There are more than 45 breeds of rabbits in the world, but only about 17 have a “commercial” body type (large, plump, meaty) that are preferable for meat production. The characteristics that make some breeds of meat rabbits better than others are a higher meat-bone ratio, rapid growth, coat color, and ease of grooming.
Adult size: medium (7-10 pounds / 3.5-4.75 kilograms)
California rabbits were developed in the US in the 1920s to provide good meat and fur production. Californians are a cross of Himalayan White, Standard Chinchilla and New Zealand rabbits and are currently the second most popular meat producing rabbits in the world. The body is plump but fine boned. California rabbits closely resemble the Himalayan rabbit with a predominantly black and white body on the legs, nose, ears, and tail. Their average litter size is 6-8 rabbits.
Adult Size: Large (8-12 pounds / 3.6-5.4 kilograms)
Despite the name, New Zealand rabbits were first bred in the United States in 1916 for meat and fur production and are currently the number one meat rabbit in the United States. They come in several different colors (black, red, and white) but white rabbits are the most popular for meat production due to their large, broad, and muscular bodies. When mature, males weigh 8-10 pounds and females 9-12 pounds. New Zealand rabbits are ready to be slaughtered as deep fryers after just 2 months. Their average litter size is 8-10 rabbits.
Adult Size: Small (4-6 pounds / 1.8-2.7 kilograms)
Although this rabbit is quite small, it was raised in Florida in the 1960s as a meat rabbit that would also be functional for laboratory use. Their fur is white with good density and texture, and they have a compact, fleshy body, short neck, and small head.
Palomino rabbits have a smaller bone structure than other meat rabbits, giving them a higher proportion of meat. But they take a little longer to grow. Dollars weigh 8-10 pounds and generally range between 9-11 pounds. The litter size is usually 8 kits, but it can vary from 6 to 12. Palominos come in two colors: Golden and Lynx. The gold has a golden orange / brown color (as the name suggests) and the lynx has a slightly more gray or silver hue to the coat. They have a very docile and friendly temperament.
Adult size: medium (8-11 pounds / 3.6-5 kilograms)
The Beveren is one of the oldest and largest breeds of fur rabbits, originally from Belgium. Their coats can be blue, white, black, brown and lilac. They are a rare breed but well tempered, clean and intelligent. The coat is quite long (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches), dense and shiny. The breed is hardy and well suited for meat production due to the large litter size, the young grow quite fast and the females are usually docile and good mothers.