Showing Rabbits
Ever wonder just how you show a rabbit?  Here is a basic explanation.
No, they don't do tricks!  (at least not any that you had previously planned :-)
In the United States, the American Rabbit Breeders Association is THE organization associated with the rabbit show circuit.  The
ARBA publishes a book called "The Standard of Perfection" which lists the requirements for each breed.  Local rabbit clubs are
affiliated with the ARBA and hold ARBA "sanctioned" shows (see below for more on sanctions).  This means that the local club
pays a fee to ARBA to receive a sanction number and the rabbits shown are eligible to receive "legs" towards earning a Grand
Champion Certificate.  (read more about this on our
Rabbit Speak page or see below.)  ARBA receives an official report from
each show secretary after the show stating the number of rabbits shown and the Best In Show winner.  You can view a listing of
shows at the
ARBA website.  These are listed by state and sorted by month.  

There are 46 individual breeds of rabbit currently recognized by the ARBA.  Each breed has a specialty club dedicated to it.  
Shows sanctioned with ARBA may also be sanctioned by breed specialty clubs, as most specialty clubs offer a sweepstakes
program for members.  The sweepstakes are based on points accumulated through showing.  If a show has an ARBA sanction,
they may  apply to specialty clubs for sanctions for individual breeds.  This means that the show secretary will also send a report
to the specialty club and from that report, the sweepstakes points are generated.  Folks who are members of the club then see
their ranking in several categories, versus other members of the club.

Ok, on to the actual show . . .

Usually entries are required by the official show secretary a few days before the show.  The entries are typically mailed or
e-mailed.  To enter a show, a rabbit must be a good example of the breed and have a permanent, legible tattoo in the left ear.  
No pedigree or registration is required to show.  (Pedigrees are required to
register a rabbit, and registrations are required to
receive an official
Grand Champion Certificate.)  For entries, the show secretary will require the exhibitor's name and address,
the rabbit's breed, ear number, sex and class.  

At the show, you must "check-in" with the secretary.  This is when you will look over your entries to be sure they are correct and
pay the entry fees required.  Then you wait for your breed to be judged.  Usually, there are several show tables with judges and
the breeds each judge is working with are posted near his table in the order they will be judged.  Folks will literally call out for the
breed - such as "Holland Lop - Solid Senior Bucks"  Usually the class is called three times and after that, if all the exhibitors don't
get their animal on the table, the judge goes ahead with the class.  Exhibitors place their animals into the holding coops on the
judging table and the judge will handle them from there.  (if the coops are not completely enclosed, exhibitors need to help hold
the rabbits in the coops, so that there are not problems with rabbits fighting and such)  The judge will place the rabbits, typically
last to first, and give comments on his choices.  The class winner remains on the table to further compete.  And so on, through
all the classes until Best of Breed is chosen.  The Best of Breed (BOB) animal will further compete for Best in Show.  

If you are new, seasoned breeders are usually more than happy to help and always wiling to talk bunnies.  Come join us!  It's
always an interesting day!  

                                                                  More On Sanctions

There are two types of sanctions - First are ARBA sanctions, which are monies paid to ARBA by the club sponsoring the show to
ensure that offical "legs" may be earned (more on Legs below).  Most all rabbit shows are ARBA sanctioned, but sometimes fair
or 4H shows are not.  You must check the show catalog where this will be noted.  

The second type sanction is a National Specialty Club Sanction.  All recognized breeds have national specialty clubs.  The
sponsoring show must pay a fee to the national specialty club for the sanction and the show must be ARBA sanctioned first.  The
national specialty clubs offer sweepstakes programs for members.  So essentially, sanctioning by a national specialty club is for
points purposes only.  People often ask if a breed is "not sanctioned for Holland Lops, can I still earn legs with my Holland Lop".  
The answer is Yes.  Specific breed sanctions are for the purpose of points only.  If you are not a member of the particular
specialty club, you will not earn points in their sweeps program -- and thus the specialty sanction will have no benefit for you.  

More on Legs

Legs are official paperwork from the ARBA, issued by the show secretary.  A rabbit earns a leg for winning first in a class, group,  
variety, breed or show of at least five rabbits with three exhibitors.  Upon winning three legs (one must be a senior leg) and being
registered by an official ARBA Registrar, a rabbit may apply for a Grand Champion Certificate.  A certificate and GC number are
issued from and recorded at the ARBA offices.  
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