The New Zealand, the Californian, the Rex, the mini Rex and the Mini-Lop are some of the most popular rabbit breeds. People raise New Zealands and Californians for meat and Rex rabbits for pelts. The mini Rex and Mini-Lop are popular pets.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes 48 breeds of rabbit and maintains the Standard of Perfection that describes the ideal rabbit of each breed. Each breed has its own national breed specialty club as well. The national club is a good information resource for locating breeders and promotions for a particular breed.
New Zealand and Californian rabbits weigh 9 to 12 pounds at maturity. This is the ideal range for meat rabbits because larger animals are not as efficient in converting feed to meat. Both breeds are suitable for small farms and for pasture raising.
Rex rabbits produce fine, plush pelts in a wide variety of colors. Their meat is usually better suited for roasting than frying. Rex rabbits weigh 8 to 9 pounds at maturity. People also breed Angora rabbits for fur, but these animals produce wool instead of pelts. The wool makes a fine-spun yarn for knitting.
Small breeds such as the mini Rex and Mini-Lop weigh only 2 to 3 pounds when fully grown and make good pets. The mini Rex and Velveteen Lop breeds have fur similar to that of the standard Rex. Other small breeds include the Netherland Dwarf, the Polish, the Holland Lop and the Jersey Wooly.