to mow your lawn, remove tall grass, and keep the rabbit away from any trees.
6. You will need to take the time to get to know their behavioral quirks.
Did you know that Lionhead Rabbits will growl when they are angry with you? If your bunny is trying to bite at your fingers or is sniffing aggressively, then this is evidence that they wish to be left alone. You’ll also want to pay attention to their teeth-grinding noises, as soft vibrations indicate they are happy, but loud scraping sounds can be an indication that they are in a lot of pain. If you see them lying around with one ear raised, then you know that they’re listening to the environment without paying much attention to it.
7. Lionheads tend to be more curious than you want them to be.
Lionhead Rabbits love to explore their environment. Their curiosity is on display whenever it has its neck stretched out, eyes widened, and ears in a forward direction. If you have small crevices in your home, then these bunnies are going to find it rather quickly. You’ll want to make sure that you seal off any of the spots where they could wander off before letting them loose for some exercise.
The pros and cons of a Lionhead Rabbit are mostly dependent on what you’re willing to do at home to support your bunny. These small pets are the most popular to have after dogs and cats, so they can be a lot of fun to be around. If you can get to know their habits and behaviors, then they can live a long and happy life with you, and there will be plenty of snuggles around for everyone!
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.