Lionhead Rabbit Colors: Rarest to Most Common

Written by Linda Bonvie
Published: September 18, 2023
© HutchRock / Creative Commons – License / Original
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What comes in a variety of colors, is affectionate, super-fluffy, cute, energetic, and loyal?

Rabbit enthusiasts will know immediately that we’re talking about the adorable Lionhead. As the name implies, they have amazing fluffy manes that make them look like miniature lions!

Unlike their namesake, however, these rabbits come in a variety of gorgeous colors from pearl to blue to chocolate.

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So what Lionhead rabbit colors are common and what hues are unusual?

Read on to learn more about these amazing rabbits.

Cute bunny - Happy Lionhead rabbit with fluffy fur
Lionhead rabbits come in an amazing array of colors from white to chocolate and almost everything in between!


A Rabbit of Many Color

The Lionhead rabbit is a newly established breed. Although there’s no solid information regarding its origins, many experts believe it’s a cross between a Swiss fox and a Netherlands dwarf rabbit.

Whatever its roots may be, there’s no doubt that these mini bunnies have taken the world by storm.

Arriving in America 23 years ago, it took 14 years for them to be formally recognized. They are now considered an “official” domestic breed of rabbit. Lionheads can be easily identified by their gorgeous manes, but it’s the variety of colors these rabbits come in that makes them so distinctive.

Rabbit Color Genetics

Enter the world of “show rabbits,” and you’ll soon learn that many of these fabulous colors are no accident.

To get the facts on these colorful cuties, A-Z Animals reached out to a well-known Lionhead rabbit breeder.

Nita Shannon, of Legendary Farms Lionheads in Washougal, Washington, raises Lionheads with her daughter Kaela. The pair was responsible for “passing” two new color varieties. That means that the two colors they specifically introduced — Siamese sable and smoke pearl — are now officially recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA).

Once a color is approved by ARBA and published, those rabbits are eligible to win best-of-breed in ARBA-sanctioned shows.

“Passing” a color isn’t always easy, Shannon told us. A breeder must be an ARBA member and present four pairs of their new variety to an association committee during its annual convention.

Having those two Lionhead colors officially recognized took them “many years to complete,” she said.

Cute portrait of Lionhead Rabbit in green field.
The Lionhead rabbit is thought to be a cross between a Swiss fox and a Netherlands dwarf rabbit.

©Katesalin Pagkaihang/

Lionheads in Lilac?

The rarest colors for a Lionhead would be lilac, red and some agouti colors, such as chinchilla, Shannon told us. (An agouti color means that each hair contains two or more color pigments).

As for the most common show colors in the U.S., Shannon said that would be tort and “REW,” a red-eyed white rabbit. Those were the first new colors “passed” by a breeder back in 2013.

Having a new colored Lionhead be considered by a committee starts with presenting a certificate of development (COD) that gives the specifics on what the breeder is trying to achieve.

Other colors that can compete for “best” in breed in the U.S. include chocolate, seal, black, and Shannon’s Siamese sable and smoke pearl.

Currently up for such official recognition are Lionheads sporting blue and sable point colors.

Like other shows, there are standards for Lionheads aside from their color. These include broad shoulders and chest, upright ears, no visible neck, and a mane that is “strong and full of life with a medium texture.”

In the UK, all colors of Lionheads are eligible to take home best-in-breed or best-in-show ribbons.

Cuttest mini bunny lionhead playing with dog.
Lionhead rabbits are extremely social and loyal. They have been known to bond with calm-tempered dogs and cats.

©Giovanny Gava/

Loving Lionheads

There’s much more to these lovely little creatures than their appearance, however. Like dogs and cats, being show certified or having a pedigree isn’t a requirement to be a loved family member.

Due to their friendly and docile personalities, Lionhead rabbits are considered wonderful pets and are so sociable that it’s recommended they be kept in pairs.

They are also known to bond with calm-natured dogs and cats. And like cats, these furry friends can easily be litter trained.

But what makes them so distinctive, that mane of fur, also means they need regular brushing. And like cats, they groom themselves and can develop hairballs if not brushed regularly.

Hooked on Lionheads

Shannon, who has always had an interest in rabbits, started breeding and showing Lionheads in 2005. “Once I saw the Lionhead, I was hooked,” she told us.

And despite all the fun colors these rabbits come in, Shannon would like to see the most basic of all colors — chestnut — officially recognized by ARBA.

“That’s not only the most dominant color but also the color of the wild rabbit,” she said.

List of Lionhead Rabbit Colors

Red-eyed white (REW)Chinchilla
Siamese sable Fawn
Smoke pearlIron grey
Sable pointChestnut
Blue-eyed whiteOpal
LilacSooty fawn

The Featured Image

A Lionhead Rabbit
A Lionhead Rabbit
© HutchRock / Creative Commons – License / Original

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