Build First Paint Later

I am going to make this short and sweet and to the point.

Would you paint your house before you build it and make sure that the foundation was solid?


So why on earth would you worry about the markings on a rabbit first? I see so many that become so focused on having a perfectly marked animal that they forget about the body type. Your rabbit isn’t going to win with perfect markings and a crappy body and you aren’t doing the breed justice.

You need to take the time to work on the body type before you worry about the markings. Just like you wouldn’t paint and decorate a house that was on a shaky foundation. You also wouldn’t build a house on sand. You want to make sure you build on a strong steady foundation.

Once you get your foundation built and where it needs to be then you can start painting. Depending on the breed, you still want to avoid certain things even if you have an awesome body because they will pass it onto their offspring.

For example – Dutch with moon eyes/spots on eye/blue eyes will pass on to their offspring. Don’t be afraid to cull and cull hard. You have to be very critical when it comes to what makes the cut. Give your bunnies about 12 weeks and up before you really decide.

Take your bunnies to show and listen to all comments from judges. Make sure to listen to several judges and not just one. They all have their own opinions but it will give you an general idea. Also scope out seasoned breeders, most will be happy to discuss their breeds with you and give you some pointers.

Another thing to really watch for is BARN BLINDNESS. You may be overlooking a key aspect because you have become “blind” to it. Learn to ask for help and advice and learn to take it all into consideration. Don’t keep a rabbit just because it’s momma was your favorite.

As a breeder, you may also end up in the wrong direction, don’t be afraid to cull and step back and start over again. This is a difficult decision but sometimes it is what you have to do in order to breed correctness. This is also where keeping good accurate records will help you.

A true breeder will not only promote their breed but will also continue to strive to create better quality animals.

Best of luck to you and your bunnies!

Show Terms

Class – 1. A group of rabbits that fall into the same gender, pattern and age group. 2. Age group of the rabbit. Either Junior, Intermediate or Senior

BOB – Best of Breed – Rabbits are judged by breed and the best one determined by judge is BOB.

BOS – Best Opposite Sex – After judge determines the BOB rabbit then judge determines the best of the opposite sex of the BOB rabbit. For example, if a buck wins BOB, then the judge will choose the best doe for the BOS.

BOV – Best Of Variety – The rabbit judged best of its variety. “Variety” is the same as “color” in most breeds. Some breeds only come in one color, and BOV does not apply. “Variety” can mean something else in some breeds, so research your breed.

BOSV – Best Opposite Sex of Variety – Rabbit is judged and the best rabbit of the opposite sex of the BOV rabbit.

BOG – Best Of Group – In some breeds, varieties are lumped together, and shown in groups (Jersey Wooly), or first shown in individual varieties, then the best of each group is chosen (Netherland Dwarf).

BOSG – Best Opposite Sex of Group – Judged the best rabbit of the opposite sex of the BOG rabbit. Best 4-Class – Judged the best rabbit of all the breeds that have four showroom classes. The four classes being: Senior buck, senior doe, junior buck, and junior doe. This is an optional award. Best 6-Class – Judged the best rabbit of all the breeds that have six showroom classes. The six classes being: Senior buck, senior doe, intermediate (also called 6-8) buck, intermediate (also called 6-8) doe, junior buck, and junior doe. Some of these breeds also have a pre-junior class, which is not counted. This is an optional award. BIS – Best In Show – Judged as the best rabbit in the rabbit show. BIS may be chosen by comparing all the BOB winners, or a Best 4-Class and a Best 6-Class may be chosen first, and the BIS chosen from these two winners. Another method, is to designate several groups, with several breeds in each group, choose a Best of each Group, then choose BIS from the group winners. Usually, only very large shows use this method. All shows are required to choose a BIS.

RIS – Reserve In Show – Judged the second best rabbit in the show. This is an optional award. If a Best 4-Class and a Best 6-Class are chosen first, the RIS is the one not chosen for BIS.

Runner-up BIS – Same as RIS. Termonology may be different in different areas of the country. In a 4-H or Non-ARBA Sanctioned Show: Champion – Judged the best rabbit in a certain “group” of rabbits, as designated by the show committee. Rabbits may be grouped by breed, or some other criteria, such as “fancy” and “commercial”, “all other breeds”, “grade”, “meat pen”, “single fryer”, etc. Reserve Champion – Judged the best of the opposite sex of the Champion rabbit. For instance, if a doe wins Champion, then the judge will choose the best buck for the Reserve Champion. Except, in meat pen or single fryer, Reserve Champion is the second place pen or rabbit, regardless of sex. Grand Champion – Judged as the best rabbit in the show, or a certain part of the show. This award is chosen by comparing all of the Champion rabbits. Meat pens and single fryers are usually divided from “breeding” classes, so two or more Grand Champions may be awarded in a show. Reserve Grand Champion – Judged as the best of the opposite sex of the Grand Champion rabbit. Except, in meat pen or single fryer, Reserve Grand Champion is the second place pen or rabbit, regardless of sex. The above terms are common all across the US. But be aware that in 4-H and non-ARBA sanctioned shows, the show sponsor is free to make rules, and award placements as they see fit, so there could be variations.

ARBA Terms:

ARBA – The initials of the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc., which promotes rabbits in the United States and foreign countries, provides for licensing of judges and registrars, and publishes a book of standards (The Standard of Perfection) which describes the desired characteristics for each recognized breed.

Grand Champion – A rabbit who has won at least three “Leg” papers (under at least 2 different ARBA judges, and with at least one win as an intermediate or senior), is registered, and has obtained a Grand Champion Certificate, with a Grand Champion number, from ARBA.

Pedigreed – A rabbit who has a written record of at least three generations of ancestors. This information should include name and/or ear number, weight and color, plus any other information available, such as winnings, registration numbers, and Grand Champion numbers. A pedigree form is made out by the breeder of the rabbit. A pedigreed rabbit is usually a purebred, but not necessarily. A pedigeed rabbit usually has a tattoo in its left ear, which corresponds to the ear number on its pedigree paper.

Registered – A rabbit who is purebred, fully pedigreed, has passed the inspection of an ARBA Registrar, and has received a Registration Certificate and number from ARBA. A registered rabbit should have a number or circled “R” tattooed in its right ear.

Leg – An official certificate issued by a Show Secretary, designating a certain win. In all cases, a leg will only be issued if there are at least 5 rabbits competing for that particular win, with at least 3 breeders of those rabbits. A “Leg” may be awarded for First Place in a class, BOB, BOS, BOV, BOSV, BOG, BOSG, or BIS. A rabbit can only get one Leg per show.