We have fantastic fun showing our rabbits. It's a great place to meet our friends who have the same enthusiasm for rabbits as we do and it is at these shows we have learnt a great deal about our favourite animal.
Here is some information on showing. Have a read and you never know you may decide you might like to give it a try!
It is a great social activity with people who have the same love of rabbits as yourself. You can have contact with experts and hobbyists who have been in the fancy (as we call it) for a great many years and know huge amounts about rabbits, even things that the vets don't know. They have lots of useful tips and you can learn a lot from them.
As long as your rabbit is introduced to showing gently it will soon become accustomed, most are comfortable at shows and many love all the attention and excitement.
How to get involved
Rabbit shows are advertised in the Fur & Feather magazine, which is published monthly. If you are entering into a BRC show you will need to be a member of the BRC (British Rabbit Council) and the rabbits you are entering need to be rung and registered with the BRC under your name or your stud name.
If you are buying a rabbit from a breeder such as myself and wish to show, you will need to request from them a show quality rabbit and ask that it be rung. Ringing is a form of identification, a small aluminium ring is put on the back leg of the rabbit when it is young. The ring is registered with the BRC under the breeders name, so when you collect your rabbit you will need to obtain a signed ring transfer card from the breeder so you can transfer that rabbit into your name.
Once you have chosen a show you must enter before the closing date (usually about 1 week before the show takes place). Most shows can be entered by phone but some of the big shows are postal entries only so allow enough time for your entry to arrive.
Many shows will include a Pet show, which can be entered by anyone and you do not have to be a member of the BRC (British Rabbit Council) to enter. Any rabbit of any age, breed, size or colour can be entered into these pet shows, but cannot be entered in the main BRC show as well.
Usually the Pet shows are divided into classes such as 'Boys Pet' and 'Girls Pet'. The pet rabbits are judged on health, condition, cleanliness and temperament and winners usually receive rosettes and sometimes trophies.
Once you have become a member of the BRC and your rabbit is registered with them you are all set to be able to enter the main shows and enjoy the excitement of seeing your rabbit judged and if you are lucky winning.
There are different classes for each breed, age, colour and sometimes sex of rabbit. The classes are then grouped in to 4 sections; Lop, Fancy, Fur and Rex and there are different judges judging different sections.
Most shows usually have a Junior COM show for Junior exhibitors (children under the age of 16), again they must be members of the BRC. There is usually less competition in this show as adults cannot enter, giving the younger fanciers more of a chance of winning a class and therefore fuelling their enthusiasm for the hobby. There is always a trophy or large rosette to win for 'Best Junior'. Juniors can enter their rabbit in to the main show as well if they wish.
Preparation for a Show
Rabbits should arrive at a show thoroughly groomed, clean and claws neatly trimmed. Grooming involves removing any dead hair and untangling knots and should be started at least a week before the show.
You must get into all the awkward places such as under the chin, the inside of the legs and around their bottom. If you need to clean a stained area make sure you only use an unscented shampoo or mild washing up liquid as anything stronger could trigger a bad skin reaction and cause sores and baldness.
You will be transporting your rabbit in a carrying box so make sure it is filled with clean bedding.
You will need to take food and a water bottle for your rabbit to have during the show and it is wise to take your grooming equipment as your rabbit could get a little messy during the journey to the show. It is a good idea to purchase yourself a white lab coat. These are worn by exhibitors as protection from excited rabbits messing or nibbling on their clothes.
At the Show
Once you arrive at the venue, which should be at least half and hour before the judging starts, you must unbox your rabbit, give it a quick once over groom and then find the right pen to put it in. There are usually booking in slips left on a table near the entrance with your name and pen numbers on etc.
Once you have penned your rabbit you must write your ring numbers on the booking in slip and take it to the secretary's table to pay your entries.
The judging usually starts at 10 or 10.30am and the excitement begins!
Stewards help the judge by fetching rabbits from their pens to the judging tables, holding them whilst the class is taking place and them returning them back to their pens when the class has ended. This is a fun way for you to get involved with the show and a good place to be standing to watch your rabbit being judged. However it is very important that you do not let the judge know which rabbit is yours!!
During the show the book steward is given class results and issues prize cards which are put on the winning pens. This is how you can keep track of the winning rabbits and if you are lucky you may receive a card or 2 yourself.
Once the last class is judged all the judges get together to judge the 'Best In Show' rabbit from the winning sections. Then the prizes and trophies are presented to the winners and the show is over. If you have won any prize cards you can claim your prize money from the secretary, then box your rabbit up and set off home.
Good luck and enjoy!!