According to the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA), there are over 47 distinct rabbit breeds. Only about a dozen of these are reared in Kenya, the most common being New Zealand White, Californian white, Chinchilla, French lop, Dutch, Checkered Giant, Giant Flemish, Angora and Rex. A survey conducted by Animal Production Division in November 2010 indicated that New Zealand White and Californian White breeds of rabbits are the most popular in Kenya. These two medium sized rabbit breeds (3.6 – 5.9kg) are also rated the most popular for meat elsewhere in the world because of their good growth characteristics and high carcass dressing percentage. Other breeds that are popular in Kenya include the Giant Flemish, the French Lop and Checkered Giant mainly because of their large size.

Some Common Rabbit Breeds

New Zealand White:


Has a good growth characteristic, capable of attaining slaughter weight of 3kg live weight within 12-14 weeks depending on feeding regime. It is one of the best commercial breeds that grows to a weight of about 5Kg and has all-white colour making its fur marketable.  It is considered a dam breed because of its excellent mothering instinct.
Californian White


This is another commercial breed developed in the US. It is bred to have broad shoulders and meaty back and hips and hence has a good meat breed with good dressing percentage. It is shorter and stockier and is white except for its ears, nose, feet and tail which are either dark grey or black. It is an ideal sire breed for interbreeding with other rabbit breeds for purposes of meat production.
Flemish Giant


This is one of the largest rabbit breeds, weighing up to 7kg live weight. Though Kenyan farmers like it because of its size, this breed is not an ideal meat breed because of its high bone to meat ratio and its slow growth. Interbreeding it with other breeds may help improve its characteristics
French Lop


Outstanding characteristic is the large ears that droop around the head. They have short and stocky legs but are heavy – they weigh over 5kg. Though some Kenyan rabbit keepers have shown interest in this breed because of its size, this breed is more suitable as a pet Chinchilla


Originally bred for meat, they are short and stocky with a nice rounded back. There are 3 chinchilla breeds: Standard, American and Giant Chinchilla



This rabbit is mainly bred for its wool. Because of the wool they produce, this rabbit requires regular grooming. It is therefore more suited as a pet than for meat. Dutch


Is a fairly small but compact rabbit with shorter forelegs. It has characteristic markings often as shown in the picture