One of the cutest rabbit breeds with the best hair, Lionhead rabbits make an amazing pet because they can entertain as well as relax with their owner. This adorable dwarf breed is a lovely addition to any family with kids. The Lionhead rabbit is not just cute but also a humble, friendly option for a rabbit as a pet. These social, trainable bunnies are as affectionate as they are brilliant. They have a unique coat and are cuddly and playful.
In short, you have all the great reasons to breed this adorable breed. And this article has everything you want to know if you want to breed your lionhead rabbit.
Origin and History of Lionhead Rabbits
Before we learn more about breeding these unique rabbits, let’s look at the general appearance and origin of lionhead bunnies.
Many people think that Swiss Foxes and Belgian Dwarfs are the genetic parents of Lionhead rabbits. There is currently no precise chronology for the mutation; however, Lionheads first appeared in Belgium and France in the 1960s.
The magnificent mane and complimenting physique prompted breeders to selectively breed these mutations until they had effectively secured the genes that resulted in lofty fur. Since the 1990s, lionhead rabbits have experienced a surge in popularity in the United States. The breed is also recognized by respectable organizations, including the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) in the United States and the British Rabbit Council in the United Kingdom. However, these organizations officially recognized the lionhead during the last decades.
General Appearance of Lionhead Rabbits
The head of a lionhead rabbit is bulky and wide, with a slight bulge in the temple area – giving them a look-alike skull structure of a lion, hence the name. Boldly connecting the body to the head, a high head mount stands out, due to which lionheads have no noticeable neck.
A lionhead rabbit has an ample muzzle and alert eyes. These rabbits typically have ears that are two to three inches in height. When at ease, the ears stand in a prominent V shape. The ears are long and slender, with a good amount of hair at the base and a woolier section in the middle.
There are a variety of lionhead hues, including black, chocolate, blue point, and chestnut agouti. Their distinctive manes can reach a length of 2 to 3 inches. A lionhead’s mane may be single or double depending on its genetic makeup. The single mane around the necks of lionheads is relatively thin and sparse. However, a double-maned rabbit will have twice as much fur as a single-maned rabbit.
Height and Weight of a Lionhead Rabbit
Lionhead rabbits less than six months old typically weigh around 3.5 pounds, whereas full-grown adults usually weigh between 3¾ and 4 pounds. However, the female rabbit, known as a “doe,” weighs slightly less than the male “buck.” Lionhead rabbits can reach a maximum height of 10 inches.
How to Breed a Lionhead Rabbit
Understanding the fundamentals of rabbit breeding is the first step to growing your own lionhead rabbit population. At around four and a half months old, most lionhead bunnies have reached sexual maturity. However, it’s best to wait until your female lionhead bunny is about eight months old and your male lionhead is about nine months old.
The following tips will help you ease the breeding process.
Select Healthy Lionheads for Beeding
The best rabbits for breeding are healthy adults. It is best to avoid breeding lionhead rabbits with other types of rabbits. It’s also essential to hold off until they’re breeding age. Until then, it’s best to keep the sexes apart in the dwellings.
Take the Doe to the Buck’s Cage
It is recommended that the doe be transferred to the male’s enclosure. The buck may waste time marking his area in the new cage, and the doe may grow territorial if you switch them around.
After introducing the female to the male’s cage, you can expect to see a brief display of wooing behavior followed by the mounting of the female. Mating is complete when the male growls and flops to the side or back, signaling the completion of the mating process. Your chances of success will increase if you let the pair mate more times, but it’s up to you to decide how often.
Confirm the Pregnancy of the Doe
Your doe lionhead rabbit may not show signs of pregnancy right away. Around 14 days after mating, you should be able to palpate the doe’s abdomen and feel the kits.
You can detect doe pregnancy by holding the animal down gently with one hand and feeling the belly with the other, above the pelvic area. In a pregnant doe, you should be able to touch many embryos, each about the size of a marble. You can breed the lionhead bunny again if the doe isn’t pregnant after two weeks.
Word of Caution: Be extremely cautious to avoid hurting the kits while doing this.
Feeding and Nesting Box of Pregnant Does
While she expects, you should feed your doe a diet high in hay and fresh greens. Meanwhile, she has to be isolated from the buck and the other bunnies. Add some hay or straw to the nesting box and let her finish building it. With a typical gestation period of 31 days, newborn lionhead rabbits should be expected around three days after the female starts nesting.
Lionhead bunnies have litter sizes ranging from three to eight members, and their young can open their eyes at around the 10-day mark. In most cases, the doe will wean her young between three and five weeks.
Separate the Lionhead Babies of Opposite Genders
To your surprise, they will start trying to breed as soon as they are mature enough. Therefore, once infants are weaned, you should separate them based on gender to avoid young-age pregnancies as they result in health problems and abnormalities in offspring.
More on Lionhead Rabbits
Got loads of this adorable breed? It’s best to learn more about your lionhead bunnies to provide them with the best care.
This species of rabbit is known for its sociability and vivacity in play. Lionhead bunnies adore playing with toys like balls and puzzles and can even enjoy using cat toys. This breed’s intelligence and desire to please their owners make them ideal candidates for clicker training.
Diet of Lionhead Rabbits
Lionhead rabbits, like other rabbits, have a lot of fermenting bacteria in their guts. Their gastrointestinal systems have evolved to handle a meager protein and calorie intake. This is why a high-fiber diet is essential for them. Your Lionhead’s digestive system will thank you for avoiding a fibrous diet, which is gritty and somewhat hard to digest but will keep your pet from feeling the need to work too hard to process food.
The bulk of your Lionhead’s diet should consist of hay. It provides essential nutrients and aids in the maintenance of your rabbit’s ever-expanding set of teeth. Pellets, leafy greens, apples, and celery can be added to the diet occasionally in addition to the hay.
The lovely, fluffy manes of lionheads need to be combed regularly to maintain their fur. Do this several times a week; ideally, you’d do it daily. You should always handle things carefully to avoid hurting yourself or someone else. If your rabbit gets matted or tangled up and you cannot brush it out, you can try to shave it or take it to the vet delicately.
The Lionhead rabbit is easily distinguished by its magnificent mane and soft, furry coat. The Lionhead is devoted to their loved ones and enjoys being showered with attention. Their boundless enthusiasm and physical activity will keep you on your toes.
Following these simple tips and the right care, you should be able to breed your lionhead rabbits successfully.