Lionhead rabbits are probably one of the most popular small pets these days. These adorable furry creatures have a wool mane around their heads, amazingly similar to male lions, as their name suggests itself.
Although originally descending from Europe, they make desired pets especially around the USA. If you are thinking of adopting one into your home, too, here is all you need to know about lionhead rabbits.
The Oryctolagus cuniculus is a dwarf-sized species of rabbits.
Their bodies are round and compact, and they usually grow from 8 to 10 inches in length during their adult phase. Additionally, they may weight from 2,5 to 3,7 pounds.
As already mentioned, what makes lionhead rabbits distinctive and unique is their fuzzy mane around their heads. This is usually at least 2 inches long, making it quite noticeable. The type of such mane varies depending on the rabbit subspecies and it extends to a V-shape at the back.
These extremely cute pets have relatively short ears and come in endless colors- from white and grey combinations to orange and brown variations. Black lionheads are also easy to find.
The lifespan of pet lionheads goes from 7 to even 10 years.
Behavior & Personality
The behavior of a lionhead rabbit depends entirely on the environment it finds itself into.
These fuzzy pets are very shy and can get scared easily. That is why, if owners do not manage to provide them a safe and calm environment, they are risking of having a scared pet, which can ultimately become aggressive on some occasions.
On the other side, those who ensure a quiet and stress-free home to their rabbit pets will certainly get a playful and social companion in return. On top of that, they are really intelligent and can be trained by their owners.
Finally, lionhead rabbits are a great choice for families with kids, both big and small.
Care & Grooming
When it comes to care, the biggest concern for owners is handling the fur of their rabbits. With this being quite thick and long, frequent grooming activities are a must. Rabbits grow thicker fur during wintertime to protect themselves from cold, and they later shed or molt once it gets warmer. However, this does not take a lot of time and doing it once or twice every week is more than enough. Also, there are several special brushes available at every better pet store, which can make the job even easier.
Secondly, some owners like to clip the nails of their furry pets. In nature, they maintain ideal nail lengths with the help of wood scratching (similar to rodents) but in captivity they usually get deprived of some scratching points and that is when their nails grow long and sharp. However, as an alternative to nail clipping, offering them a scratching point around the house can most of the times be simply enough. You can choose appropriate scratching surfaces for rabbits, but a cat scratcher will also work fine.
To conclude, lionhead rabbits do require some attention from their owners, but they generally make low-maintenance pets.
Food & Diet
As for any other pet, recreating the natural feeding plan is essential.
With wild rabbits primarily feeding on grass, the best meal that one can offer to pet rabbits is surely hay. Lots of it. Hay is indeed helpful not just for offering the right nutritive values, but also to avoid excessive teeth growth. That is why this should make the large 75% of their diet plan.
Other than hay, these specific pets love eating basically all sorts of greens, but also fruits. Such meals make delicious treats, and this is exactly how they are supposed to be served- as a treat. A rough estimate of 5% is suggestable.
Last but not least, the final 20% of a rabbit meal plan should consist of commercial rabbit food. Pellets are great because they are rich in fibers and they compensate well for all the feeding values they are missing from their natural habitats.
Providing unlimited access to fresh water is another crucially important must.
With this rabbit species being relatively small and fragile, there are several health problems which can occur during their life in captivity.
Most common issues are related to poor maintenance and refer to teeth and fur. If not being offered the right combination of meal choices, rabbit teeth can grow too long, which can cause complications. Also, if not getting the necessary grooming care, these pets can often swallow larger amounts of hair balls and this can obviously lead to digestive problems.
Another common health problem is obesity, and this is obviously also related to poor maintenance. Offering too much food or even a wrong ratio of meals to your pets can lead to them becoming too heavy and consequentially getting other general health complications.
Lastly, there are some situations which owners cannot really avoid, but are rather connected to the particular flat face of this species. Such specific face shape can sometimes bring to respiratory or eye problems.
The best way to prevent any sicknesses, besides following all the important care guidelines, is to always choose a verified breeder when adopting your new rabbit pet.
- Lionhead rabbits have specific wool manes around their heads due to a genetic mutation;
- There are two mane types: single-mane and double-mane;
- Lionhead rabbits can be trained to play but also to understand some simple orders;
- These rabbits can easily recognize their owners;
- Lionhead rabbits are extremely social and are happiest when living in pairs.
Dwarf rabbits make a common pet across our homes for several years already, and lionhead rabbits are a particular breed which people adore. Even if being relatively new as a species, many families around the world have already adopted it as part of their families. They are very social and great with kids, but they are smart, too.
They do require some low maintenance from their owners but will offer so much love and happiness in return. A win-win situation for everyone.