Showing Rabbits: In What Order Are Rabbits Judged?
There will be thousands of rabbits at some rabbit shows. At smaller shows, you may still have close to 1,00 rabbits of all breeds. In order to determine which rabbit is the best rabbit in the whole show, judges will judge rabbits by breed and find the best of each breed first.
First, the 47 recognized, official breeds are judged separately. Within a breed these smaller groupings will be judged based on breed, color, sex, and age.
Since I mainly raise Rex rabbits, I’ll tell you the order in which they are judged.
Judges will usually start with the Youth category and judge all of the rabbits using the process below for all of the kids’ rabbits first. Then, they’ll do the same thing all over again for the Open category, which can include both kids and adults.
Once the rabbits are separated by breed, they are further divided by color. Different breeds will have different authorized ARBA colors. And, what color might be allowed in Rex might not necessarily be an authorized color in New Zealands or Californians or any other breed. Sometimes there is only one color of a particular rabbit per breed, and sometimes you will have similar colors grouped together.
Rex rabbits are further divided into two color groups, “Broken Pattern” and “Solid Pattern.” The solids are shown first and can be any authorized Rex color. Broken patterns are shown next. They are white rabbits with any authorized color in a spotted pattern on them. In Rex, that color must also be on their ears and they must have that color partially on their nose. A white nose on a broken Rex is a DQ.
Within the color groupings, there are four classes that are judged by age and sex. Males are called bucks and females are called does. Senior rabbits are any rabbit over six months old, and junior rabbits are those under six months old. The class names within the Broken Patter and Solid Pattern color group are: Senior Buck, Senior Doe, Junior Buck, and Junior Doe, shown in that order.
Rex are judged in this order. Make sure you are listening for which rabbit grouping they are calling.
- Solid Senior Buck
- Solid Senior Doe
- Solid Junior Buck
- Solid Junior Doe
Once these have each been judged, the Best Solid is selected from each of these four classes. The Best Solid is known as the Best of Variety or BOV. This can be either a doe or buck. Next, the Best Opposite Sex of Variety is chosen. This rabbit must be the opposite sex of the rabbit who took BOV. The BOSV is basically 2nd place in the Best Solid group. The BOV and BOSV must remain on the table to compete for Best of Breed. Everyone else can take their rabbits off the table.
The same thing takes place for the broken color group, and they are awarded the BOV and BOSV for the Broken color group. The rabbits in the broken color group who didn’t win can now be removed from the table.
Now you have four rabbits remaining on the table. From these four rabbits, a Best of Breed (1st place) and Best Opposite Sex of Breed (2nd place) is selected.
The Best of Breed waits for the Best in Show judging. If you are done showing for the day and didn’t win Best of Breed, you can go home. The Best of Breed must wait until all other rabbits are judged and will go on to compete for Best of Breed.
Sometimes you will have a “Fur” category in each show. If you entered the fur category, the process repeats for the fur category, but the winner of that category simply places 1st or 2nd and does not compete for BOV, BOSV, or BOS.