Show Room Information and other Regulations
Your First Show
I guess everyone goes through the same thing, when they get ready to attend their first rabbit show, unless they have someone to tell them what to bring along. In my case, it was all trial and error, and I can remember not having what I needed on more than one occasion. There are things that you'll need for yourself and your comfort and things necessary for your rabbit. I try and pack as lightly as possible, since everything has to be carried in; and as compact as possible, because many shows have much less than adequate floor space available for everyone's use. Personally, I put everything into a small rolling suitcase, so I can roll it anywhere and it sits up under the carrier rabbit stands, so it takes up very little room. Among the things you take, should be:
1) Nail clippers, in case your rabbit's nails need clipping or in case one is broken, or pulled and needs to be removed. I have had this happen, and it's a messy adventure for sure.
2) Antibiotic ointment is good to have in case of an injury to yourself, or to your rabbit.
3) Band-Aids are good to have for the same reason, only not for the bunny.
4) Hydrogen peroxide/First aid kit is useful for cleaning injuries.
5) Hydrogen peroxide/White Vinegar to clean off a dirty white rabbit. I have used it to remove ink from my best broken doe, after being registered. A small spray bottle, with water, to spray on your hands before rubbing down your rabbits coat is a must. This removes the excess dust and hair from its coat, and gives it a nicer finish.
6) Gauze is good to use with the hydrogen peroxide to apply and scrub with.
7) I always take along corn starch to dust the area you cleaned to aid in drying.
8) A slicker/grooming brush is a must to smooth out the rougher coats, and remove anything stuck in the fur, and excess fur during a molt.
9) I like to take along an anti-bacterial hand gel, to apply if I've handled a rabbit I think might be questionable in the health, and to offer the judge if a rabbit is discovered on the table with a runny nose.
10) A black felt tip marker is a must, both for putting coop numbers in your rabbits' ears, at shows that require these, and to make "For Sale" signs if you need them.
11) If you have business cards, the shows are the place to pass them out.
12) Paper towels are life savers for a million different reasons. For example, a wet paper towel works well to remove previous coop numbers from the rabbit's ear when you forgot to do it before coming to the show.
13) Those metal clips that are like clothes pins are great to have to attach signs to carriers.
14) A small carpet square comes in very handy to groom your rabbits on, particularly at shows that don't allow grooming tables. I put two of those little metal clips on mine to allow me to attach it to the top of a carrier. This way it's not thrown off every time you open the carrier lid, and can travel that way as well.
15) A Folding Chair has really been valuable to me. Easy to transport, taking up almost no room. They are great to have for the long waits, on the concrete floors that are no good to stand on for hours on end.
16) Directions to the show are important for obvious reasons. I read them from the catalog, check them on the map for accuracy and print them out. This way, I can read them. Some directions given in the catalogs are more accurate than others, but you can mark any inconsistency on the map.
17) An apron, smock, jacket or something of this nature, with large pockets, is great to wear at the show. You can keep your grooming tools, and comments cards in the pockets, AND when you stop somewhere on the way home, the clothes underneath don't look like you've spent the day rolling in a horse's stall.
18) I have found a handcart to be a wonderful investment. A small one that converts to a flatbed is the best kind, since its light weight, easy to get in and out of the car, and doesn't tip the rabbits over on their side while wheeling them in. They are available at some discount stores for a reasonable price you can also find some from rabbit show equipment dealers.
19) Extra clothes are very important to have along. Whether its cooler clothes when it can get warm, or warmer clothes for the long days at an unheated show, extras are very important. It can be a very long day, when you get sprayed first thing in the morning, and have nothing else to put on. I always keep a pair of gloves in my case, too, for days when it's a lot colder than the weatherman predicts. An extra heavy shirt can go a long way on those days, as well.
20) Bungee cords, in a variety of sizes are necessary if you plan on stacking your carriers in the car, and on the hand cart.
21) Last, and certainly not least, are the supplies for your rabbits. I am a firm believer that a rabbit needs enough room to turn around and lay down in a carrier but not much bigger than that for transport safety, if he's expected to stay in there for more than 3 or 4 hours. I'm sure there are those that don't agree, but I defy anyone to sit in the same position without being able to move at all for 8-15 hours, and still be in a decent mood when confronted. Another point that there is always controversy over, is supplying water to your rabbits during the show day. I can't imagine denying them water during the entire trip, which can be as long as 15 hours, but I still see people at shows with no water receptacles in their carriers. Even on days that aren't hot...they do need water, and if they're going to stay in condition, and stand up well to the stress, they should have water when they need it. Adding a vitamin/electrolyte powder to the water for shows, is also a good practice. This helps the ones that might be a little stressed by the show scene. Keeping hay in the carriers for them to nibble on all day, is also good.
There is one last thing, that can be a problem at 4 a.m., and that's remembering which rabbits to load. Labeling your carriers beforehand with the names and/or ear numbers of the rabbits you have entered, is very helpful at this hour. It is ALWAYS a good idea to make a copy of the entry form you made out, to use when labeling your carriers. I have also learned that it is a pretty good practice, to place them in the carriers in the order of your entry. The reason for this being, at coop number shows, where you must put the coop numbers in each animal's ear, it is much easier to do it if they are in the order that the numbers run. Your entry should be made in the order shown, and the coop numbers should also be in that same order.
Good luck at the shows, and remember, you're doing this to have a good time, so try and make it as comfortable and convenient as you possibly can for both you and your rabbits.
Showing Rabbits - General Questions
By Carrie L Thompson
How do you find shows in your area?
Click on show dates and info on the left of the site. This lists all ARBA sanctioned sites in the United States, Canada, and some other none US sites that hold ARBA Shows.
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.
How do I prepare the rabbits for a show?
Make sure they are clean. Make sure their toenails are trimmed. If they are molting 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 rabbit’s toenails, paint or color your rabbit’s fur, use marker in the ear instead of a real tattoo, or do anything to artificially alter the rabbit’s 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.
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 8 weeks of age. If a rabbit is molting you should also consider keeping it home - this can be a DQ and usually the rabbit is stressed already due to the molt.
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 a breed or Variety that has not yet been recognized but there is a COD on them 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 some kind 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 antibacterial wipes are always good. And having a disinfectant (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 somewhere in the showroom with your rabbits. You are responsible 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 table writer aka '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'. 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 secretaries’ 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 won 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, molt, 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. . For Breeds and Variety’s that are not a fully certified yet, the judge will use the current working standard (which you should have on hand to provide). Added note non recognized Breeds cannot compete for Best In Show, same goes for Variety’s cannot compete for Best of Breed
What rabbits may I show?
Any purebred rabbit.
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 you’re 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. Note: None recognized breeds 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 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. 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.