Lionhead Rabbit: Breed Profile

Lionhead Rabbit

The lionhead rabbit is a graceful breed with a distinctive mane of fluffy wool that resembles that of a male lion. Its body is compact, but its erect ears are quite large, with a length of about 2 to 3 inches. Lion heads come in a wide variety of colors. As pets, these rabbits are generally friendly, playful, and sociable, although some of them can be shy. They need daily contact and moderate maintenance. They need a varied diet and a home that provides space for exercise.

Species Overview

COMMON NAME: Lionhead Rabbit

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Oryctolagus cuniculus

ADULT SIZE: 8 to 10 inches long, average weight 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.

LIFETIME: 7 to 10 years

Behavior and temperament of lion head rabbits

Lionhead rabbits are generally intelligent, docile, and energetic. They enjoy playing and socializing.

Some lion-headed rabbits can be quite fearful, however. They usually don’t bite, but may try to scratch you if they don’t feel comfortable with handling.

To satisfy the social needs of lion heads, it is ideal to keep more than one rabbit. Members of the opposite sex can be kept together if they are neutered. In addition, some rabbits even bond with other pets, including calm, well-behaved cats and dogs. However, it is important to bring animals (including other rabbits) together slowly and safely to ensure peaceful coexistence. 

As pets, rabbits are generally calm animals that need to be fed daily and cleaned regularly. In addition, they need supervised time each day outside their enclosure to play and socialize. They also need toys – especially chew toys – inside and outside their enclosure to keep them occupied. Rabbits that are not sufficiently stimulated mentally and physically can become destructive and eventually chew or dig in unwanted ways. 

Size Information

Lionhead rabbits average between 8 and 10 inches in length and usually weigh less than 4 pounds. 


Although the lionhead rabbit is small, it is still an active breed that needs plenty of space to expend its energy. As a rule of thumb, a cage for small rabbit breeds like the Lionhead should be at least 18 by 24 centimeters and tall enough to allow the rabbit to stand completely upright on its hind legs. However, bigger is always better, and for many rabbits, the cage size should be increased. 

Avoid cages with metal bottoms, as they can injure the rabbits’ feet. A dog crate with a plastic floor may be a good alternative. Some owners also opt for a dog run to create even more space while keeping the rabbit safe. Make sure the pen is draft-free.

The enclosure should have food and water bowls, toys, a litter box, and a shelf for your rabbit to jump on for exercise. In multi-story cages, you can also install tunnels and ramps with a solid floor. Just make sure the rabbit has enough room to lie on the floor of the pen with its hind legs extended. 

If you allow your rabbit to roam outside its enclosure, make sure the entire area is equipped with rabbit fences. Rabbits have been known to chew through electrical wires and other potentially dangerous objects on the ground. 

Special substrate requirements

The enclosure floor should be non-slip. Many owners use washable carpeting to provide a soft surface for their rabbits. You can also place a few straws on the floor for your rabbit to nest in. For the litter box, use paper litter without dyes, never clumping litter. Clean the litter box at least every other day and scrub everything in the pen once a week with mild soap and water. 

What do Lionhead rabbits eat and drink?

Rabbits are herbivores. They are also constantly growing their teeth, so they need a diet that naturally helps them wear down their teeth. 

Feed your Lionhead unlimited amounts of grass hay, such as timothy hay, every day. You can simply stack the hay in the enclosure or use a feeder called a hopper. Make sure there is always hay available for the rabbit.

Also offer a variety of green-leaved vegetables, including lettuce, herbs, and carrot weed. And offer smaller amounts of other fruits and vegetables, such as carrots. Fresh food can simply be placed on the floor of the enclosure or in a small bowl. You can offer it once or twice a day, but remove uneaten fresh food after a few hours to prevent it from spoiling. Consult your veterinarian for advice on the best amount and variety to give your rabbit.

Also, feed only a limited amount of rabbit pellets. An excessive amount of pellets can lead to digestive problems and obesity. Therefore, be sure to discuss a feeding schedule with your veterinarian. Place a day’s supply of pellets in a small ceramic bowl in the enclosure. Throw away any uneaten pellets after 24 hours before feeding the next day’s portion. 

Finally, you should always provide fresh water. You can either use a ceramic water bowl or a bottle. Just make sure the bottle is still functional and your rabbit knows how to drink from it. Refresh the water every day.

Common health problems

Like all domestic rabbit breeds, lionheads are prone to some common health problems, including :

  • Digestive problems, such as constipation and diarrhea.
  • Eye problems, such as ulcers.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Skin problems, such as mites and fleas.

Teeth that are too long can also be a problem if your rabbit does not wear them down properly from food and chew toys. You may notice that your rabbit is having difficulty eating or is losing weight. Veterinarians can trim his teeth if necessary.

Tip :

Not all veterinarians consider rabbits to be patients. So if you are considering getting a lionhead rabbit, make sure there is a veterinarian nearby who can treat it.

Train your rabbit

Because lionhead rabbits are very intelligent, they often respond more quickly than the average domestic rabbit to learn how to litter. Setting up a litter box will make it easier to clean the enclosure and keep your home clean when your rabbit is allowed to roam. Until your rabbit is used to bedding, confine it to a small area where there is always a litter box nearby.

Rabbits naturally tend to pick a place to do their business. So place the litter box in that spot of the enclosure to encourage them to use it. Also, put some hay in the litter box to get them to enter it. If you see it dumped in the litter box, immediately offer it a treat to reinforce its behavior. 

Change the hay daily to keep the litter box clean, and change the litter every other day. Rabbits do not like to use dirty litter boxes. Also, rabbits that are not neutered are likely to do their business outside the litter box to mark their territory.


Ideally, your rabbit should have at least four hours per day to exercise outside the enclosure. Exercise is important to keep a rabbit in shape and prevent health problems like obesity. Keep an eye on your rabbit at all times, even outside of its enclosure. To encourage it to exercise, be sure to offer it toys such as puzzles, balls, and tunnels.


Lionheads have about 2 inches of fur around the neck and a slightly shorter coat overall. It’s a soft, dense coat that needs to be cared for regularly. Rabbits do clean themselves, but if you help them do so by brushing out loose hair, you can prevent them from swallowing fur. Too much-swallowed fur can cause hairballs that can clog the rabbit’s digestive system. 

Brush at least a few times a week. Take special care with long hairs to avoid tangles and uncomfortable mats. Lion rabbits also go through a more significant coat change phase in the spring and fall, when you’ll probably need to brush more often to get rid of loose hair. 

In terms of other care, you’ll need to trim rabbits’ nails frequently, as they don’t wear down naturally in their indoor environment.

Cost of care

The main costs are food and bedding. Expect to pay an average of $40 to $60 US per month, depending on the breed you choose and the number of rabbits you have. You should also regularly replace worn-out toys and other items in the pen, which costs about $10 to $20. In addition, you must plan for both routine veterinary care and emergencies. 

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