So you are thinking of getting into show rabbits right? But what in the world makes a rabbit qualify to be shown through the ARBA? Well, let me give you the short answer.
A show rabbit is a rabbit that does not have any genetic or non-genetic disqualifications (or DQ’s) AND is a recagnized breed of the ARBA.
But here is the thing I want you to remember. Just because it is “show quality” does not mean the type is nice or that it will do well in shows. It only means the rabbit can be placed on the show table.
I love it when people tell me how many first place ribbons the rabbit has one but how many animals did it beat to win that placing? A rabbit can win first place and still be the only rabbit for that breed there.
Let’s go over some key things that could cause a rabbit to not be show quality.
The Difference Between Genetic & Non-Genetic Disqualifications
Genetic disqualifications are things like white hairs on a rabbit that should be all black or some other solid color. A white toenail when they should be black. Anything that could be passed on to their babies is considered a genetic disqualification.
Non-genetic DQ’s are things that could be something like an illness whether temporary or not. Or something like missing toes from a dog attack or broken teeth. It is quite common to have a rabbit chip a tooth because of their constant chewing.
Abnormalities – This could be anything from body type to questionable health.
Overweight or underweight – Every breed has a minimum and some have a max breed weight limit. So the rabbit has to fall within that eight range for its breed. ** this could be both genetic or non-genetic if you own a rabbit that is underweight the only way to know is to check the pedigree and the weight of the ancestors.
Genitalia – If there is some malformation on either male or female. Bucks with a split penis. All males must have two descended testicles. Juniors are exempt.
Blindness – Since you can’t ask your rabbit how many fingers are you holding up, this usually shows up from cloudiness over the eye or obstructing the pupil. Scratches or damaged eyes will also count as a disqualification.
Crooked Legs – Any type of bent, bowed, deformed, or cow hocks if severe enough will be disqualified. **even if they are not severe and the judge sees the issue but does not DQ your animal they will still place it very low.
Dewlaps – Dewlaps are typically seen on females only. BUT the large breeds like flemish giants and french lops are exempt from that rule.
Eye color – if the rabbit does not have the right eye color that it should have then that is a disqualification.
Tail – Permanently to the site or out of line. Screwtail, bobtail, or a portion missing. **if a rabbit’s tail is broken it will still be disqualified even if it was not a genetic malformation.
Permanent Ear Mark – If the tattoo containing the ID number is illegible or none at all.
Any kind of illness – Abnormal eye discharge, colds, tumor or abscesses, and External parasites.
Placed in the wrong class – If you put a buck/doe in a class that is the wrong sex then that is a DQ. As well as putting the rabbit in a class for the wrong color. **Not all breeds are shown by color. Some like the french lop is shown by color pattern.
Torn ears or ears with a portion missing – This happens mainly to lop breeds. But if a rabbit gets their ear bitten or caught and it does not heal up to be unnoticeable, it will be up to the judge and depend on the severity of whether or not to disqualify the rabbit.
Malocclusion – This is where the teeth are not growing straight down and curve to the side. Often because the teeth are extremely long. This can happen if the rabbit has not been chewing enough. But this can also be genetic so if you don’t know which way it is then better safe then sorry.
Does A Rabbit Need A Pedigree To Show
The short answer is no. BUT there is not a lot of good reasons not to. If a rabbit does not have a pedigree they can not apply to get their grand champion certificate or be registered. I wrote a post on pedigrees and registration explaining the differences so you can read that here.
You will also have a hard time getting a decent price for the rabbit’s offspring if they don’t have one. Mainly because there is no proof that the animal is purebred even if it looks on point. A pedigree will take a rabbit from a several hundred dollar values to having to be sold as a pet for $25 if you are lucky.
So is it worth it to have one…. yeah I would say so.
All rabbits must have an I.D. number tattooed in THEIR left ear to be shown. The breeder can make up any combination of numbers and letters only to be tattoed in block text.
You can buy a tattoo pen (which I recommend because they are much easier to touch up) from this site here.