Raising Show Rabbits
As a General Rule Raising Show Rabbits consist of Pedigree registered Fancy Rabbit breeds that can be shown in competitions across the United States. They are Registered with the ARBA ( American Rabbit Breeders Association. They are raised, groomed, and trained to be competition animals. Youth can also participate in Local 4-H Rabbit Competitions.
A show rabbit is a uniquely beautiful animal that can be raised in the comfort of your own home. The show rabbit has been bred for many years to produce an animal with a calm demeanor, large body size, and short legs. This makes them ideal as pets for families with small children or first-time pet owners. Today we are going to discuss some tips on how you can raise show rabbits on your own!
Where are Rabbit Shows
Rabbit Shows are not usually advertised in local newspapers, but they can be found on the internet. Many show rabbit owners will place a notice in their local show club newsletter or show website that advertizes sho rabbits available for sale and any upcoming shows. Rabbit show dates and locations are also listed at national sho clubs such as The American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) which you should check out to find a show rabbit in your area.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association is the largest and most respected Fancy Rabbit club in America today, so this would be a good place to start!
In addition, show rabbits are also shown at the county or regional fairs nationwide from about March through October each year. Shows can range anywhere from large city fairs to small show clubs.
Raising Show Rabbits
This Sport is also called raising Fancy Rabbits! show rabbits are raised to be shown at shows. The show rabbit is judged according to the eight ARBA Standard of Perfection points which include body type, ear carriage, color markings, and more.
A show rabbit will cost anywhere from $40 to as much as $500 depending on the breed and bloodlines.
Before you can purchase sho rabbits at shows, there are some prerequisites that must be fulfilled. For example, sho rabbit raising is a competition so it is important that sho rabbits have had their vaccinations and they should also be spayed or neutered before being sold to ensure they do not breed and pass on genetic problems.
A sho rabbit should be raised in an environment similar to a pet sho or show poodle, high protein pellet diet with plenty of hay and fresh vegetables daily. A sho rabbit’s water bottle should also be checked every day as they can dehydrate quickly if the water is too warm or dirty.
In addition, sho rabbits should be groomed weekly by a professional sho groomer. Sho rabbit breeds may include but are not limited to New Zealand White, Satin Angora, or Mini Rex breed colors such as blue or white, etc..
Show Rabbits for Beginners
Raising and Showing Fancy Rabbits is an excellent hobby for anyone who wants to experience the fun and excitement of show rabbit ownership. In addition, show rabbits are very clean animals that do not have an offensive odor as many people think they might. However, show rabbits can be quite affectionate pets making them great additions for families with children.
Breeds of Show Rabbits
Some of the most common Fancy rabbit breeds include but are not limited to the following:
American Fuzzy Lop, American Sable, Angora (Satin), English Spot, French Lop, Havana Brown. Netherland Dwarf Owtcharama Rabbit, Polish White & Orange Roan with Black Mask Satin.
Fancy Rabbits can also be found in many colors including but not limited to blue, white, tortoiseshell, and more.
There are many different sho rabbit breeds that can vary in size, temperament, and coloration from one breed to another. In addition, there is a vast array of show supplies available for show rabbits including but not limited to show cage-mats or shavings, show ramps & tunnels with hay rack toys which will help keep show rabbits entertained.
Fancy Rabbits have pureblood certificates called show pedigrees or show certificates. These show papers are also sometimes referred to as the show line, show book, and pedigree label.
A show rabbit’s show certificate will have three major components on it which include the animal identification number (or ear tattoo), breeder information such as the name of owner/breeder along with contact information, show information including the show name, and date.
In addition, show certificates will also include a notation as to what show the class your rabbit was shown in such as junior or senior which is noted on the lower right-hand corner of many show pedigrees that indicate Junior Mature or Senior Mature for example.
However, if a show rabbit has show papers that do not have show class information on them, then the show pedigrees are considered to be either a pet pedigree or an unregistered show rabbit.
Fancy Rabbit Registration Papers
It is important that you register show rabbits as show pedigrees are required for show entries. In addition, show registration papers enable you to receive a copy of the show pedigree which is necessary if your bunny ever gets lost or stolen.
To avoid having to pay high prices at specialty sho shows, it’s best that you get started raising show rabbits by purchasing them from an experienced show breeder. In addition, show breeders will often times have show quality show rabbits for sale at a relatively low price which can help save you on the initial costs of your show rabbit operation if that is the route you decide to take.
This means that your Rabbits Papers have been looked at by an approved registrar and show that your rabbits are purebred and the offspring of two registered parents.
The Registrar is licensed by the ARBA to show that they have the expertise to look over your show papers.
For example, for show rabbits with parents who are both registered a show certificate is issued to be able to breed and register their offspring as show pedigrees. In addition, this means you can take these purebred babies anywhere in the country and be sure of getting awards at shows.
Breeders show their show rabbits at specialty shows and the animals are judged by an approved judge who is experienced in show judging.
Many times, these judges will be breeders themselves or have been around show rabbits for a long time. In addition, show rabbits can either compete as single animals or as pairs of two depending on show rules.
In addition, to show certificates, show rabbits will also have a show pedigree containing the same information as show papers but with different classifications such as “Champion” or “Premier”.
However, both show pedigrees and show papers are considered fancy rabbit registration documents which can be found on both purebred fancy rabbits and show rabbits that do not show quality.
Items to Take with you to Rabbit Shows – Checklist
- ARBA Membership Card
- Business Cards
- Camera and Batteries
- Cell Phone
- Comfortable Folding Chairs
- Personel Items
- Show Coat
- Grooming Items and Supplies
- Drink Cooler
- Coat / Jacket
- Copy of ARBA ” The Standard of Perfection “
- Water for your Rabbits
- Rabbit Carriers
- Entry Forms
- Hay and Food for your Rabbits
- Tatoo Kit for Touchups
- Rabbit / Rabbits that you are going to Show
How to Show Rabbits in 4-H
Youth can also join a local show as show rabbits can be shown by youth under the age of 18.
In addition, show entries are allowed for all breeds and varieties that meet ARBA standards. However, show quality animals should only enter shows if they have been groomed appropriately to ensure judges will not disqualify them because of poor grooming practices or improper hair length which is oftentimes a problem with show rabbits that have been raised by show breeders rather than show hobbyists.
4-H projects for youth show rabbits can include showmanship, show grooming, and show preparation.
Showmanship – Show Rabbits are judged on their type which is how they look in conformation to the ARBA standard for that breed or variety of rabbit. In addition, show judges also take into consideration a bunny’s posture when it comes to looking at its body structure and show quality.
Grooming – Show Rabbits should be groomed before showtime to ensure that their hair is lying flat and smooth on the body as show judges do not like to see a rabbit with fuzzy or unkempt fur which can sometimes occur if rabbits are living in less than ideal conditions such as wire cages with little room for exercise.
Show preparation – show rabbits must be prepared in the correct manner which includes shaving off all of their furs to make show bunnies look like show quality animals (done by professional rabbit show groomers), cleaning out their ears, and grooming them correctly with special show scissors that are designed for this purpose. Show accessories such as body brushes and show combs are also needed to ensure show rabbits look their best.
Making the Most of Rabbit Shows
Always show your rabbit in its prime – if you have a show quality bunny that has not been shown for many months, do not enter it in shows because there is no guarantee that this animal will be shown quality anymore which means you will end up with a worse show record.
In addition, rabbits that are show quality should not be bred as this will cause them to lose show points and any show entries they have made in the past. In some cases, if a rabbit has been shown before but is now older than 18 months of age or more which means it cannot compete anymore, show hobbyists will stop show entries for the show record of this animal which means it cannot compete with other rabbits (but can still be shown in exhibition only).
Finally, when you are at a show always make sure to talk to experienced show rabbit breeders and exhibitors as they may have some useful information about how best to groom your show rabbit or show rabbits.
Show Rabbit Breeds
The Popular Breeds for Fancy Rabbits include:
– American Fuzzy Lop
– Checkered Giant
– Dutch (aka show)
– English Angora – Note: Do not show in UK, Australia, or NZ. This is a disqualification if shown there!
– French Angora (aka show)
– Havana (not shown in the USA; recognized by ARBA but has never made it into the show list) – Note: This breed is not showable if you are showing under US rules!
– Himalayan / Black Checkered Giant
– Jersey Wooly
– Lop (aka show)
– Mini Rex – Note: Do not show in UK, Australia or NZ. This is a disqualification if shown there!
– Mini Satin Angora – Note: Do not show in the UK; this is a disqualification if shown there!
– Netherland Dwarf – Note: This breed is showable in USA, UK and Australia; disqualified in NZ!
– Palomino Mini Lop – Not currently recognized by ARBA.
– Polish (not shown in North America) – Note: Do not show under US rules if you are showing there!! Disqualified for show or exhibition if shown elsewhere!
– Silver Martin – showable in the USA, not currently showable for exhibition or show anywhere. Currently being shown as an exhibition only rabbit by UK and Australia breeders!
– Tan Satin Angora – Not showable under US rules; this is a disqualification if shown elsewhere!! Disqualified for show or exhibition if showed elsewhere!
– Tans – showable in the USA, not currently showable for exhibition or show anywhere. Currently being shown as an exhibition only rabbit by UK and Australia breeders!!
– Teacup Lop (aka show)
– Other breeds: there are literally hundreds of different types of rabbits that can be raised to become show rabbits including Giant Angoras, Belgian-haired show breeds, Flemish Giants, and many others.
Most of these types are showable under US rules if raised in the USA; disqualified for show or exhibition elsewhere!! Note: This is a disqualification if shown there!
Note that only about 20+ – 25% of all rabbit show breeds are showable under US rules if raised in the United States
How to Prepare a rabbit for show
When show rabbits are all groomed and ready to be shown they should look their very best. In addition, show rabbits must also have a show-type coat which means that the rabbit’s fur is clean and healthy-looking with shiny guard hairs – not dirty or matted!
A show rabbit will always need a bath before going into the show ring and show rabbit owners will need to brush out their show rabbits in order to get the best results.
Owners should also make sure that there are no burrs or twigs stuck in a show rabbit’s fur which would be unsightly when showing!
In addition, show rabbits must have all nails trimmed prior to going into the show ring.
Finally, show rabbits should be kept on a show diet which will ensure they are in their best show condition.
At the show, the judge may feel your show rabbit’s coat to determine if it is of good show quality or not!
American Rabbit Breeders Association or
All show rabbits are judged by the American Rabbit Breeders Association or ARBA.
ARBA is responsible for creating and maintaining breed standards, keeping show records on all show breeds in North America, developing new show rabbit breeds (such as the Mini Satin Angora), training judges, hosting an annual national convention that features more than 500 show rabbits and sponsoring the World Rabbit Convention every five years.
ARBA also establishes show rules, show guidelines and show entry information for all show rabbit breeds in North America; this is where you will find out what type of show rabbit breed you have!
If your show rabbit does not meet ARBA’s breed standard it cannot show in North America; show rules and disqualifications can be found on ARBA’s show rabbits website.
ARBA membership is required to show, breed, or purchase show rabbits (including pet quality show rabbits) because it ensures that show rabbit owners are responsible!
Only members of the American Rabbit Breeders Association have access to all of these benefits!
All show rabbits must be registered with the American Rabbit Breeders Association in order to show; show rules and disqualifications can be found on ARBA’s show rabbits website.
ARBA registration is required for all show breeds (including pet quality show rabbit breeds) because it ensures that breeders are responsible! Only members of the American Rabbit Breeders Association have access to all of these benefits!
ARBA provides show judges with the proper training and education needed for show bunny judging; show rules can be found on ARBA’s show rabbits website.
All show bunnies must conform to an approved standard in order to show or breed – any deviation from this is a disqualification!
These show standards and show rules can be found on the ARBA Show rabbits website.
Rabbit Sports Tattoos
Rabbits that are shown are tattooed in the show ear.
Each show rabbit breed has its own unique tattoo which is registered with ARBA so that no one else can use it! The show tattoos are usually placed in the left show ear unless otherwise specified for a particular show breed. Show rabbits must have their show tattoos to be shown or even to enter into shows, they cannot compete without show tattoos on their show ears.
Show rabbits must have all show tattoos to be shown or even to enter into shows, they cannot compete without show tattoos! Show tattoo registry can be found at the ARBA website and is only available to members of the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
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In conclusion show rabbits show in a variety of colors and sizes – ARBA provides show judges with the proper training and education needed for show bunny judging! Show rules can be found on ARBA’s website which is only available to members