Welsh's HoneyBuns Rabbitry
Colorado Springs, Colorado

lionhead, netherland and holland lop rabbits
in the pikes peak and front range region of colorado
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Showing Rabbits - General Questions

Have more questions about showing? Send us an email!

  • How do you find shows in your area?
  • How do I register for my show class?
  • What is a Junior rabbit? What is a Senior rabbit?
  • What is a 'Youth' Show and what is an 'Open' Show?
  • What does 'variety' mean on the show catalog?
  • What does show 'A' and show 'B' mean?
  • How do I prepare the rabbits for a show?
  • Does my rabbit need a tattoo?
  • Does my rabbit need a pedigree?
  • Does my rabbit need to be registered with the ARBA?
  • Do I need to bring a working standard to the show for the judge?
  • Do I need to bathe my rabbit for the show?
  • When should I NOT bring a rabbit to a show?
  • What equipment / other things do I bring to a show?
  • What is a 'coop' show? What is a basket show?
  • How do you show rabbits?
  • What does the judge look for?
  • What rabbits may I show?
  • What does Best of Show, Best of Breed, Best of Variety and Best Opposite Mean?
  • How do I reduce show stress on my rabbit?
  • How do I register my rabbit?
  • What are sanctions?
  • What does 'Granding out' mean?
  • How do I become an ARBA member?
  • How do I join a local club?
  • How do you find shows in your area?
    http://www.arba.net Click on show dates and info on the left of the site. This lists all ARBA sanctioned sites in the United States. For a list of District 4 Open shows you can also visit district 4 Lionhead forum here on this site. http://www.welshrabbitry.com/forum Note: Lionheads may not be allowed at all shows and sometimes may only allow certain colors. For more information see the showing lionhead section.

    How do I register for my show classes?
    Some shows allow you to sign up at the show but this is rare. Usually you need to pre-register your classes and mail or email them in ahead of time. Contact the specific show secretary and ask them for a show catalog. The show catalog will have all the show information including the class registration page. You send that back to the secretary before the deadline. The show secretary's information is available on the ARBA site - listed under each specific show. http://www.arba.net . Here is an example of a show catalog including the sheets for show registration. Here is an example of how to fill out your registration sheet.

    How do I prepare the rabbits for a show?
    Make sure they are clean. Make sure their toenails are trimmed. If they are moulting or have injuries you may want to consider leaving them at home. Make sure they are brushed and don't have any knots in their fur. Make sure their ear tattoo is legible and in the correct ear (left ear). Make sure they are not ill and do not have any signs of getting sick. Do NOT paint your rabbits toenails, paint or color your rabbits fur, use marker in the ear instead of a real tattoo, or do anything to artificially alter the rabbits appearance.

    Does my rabbit need a tattoo?
    To show - a rabbit must have a tattoo. In the rabbit's left ear. It must be a permanent tattoo - not an ink marker. For more information on how to tattoo see our health / medical section on this site.

    Does my rabbit need a pedigree?
    No your rabbit does not need to be pedigreed. It does need to be a purebred but you are never required to show a pedigree in order to verify.

    Does my rabbit need to be registered?
    No your rabbit does not need to be registered in the ARBA or any other organization. The only requirement for showing is that the rabbit be purebred.

    Do I need to bathe my rabbit before a show?
    No you do not need to bathe your rabbit. You should make sure your rabbit is clean. And if it is a white rabbit you should make sure it does not have stains or dirt marks on the coat.

    When should I NOT bring a rabbit to a show?
    You should never bring your rabbit to a show if it is sick or showing any signs of sickness. You should not bring a rabbit to a show if it is under 6 weeks of age. If a rabbit is moulting you should also consider keeping it home - this can be a DQ and usually the rabbit is stressed already due to the moult.

    What equipment/other things do I bring to a show?
    Make sure you have food and water of course. Usually you need to bring a chair for yourself depending on the location of the show. Some shows may not have room for you to setup a little are but most do. Bring a copy of your show entry form so you know what you sent in to the secretary. If you are showing Lionheads make sure you bring a current working standard. Bring grooming tools for your rabbits such as brushes and toenail trimmers. I always bring a cloth of somekind to soak up liquid that may spill or to clean up a rabbit who gets poop in their fur or something before the show. If you have an easily transportable tattoo pen you may want to bring that if someone needs a touchup. Bring your 'show table' or something else to set rabbits on while you are grooming them or showing them to other people. A piece of rug or something solid to set them on top of your cages also works. Having some antibaterial wipes are always good. And having a disenfectant (non toxic to rabbits) on hand is good a well. I spray our little rabbit table and carrying cages after the rabbits have been up on the show table. This helps kill anything they may have picked up on the show table and hopefully they won't bring it home. Eventually, if you have a lot of rabbits and cages you may want to get a cart to transport them in and out of the show barn.

    What is a coop show? What is a basket show?
    A coop show means cages will be provided at the show. You are typically assigned a cage when you arrive. This is usually done for large shows such as 'nationals'. Many times these shows will have 'runner's (people who bring your rabbit to the table when the class is called). This reduces space. A basket show means the rabbits stay in the cages in which they were brought. The cages must have a solid bottom so pee and other material doesn't fall out of the cage. The cages stay with you and you just setup somwhere in the showroom with your rabbits. You are reponsible for getting your rabbits to the table when your class is called.

    How do you show rabbits?
    This is the easy part! When your class is called you simply take your rabbit up to the show table. Usually shows have many judges and many different show tables. A list of the breeds each judge is judging will be posted on the table. Make sure you know ahead of time which judge is judging your breed. Once you bring your rabbit up to the table, the 'ramrodder' behind the show table will tell you which slot they want your rabbit in. You put the rabbit in. That's it. The judge does the rest. They will come down the line of rabbits, look over each one and make their comments about each. Note: if you are showing a breed which is not fully recognized by the ARBA make sure you bring your 'working standard'. The Lionhead working standard is available here. You must have one available to give to the judge so they know how to judge your rabbit. Once the class is over you take your rabbit back. If your rabbit has won Best of Variety it stays there to compete for Best of Breed. If you rabbit then wins Best of Breed it stays there to compete for Best of Show. Best of Show is the last class of the day. If you have won best of Breed you can usually get some sort of award. These are available either right there at the class or sometimes at the show secretarie's table. Sometimes there are awards for Best of Variety as well. It just depends on the show. If your breed is sanctioned and you have wont Best of Breed or Grand Champion you can get 'points'. These 'points' accumulate over the year.

    What does the judge look for?
    Each breed is different. The ARBA 'standard of perfection' book is available by the ARBA. It is available at the ARBA website. It lists all specifications for each registered breed. The judge will check for gender, body type, fur quality, teeth health, feet alignment, injuries, moult, fur mismarks, toenail mismarks and many other things. A list of disqualifications and faults for each breed is listed in the standard of perfection book. http://www.arba.net/shop/index.htm . Lionhead are not a fully certified breed yet, therefore the judge will use the current working standard (which you should have on hand to provide).

    What rabbits may I show?
    Any purebred rabbit. Lionheads and other breeds which are not full recognized by the ARBA need to check which colors are allowed at their particular show before they show.

    What is a Junior rabbit? What is a Senior rabbit?
    A Junior rabbit is under 6 months of age. A Senior rabbit is 6 months and over. If your junior rabbit is overweight for the Junior class you can show it in the senior class. But you may not show a Senior rabbit in a junior class. The weight specifications and other show qualities of each breed are specified in the 'standard of perfection' book available through the ARBA website http://www.arba.net/shop/index.htm. Note: Lionheads (and other exhibition breeds) each have their own working standard which list the rabbit's desired traits. These breeds are not in the standard of perfection.

    How do I reduce show stress on my rabbit?
    Make sure the rabbits are not overheated. If it's very hot make sure they have shade and maybe a frozen water bottle to lay next to. Put 'triple acid pack' or some other electrolyte booster or stress reducer in their water. These powders are available all over. You can place a blanket or cloth over the rabbits cages to calm them from the surrounding activity at a show. Placing hay in their carrying holes gives them something to much on and sit in.

    How do I register my rabbit?
    A 'registrar' will be at most ARBA sanctioned shows. You simply show up with your rabbit, pay the fee and the registrar will look over your rabbit. They will make sure there are no problems with the rabbit and then will register it with the ARBA. Your rabbit must be tattooed at that time. You should bring your rabbit's pedigree. Breeds such as the Lionheads which are not fully recognized by the ARBA cannot register with the ARBA.

    What are sanctions?
    Rather than re-invent the wheel, here is an excerpt from a blog on naturetrail.com October 19, 2005.
    "When you see "sanctioned breeds" on a show catalog, what do you think that means? If the show is an ARBA-sanctioned all-breed show, then those breeds listed are the ones that are sanctioned also by the national specialty club. All breeds are sanctioned by ARBA in an ARBA-sanctioned all-breed show. If you show a rabbit at an ARBA all-breed sanctioned show, you can earn ARBA legs, whether or not the sponsoring club sanctioned your breed through the national specialty club. Legs are an ARBA thing. Grand champion certificates are issued by ARBA. Best In Show certificates are issued by ARBA. If you want to participate in the national sweepstakes sponsored by your national specialty club, that's when the breed sanction becomes important. If you want sweepstakes points, or herdsman points, or quality points, you must participate in specialty club sanctioned shows. Now for your Holland lops, that's generally not a problem. I've never seen an ARBA-sanctioned all-breed show that did not also sanction Hollands with the Holland Lop Rabbit Specialty Club (HLRSC). But many exhibitors show more than one breed. That's when this information becomes important. And, many of us belong to clubs that sponsor shows. That information is also important for show planning. If you do not see your breed listed as sanctioned for an ARBA-sanctioned all breed show, here are some things you can do: If you do not participate in the national sweepstakes or do not think you are ready to be nationally competitive in that breed, just show without the specialty sanction. You can still earn legs (if there are at least two other exhibitors and five rabbits). And, you can still have a chance to compete for the Best In Show award. Ask the club to sanction your breed. Sometimes a club is not aware of the interest. Talk to others who show your breed and encourage them to show with you. The more interest, the more likely a club is to sanction your breed. Offer to pay the sanction fee if there are less than x number of entries. That way, if you can get enough interest up, the club would pay just like they do for the other breeds. But if there's little interest, you are guaranteed to have your breed sanctioned with the national specialty club. Offer to pay the sanction fee yourself. Find other breeders to share the cost, if necessary. Get involved early enough that your breed can be advertised in the show catalog. " Here is a link to the entire blog. http://www.thenaturetrail.com/blog/BLOG.html