First Show

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tori

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Hi all. I am really hoping to go to my first show next month. Problem is, I have noidea to expect! I am used to showing dogs so I don't know if they are at all similar. I've seen some past threads and they mention taking carriers as you may bring home a bunny.At a dog show this would NEVER happen unless it was pre-planned so this is very foreign to me lol In the dog world its actually sometimes hard to meet breeders because some are just very wary. This has kind of made me even more shy so I hope rabbit people are maybe more welcoming!

So if ya'll could just give me the lowdown on what to expect, what will go on, I am all ears because I am completely in the dark over here! :blushan:

*a very excited* Tori
 

Pet_Bunny

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Welcome to the forum Tori. :welcome1

At my first show, I had no idea either. :D There was so many different breeds and rabbits to see. And I didn't understand all the terms BOB, BIS they were talking about. It took me a few shows before I got the hang of things. It is a good chance to learn about the different rabbits and meet the breeders.

Yes there will be rabbits for sale at the show. Many breeders will have rabbits that are pre-planned or already sold and they are using the show to deliver their rabbits. Many others will bring their rabbits in for sale and will also hope to buy new rabbits from other breeders. Hopefully you don't buy on a whim, but have a plan if you do want a certain bunny.

I almost bought a bunny at my first show. It was a beautiful Holland Lop that the breeder wanted $60.00 for it. But after the bunny won Best of Breed for juniors, the breeder decided to keep it.
 

TinysMom

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First of all - before you go to the show - research bunnies and if you're wanting to get a rabbit - know what breed or breeds you are considering. Also decide - are you looking for a rabbit to be a pet - or to show as a hobby?

Secondly - wear comfortable shoes. I also recommend not bringing a purse or anything you have to carry - but instead wear a fannypack type thing with your cash and ids and stuff. If you want to bring a camera - thats a great idea.

Put a folding chair in your car - many shows have spaces for you to bring in a folding chair and sit and trust me - you will want to sit.

Bring cash for the raffle tickets - who knows - you may see something you want to try for...the raffles help the club earn more money to put on the shows.

The shows are usually free (unless you're entering a rabbit to be shown - then you pay an entry fee for the rabbit).

Now - if you're wanting to buy a rabbit or rabbits - and you know whether or not you want to show them - then here is what you need to do...

a. For showing rabbits - watch the breed being judged first to see how the judge judges them. Talk to breeders (even if they're not selling rabbits) and see if they will show you how their rabbit meets the standard for that breed. Many breeders are willing to help others learn...its a matter of finding the right person. HINT: Go with the person who wins BOB or BOS (Best of Breed or Best Opposite Sex). Or find someone you can see is talkative.

If you're looking at a rabbit - ask them to show you how the rabbit measures up to the standard. In fact - if there is a friendly judge there - you might want to ask them in their "down" time if they could look at the rabbit for you since you have never shown before. Mainly ask if there are any dq's that you're missing.

For a pet rabbit - forget looks - forget show-a-bility - find the friendliest rabbit you can find. Sit and play with the rabbit and if the breeder won't let you handle the rabbit for a bit- move on. You want a pet that will be a pet - and you want to see how it interacts with you.

Be prepared to like a rabbit and have the breeder tell you "no". More than once I didn't sell a rabbit at a show because while I liked the person - I felt like the rabbit wasn't a good match for them. It was nothing against the person - it was that the rabbit just wasn't a good fit - either too shy or too aggressive and the person was inexperienced. In that case - I would encourage them to handle other rabbits and see if we found a good fit.

Some breeders will take checks - some will only take cash. Be prepared with CASH. Don't be afraid to ask if the person will sell the rabbit cheaper. For instance - let's say you like a rabbit that is $50 - the show closes in an hour and the rabbit isn't sold. Ask the person if they'd be willing to accept $35 CASH or something like that. Many breeders (like myself) might want the empty cage and be willing to do so. Then again - they might have said $50 FIRM. (I'm just pulling a number from my head).

Be prepared to either have snacks in the car and drinks too - or buy them there. Once again - CASH!

That is all I can think of for now - hopefully others will have more suggestions.
 

BlueGiants

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Welcome to the Forum! I used to show dogs too... and yes, I have found Rabbit people MUCH friendlier and MUCH more helpful than Dog handlers and breeders.

What breed are you interested in? Look for that breed and see which table they will be shown on. Hang out around there and watch the judging. Listen for comments. Talk to the breeders (not while their rabbits are on the table!) And get a feel for the breed and what to look for.

And most important, have a good time... Rabbit shows are a lot of fun!
 

tori

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I am glad to hear that rabbit people are more helpful! Don't get me wrong, I have met some wonderful people at dog shows, but some... would really rather not talk to you, and they pretty much let you know lol

I had Mini Rexes before but I am looking at other breeds. I'm actually researching breeds now! I don't know if I will go with the intent to purchase. If so it will definitely be after I already have the enclosure set up and everything, just missing the bun. I am also not sure if I want a rabbit for show or just pet. I'm thinking just pet but I think a lot of that comes from being so used to dog breeders not usually selling a show quality puppy to someone who has never had a show dog before, and I have never owned a show rabbit before. But it really does seem like a fun thing to do!

So do a lot of people tend to sell rabbits at shows? I'm sorry I just never knew about this lol And I'm sure this is probably a taboo kind of question, but I honestly have no idea. How much would I be looking at paying? I'm sure there are differences between show quality and pet, and also between the breeds. But maybe a ball park guess?

Thanks!
 

BlueGiants

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Price can depend on the Breed and Variety (color) and it's rarity, quality (show vs. pet) and age. Region of the country will affect price as well. Pet rabbits can go from free, to $10 and on up. Depends on how badly someone wants to part with it.

Breeders don't always bring a lot to sell, but may have one or two. Some breeders won't bring any to sell, unless they are contacted ahead of time. If you are looking for something special, it's better to contact a breeder directly. But a show is a great place to meet people, see their animals (and their condition) and see what they have. Not all breeders will have all the Varieties (colors) in a breed. So it's good to go and observe.
 

TinysMom

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Tori,

The only thing I can suggest is that once you decide on a breed or breeds - google for breeders in your state or area and visit their websites and you'll see a range of prices for various animals.

There were times I went to shows with rabbits ready to give them away as pets - not because they were bad or anything - but because I wanted the cage space for upcoming litters that might be more showable.

I didn't always advertise them as "Free" though - I'd just say "available" and wait till people asked.
 

whaleyk98

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Im sorry to butt in but I have a question that relates to this. I too want to attend my first show this summer but what I have noticed while at the fair shows and such is that the buns are unattended in cages with no one around. How do you get in touch with the breeders? I have wanted to speak with the breeders before to see if they had any available and things like that but there is never anyone around....how doI (or ayone for that matter)go about this?
 

BlueGiants

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Well, most of the shows the more experienced breeders do are not fair shows. I am always around my rabbits at the show. Try to find a regular (non-Fair) ARBA sanctioned show to go to.

If you are interested in a particular breed, you can try to find a Specialty Show. That is a show dedicated to ONE breed, and those shows usually get a really good turnout of that individual breed. Breeders are anxious to show at Specialties...

At a Fair show, you would have to be there either at set up or closing to find individual breeders. Unless someone leaves a "For Sale" sign with a phone number on a rabbit.
 

tori

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lol Kate, that's the closest I've ever been to a rabbit show too! I walk through and its just kinda like "well this is interesting..." lol

So I looked up local shows on the ARBA, obviously since I'm planning to go at the end of next month, but like they just give contact information of the show secretary. So whenever you are planning to go to a show do you always have to contact the secretary for a show catalog to get all of the information?
 

tori

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Oh, another kind of taboo question. But do politics sometimes play a role? Or is the judging pretty straight forward and honestly the best quality rabbit in that judge's opinion wins? Blue, since you've shown dogs you probably know what I'm talking about ;)
 

BlueGiants

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I think it's a lot more fair and objective than showing dogs. There is no one attached (by leash) to each animal as it is judged. Judges can't see ear tattoo's (most of the time) and you get a bunch of rabbits, same sex, same color, same breed, it would be difficult to keep owners straight.... they evaluate each rabbit individually, move them around, place them in order and give the placements in the class from last place up to first.

Another plus with rabbits is you get the judges verbal comments as each rabbit is placed. They tell you exactly howyour rabbit compares to the rest of the class.As you know, with dogs, the judges don't say anything to the exhibitors, so you never know exactly what he/she was thinking or whatflaws or imperfections the judge was focusing on.

Are there politics? Honestly? Maybe once in a great while... but I really don't see it (and I do look for it, being keenly aware of the dog world). For the most part, I think 99.9% of the ARBA judges are very fair and unbiased. The ones that are not fair, tend to get a reputation and don't get hired by the clubs. The rabbit world is pretty small, all the clubs and exhibitors tend to share info... people that get a reputation for favoritism or cheating don't get very far.
 

crazymandolinist

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So why do people show rabbits? Is there a prize for the best of the various categories? Or is it all just good fun? I'd love to make it to a show some time just for fun. I'm really new to this sort of thing.
 

tori

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crazymandolinist wrote:
So why do people show rabbits? Is there a prize for the best of the various categories? Or is it all just good fun? I'd love to make it to a show some time just for fun. I'm really new to this sort of thing.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but rabbit shows are an evaluation of breeding stock. Breeders are trying to produce the best quality rabbit they can based on the breed's standard of perfection. So at shows, judges judge those rabbits according to the standard and they put up the one they feel is closest to the standard.
 

BlueGiants

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There are awards for Best in Breed (Usually ribbons or trophies). There can be awards for Best in Variety within a breed too. Then there is awards for Best in Show and Best Reserve in Show... If you are asking if there are any monetary awards.. Ummm... no! When you beat a certain number of rabbits (5) , shown by a number of breeders (3), your rabbit can be awarded a "Leg Certificate"... 3 "Legs" can go towards Grand Championing your rabbit.

We breed to improve the rabbits. The Standards were written to best exemplify each breeds strong points. Wool in the angora, fur in the rex, size and bone in the Flemish, Ears in the Eanglish lop, diminuative size in the dwarfs, etc. Rabbits are judgedagainst the Standard's descriptionas well as the rabbits overall condition. Rabbits not in top health and condition are disqualified from the table. Unhealthy rabbits are not good examples in any breed.

Showing, winningand Grand Championing your rabbit just proves to yourself that you are doing a good job. It also shows other breeders that your lines are good for that breed. It could make your rabbits more in demand. It IS fun. It is NOT a money making enterprise.
 

tori

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So are rabbits named like dogs? Do their names even really matter? I'm just kind of confused as to how their points are tracked. Because if you don't have to register them they don't go by a number or name or anything, right? But if its on the 'honor system' where the exhibitor keeps track of the points wouldn't you run the risk of dishonesty as to where the rabbit really stands? Oh I have so much to learn! :blushan:

Edited: Never mind. I just realized that you buy each standard in one big book lol! I will definitely be investing in this!
And thank you so much to all of you that have helped! :thanks:
 

crazymandolinist

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That is SO COOL! So it's sort of a gathering to see how the breeds are doing, and it's really all about the rabbits! This is really great aand I can't wait to go to one of these things. I may be moving in a few years to get a luthiery apprenticeship, so I may have to hold off on the rabbit-ing, unless my teacher expresses enough interest....
 

BlueGiants

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The Breed Standards are published in a book (all the breeds together) by the American Rabbit Breeders Assoc. (It usually runs about $15.00 and gets updated every 5 years.)

Rabbits have to be permanently tattooed in their left ear with an identification number/name or combination there of.... That number can not be changed and appears on the rabbits pedigree, registration papers, Grand Champion Certificate and any other official paperwork. The breeder usually does the tattooing with an identification of their choice. Once they are tattooed, it's kind of hard to cheat... or switch rabbits... or fake awards. ("Points" are usually tracked by breed Clubs and accumulate for one year, then start over. But that is another subject and has nothing to do with individual rabbits... More to do with the Breeder and the number of rabbits and shows they've exhibited at.)

The ARBA makes the rules that the rabbits are shown under, as well as educating and qualifying judges and registrars. Owners keep track of awards and "Leg Certificates" and submit proper paperwork for Grand Champion status. Grand Champion Awards are given based of fulfilling the requirements. The ARBA keeps track of the pedigrees of all rabbits Registered through them. Not all rabbits are registered... they have to pass a physical examination, be declared free of breed disqualifications and meet the standard for a Senior (adult) of that breed.

Some breeders name their rabbits, some just use their tattoo numbers as a name. Names can appear on the pedigree too.

There is a lot going on at a Rabbit Show. But the first time you go, just take it all in and enjoy yourself. Use common sense, don't talk to the judge while she/he is judging, don't touch rabbits that are being judged, do not go behind the table while judging is going on... but enjoy seeing that many bunnies in one place at one time! Talk to breeders. Most of them are MORE than happy to tell you the best things about their breeds. I've never met such helpful people as those I've met in rabbits.
 

Pet_Bunny

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BlueGiants wrote:
There is a lot going on at a Rabbit Show. But the first time you go, just take it all in and enjoy yourself.
The best time to go is right after the show starts. Then the breeders have time to relax after getting things set up and they can talk to you. It is the best time to view rabbits for sale too, as most ofthem are still available.

If you go near the end of the day, many people are tired, frazzled, and want to go home, so they might not want to talk to you. However they might give you a good deal for a rabbit so they don't have to take the rabbithome. :D
 

DyemondRabbitry

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Honestly, at a show we spend MOST of our day talking to other breeders about stock. We also make it evident who we are by wearing matching shirts with our rabbitry name and logo on it.

Most breeders are friendly but you always run into the "grumpy old men" (or so I call them). On the NZ table I have always shown in Open class even though when I startedI was only 12 and eligible for youth, obviously. I've always shown in a group of older gentlemen and most of them have kind of adopted me and so when my husband came into the picture they took him in too. Lol- beware of some of the grumpy old men.
 

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