If you are interested in showing rabbits.....
- Start by attending a few shows
- Join the American Rabbit Breeders Association
- Talk to breeders about their breeds
- Find a few breeds that interest you.
- Spend time and research the breeds on the Internet
- Start learning the standard for your breed from the ARBA Standards of Perfection book.
- Talk to many different breeders before deciding on the ones you want. You may be able to find nice rabbits for sale at the shows.
- If possible, get second and third opinions on the rabbit you are about to buy.
- Ensure that it has no disqualifying faults.
- Make sure you get a pedigree in hand at the time of sale, and that the rabbit's tattoo matches the pedigree. Many people are still waiting for that pedigree in the mail!
- Buy the rabbit(s).
Okay, you've got your showrabbits, now what?
- Check out upcoming show dates for your area on the ARBA website
- Decide if you want to show the rabbits you have now, or breed them and show the offspring under your name. (you can do both in time)
- Contact the show secretary and ask to be sent a Catalogue. This will contain the information you need to enter the show.
- Enter the show and then wait excitedly for the big day to arrive!
- You will need to buy show carriers for travelling to the show. You can buy these either at the show or at a rabbit supply distributor near you. I like Woody's wabbits. It is nice to have little attached feed dishes and smaller travelling water bottles to go on your carriers.
You'll need to bring a few things with you such as:
- Paper towels
- Hand disinfectant gel
- a grooming table or piece of carpet to put on top of your carriers
- your grooming tools (slicker brush, nail clippers.) I keep these in a small tool box.
- a sharpie pen and paper
- your business cards
- feed for your rabbit (hay, pellets,)
- extra woodchips
- a chair if space allows at the show
- food for yourself
- appropriate clothing and an apron or extra shirt in case a bunny pees on you.
- covers or sheets for your rabbits if they get stressed in the open.
Find out where the show is and give yourself lots of extra time to get lost on the way. Rabbit shows start early!
Get to the show early and check in with the show secretary.
- re-check your entry. Are all the tattoos, classes and sexes correct?
- Pay if you haven't already paid
- organize your rabbits so you know where each one is. When the pressure is on to get them to the table quickly, you need to know.
- Have an extra checklist sheet in your pocket so you don't miss a class. I have them listed in order of classes, and which bunny I need to bring.
- Listen for your classes. There is only so much calling they will do before they scratch your entry.
- Watch the judging. You've paid for a judge's opinion, try hard to listen to what they have to say. You don't have to agree with them, but they may have some points that you can learn from. If you keep hearing an opinion repeated by different judges, especially if it a fault, you might want to pay attention to that. Don't throw away what you think is a good rabbit because of one judge's opinion. I've had rabbits win one day and get tossed from the table the next. If you think it is a good rabbit, keep trying, but don't continue to waste money on it if it is continually at the bottom of the class.
- Be a good sport. Congratulate the winners, and clap for the BOB/BOS winners. That could be you one day, and wouldn't it be nice if people clapped?
- Treat your bunny nicely whether they win or lose...they have no idea what's going on.
- Keep your bunny area neat and compact. Stack your carriers if it is a very crowded show. If your bunny messes on the floor, clean it up. Sweep up your hay and wood chips when you're done, and pick up the furballs left behind. Someone has to clean up that mess after you. Make their job easier.
- Visit, talk, learn, have fun. You will make many new bunny friends that you will look forward to seeing show after show.
- Talk to more breeders of your breed when they aren't busy and learn more about the finer points. Even after all these years, I'm still learning new things.
- When you are more comfortable with the shows, start to offer your help. You can write at the tables, call for the classes, help at the raffles, or just ask the show secretary what you can do to help out.
- Leave your dogs and home.
- Keep your own children if you have them, well behaved and under control. Let them show too.
- Leave the show building quickly at the end of the day, so the show committee can pack it all up.
- Thank the people who put on the show. It is a huge amount of work and these people are volunteering their time so we can have a show!
- Go home and look at your rabbits, and decide where you are going to go. Set goals and reset them as you go along. Dream about your future shows and what you would like to see.
You start out by competing in your class. In Hollands there are 8 classes. First the Solids (any colour, but not broken pattern). You have your Solid Senior Bucks-SSB -over 6 months and not over 4lbs, then Solid Junior Bucks (SJB) -over 2lbs and under 6 months. Then Solid Senior does (SSD) and then Solid Junior does (SJD). Out of these they pick the BOV- Best of Variety (solids), and BOSV- Best Opposite Sex of Variety. IF the BOV was a buck then the BOSV would be the best doe in that variety.
After that, they do the broken class- any colour, just with the broken (patchy) pattern. Again, Broken Senior Bucks (BSB) Broken Junior Bucks (BJB), Broken Senior Does (BSD) and Broken Junior Does- (BJD). Again, BOV, and BOSV are picked. You now have 4 animals left on the table competing for Best of Breed (BOB), and Best Opposite Sex of Breed (BOS).
These are chosen, and then are brought up later to compete for Best in Show (BIS) and Reserve in Show (RIS). and the BOS rabbits all come up for Best Opposite sex in Show.
Some rabbits also compete in a 6-8 month class. There are also more colour classes with different breeds of rabbits, such as Mini Rex, Netherland Dwarfs, and Flemish. Some rabbits are shown together for each colour variety with all the different age categories. Then all the colours come together for Best of Breed.
At the show, it isn't too difficult. You just have to get your rabbit to the right table when they call your class. The table people are good about helping out.
Just talk to people who do your breed to fill you in on the details of your breed.
Other fun things to do...
- Make a website to show off your bunnies.
- Join one of the many Yahoo groups that talk about bunnies such as Showbunny, Canadian Rabbit breeders, Holland Lops. Just do a search for groups that interest you.
- Join a 4H club, or become a 4H rabbit leader.
The Nature Trail...Showing Holland Lops