In Europe, more than 60 breeds are described by the national associations of rabbit breeders. However, these breeds are scarcely used in the commercial production of rabbit meat in Europe, which is based mainly on commercial strains. A European programme, coordinated by the I. N. R. A., has been initiated to realise the inventory of all these breeds and to evaluate the zootechnical value and the genetic characteristics of some of them. Through the European association of rabbit breeders and the FAO national focal points, all the European countries have been asked to fill out a questionnaire describing their populations of rabbits. A data bank is being set up, which will be included in the FAO (DAD-IS) and EAAP data banks. A sample of 10 breeds has been chosen (Flemish Giant, French Lop, Belgian Hare, Vienna White, Champagne Argente, Thuringer, Fauve de Bourgogne, Chinchilla, Himalayan, British). Their zootechnical value (reproduction, growth and carcass traits) is being evaluated on three experimental farms, in comparison with a control breed. At the same time, their genetic polymorphism and the genetic distances between these 10 breeds are calculated on the basis of microsatellites, mitochondrial DNA, other genetic markers and protein polymorphism. Finally, a bank of frozen embryos from these 10 breeds is being constituted.