Rabbit Showmanship

Donna Naquin  |  9/24/2010 10:53:03 PM

At the Lafourche Parish Rabbit Show, we will have a rabbit showmanship contest. The article below will teach you what to do for rabbit showmanship.


1. Showing your rabbit to the judge.
The proper way to carry a rabbit is to grasp the fold of the skin over the shoulder with the right hand (include the ears), and support the rabbit’s weight by placing the left hand under the rump.

The left hand supports the weight of the rabbit while the right hand controls the rabbit. You may keep a firm grip with a right hand since a rabbit dropped from this position can easily break its back. You may want to remove your hand if you feel that you have control.

If the judge asks you to move to a different spot on the table, always pick up the rabbit for carrying before moving to the new location.

When you arrive at the exhibit table, place the rabbit on the table immediately and pose it. It never hurts to wear a smile. Remember to watch the judge. The animal will be placed with the head facing the judge. Turn the animal to the left to begin the next movement.

2. Show the ears and ear number.
Open ears so that the judge can see deep into the ears – left ear then right ear. Pick the rabbit up from the table and move it to the other direction.

3. Check neck for furmites.
Run your hand over back of neck to check for furmites.

4. Check the body for ruptures and abscesses and blemishes.
Run your hand over the chest and abdomen area to check for any abscesses, tumors or abnormalities. Run your hand over the animal to check for blemishes.

5. Show fur quality, cleanliness and quality.
Stroke fur toward rabbit’s head to show fur going back to natural position and cleanliness. Stroke rabbit from head to rear, showing your clean hand to the judge which indicates the rabbit’s fur is not in molting condition. Since Rex fur does not have the “fly back” quality, pat the fur to feel the density. Blow into fur to show density on normal furred rep animals.

6. Show the eyes.
Check each eye for signs of blindness or abnormalities, such as cloudiness or spots in iris. You may either pick the animal up and put under your arm to check eyes, or you may turn the animal from one side to the other.

7. Show the nose.
Check the nose for signs of sniffles.

8 Show the teeth.
Pick the rabbit up, placing the weight of the rabbit under left arm. Place the thumb and index finger on each side of the split upper lip and push back lips to show teeth.

9. Show the front legs.
With rabbit facing the judge, grasp ears and fur over back, and lift so that rabbit’s hind feet are on the table. Pull each front leg forward to see if legs are straight, crooked or bowed.

10. Show the toe nails on front feet.
Show toe nails to the judge by pushing thumb into center of paw. Push back fur with index finger if necessary to see the toe nails.

11. Check the rear legs.
As you come to the end of the abdomen areas, force rear legs out straight by placing your cupped hand ahead of the rear legs and pushing toward the feet. Point outstretched legs toward the judge. Check the toe nails on the back feet.

12. Check the hocks.
Show bottom of feet and underside of rabbit to judge.

13. Check the sex.
Show sex to judge. Clamp tail with index and second finger: place thumb below vent area, and push toward front of rabbit. Check the testicles if male. Return to posed position.

14. Check the tail
Show rear of rabbit with tail showing to the judge.

15. Pose the rabbit.
Show front, rear or side in order requested by the judge so that the overall balance can be seen by the judge. Smooth down fur. Feel shoulders, rib area, loin, rump, etc. Make sure the tail is carried propeley. Show markings if asked to do so. Pose the rabbit on the table. This is the most important part of showing a rabbit. Always have the rabbit showing to advantage – front view, rear view, side view. It is the most natural to show a side view with the rabbit facing to your left, but you may be requested to also show it to the right side. The animal should be picked up from the table using your hand to grasp the fold of skin over the shoulders with the ears, and supporting the animal’s weight on our left hand. Take one step back after you are finished.


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