I was reading one of the rabbit books that we have from ARBA and I thought to myself, "Hmmm, this is information that all people who show their rabbits need to have." So without trying to copy word for word out my book I will tell you the most important things that I read.
First of all, I must give credit to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc. for printing Standard of Perfection Standard Bred Rabbits and Cavies 1996 thru 2000. I recommend purchasing this book to further your knowledge with all of the breeds.
When your rabbit is on the table it is being judged on its body, head, ears, eyes, feet and legs, tail, fur, color, and condition. The definition on how these are judged vary. Each breed has its own definition.
When looking at the body type I inspect my rabbit like a golfer would inspect the perfect putt. I look at the rabbit from all angles making sure that they have a round rump with shoulders that are not too narrow and not too wide. This is one of the first steps you do when choosing your show stock. Basically you want to make sure that the rabbit is going to show off for the judge in its natural stance.
The head type will vary with each breed. And the eyes should be bold and bright. Do the obvious checking on the head, ears, and eyes.
Check ears for proper tattoo markings. Tattoo's must be visible to the judge. If the judge can't read the entire tattoo the rabbit could be disqualified.
The legs and feet are judged by the way they align with the body. They should be straight. Same applies to the tail. Remember to clip nails occasionally because a broken toenail and a toe that has turned due to long nails will be disqualified.
I have found that the fur is the hardest to match what the judges want. Living in South Texas can ruin the rabbits fur because we have so much humidity here. I have a Siamese Sable Netherland Dwarf. Perfect body type, stance, etc. But because the weather was 40 degrees one day and 85 the next (in the winter time), he has been molting for months now. The texture, density, and condition are the main things checked on the fur.
When you place your rabbit in front of the judge, stand back, listen, and take notes. You will find out every good and bad thing about your rabbit. Some things you can improve on and some you can't. You will see your bunny flipped and flopped and turned in every position. The first time I showed a rabbit I thought, "Oh no, they're hurting my rabbit." Then I realized that they had more control over my rabbit than I did. It doesn't hurt them at all.
Be sure that your rabbit is not a snappy little critter. Judges will disqualify an animal that they feel is going to harm them or other rabbits. Even if it has won an award already.
Listen carefully to what the judge is saying. Once the judge is finished looking at your rabbit you will be able to tell by what they said if it comes off the table or not. At my first show I wasn't paying attention to everything that the judge was saying about my rabbit and when he walked away I left her up on the table. When they came back down to where she was at it confused everybody. They thought they had forgotten a rabbit and they started scrambling through the papers looking for hers. I felt a little embarrassed because I made them panic.
Most important thing is to have fun at the shows and be polite to the judges and to other exhibitors. Never talk about anybody or anybody's rabbit. You never know if they are going to be standing right there next to you. I had this happen to me at a show also. A young girl was commenting to her friend how ugly my Siamese Sable was. Funny. He took first place. I guess the judge thought differently.
I have not even gone over 1/4 of what is in the book that I mentioned in the above paragraph. It is worth investing in.
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