Breed profile of the Miniature Lion Lop, one of the newest rabbit breeds developed by crossing Lionhead rabbits with mini lops. They are small rabbits with a mane of long hair around the head, active and social in character, mini lion lops are popular pets.
The Miniature Lion Lop (Mini Lion Lop) is one of the newest rabbit breeds and has been developed by crossing Lionhead rabbits with small lop-eared breeds. The Lionhead originated in Europe following a genetic mutation that causes the growth of a longer 'mane' of hair around the head. The Lionhead gene is the first major mutation in rabbits since the Satin in 1932, and unlike other fur gene mutations it is dominant. The Lionhead breed in Britain was developed from imported rabbits with the 'mane' gene, bred with other small wool breeds and Dwarf breeds. Early on in the development of the Lionhead breed, the 'mane' gene was also introduced into the British Miniature Lop breed (known as the Holland Lop in the USA). As the 'mane' gene is dominant, crossing a pure-bred Lionhead with any other breed, such as the Mini Lop, produces offspring with the Lionhead gene. The Mini Lion Lop has been developed by selectively breeding Mini Lops, Lionheads and Mini-Lop/Lionhead hybrids to establish the breed standard of today. The Miniature Lion Lop was officially recognised by the British Rabbit Council in 2004, initially in few varieties, although several more colours have since been recognised. (Lionheads have also been crossed with the larger Dwarf Lop (equivalent to the Mini Lop in the USA), to produce Dwarf Lops with the Lionhead mane. These are commonly known as Lion Lops but are not recognised by the British Rabbit Council). Lionheads have been imported to the United States since around 2000, where both Lionhead and Lop-eared Lionhead breeds are being developed but none have yet been recognised by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
The Miniature Lion Lop is a small rabbit, weighing around 1.5-1.6kg (3-3½lbs).
Mini Lion Lops have a stocky build, with a short, thick-set body, rounded haunches and short, strong legs. The head is broad with a strongly curved profile, and broad, thick ears that hang down beside the head.
Mini Lion Lops have soft, medium length hair on their body, with a 'mane' of soft wool, 5-7cm (2-3inch) long, forming a full circle around the head, extending to a vee behind the neck and falling in a fringe between the ears.
White (red or blue-eyed), Black, Blue, Agouti, Orange, Fawn, Sooty Fawn, Black Fox, Black Otter, Siamese Sable, Siamese Smoke, Opal, Steel, Beige and Butterfly are recognised in the UK
The Mini Lion Lop breed is not recognised in the USA.
Miniature Lion Lops are quite lively rabbits, although generally good-natured and friendly. They are active, playful, and social and will thrive on attention.
As the Mini Lion Lop is a recent breed and still under development in many areas, temperament can vary somewhat depending on the breeds used to develop each line.
Miniature Lion Lops are prone to dental disease, a potentially fatal condition that is often inherited.
Choose a rabbit with a good temperament and a low risk of hereditary teeth problems, from a reputable breeder or rescue centre.
Mini Lion Lops need some additional grooming, the longer 'wool' of the mane needs to be combed once a week to prevent matting, daily grooming is necessary during moult.
Mini Lion Lops are more at risk of developing hairballs, which can cause potentially fatal digestive problems.
Picture courtesy of Eloquence Stud, UK