One of the first questions you need to answer when considering raising rabbits is the breed. According to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, there are over forty breeds of rabbits recognized. One of the best ways to figure out the breed you want to raise is to determine what you are raising the rabbits for. The two main categories of rabbits are those used for meat and those used as pets or show rabbits.
Meat Rabbits: there are several breeds of meat rabbits available, but the most common are Californian and New Zealand rabbits. These breeds are popular because of their size and the amount of meat they produce in a short span of time. Californian rabbits get up to ten pounds and have between six and eight kits each litter. A New Zealand rabbit can grow up to twelve pounds and have a larger litter size of eight to ten kits. There are other meat rabbit breeds you can consider, especially if you are wanting them to be multipurpose. For example, the standard Rex rabbit can grow up to ten pounds and have six to eight kits in a litter. Their fur is also very desirable for tanning. A Rex is popular as a pet or show rabbit as well because of the diversity of the colors that can present.
Pet and Show Rabbits: any of the forty breeds listed by the American Rabbit Breeders Association can be entered in a rabbit show or be good as a pet. One of the most popular is the Mini Rex rabbit. This smaller breed tends to be easy to handle and have a good personality. The Netherland Dwarf and Holland Lops are also popular choices for pets and shows. They are both cute breeds that are very desirable.
If you are considering raising rabbits, determine first what you are raising them for. Once that decision is made, finding a breed to fit your program should be simple.