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There are different types of rabbits which are kept for different reasons. Some are pet breeds while some are meat breeds. Keeping rabbits as pets does not involve breeding them. However, there are certain breeds that are raised solely for the purpose of their meat.
Raising rabbits for meat is a well-established industry. Different breeds are raised for their meat and fur. Taking good care of these animals is very important. They yield good meat for the breeders only if they are well-fed. There are 17 widely-bred breeds. They are given below.
American Chinchilla
Weight: 9 to 12 pounds
This rabbit has agouti coloring on its fur, which means that there are three different colors along the band of hair. The one closest to the skin is slate-blue, the middle one is white or pearl, and the tips are gray. They are medium in length, with a round and stocky body.
American Sable
Weight: 7 to 10 pounds.
These rabbits are cross breeds of the American Chinchillas. They have a very distinct color, which is sepia-brown on the body with a darker shade of the same on the ears, face, back, legs, and the upper side of the tail. They also have ruby-red eyes.
Beveren
Weight: 8 to 12 pounds
This rabbit is one of the oldest breeds. They have a deep, shiny fur which can be blue, black, white, lilac, or brown in color, with gray, blue, or brown eyes depending on the color of the fur. They are gentle mothers, and make excellent family pets.
Californian
Weight: 7 to 12 pounds
The color of these rabbits is mainly white, with black on their nose, ears, tail, and feet. They are a cross between the Himalayan rabbit and the Standard Chinchilla. This breed is generally non-aggressive and friendly.
Champagne d'Argent
Weight: 10-15 pounds
The kits of this breed are completely black in color, and turn silver-gray after 6 months of age. These rabbits are very loving and docile, and make for good family pets. They love human attention. A fully grown and mature rabbit of this breed has a large amount of flesh in its posterior. This makes it a good choice for meat purposes.
Cinnamon
Weight: 8.5 to 11 pounds
These types of rabbits are a result of the crossing of the New Zealand, Chinchillas, Checkered Giants, and Californians. Though they are a commercial (bred for meat and fur) breed, they are somewhat a rarity. They have a brownish-golden coat that resembles Cinnamon color, and hence the name. However, their feet, tail, legs, face, and ears are dark-gray or even black.
Crème d'Argent
Weight: 8 to 10.5 pounds
These rabbits resemble the Champagne d'Argent rabbits to quite an extent, except for the color of their coat. While the Champagne d'Argent has a silver coat, this breed has a crème coat, and the underside of its body is an intense orange. Their belly is cream-white in color.
Dutch
Weight: 3 to 5.5 pounds
This breed has its roots in England and not the Netherlands, as was popularly believed. It's striking characteristics are a white wedge-shape design on the face, and white fur on the hind feet. This breed can have black, blue, brown, steel, or tortoise colored fur. It has been a favorite for meat breeding since the early 1800s.
Florida Whites
Weight: 4 to 6 pounds
This is a small but plump rabbit, which is quite popular for its meat. They were developed in the United States, and are being used in various cross-breeding experiments for meat production.
French Lop
Weight: Up to 10 pounds average
This rabbit is characterized by large lop ears, that are at least 8-10 centimeters long. It has a short but fleshy body, which makes it a favorite for breeding for meat.
Hotot
Weight: 8 to 10 pounds
This breed of rabbits is quite large in stature, and has a bright and shiny white coat. They have black rings around the eyes, which have been retained as a trait even after cross breeding with other breeds.
New Zealand
Weight: 9 to 12 pounds.
These rabbits have a plain-white coat. They are quite healthy as compared to other rabbits, and also make for very good pets. They are a favorite among meat breeders because of their long and slender body.
Palomino
Weight: 8 to 10 pounds
These rabbits have only two colors in fur, gold and lynx. Fully matured rabbits have a broad set of shoulders, and this is what makes them good for meat breeding.
Rex
Weight: 7.5 to 10.5 pounds
The Rex rabbit breed is basically an all-purpose one. They make for good pets, have good fur, and are also a good meat breed. They come in various colors like brown, black, white, chocolate, and many more.
Satin
Weight: 8.5 to 11 pounds
This breed, as the name suggests, has an excellent coat of soft fur which can reflect light. The fur has a clear protective cover over it, which gives it a glossy tone. These rabbits are easy to breed, grow quickly, and are excellent mothers, which are all favorable conditions for meat breeding.
Silver Fox
Weight: 9 to 12 pounds
This breed is jet-black in color with slight hints of silver. They were almost on the verge of extinction, when a charter was issued by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) to its breeders to continue its breeding. It is a gentle breed who's meat has a very high dress out percentage (weight of dead carcass divided by full live weight and multiplied by 100).
Silver Marten
Weight: 6.5 to 8.5 pounds
This is a shiny breed of rabbits which make for great pets. It is almost the size of Rex rabbits, and comes in colors like black, chocolate, and silver.
These breeds can also be kept as pets. Just like any other pets, proper care which includes proper feeding, hygiene, and health care are extremely essential for these animals.