The Mini Lion is recognized by the BRC (British Rabbit Council) but is not included as a breed by the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association).
It is also known as the Miniature Lion Lop and is a miniature version of the Lionhead rabbit.
|Breed Name||BRC Code||ARBA Code||Country of Origin|
|Miniature Lion Lop||L9||–||England|
BRC Standard Of Perfection
- Type… 25 points
- Coat… 20 points
- Mane… 20 points
- Head Ears Crown… 20
- Color… 10 points
- Condition… 5 points
History Of The Mini Lion Lop
The mini lion lop is a very new breed, developed in the UK in early 2000 by a breeder, Jane Bramley.
The Mini Lion Lop shares many of the same features as the Mini Lop apart from the very distinctive “lion” type mane.
The Mini Lion Lop was created with a Lionhead rabbit, Mini Lops, and Lionhead/Mini Lop hybrids.
The Lionhead itself was developed in Europe following a genetic mutation giving the rabbit a longer-haired breed with a striking mane and a bib. As the gene that gives the animal its distinctive Lionhead characteristics is dominant, breeding a pure-bred Lionhead with another rabbit will produce an animal with a mane and a bib. This was the first major gene mutation in rabbits since the Satin gene in 1932.
The mini lion lop was accepted by the BRC in 2006.
Lionheads have also been mated with Dwarf Lops to create a Dwarf Lion Lop.
Mini Lion Lop Varieties
Originally, the Miniature Lion Lops were only available in a few select colors, though the standard has since been expanded to accept several other varieties.
At this time, the recognized colors of the Mini Lion Lops include agouti, black, blue, fawn, sooty fawn, black fox, black otter, orange, white (blue-eyed or ruby-eyed), Siamese sable (light, dark and medium), opal, Siamese smoke, steel, beige and butterfly (what would be known as a “broken” in the United States).
For more on colors – see below…
Size, Weight, Shape & Ears
The Mini Lion Lop is a dwarf breed – Ring size K
Adult Weight: Ideal 3.4 lbs. Maximum 3.8 lbs.
The overall shape should be bold thickset and firm. The body should be short, broad and well-muscled with no visible neck.
The well-muscled rump is short and well-rounded. The chest is broad and deep with curved sides where it meets the shoulders which are broad and strong. The front legs are short and straight. The hind legs are short, strong, powerful and carried parallel to the body. The tail is straight and well furred. A small dewlap is permissible in adult does but not desirable.
The basal ridge of the ears should appear prominent across the top of the skull to form the crown. Ears should be broad, thick, well-furred, and rounded at the ends. They should be carried close to the cheeks giving a horseshoe shape when viewed from the front. The inside of the ears should not be visible from any angle when carried correctly.
Mini Lion Lop fanciers are still currently working on getting all the colors standardized because the Breeds Standards Committee has not allowed all colors that are accepted by other lop breeds, to be accepted within the Mini Lion Lops.
Fanciers are having to present to the Breeds Standards Committee, colors that are already shown in other lop breeds, to get them standardized within the breed. Three generations (with a minimum of two specimens in each generation) of show-quality Mini Lion Lops are required in the color the breeder(s) wish to be accepted.
Colors currently accepted are:
- White (red- or blue-eyed)
- Iron gray
- Light Siamese sable
- Medium Siamese sable
- Dark Siamese sable
- Siamese smoke
- Butterfly pattern
- Black – A deep solid black, carried well down hair shaft with blue/black under color. Eyes dark hazel or black.
- Blue – Deep or medium slate blue carried well down hair shaft with slate blue under color. Eyes dark blue.
- Agouti – Rich chestnut top color with black ticking over an intermediate orange band with dark slate under color. Ears laced black. Eye circles, belly and under tail white with slate blue under color. Pale top color a fault. Eyes deep hazel.
- Sooty Fawn – Even shade of orange/fawn to carry well down hair shaft to a blueish white under color. Ears, belly, under the tail to be blueish black (sooty), cheeks and flanks to be shaded/topped with sooty tips. Eyes hazel.
- Fawn – Bright rich fawn free of black/blue guard hairs, shading to a white under color. Chest to match flanks. Eye circles, inside of ears, the underside of jowl, belly, and the under tail to be white. Black/blue guard hairs to be considered a serious fault. Eyes hazel.
- Black Fox – To be an even jet-black with under color as dark as possible extending to the skin. The chest, flanks, and feet to be well and evenly ticked with silver-tipped guard hairs. Any extension of the ticking up the side and/or over the back to be considered a beauty and not a fault. The eye circles as neat as possible, a pea spot in front of the base of each ear. Inside of ears, the line of the jaw, the underside of the tail and belly all to be white, under color permissible. Triangle to be white but as small as possible. Eyes brown or gray.
- Black Otter – Body color to be lustrous black, uniform throughout, with slate blue under color to reach the skin. The belly and underside of the chin and tail to be creamy-white with blue or white under color, to be divided from the body color by a distinct border of tan. Nostrils and nape of the neck to be tan. Eye circles and inside ears to be fawn. Chest to be a mixture of black and tan, merging with the main body color. The forefeet on the front shall be predominantly black, the tan border between belly and flanks shall be continued down to the hind feet. Faults – brown or rust tinge to the body color. White or tan hairs other than in the patterned area. Gray belly surface. Eyes brown.
Fur Type / Coat
The coat should be dense and of good length, roll back with an abundance of guard hairs.
Legs and pads to be well furred. A small amount of extended fur around flanks is permissible on under five months’ exhibits.
The mane should be between 2-3 inches in length to form a full circle around the head, extending to a “v” at the back of the neck falling into a fringe between the ears.
The mane gene is dominant, therefore, both parents do not need a mane to pass it on to offspring; however, one parent must have a mane. It cannot be “carried” by Mini Lops. There are two genes involved – “M” and “m.”
- The mm would be a rabbit with no mane (so this would be a Mini Lop).
- The Mm would be a rabbit with a single mane.
- The MM would be a rabbit with a double mane.
So some possible outcomes may be:
- mm × mm = 100% mm, so all Mini Lop offspring in the litter.
- mm × Mm = 50% mm and 50% Mm, so half Mini Lop and half single-maned Mini Lion Lop offspring in the litter.
- mm × MM = 100% Mm, so all single-maned Mini Lion Lop offspring in the litter.
- Mm × Mm = 50% Mm, 25% mm, and 25% MM
- Mm × MM = 50% Mm and 50% MM
- MM × MM = 100% MM
Double-maned Mini Lion Lop kits are easily recognizable. They are often informally referred to as “gremlins,” because of their appearance. Compared to a single-maned kit, there is a large difference. “Gremlins” tend to have a “v” shape on the back, where the fur starts to grow.
Miniature Lion Lops live a lot longer than some of the other larger breeds. It’s not uncommon for a mini lion lop to live into their teenage years if their diet and environment are of the best standard.
Indoor lion lops have been known to live until they are 17 years old! However, this breed has a very delicate heart and can suffer from early heart attacks and strokes, despite an excellent diet.
Mini Lion Lops are mostly even-tempered and friendly rabbits. They can be very lively too and are very active, thriving on playing, attention and company.
They must have plenty of opportunities to explore outdoors with toys too, such as cardboard tubes, boxes and even noisy cat toys. Like most rabbits, Mini Lions are much happier with another rabbit friend to play, groom and be friends with.
The Mini Lion Lop was created as a domestic pet rabbit and a show breed.
Rabbit Care & Handling
Like all rabbits, the Mini Lion Lop can develop dental problems, but this breed is actually prone to dental disease. Their teeth should be checked regularly for signs of overgrowth and their diet should include fibrous vegetables that will help keep their teeth down. Enamel spurs and overgrown molars can prevent them from eating properly and can cause abscess injuries in the mouth so it’s vital that the teeth are kept in good order.
Avoid overfeeding. An overweight bunny can find it difficult to groom themselves and if the fur is allowed to become soiled with urine or feces it can attract flies. These flies lay eggs in the fur and the maggots can burrow into the rabbit’s flesh, causing painful open wounds that will require veterinary attention.
All rabbits should be vaccinated against Viral Hemorrhagic Disease and Myxomatosis and should be treated regularly for fleas, ticks, and worms. It’s also worth considering spaying any non-breeding females in order to prevent uterine cancer, which is common in all female rabbits.
If your rabbit is going to live outdoors, their house must be large enough for them to hop at least 3 decent sized hops and be tall enough for them to stand upright on their hind legs. It should be completely weather and waterproof and positioned out of direct sun and wind. The hutch should have shavings and straw on the floor and should also provide a covered area where the rabbit can nest. The hutch should be cleaned out regularly.
Regardless of whether your Lop is going to live indoors or outside, They should have access to a LARGE exercise area when they are at their most active – early morning and late evening. A very large run or secure area of the garden will allow them the opportunity to stretch their legs and indulge in their love of exploration.
If they are to live inside they can be easily taught how to use a litter tray. They must be provided with an area where they can hide and relax completely. A dog crate or indoor cage is ideal but if they are given free run of the house (like cats and dogs are afforded the luxury of) then they will usually find their favorite place, usually under a bed or behind a sofa. Just make sure all wires, cables and anything precious are out of the way and off the floor. Be aware that the rabbit could be near your feet, as they love being close to you, and take care not to step on them when you are moving around.
This should include good quality hay, rabbit pellets and lots of fibrous green leaves and vegetables like kale, cabbage, carrot tops and dandelions with constant access to fresh, clean drinking water.
Make sure you know how to pick up and hold your rabbit correctly. Rabbits can struggle and panic if they’re held incorrectly. They’re stronger than they look and can injure their backs if they fall incorrectly or can give you a nasty scratch in their efforts to escape.
Here is a list of resources to help you care for your rabbits…
- New Rabbit Checklist – General knowledge if you’re just getting started.
- Breeding Rabbits – The best place to start if you are thinking about raising any breed of rabbits.
- Pet Rabbit Guide – Information and resources on the subject of raising pet rabbits.
- Health Guide – Up-to-date information & resources for ensuring your rabbit is in the best health.
- Diet & Exercise – Extensive info about hay, water, safe foods, treats, weight management & FAQs on the diet.