The effects of breed, sex and birth parity on the traits of growth, carcass and meat quality were investigated in three different breeds including Swedish Landrace, British Large White and an indigenous Chinese breed – Tongcheng pigs. The results indicated that the Swedish Landrace and the British Large White had advantages over the Tongcheng pigs in growth rate, feed conversion rate (FCR) and carcass traits, but had disadvantages in meat quality. In contrast to the British Large White, the Swedish Landrace had higher average daily gain during the trial (ADG2) (877.04 gday-1 vs. 813.95 gday-1, P < 0.05), and marbling score (MS) (2.48 vs. 2.02, P < 0.01), larger eye muscle area (EMA) (41.80 cm2 vs. 35.14 cm, P < 0.01) and more efficient feed conversion rate (FCR) (3.06 vs. 3.29, P < 0.05), lower muscle shear force (MSF) (4.20 kgf (1 kgf = 9.80665 N) vs. 4.93 kgf, P < 0.05) and backfat thickness (BF) (all P < 0.01) including live backfat thickness (LBF), average backfat thickness at 3 points in the carcass (ABF), backfat thickness between 6th and 7th ribs (6–7 th BF) and backfat thickness at 10th rib (10 th BF). There was a difference (P < 0.05) only in MS between castrated females (CF) and castrated males (CM). Birth parity affected ADG2 (P < 0.05), some carcass characteristics and meat quality, including CL1 (P < 0.001), CL2 (P < 0.05), BF (ABF, 6–7th BF and 10th BF, all P < 0.001), EMD (P < 0.001), EMA (P < 0.001), percentage of leaf and caul fat (PLC) (P < 0.05), proportion of lean and bone of the ham (PLBH) (P < 0.05), muscle drip loss percentage (DL) (P < 0.05) and intramuscular fat content (IMF) (P < 0.05). The breed-sex interaction only impacted the average daily gain from birth to marketing (ADG1) and DL (both P < 0.05). However, there was no significant effect of sex-parity interaction on all the traits tested.