4-H Rabbit & Cavy Show

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The entry deadline has passed for this contest.

4-H Rabbit & Cavy Show Contest Details

Date: Sunday September 30th, 2018

Time: 8:00am - 4:00pm

Check In: Sunday, September 30th 8:00-9:00am

Where: Topsfield Fairgrounds, Topsfield, MA-Rabbit Barn


ARBA Rabbit & Cavy Judge: Paul Jurgelonis – Millbury, MA

ARBA Registrar & 4-H Rabbit & Cavy Judge: Alicia Trickett – Winchendon, MA

Rabbit Hopping Judge: Inese Benks—Spencer, MA

Pet Rabbit Judge: Mike Kabongo—Rowley, MA

Pet Cavy Judge: Jenn Barbaro—Peabody, MA

Cloverbud Judge: Ellen Attridge—Essex, MA

Show Chairperson:

Bonnie McLaughlin—East Kingston, NH 603-642-8216

Assistant Show Chairperson and Show Secretary:

Jenn Barbaro - Peabody, MA 508-527-1408 or jbarbaro01@northshore.edu

Show Superintendents:


Show Committee:


Entry Deadlines

All entries must be postmarked no later than Sept. 23rd, 2018 - NO EXCEPTIONS

All entries should be sent to:

Topsfield Fair

P.O. Box 134

Topsfield, MA 01983

  1. Please note (new this year)—we will be having two shows—a 4-H show with pet class judged by an ARBA registrar open to all rabbits and cavies, including pet quality animals, as well as a sanctioned ARBA Youth Show. These shows will run concurrently and awards will be provided for both shows. There will also be premiums awarded for both shows.
  2. Entries are $3.00 per animal per show. Please make all checks/money orders payable to the Topsfield Fair and include payment with your entry.
  3. No late entries will be accepted, so please, get your entries in early! There will be ABSOLUTELY no day of show entries accepted.
  4. All entries must be mailed in-no phone or email entries will be accepted. Corrections/questions by phone or email only.
  5. Please correctly fill in all required fields on the entry form, including phone numbers, age as of January 1st, 2018, name of check-in adult, and all animal information. The name of the check in adult is needed to gain access through the parking gate, so please include it! If you have questions about how to fill out your entry form, please contact the Show Chairperson or the Assistant Show Chairperson.

Check In Information

  1. Check in will be Sunday, September 30th, 2018 from 8:00am to 9:00am.
  2. All animals MUST be in the showroom by 9:00am, or they will be considered scratched.
  3. This is a carrying cage show, so all animals must be transported in appropriate carriers with bottoms to catch urine/feces/hay.
  4. Exhibitors can drive onto the fairgrounds to unload their animals until the gates close at 9:00am.
  5. After 9:00am, no one is allowed to drive onto the grounds. A shuttle will take exhibitors’ animals from the Rt. 97 gate (Lot E) to the rabbit barn until 9:00am.
  6. Please park in the Rt. 97 lot (Lot E). After the show, the shuttle will take exhibitors from the rabbit barn to the Rt. 97 lot ONLY. If you park anywhere but the Rt. 97 lot, the shuttle CANNOT take you there.
  7. The green carts in the rabbit barn are available for transporting cages to and from the parking lots, but MUST be returned before you leave the fairgrounds. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE CARTS IN THE PARKING LOT! You may be asked to leave a credit card or license when “renting” out a cart—to ensure it is returned.


  1. Premiums will be awarded as follows for all current 4-H members in good standing:
    • 1st Place: $4.00
    • 2nd Place: $3.00
    • 3rd Place: $2.00
    • Cloverbuds: $1.50
  2. Trophies will be provided for Best of Breed and rosette ribbons will be provided for Best Opposite Sex of Breed. Cloverbuds will be presented with participation rosettes. Best in Show and 1st Runner Up Trophies will be provided for both rabbits and cavies. Placement ribbons will be available for places 1st through 5th.
  3. A “Great Sportsmanship Award” will be presented at the Great Scott’s meeting following the Topsfield Fair. Please be on your best behavior, and show your best sportsmanship!

4-H Rabbit & Cavy Showmanship

Rabbit (and cavy) showmanship is a series of steps young handlers can use to evaluate the health and soundness of their own animals, animals at a show, or animals they may be thinking of purchasing. In Great Scott’s, we take pride in our ability to handle and evaluate our animals properly. Listed below are the steps we follow for rabbit showmanship. Please follow along in our demonstration to get an idea of what each step involves.

  1. Carry your rabbit to the table
  2. Pose the rabbit
  3. Ear canker (right ear)
  4. Ear canker (left ear)
  5. Tooth defects
  6. Sex and vent disease
  7. Toe nails
  8. Hocks and belly area
  9. Straightness of front legs
  10. Straightness of back legs
  11. Straightness of tail
  12. Fly back (normal fur)
  13. Density (rex fur)
  14. Fur condition
  15. Front view
  16. Rear view
  17. Side view
  18. Carry your rabbit from the table

There are a few things you can do to make sure your experience with your rabbit is safe and fun:

  1. Always make sure your practice on a study table with a non slip rug
  2. Tie long hair back and never wear dangling jewelry
  3. Wear a show coat or long sleeve shirt to protect your arms
  4. No buttons, pins, etc on your practice outfit
  5. No buttons, pins, etc on your practice outfit
  6. Practice as much as you can—practice makes perfect
  7. Any rabbit can participate—regardless of age, breed, or DQ

Please bring you rabbit to as many meetings as you can—we will hold practice sessions each month. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me: Jenn Barbaro 508-527-1408 or jbarbaro01@northshore.edu

4-H Rabbit Hopping

Rabbit hopping is a new and exciting performance sport for rabbits of all sizes, breeds, and types. Hopping is challenging and athletic sport that requires lots of practice and patience. The guide below is meant to be used as a resource. Contact Jenn or Lisa Barbaro if you have more questions.


The rules for hopping are very simple, and are in place to protect the animal and ensure everyone’s safety.

  1. All rabbits must be healthy and able to compete (babies under 4 months of age, nursing and pregnant does, or sick or injured animals should not compete)
  2. All rabbits must be outfitted with an H-style harness and leash (no other harnesses are acceptable)
  3. Jumps must be constructed in a way that allows the rails to free fall in any direction if knocked down. Jumps with stationary rails should not be used
  4. Jumps should be positioned no less than three feet apart
  5. Mats or rugs must be placed under the entire jump course
  6. Handlers cannot go over the jump with the animal—they must walk on either side of the course
  7. Handlers can encourage their animal to jump with their hands only. Touching the animal with anything but your hand results in immediate disqualification
  8. Pulling or dragging the animal, or lifting them by the harness will result in immediate disqualification
  9. If the rabbit won’t jump, the handler can lift the animal over the jump


Safety is always our first and foremost commitment—to ourselves and our animals. Before practicing or competing, all animals should have their nails trimmed. Only H-style harnesses can be used for hopping. They are flexible and allow the animal more room to stretch and move over obstacles, while providing as little pressure on vital organs as possible. All jumps used for hopping must have free-falling rails—solid jumps or jumps with attached rails are unsafe. If an animal crashes into a jump or falls into a jump while hopping it must collapse easily. Solid obstacles can cause serious injury to the animal. Handlers should wear sturdy shoes, and close-fitting clothes (bulky or baggy clothes can get tangled in the jumps and result in falls). Rabbits should be conditioned to jump—start low, and work the rabbit up to higher jumps over time. Generally, we increase jump heights in 2 inch increments. Always practice hopping on a safe surface—mats or rugs are ideal for maximum traction.


Judging is done based on two factors—time and faults. The handler can run the course three times, in whichever direction they prefer (some rabbits will jump better in one direction than another). Each round is timed and faults are counted. The following will count as faults: knocking over rails or a jump or lifting the animal over a jump. Each time any part of a jump falls (one rail, ten rails, or the entire jump) counts as one fault, and each lift over a jump counts as one fault. Simply stopping at a jump doesn’t count as a fault, but does add to the overall time. The rabbit with the fastest round and the fewest faults is the winner.

Exhibitors will be separated by handler age: cloverbud, junior and senior. Junior and senior handlers can enter their animal into the appropriate class based on the animal’s experience: novice, intermediate, or advanced. No rabbit is permitted to jump higher than 20 inches. Novice jump heights are 2-4 inches. Intermediate jumps are 6-8 inches. Advanced jumps are 10 inches and may include double and/or spread jumps. Each course will consist of a minimum of 10 jumps.

Picking a Hopper

Almost every breed of rabbit is suitable for hopping with one exception—Himalayans are generally not considered capable of hopping due to the extreme length of their spines. Mixed breed rabbits are also acceptable. Any rabbit competing must be in good health, not a baby, and not pregnant, nursing, or injured.

The breeds most commonly used for hopping are the running breeds—Rhinelanders, English Spots, Checkered Giants, and Tans. Belgian Hares, Britannia Petites, Netherland Dwarfs, Holland Lops, and Mini Rex are also popular. Any rabbit that is inquisitive, outgoing, high energy and active could be a good candidate for hopping.

Teaching Your Hopper The Basics

When you begin hopping, the first step is to teach the rabbit to move with the harness on. Put the rabbit on the mats with the harness and leash on. Never pull or tug on the leash---when rabbits feel tension on the harness they will always pull backwards to avoid the pressure—opposite of the way you want them to go. Once they move freely with the harness, direct them over a single rail, so they can feel the rails, see the jumps, and explore the setup. They may be apprehensive—a gentle tap on the bum or under the belly will encourage them to move forward. Always stay behind the rabbit—they are likely to stop or back up if you get ahead of them. Never pull or drag the rabbit by the harness—it can cause injury to the animal, and will immediately cause them to try to move backwards (opposite of where you are trying to take them). Rabbits are prey animals and will usually move away from something behind them.

Enter Your Rabbit

Rules and Regulations

  1. All animals MUST be checked in on Sunday September 30th, 2018 between 8:00am and 9:30am. This is a carrying cage show, so all animals must be securely housed in appropriate travel cages (no full size cages, no baskets—secure cages only)
  2. If you are showing 3 or more animals, please arrive before 9:00am for check in.
  3. All animals must be in the showroom and checked in by 9:30am on Sunday, September 30th, 2018, or they will be considered scratched, and all entry money will be forfeited.
  4. Any animals showing any signs of disease or poor health (including but not limited to: nasal discharge, wet tail, impacted feces, mites, open sores, sore hocks, vent disease, diarrhea, or any other unhealthy/unclean condition) that is deemed unfit to be shown must be removed from the show room immediately. Contagious conditions subject your entire entry to review, and one or all may be sent home. If you have any questions as to the health of your animal, please leave it home!
  5. All decisions regarding the health and fitness of an animal to be shown will be reviewed by the Show Chairperson and/or Assistant Show Chairperson. Any disputes should be handled respectfully and calmly so a decision can be reached. The Show Chairperson and/or Assistant Show Chairperson have the final say in all decisions.
  6. Please make sure carriers, chairs, coolers, etc are secure and placed in designated areas. Keep walkways and aisles clear—for everyone’s safety.
  7. All animals must be the bona fide property of the exhibitor. In the event that it is found out before, during, or after the show that the animal is not owned by the child showing it, all awards and premiums will be forfeited. This includes the ARBA sanctioned open show on Saturday, September 29th, 2018. Any animal shown in the open show cannot be shown the following day in the 4-H show under another name (i.e mom can’t show the bunny in the open show and then daughter shows it the 4-H show). Please follow this rule—we will enforce this rule in fairness to every child!
  8. Judging starts promptly at 10am, so please arrive on time. All animals and exhibitors must remain in the showroom and on the Fairgrounds until 4pm. No animals can leave the showroom before this time without prior permission from the Show Chairperson and/or Assistant Show Chairperson. If animals are removed before 4pm without prior permission, all awards and premiums will be forfeited.
  9. All judging will be done according to ARBA/ACBA standards (excluding Pet & Cloverbud classes). Classes will be provided and awards will be given for all CURRENTLY RECOGNIZED breeds and varieties only. Working breeds and varieties that have a working standard (Lionheads, Velveteen Lops, etc) may be entered; however, the exhibitor must present a copy of the working standard at the time of entry. Per ARBA rules, animals shown under a working standard are only eligible to advance within their own breed class, and cannot compete for Best In Show.
  10. All rabbits MUST be tattooed in the left ear with black ink. All tattoos should be visible and easy to read. Illegible or unclear tattoos are subject to refusal. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO TATTOING ON THE FAIRGROUNDS! If you need your animal tattooed, please make arrangements at least one week in advance.
  11. All cavies MUST be tagged in the left ear with a cavy tag. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO TAGGING ON THE FAIRGROUNDS! If you need your animal tagged, please make arrangements at least one week in advance.
  12. In accordance with government regulations, there will be a cloverbud class for participants between the age of 5 and 7 years. In order to compete in regular breed classes, exhibitors must have turned 8 as of January 1st, 2018. There are no exceptions to this rule, and under no circumstance can a cloverbud compete in regular classes.
  13. There will be a pet class for all animals that are not eligible to compete in regular breed classes. ONLY PET ANIMALS CAN BE SHOWN IN PET CLASS. Animals shall be considered “pet quality” if they are one or more of the following: mixed bred, spayed or neutered, or have one or more major disqualifications. White toenails, poor coat color, poor coat condition, overweight, underweight, old age etc. etc are NOT qualifications for pet class. Unrecognized varieties (i.e. Harlequin Mini Lops or Mini Rexes, Broken colored White Cresteds etc.), off colored eyes (Vienna markings—colored rabbit with blue eyes), improper spotting/white coloration (Vienna markings- white nose, white feet, dutch markings on a non-dutch breed, etc) are all examples of purebred animals that qualify for pet class. On your entry form please write PET RABBIT or PET CAVY under variety, and be sure to include an ear number and sex.
  14. All animals must be carried to the show table by the exhibitor during check in and the show. Parents or siblings may assist the exhibitor to ensure child safety, HOWEVER the child must be the one showing/checking in the animals. Junior leaders are always available to help younger members—if you’d like an older member to be assigned to help your child, please talk with the Show Secretary.
  15. The exhibitor must be present at the time of judging. If the exhibitor is not present, animals will not be shown for them, and will be considered scratched from the show. Exhibitors will be given a maximum of 3 minutes to get their animals to the show table after the first call has been made.
  16. Great Scott’s 4-H Rabbit & Cavy Club and the Topsfield Fair cannot be held responsible for loss or injury to animals, persons, and/or property, however all reasonable and prudent measures will be taken to ensure everyone’s safety.
  17. As stated in the Great Scott’s 4-H Rabbit & Cavy Club Constitution, all children are the sole responsibility of their parent or guardian. The club asks that all children are supervised at all times while attending the show. (The barn is a very busy place during the Fair, with lots of people coming and going. Please keep watch over your children. No rough housing or running will be tolerated.)
  18. No members of the public are allowed in the blocked off showroom area, and we need everyone’s help in enforcing this. Only exhibitors and their immediate family members will be allowed inside the showroom. (This means no friends or invited guests, sorry!) It is very difficult to ensure the safety of every child with so many people around, and when members of the public see others being invited in, they think they can come in too. Parents, leaders, and adults—keep a look out, and if you see anyone in the showroom area you don’t know, ask them if they are with an exhibitor, and if not, then politely explain that this area is for exhibitors only. (Wearing green and/or Great Scott’s clothing is an awesome way to stay identified!)
  19. Please do not speak to any members of the media. Direct them to the Show Chairperson and/or Assistant Show Chairperson.
  20. No animal under the age of 8 weeks is allowed on the Fairgrounds. Please leave babies and moms with babies home! It’s very stressful on the animals, and gives members of the public the wrong idea!

Eric Stewart, Executive Director
P.O. Box 5667
Bloomington, IL 61702
Membership Dues:
Youth, $12.00 per year, $30.00 for 3 years
Adult, $20.00 per year, $50.00 for 3 years
Husband/Wife: $30.00 per year, $75.00 for 3 years
The national convention for 2018 will be held at
WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA, 10/27-31/2018

How To Fill Out Your Entry Form

  1. Coop Number: Leave this blank
  2. Breed: Write in the breed of your rabbit or cavy—Mini Lop, Holland Lop, Mini Rex, Abyssinian, American, etc etc. Pet cavies—write Pet Cavy, pet rabbits-write Pet Rabbit. Cloverbuds- write Cloverbud
  3. Variety: This is where your write the animal’s color, or show classification. Each breed has different guidelines for varieties—for example, lops are shown as solid or broken without consideration to color. Netherland Dwarfs are shown by their individual colors, so please know your rabbit’s color. Cavies are shown by show classification. This information can be found in the Standard of Perfection, or you can contact the Assistant Show Chairperson if you have any questions. Pet animals and cloverbuds leave this field blank.
  4. Ear#: All animals must be tattooed or tagged in the left ear. Please write the number in this field.
  5. Sex: Male rabbit- buck, female rabbit- doe, female cavy-sow, male cavy-boar. Cloverbuds do not need to fill this out.
  6. Jr.: Check this box if your rabbit is under 6 months of age, or your cavy is under 4mths of age.
  7. Int.: If you have a large breed rabbit (Flemish Giant, Palomino, English Lop, etc.) and your animal is between the age of 6 and 8 months, check this box. If your cavy is between 4 and 6 months of age, check this box.
  8. Sr.: If you have a small breed rabbit (Mini Lop, Lionhead, Netherland Dwarf, Mini Rex, etc) and your rabbit is 6 months of age or older, check this box. If you have a large breed rabbit (Flemish Giant, Palomino, English Lop, etc.) that is over 8 months of age, check this box. If your cavy is over 6 months of age, check this box.
  9. Please fill out all of the information at the top and bottom of the entry form, including name, address, age as of January 1st, 2018, etc.

If you have any questions, please contact the Show Chairperson: Bonnie McLaughlin at 603-642-8216 or the Assistant Show Chairperson: Jenn Barbaro at 508-527-1408 or jbarbaro01@northshore.edu

Official Rules

Topsfield Fair General Rules & Information

Topsfield Fair General Livestock Rules & Information

Commonwealth of Massachusetts 2014 Fairs Animal Health Rules

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