What Happens With Rabbit Show Judging
Ever wonder what the terms Best of Show (BOS), Best of Breed (BOB), or better yet, Best of Breed Opposite Sex mean? If you're like us we experienced a great deal of confusion over terms like those when we started showing rabbits. We would go to a show having no idea when we would have to show our rabbits. Well hopefully this page will give some clarity to showing your rabbit.
This page is specifically designed towards Holland Lops, however, most breeds follow a very similar pattern. Hollands are a four class breed. What that means is within each group (which we'll explain in a minute) are four different categories: senior buck, senior doe, junior buck, and junior doe. Larger rabbits, such as Flemmish Giants are called a 6 class because they have an additional category for bucks and does called Intermediate. Junior and Senior are based on the age of the rabbit. Rabbits six months old and younger are considered juniors, while rabbits older than six months are considered senior.
Holland Lops are broken into two groups, and they are based on color. The first group is called solids. The second group is called brokens. At rabbit shows all solids are shown before brokens. The order will go like this:
The judge will call the first class to the table (Solid Senior Bucks). The judge will begin looking at the rabbits one by one. They will check the sex of the rabbit to ensure that the rabbit is in the right group. Then the judge will check the rabbits for disqualifications. Disqualifications include rabbits that are over the 4lb limit (applies to Holland Lops), missing or miscolored toe nails, etc. Rabbits with disqualifications are usually removed from the table immediately. The judge will keep track of his basic thoughts on the rabbit by placing coins or chips in front of the rabbit, or in some cases may physically organize the rabbits.
When a judge has determined that a rabbit is not going to be one of the top rabbits, they will call out the ear number of the rabbit. At that point the judge will make comments regarding the rabbit. Once the judge has completed the comments, you should immediately pick up your rabbit from the table. Often you will be able to pick up a comment card which is completed for you. Its is a good idea to take your own notes as well.
Rabbits will continue to be removed until the judge has a top ten. At that point, the judge tends to take more time to try and determine the best rabbit in the class. Rabbits finishing in the top 5 will receive ARBA points based on the place and number of rabbits shown.
Finally one rabbit will be chosen as the best in that class. The rabbit chosen as best in class will remain at the table until the rest of the group has been judged. In this case the best Solid Senior Buck will remain at the table. Then the judging will proceed to Solid Senior Doe, where a winner will be selected, and then to Solid Junior Buck and Solid Junior Doe. At this point four rabbits have finished first in their class.
These four rabbits remain on the table and the judge will then pick the best rabbit from these four. This rabbit is awarded Best of Group. The judge then looks at the two rabbits of the opposite sex of the BOG, and selects the best one. This rabbit is awarded The Best Opposite Sex of Group. If the BOG is a buck, then the BOSG must be a doe, and the opposite is true.
Now that the judge has completed the solid colored holland lops, they will then move on to the broken holland lops, and again get down to a Best of Group (BOG) and Best Opposite Sex of Group (BOSG)
The Holland Lops are now down to just four rabbits, 2 solids, and 2 brokens. The judge will select from these four rabbits. The best rabbit is awarded the Best of Breed (BOB). As in the Group, the judge will select from the opposite sex of the BOB for Best Opposite Sex (BOS).
The Best of Breed (BOB) rabbit will go on to compete for Best in Show and Best Reserve against all the other rabbit breeds. How long does this all take? It depends on the total number of rabbits entered, but normally will take a few hours.
4h events tend to work a little differently than ARBA sanctioned events.
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.