Things to do at a Rabbit Show Before Judging Begins

Plan to arrive at the show early.  There’s lots to do to get ready and you will enjoy your day more if it doesn’t have a hectic start.

Unloading and Setting Up at a Show

supplies to bring to a rabbit show
A grooming table and other helpful supplies to have at a rabbit show

Try to strike a balance between not having to walk to far to unload and being consider of others trying to unload.  Often, you can back your vehicle up to a loading dock or doorway to make unload easier.  But don’t leave your vehicle there longer than necessary.  Many others will need to do the same thing.

Find a spot to set up.  You may be able to tell where your breeds will be judged.  Sometimes the judging tables are already marked.  Other times, you can ask the show superintendent.  Often, Holland Lops will be shown on different tables throughout the day.  You just have to make your best guess then about where the best places to set up are.  Some people like to set up next to their friends.

If you have brought rabbits to sell, you may want to set up nearer the flow of traffic so that more people will see your signs.

If the floor has been marked, make sure you set up within the lines.  That way people will be able to walk back and forth unobstructed.

Take as much room as you need to set up your grooming table, line up your carriers, set up your chair and place your supplies nearby.  But remember that other people need room to do the same.

Checking In with the Secretary

As soon as you have unloaded and gotten things reasonably organized. find out if the show secretary is ready to check in exhibitors.  If so, take care of this step before you do anything else.  Out of consideration, many show secretaries are monitoring breeds and will start judging for them once everyone expected arrives and has checked in.

At check in, you pay your fees, if you have not already done so, and check your paperwork carefully to make sure each rabbit is recorded accurately, with the correct ear number, and in the right class.  If you need to make ear number changes (for substitutions in the same class), add late entries (if the show allows it), or scratch entries (rabbits you entered but did not bring), this is the time to do it.

Day of Show Entries

Day of show entries are a bit different.  You will submit your entry on a show form that you prepared in advance.  Also, you will complete the top portion of the comment cards for each of your rabbits for each show entered.  If you enter more than a few rabbits, you should consider printing out labels with the needed information.  Make two copies for each rabbit for each show.  If the show is a double, make four copies.  The rabbit’s name in parenthesis is for my use only.


Ear Number:  NT195

Entry Number:  ______

Holland Lop Solid Junior Doe


Laurie Stroupe           



March 5, 2011


Show A


Make sure you scratch any rabbits you were not able to bring.  A lot of time is lost at the judging table waiting for rabbits to be placed on the table, and even more is lost if the rabbit is not even in the showroom.

 Which ear?  Show rabbits MUST have permanent tattoos in the left ear.

A clamp tattoo on a silver rabbit black
Judges love a legible tattoo in the ear, like this one

Each rabbit must have a legible, permanent tattoo in the left ear for judging.  After checking-in and before grooming, check your tattoos and have any rabbit tattooed that needs one.  Also, if you have faded or unreadable tattoos, have the tattoo touched up.

You can find someone to tattoo your rabbits by asking the show secretary, listening for announcements, or noticing a long line of rabbits in front of someone tattooing!  Registrars generally have complete tattoo outfits.

There are at least three methods of tattooing, including manual (making individual clusters of holes repeatedly until the characters are formed), pliers types (numbers and digits are created with pins that pierce the ear all at once), or electric (looks like a vibrating pen that creates a multitude of small holes and fills them with ink).  I find that the manual or electric types make the best and most readable tattoos. 

Rabbit shows are slowed considerably from hard-to-read tattoos. If you know me personally, you are laughing at that statement.  I’ve been the worst offender now that I’m learning to tattoo my rabbits myself.  But I promise to get better!

Next Article: Grooming your rabbits

Next Article: the Order of Classes

You also may want to check out:   Basic Grooming of Rabbits for Show