A Visualization of the Lionhead Standard
comments by Gail Gibbons, holder of the first COD for the Lionhead breed

Body........... 25 points
a bit of history if you are interested

The Lionhead's body LOOKS short. The standard
calls for a short, compact type but in reality they
are a little long. They need that little extra length
of body to get up off the table and not have their rearends tucked right under them.

One of the things (besides the mane) that sets the Lionhead apart from other breeds is the body type.
The Lionhead has a standard that says the high
point of the back is at the shoulders and rounds
off to the hindquarters.

That combined with the high head mount and
straighter shoulder get them up. Unlike the Britannia
they do not raise up off the back but rather push up
with their forefeet and forelegs.

A correctly posed Lionhead is really beautiful!

The Lionhead's body is wide.
When you look down at it, the shoulders should
be as wide as the hindquarters. They are not built
like most breeds where the body is rather an egg
shape with the shoulders a little narrower then the
hindquarters. The hindquarters and shoulder
should be the same.

The Lionhead should never have a rearquarters
that are narrower then the shoulders.
(just a hint - that fault never gets better with age)

They also need very good bone to look balanced.
The standard requires it but it should not be heavy
or coarse. The illustration shows a rabbit with a nice
balance of type and bone.

40 points

To understand this section of the standard
we need to remove the wool from the Lionhead.

The body section of the Lionhead Standard has 40 points
which is more then what is allotted to the mane.
That was done on purpose to keep the Lionhead from
becoming just a mane. We did keep a lot of points on
the mane because after all that is what makes a
Lionhead a Lionhead, but wanted a balance animal in the end.

The head on the Lionhead is NOT round
from all directions.

It shows good width between the eyes and a nice
strong wide muzzle. They should not looked pinched
in the muzzle or too wedge shaped in the head. But
they do not exhibit the extreme width you see on
breeds that require a round head.

They should have some roundness between the eyes
and the fore face should not be long or narrow looking.
I often think some breeders confuse the judges not
liking long faces or pinched muzzles with with wanting
a round head.

If breeders do not take care they will find themselves
in the same place some other breeds are - Polish
come to mind - where their animals are placing down
in the class for showing heads that are too Netherland Dwarf in type.

Ears............ 5 points

First point I would like to make is there are ONLY
5 points on ears! Head and ears together are only
worth 15 points. This breed is a not a Polish or a
Dwarf or Holland with loads of points on the head/ears.
Remember that when you look at your Lionheads.
I am sure that as the judges get use to the breed
you hear less about head and ears and more about stance, type and mane.

Also there is nothing in the standard about having
super short ears. If they are under 3 1/2 inches and balance with the body they are fine.
Shorter is not better.

In fact really short ears on Lionheads with really nice manes look silly. The rabbit looks more like
a Cavy then a rabbit.

We allow a 3 1/2 ear on a 3 3/4 pound rabbit.
A little shorter ear of 3 inches on a the ideal
weight 3 1/2 pound Lionhead looks very nice.

The ears are not required to be tight on top the
head even after the line was added about a
relaxed V we still have some judges and
breeders who want tight ears.

Head............10 points
With the mane removed you should be able to see
the basic shape of the Lionhead head.

It is not the same head as you find on a
Netherland Dwarf, Holland Lop or American Fuzzy Lop.
We often see and hear breeders who want "round heads"
when that is not correct. THe reviosed standard now lists
"a Netehrland Dawrf type" head as a fault.

Notice the head set on the illustration.
It is high set on rather upright shoulders.
There is no visible neck, the topline begins right off the head.
It begins level with the back of the head for only a short
distance before beginning to round
off to the hindquarters.

Watch your stock for spines (toplines) that take a dip as
they come off the head before leveling off and starting
to round off as this is a deviated spine and seems to
becoming an issue in this breed. It is
easily over looked as it can be hidden in the mane.

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No Photos or information found on
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Copyright 2008 Gail Gibbons





The photo that helped to define
the Lionhead breed.
photo by Tom Twining
A look at History

The ordinal Lionheads that came into the
United States were low and rather long.
big by today's show standards. The ears were heavy and long but they did
match the longer faces. It was not uncommon to get Lionhead Lops in the
same litters with erect eared Lionheads.

I must admit we decided very early on to write a standard that was different from
the English version of the breed. We made them more upright to better show off
the mane. The effect of the mane is lost when the rabbit is down on the table top.

There was one doe that was born directly out of the original imports the really
defined the breed. When the photos of Wooly Bear appeared on the Internet
she showed the world how lovely the Lionhead could be when they carried themselves up off the table.

The standard was reworked extensively at the ARBA Convention when Arden
Wetzel passed his presentation attempt with Tortoise. At that time the body
of the standard was used to further emphasis the correct body type of this breed.

back to the Visualization of the Standardback to Cimmaron
The pages are proven for your education and use
No Photos or information found on
this site may be reproduced
without permission.
Copyright 2008 Gail Gibbons

Gail, Sarrah & Abby Gibbons
Sara Berks
3276 Walnut St.
Reading, KS 66868
785 528-4414