Archive for February, 2011


February 28, 2011

Rabbit Body Types Quiz for 4-H Showmanship or ARBA Royalty Practice

*4-H Leaders!* Click here to download this post as a printable quiz for your 4-H members!

How well do you know your rabbit body types?  Take this quiz!  Click the link above to download a printable version with answers.  Click this link to take the interactive online version.  Click “read the remainder of this entry” below to view the quiz on this site.

All rabbit breeds recognized by the ARBA fall under one of five body type categories.  The body type descriptions and list of breeds included is found in your Standard of Perfection.  It is important to be familiar with body type categories if you are competing in 4-H Showmanship or ARBA Royalty.  The following quiz will be useful for ARBA Royalty, 4-H Showmanship, 4-H rabbit quiz bowl, and ARBA registrar’s license applicants.

1. What body type is the Tan?

a. Commercial Type   b.Compact Type  c. Cylindrical Type    d Full-Arch Type     e. Semi-Arch Type



Healthy Guinea Pigs

February 25, 2011

Keeping Your Cavy Healthy

*4-H Leaders*  Click here to download a printable version of this article to use in your club!

Here are a few links to excellent websites about cavy care, guinea pig feeding, common guinea pig illnesses, and more:

It is much easier to maintain the health of a guinea pig than rehabilitate a sick one. Therefore, it is vital to start with healthy stock. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the breeder from whom you are considering purchasing cavies. If you don’t see the caviary, ask them about what conditions their pigs are kept in, what they feed, and if they have encountered any health problems lately. Almost every breeder experiences health-related difficulties with their cavies, so an honest breeder who tells
you they’ve had problems should not be an immediate turn-off. The main thing to consider is the way they handled the situation.

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How do you force a molt

February 23, 2011

How do you make a rabbit molt?

How often do your rabbits molt? Once a year, twice? Three times?  I hope not.  Molting is the normal process of changing a coat when the old one has lived out its term.  Molting is a good thing at the right times, because it keeps a rabbit’s fur fresh and clean.  However, a rabbit in molt will not have good show condition, so molting can cause problems.  Some people seem to struggle with rabbits that are always in molt, but I’ve had more of a problem with rabbits hanging on to their dead coats for months, as if retro-wear was in fashion.  Thankfully, there are things you can do to help both situations.

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Rabbit Breed ID Practice

February 21, 2011

It’s Breed ID practice time!

Do you know the breed and colors of all these bunnies?

If you are beginning in breed ID, just try to determine the Breed and the Variety, which is the color.

If you are serious about ARBA breed identification, you should identify four items for each rabbit:

1. Breed.

2. Showroom Classification.  The way the rabbit would be entered and shown at an ARBA show.  Examples are Broken Pattern, Black, Colored, Self… it all depends on the breed.

3. 4-class or 6-class.  Breeds with a minimum senior weight of 9 lbs or over are six-class breeds.  All others are four-class breeds.

4. Registration Variety.  This is the exact color of the rabbit.  May be the same as Showroom Classification, or it may be totally different.

Ready to play?  Click each photo for the answer!

click for answer

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Cool Idea for Rabbitry Banner

February 18, 2011


How would you like ad-free website hosting for $22.00 per year?  I was thinking that it made no sense for each of us to be paying $60-$120/year for hosting when we have such little bitty websites!  So if you would like to team with other breeders to lower your hosting costs or remove those horrible ads, please send me an e-mail!

Graphic Design Ideas:

I know that there are a lot of rabbit breeders that enjoy playing with photo editing programs!  Here are a couple of banners I’ve done… they aren’t brilliant, but I think they use a neat concept.  It’s fun to watch…the first few times!

Guide to Raising Cavies written in 1915

February 14, 2011

Have you ever seen the website  It’s one of the coolest sites on the net.  At you can download thousands of old books with expired copyrights, so they are in the public domain and are completely free.  Most of the classic novels are on there: A Tale of Two Cities, Little Women, and the Sherlock Holmes stories to name a few.  But amidst those famous titles you’ll find many obscure gems of literature, like “The Raising and Care of Guinea Pigs”, written in 1915 by one A. C. Smith.

This little book calls itself “A Complete Guide to the Breeding, Feeding, Housing, Exhibiting, and Marketing of Cavies”…the way they did it almost a hundred years ago.  Some of the practices mentioned by the author seem strange, but many are quite the same as we do things now.  The author speaks often about the great profit that’s to be gained by raising cavies and selling them as pets, laboratory animals, and even as a food source.  If you’d like to download the whole book you can do so here:

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Interview with Betty Chu

February 11, 2011

Betty Chu, English Angora Breeder

Do you, Betty Chu…?”

(Betty is pictured with her doe Chu’s Sevenah, who won Best of Breed at the 2007 ARBA convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan.)

What questions would you ask the most famous angora breeder in the world?  Betty Chu, English Angora breeder from California, was kind enough to give me an interview to share with you.  But it wasn’t quite an ordinary interview: I wanted to have some fun.

Here are a few silly questions that I asked of Betty Chu, and her responses.  You will be seeing amusing interviews like this often on the Rabbit Smarties Blog, the second Friday of every month!

“Do you, Betty Chu…?”

Do you ever sing to your rabbits?
No, I am not musically inclined.

Do you think the German Angora will ever be recognized by the ARBA?
No, they have tried and failed in the 80s.

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2011 Standard of Perfection Corrections

February 9, 2011

The 2011-2015 ARBA Standard of Perfection is now in effect: do you have your copy?   If you’ve already purchased this book, you’ll want to make note of a few errors that occured in the first printing.  The following notices were posted here on the ARBA website.

Please note the following correction for the printed 2011-2015 ARBA Standard of Perfection Page 34,  STANDARD & GUIDE FOR JUDGING MEAT CLASSES.  MEAT PENS, second paragraph, second sentence “Pointed animals must all have the same point color” is an error.  The sentence “Pointed animals must all have the same point color” should be removed.  The 2011-2015 Standard of Perfection correction page will be updated to reflect this correction.

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Champion Rabbit Showmen Part 2

February 7, 2011

7 Qualities of a Champion Rabbit Showman, Part 2

*4-H Leaders: Click here to download the last two posts as an article you can print for your club members!*

4. Professionalism.  Politeness and Professionalism are essential qualities for a Champion rabbit showman to possess.  Their appearance is clean and tidy.  Their hair is not getting in their face and they are not wearing distracting jewelry.   They are wearing a white show coat or long sleeve shirt, and a black skirt or pants.  They always wait till the judge finishes the question before they answer, even if they know what he or she is going to say.  They speak loudly and clearly enough for the judge to hear them, and they look the judge in the eye when they answer.  They answer in plain words, expressing interest but not giggling.  They aren’t afraid to ask the judge to repeat the question or give them a minute to think if they need it.   Don’t forget that speaking clearly and looking people in the eye can be practiced at home!

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7 Qualities of a Top Rabbit Showman

February 4, 2011

This is the value of rabbit contests like showmanship and ARBA royalty: that discipline and self-improvement are as important to success as a knowledge of bunnies.  Expertise in rabbit raising will benefit young members for a little while, but many are the 4-H’ers that used the skills they developed through these programs to excel in other areas, long after the bunnies were gone.

If you are a young rabbit breeder and would like to improve your scores at fair or convention, check out the following article that outlines some of the skills that define a top rabbit showman.  These are qualities that any participant can develop when they want to! 

7 Qualities of a Top Youth Showman – Part I

1) Experience.  Experience doesn’t have to mean that you’ve been doing 4-H for years.  In fact, many kids have won contests like rabbit showmanship, breed ID, or even ARBA royalty the very first time they entered.  Why?  Because they practiced, practiced, practiced!  A few months of determined drilling will beat years of half-hearted effort in real competitions.  When you do get a chance to compete, always look for at least three things you learned from the experience and can improve on for next time. 

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Rhinelander Rabbit Disqualification

February 2, 2011

Can you find a DQ in this Rhinelander’s markings?  Click the image for the answer.

Can you find a DQ in this English Spot’s markings?  Click the image for the answer.

Coming Next Time: 7 Essential Qualities of a top rabbit showman.  Don’t forget to vote in our poll!

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Dear Pearl 2

February 1, 2011

“Dear Pearl” : Humor for Rabbit Breeders

Being a series of letters from imaginary breeder Britanny Petite to her dear friend, Pearl Marten.  These be the thoughts that, at one time or another, we all would like to express…

Dear Pearl,

Ah, wintertime.  What a boisterous time of year it is for national specialty clubs!  I’ve discovered that it’s second only to election time in terms of riotous conversation on the message boards.  I mean, count the reasons!  Convention excitement has died down, bunny production is nearly nil, we’re struggling personally with new year’s resolutions, and we won’t have to deal with each other personally for a few months still before nationals…  I call it fair weather for a Crème D’Argument.  Are there “mini wrecks” going on in your club right now, or are the waters calm?  In my club, the NQRBA, everything hinges on whether or not the final sweepstakes standings will be released in the next couple weeks.  You don’t know how many times the position of sweep keeper has come up for grabs!

But really, I think we underappreciate our  officers.  I was just the assistant secretary at our local show last week and it gave me a glimpse of how much effort it takes.  My primary job was looking up zip codes on google so we could complete the envelopes and mail the reports.  I’m going to suggest that next year’s entry form be printed with the zip code box outlined in red.  Exhibitors might not so easily overlook it that way.  Maybe we should highlight the “show secretary” blank at the bottom, too.  Somehow it seems like a reward for doing the reports when the exhibitors took the time to write your name there… ya know?

I would love to hear from you, but no rush.  Just get back to me before they host convention in Alaska.


[Disclaimer: All characters mentioned in these “letters” are fictional (at least, most of them! ) as well as all clubs (except ARBA/ACBA), shows, locations, and/or incidents.  These letters are intended get some fun out of the hobby of rabbit breeding and showing.  However, please be aware that these “letters” do NOT reflect usual or recommended practices of rabbit show breeders.  It’s more often quite the opposite…]

Coming next time on the Rabbit Smarties Blog: Can you find the DQ in these illustrations?

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