How To Register A Rabbit With The ARBA And Do You Really Need To

Ok, so you are wanting to know how to register a rabbit. Let me explain a few things first.

Registering a rabbit with the ARBA doesn’t work like getting papers for a dog that is registered through the AKC. The dog’s parents have to be registered in order for you to get a dog’s pedigree as well as a few other details.

It’s not that way with a rabbit. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. If you find an awesome rabbit with great conformation and it does well in a show but isn’t registered. You can still get the rabbit papers you want. 

So let’s get into all things rabbit registration information. Cool?

how to register a rabbit intro image

What Registering A Rabbit Means

In short getting registration papers for a rabbit means that the ARBA has given its stamp of approval on your rabbit saying it is free of any genetic or non-genetic disqualification that it could pass on to its offspring or keep it from showing.

After you have gone through the registration process with a licensed rabbit register you will receive a certificate of registration in the mail from the ARBA.

Now let me be clear. A rabbit being registered does not mean that it has a great show-stopping body type or that it will win a show.

While it doesn’t hurt to have the registration paper. It doesn’t significantly affect the price you will be able to get for the rabbit.

A good rabbit breeder should be concerned with body type and condition over anything else.

Posed blue french lop buck

Don’t confuse “papers” with registration papers…

One thing I see a lot when scrolling Craigslist or Facebook groups (Come on what self-respecting animal lover doesn’t do that) is the words “has papers” most often I know what means a pedigree.

While yes it could mean registration papers if someone has had a rabbit registered themselves they wouldn’t make a rookie mistake like calling them “papers” since a pedigree and a registration certificate are not the same thing.

Likely someone bought a rabbit with the registration papers and is not a rabbit breeder or is an inexperienced one. — Which there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone has to start from ground zero.

Below is an example of a bank three-generation rabbit pedigree. (Yes i realize it technically has four generations but for pedigrees we count the PAST generations shown. Not the rabbit itself.)

rabbit pedigree example

The difference between a pedigreed and a registered rabbit

Alright, let’s talk about the difference between a pedigreed rabbit and a registered rabbit. Sure, they may sound like the same thing, but trust me, they’re not.

Here’s the deal: any rabbit can have a pedigree. It’s like their family tree, showing their lineage and who their ancestors are.

So, even your average run-of-the-mill bunny can have a three to four generation pedigree that was created by the rabbit’s breeder. It still doesn’t mean they are super awesome in conformation.

But a registered rabbit? Well, that’s a whole different ballgame. A registered rabbit is a purebred rabbit that has not only a pedigree but has also been officially filed into the records of the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA).

They’ve got the official papers to prove their purebred status. 

If you want to learn more about rabbit pedigrees, how to get them or make them yourself make sure to read this post about rabbit pedigrees.

What You Need For Your Rabbit To Be Registered

Here is a list of what you need for the ARBA registration process.

  • You need to be a current member of the ARBA
  • Your rabbit needs to have its ID number tattooed in ITS left ear. – (not your left, see image below)
  • Your rabbit needs to at least weigh the minimum standard Sr weight for the breed.
  • Your rabbit needs to be one of the 50 recognized breeds of rabbits by the ARBA.
  • You need to have the rabbit’s pedigree with you that shows 3 Generations – Your Rabbits Info, its parents, its grandparents, and its great grandparents need to be shown on the pedigree.
    • Each animal on the pedigree needs to have the following listed:
    • Name
    • Color
    • Ear Number
    • Weight

If you do not have all of these things handy when you plan to get your rabbit registered you will have to do it another time.  

rabbit ID number tattooed in their left ear

How to find someone to register your rabbit

So, you’ve got a rabbit that is doing well at shows and you want to take it to the next level by getting it officially registered. You will need to find an official rabbit register which you can do it for you.

To find someone who can help you with registering your rabbit, head on over to the ARBA website. They’ve got a whole section dedicated to rabbit registration.

OR you can look for a local rabbit show and most often they will have a rabbit register there. BUT always contact the show secretary ahead of time to make sure there will be one. — You don’t want to waste a trip if you were not going to show at the event. 

Once you’re on the ARBA website, navigate to the “rabbit registration” section. There, you’ll find a list of licensed registrants who can assist you in the registration process. These are the experts when it comes to all things rabbit registration.

Each registrant on the list will have their contact information listed, so you can reach out to them directly. Shoot them a message or give them a call to inquire about their services. 

two rabbits in a show travel carrier at a rabbit show

How To Register A Rabbit With The ARBA

You have to take your rabbits to an official ARBA-licensed registrar. Most often you will find a rabbit register at a rabbit show. 

The official register will examine the rabbit to make sure there are no disqualifications, genetic, or otherwise. As well as making sure the rabbit meets the minimum breed standard weight. The rabbit registrar will evaluate your rabbit based on the ARBA Standard Of Perfection and give it some rankings on the basic overall body type.

I would not recommend trying to get your rabbit registered while it is molting. They may not even register it if that is the case because the rabbit needs to be a good representation of the breed. 

Your rabbit doesn’t have to be amazing but it does need to satisfy the rabbit registrar that your animal is purebred and of decent quality. Since they do not do blood tests the evaluation is the only way to say if the rabbit is purebred.

Then if the rabbit passes the examination. The register will look over the pedigree and copy that information onto the registration form as well as tattoo an R with a circle around it in the rabbit’s RIGHT ear.

posed rabbit sitting next to a scale

There is a registration fee that is often around $6 or so to have the process done but you also have to be a current member of the ARBA to register your animals.

If you let your membership lapse the animal does NOT lose the registration. Often you will see people renew their registration of a year and get several rabbits registered at once if that is something they want to do.

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Why Would You Want To Register A Rabbit

There are a few reasons why it might be worth it but unless you plan to show your rabbits it’s not going to be of a huge benefit.

Proving The Rabbit Doesn’t Have Any Disqualifications

If a rabbit is registered it does give a stamp of approval that this rabbit is free of disqualifications (something that would get the rabbit disqualified from a show.)

Like I said before, keep in mind that just because it is a registered animal does not mean that it has good body type or will win every show. It just means there is nothing drastically wrong with it.

nice show rabbit posed

Your Rabbit Qualifies For Its Grand Champion Certificate

If you show your rabbit and your rabbit has won the necessary legs (certificates only given if the rabbit has one a certain placing, there are 5 rabbits shown in the same class by 3 or more exhibitors) and qualifies to receive its Grand Champion Certificate then you must register the rabbit to receive that certificate.

Then it is worth registering the rabbit and then applying for the Grand Champion Certificate if you want to receive the paper.

Most rabbit showers will wait until a rabbit has proven itself on the show table before going through the process of having the rabbit registered.

It’s up to you if you want to have your rabbit registered but unless you intend to start showing your rabbits seriously there is not really any reason to from the beginning.

Helpful Rabbit Showing Tools

1. The Open tote is the perfect size to pack just what you need for the rabbits at a show and keep it all organized.
2. Dedicated Rabbitry Portfolio Whether you are selling rabbits and need to have pedigrees on hand or you are trying to keep all of your show papers in order these binders are great options.
3. Bunji cords are a God send when you are on your own trying to get a lot of little things maneuvered around. They will help keep everything on your show cart and keep you from taking a lot of trips. Premium Bungee Cords Heavy Duty – 20 Piece in Storage Jar Includes 10″, 18″, 24″, 30″, 36″, 48″ Bungie Cord Bundle
4. Show Cart: The key to getting a good show cart is LARGE WHEELS!!! You are most often going to a fairgrounds kind of set up and small wheels will get thrown off by the smallest little pebble causing you to have to maneuver a huge load of rabbits.

How do you get your rabbit registration papers for a rabbit?

To obtain registration papers for your rabbit, you’ll need to follow the simple steps listed above. 

Once you have met with the licensed rabbit register and gone through the process you will receive the official rabbit registration papers in the mail a few weeks later. — You should receive a carbon copy of the form that was filled out by the person registering your rabbit.

Quick Rabbit Registration Check List

  • Are they a purebred rabbit? 
  • Are they in good health?
  • Do they have the right breed standards?
  • Do you have a copy of their full pedigree
  • Are they tattooed with the ID number on their pedigree in their left ear?
  • Are you a member of the ARBA
  • Do you have the registration fee? – on average it’s about $6 but you should check to make sure.

The ARBA is responsible for keeping track of all registered rabbits in the country. They maintain the official registration certificate and registration papers for each rabbit. 

There are a few things that can disqualify a rabbit from getting registered.

These include genetic diseases, deformities, an injury, correct nail color, and any deviation from the accepted breed colors. 

Do Rabbits Need To Be Registered?

The short answer is no. Only if you want to file for your rabbits Grand Champion Certificate do they need to be registered with the ARBA.

If you are a rabbit breeder or want to get started showing rabbits make sure to into purebred rabbit breeds that are recognized by the ARBA and are also a recognized color. While getting a rabbit registered may not do much for the amount you can charge it does help elevate your reputation in the show world. 

So get your rabbits registered with intention and the ones that truly have a chance of taking your herd to the next level.

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  1. Jackson Mabohlo says:

    I like it