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

There is nothing that seems to cause as much misunderstanding and hard feelings among Lionhead breeders then bringing
up "the Break".

I think it would be useful for some of us to review why this section is in the standard. It first appeared after the standard
was reworked at Indianapolis when Arden Wetzel passed his attempt in Tort. It was the result of a long give and take
between the Standards Committee and the presenters.

That all being said the first question is what is "the break"?


The revised Gibbons Lionhead Standard now states in the section on COAT under disqualifications -
"Lack of a break between the wool of the mane and any transition wool on the rear section
of the lower sides of junior or senior animals."
It goes on to define this further by saying
"The break between the mane and transition wool should be clear and distinct, easily
seen when the animal is posed. If there is a question, simply lift the longer mane wool up,
which should reveal the break of normal fur between the mane wool and any transition
wool on the lower rear side."


I hope this makes the break question a lot clearer, showing that there is suppose to be a place
where the mane stops and normal fur appears on the side of the Lionhead. This is before the
transition wool on the lower sides starts. This rule applies to both seniors and JUNIORS.

The current standard does state that "Junior animals tend to carry more transition wool
and should be given more leniency as long as the side break is clearly evident."
This means that they should be given a little leeway but is not an excuse for the presence of
transition wool or is it saying that it should be there. An Ideal Lionhead junior or senior has
NO transition wool.

From the beginning there seemed to be confusion among breeders and judges on what is
meant by a "distinct break"? Like a lot of other things in most breed standards it is open
to the interpretation of the judge and the breeders. Hopefully this new wording with make
this issue clearer for everyone. The wording in no way changes the original intent of the
idea of a break as agreed to at the Indiana standard rewrite.

The dictionary defines the word distinct as "clearly seen, heard or understood" and the word distinctive as "the fact of marking a clear difference between two things". The word distinct was used and was kept because it was the intent of the standard to say that the break is clear and well defined and can be seen easily. On a properly posed Lionhead you should be able to simply see the break.

I know that The NALRC published an article in their newsletter by Becky Armstrong that says different, but folks do not believe everything you read. That article is NOT correct - far from it. I know Ms. Armstrong was asked (by a local club
NOT the ARBA) to teach at a judges conference which I am sure has caused further confusion. The fact is she is wrong. The standard is defined by the presenter and the standards committee and that is NOT what was intended.

As we can see from the above definitions judges and breeders do not need to dig in the wool or stretch out the animal
to see if they can find a break. The break is distinct and should be seen when the Lionhead is posed either in the show
coops or on the show table or in your cages in your barn.

In many cases this means younger juniors cannot be shown. In most of those cases the saddle coat may be shed
but is seldom finished and they will be beaten by the older juniors with better coats. Or they should be, as there are
15 points on the normal coat alone. Many years ago the detractors of our breed said that the Lionhead would be a
"junior only" breed as we could not keep manes on adults. This single disqualification changed all of that. The little
babies with big fluffy manes, many who would loose them as they lost their transition wool used to win all the time,
it was easy to make them and easy to sell them and easy to win with them. Now as breeders we are forced to work
on setting manes on older animals. I think in the long run the breed benefits.

Following are a lot of photos hopefully they will help in understanding what a break is and what a break is not.

 Lets start with what a break is not  
This youngster is beginning
to show saddle on the top
of the back but there is no
definition between the mane
wool & the transition wool.

It also should be dqed for
wool on the saddle as
it is still way to high.
This Smoke Pearl is just
beginning to show a slight
thinning of wool where the
break will be.

The saddle looks to have
enough shed out to maybe
make it on the show table
This baby has a wonderful
saddle but no break.

I suspect if you do as
Ms. Armstrong instructed,
you may find the start of
a break as the foreleg is
showing nice shed out.
A baby showing some
strong hints of shorter wool
where the break is bringing
to shed out.

You can see the beginning
of the color change as
more normal coat shows.
 The Lionheads in this row are the type that seems to cause the issues at most shows.
I believe that all should be disqualified for no distinct break.
 
A tort is still showing some
long wool in the break area. You can see the line were
it should be but there is still
congestion at the center.

You can even see the crimping of the wool in
that area
This Sable Point also shows
a bridge of wool that connects
the mane & transition wool.

It this case the connection
is higher up. A common area
to shed late on some lines.

A Tort with a very good start
on the break but you can see
wisps of softer longer wool.

This is the type of Lionhead
that when the judges dq,
the breeders get upset. The judges are correct.
This image shows what almost
looks like it has a break. You
can see the normal fur starting
at the foot and running cleanly
up to an area of shorter coat.

The shorter coat is still wooly
you can see the upper wool
has not shed off the saddle
up near the triangle. This
Lionhead also carries
wool too high on the saddle.
 This row is all Lionheads that are very close to having good breaks
Some may past under some judges at shows.
These are the type Lionheads Ms. Armstrong' s article has caused the most issues with.
 

A nice Orange with a start
of a break but it is not
a complete and distinct.

The wool is also too high
on the saddle on the flank


This Tort is really trying hard
but I would still disqualify as
the break is congested by
areas of longer wool.

Notice the strands of longer
wisps of wool left in the
saddle area as well.


Another Tort trying very hard. Still has definite wool in the break area.

If I was judging I would
measure the transition wool
on some of these Lionheads
I suspect it is over 2 inches.
That dq applies to both
juniors and seniors

With Blacks it can be very
easy to see the breaks.
They often get by before the
other colors as the normal
fur is distinct right away. This allows the eye to see it easily.

Too much wool on the saddle
but you can clearly see where
the break is forming

 The Lionheads in this row would pass at most shows.
You can see the break & there seems to be little longer wool in the area.
A judge could still look closely and decide there is still no much underwool and not enough
outer coat in the break area.
 

A Ruby Eyed White one
of the hardest colors to
get the break to look distinct.

This is because there is
no contrast of color
between the normal fur
and the mane wool.

A Sable Point showing nice
shading in the break area
which normally means
they have a nice coat there.


Wool tends to defuse the
color and so if there is not
good color the break
may have a lot of wool
left in the coat.

A Tort with a very clean
break line at the transition
wool. She has wool on
the lower foot.

Currently there is NO disqualification for wool
on the feet of a Lionhead.

A Blue with a nice break.
Still in a bunny coat but
showing good change of
color between normal fur
and the defused wool

 

 From here down the Lionhead should pass on the show tables.
All have distinct breaks and the transition wool is low and off the saddle. Some are juniors and some are seniors.
 

A nicely shed out
Sable Point.
You can see the triangle clearly on this photo.

This junior Tort shows an
excellent break.

Note how it follows the line of
the foreleg. The transition wool
may be a little high, juniors are allowed a more then seniors.

A Siamese Sable showing very nice color.

Again notice the difference in
color between the normal fur
and the defused wool color.

A Black with a very clean
and clear break.

I love the way black
Lionheads show off
the break

A Sable Point almost all
shed. She only has traces
of transition wool left

A Tort with super length of
mane wool, the transition
wool seems shorter. It
would be a dq if it is over 2"

A Blue showing a nice clean
break with good color in the
blue normal fur.

A nice younger Tort

These are what we are
breeding for!


A correct and well shed
out Black




A Siamese Sable
with great mane length
and a very shed out body.




A Tort nicely shed accept
for that little clump right
on the hind leg.

A Tort showing great length to
mane and a very clean body.

You can see the dark color of
the normal fur, if this rabbit had
a lot of wooly undercoat the
color would be much
more defused.

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Copyright 2008 Gail Gibbons