The Life of Animals | Lionhead Rabbit |Lionhead rabbit is one of the newest breeds of domestic rabbits in the United States, and is currently undergoing the American Rabbit Breeders' Association evaluation process. The Lionhead rabbit has particularly long wool surrounding the face, reminiscent of the mane of a male lion, hence the name.
The Lionhead rabbit originated in Belgium. It is reported to have been produced by breeders trying to breed a long coated dwarf rabbit by crossing a miniature Swiss Fox and a Belgian dwarf. Lionheads may have longer fur around their back legs. Some Lionheads have noticeably longer wool on the cheeks and chest. The breed has been recognized since 2002 by the United Kingdom's British Rabbit Council. The current breed presenter is Theresa Mueller of Seattle, WA. Theresa must make two more successful presentations in order for the breed to attain recognized breed status within the ARBA. Arden Wetzel (MN) was the first Lionhead COD holder, but ultimately failed his presentation. Second COD holder Gail Gibbons (KS) also failed to successfully present the breed to ARBA. Bob Whitman (TX) and Kim Croak (PA), both recently deceased, also held Lionhead breed CODs.
The North American Lionhead Rabbit Club (NALRC) holds its annual Lionhead Exhibition Specialty show in Columbus, OH on the first Saturday in May of each year. Depending on the set of genes a Lionhead gets, it can have a double mane (2 mane genes), a single mane (1 mane gene), or no mane.
Single maned lionhead rabbits have a mane that is around its head, ears, chin and sometimes on the chest. The genotype for the single mane is Mm. Typically their mane wool diminishes as they get older. The genotype for a double mane is MM.As the name implies, no mane. They look like an ordinary rabbit or similar to a larger Netherland Dwarf rabbit.