The Californian was bred to be a meat breed, and to have light bones, and a high dress out weight of meat. They live up to their names.

In tests, Californians put on weight a little less rapidly than New Zealand rabbits, and reach a slightly lower weight by 8-9 weeks of age, but when dressed out, they produce an equal weight carcass (because they have a higher muscle to entrails ratio), and when boned out, produced slightly more, due to their finer bones.

Mature rabbits have a high muscle density, and the rules for monitoring obesity are different. For other rabbits, the spine should not be indented, but it is normal for Californians, due to the high muscle mass.

When bred to other breeds, Californian bucks will pass on the dense muscle, light bones, and slightly smaller finish weights. This is a great benefit, especially when crossing to Flemish for a larger rabbit.

We have found Californians to be hardier than New Zealand, and good converters of pretty much any kind of feed to good meat. They love natural food diets, and when fed natural fodder their curious personalties really come out.

They wean large litters, and are not as fussy about food variations during pregnancy.

Californians have a higher fur quality than New Zealands, having been bred for production of quality fur along with rapid fryer production.

They are, hands down, our first choice for meat production, and if we cannot find purebreds, we locate a buck that has dominant Californian traits for crossbreeding.

  • Type - meat
  • Size - medium large
  • Production Capability - very productive breeders
  • Special Features - light bones and heavy muscling passed on to offspring in crossbreeds.
  • Best for Farms - a good solid homestead or meat production rabbit
  • Egg, Milk, Meat Features - heavily muscled meat
  • Other Products - not applicable
  • Historic or Contemporary Significance - excellent for utility purposes on small farms
  • Housing and Space Requirement - typical for meat rabbits
  • Regional Adaptations - very adaptable
  • Feed Requirement - typical
  • Other Considerations - Californians have a black nose, and black ears. Full grown rabbits will have well rounded shoulders, and will look muscular. There are many rabbits listed as Californians which are actually crosses, and purebreds can be difficult to find, but they are worth locating.



There are a gazillion rabbit breeds. We don't have all the good meat rabbits listed here (if we missed a particularly good one, let us know, it does not have to be endangered).

Rabbits produce a lot of young, so they are subject to fairly lax endangerment standards. They are not considered endangered until there are very VERY few left - the numbers are much lower than for many other species.

This means that some breeds NOT considered endangered may still be very difficult to obtain. It also means that by the time they ARE endangered, they may be IMPOSSIBLE to obtain. But many are still available unregistered, even when considered endangered. It is confusing.

If it is practically impossible to obtain the animals, we have not listed them. If they have genetic problems, are difficult to breed to a fussy standard that is irrelevant to utility, we have also not included them as a rule.

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