Acknowledgement: The information for this section is based on American Rabbit Breeders Associations 4-H Showmanship Guidelines.

Each judge will have a different style and expectations. However, it never hurts to educate yourself to your best ability. Use ALL of your 4-H material books and handouts. Ask other kids what types of questions were asked the year prior and last but not least, STUDY! Not the week or night before but all year long. Study with other rabbit kids, as they may have study tips or can teach you something new.


  • Know your rabbit breed.
  • Know other colors, min/max weights, history, body types, fur types, and different breed characteristic.
  • Know more than one breed of rabbit and some pointers about those breeds.
  • Know a handful of diseases, including prevention, cause and cure.
  • Know what you feed your rabbit and how m (protein, fiber and fat %’s).
  • Be able to describe how you house and clean your rabbit’s cage.
  • Know body parts and the temperature of rabbits.
  • Know about gestation and kindling.
  • Know fryer, roaster and stewer weights and ages.
  • Know about 4-H and what it’s all abo Also know the other areas of your project (companion rabbit, producing does or market project).

Grooming Rabbits

  • ALWAYS groom YOU and YOUR RABBIT. Your rabbit should be free of molt, but every attempt to groom the rabbit for those summer months is kept in mind.
  • Your rabbit should bear no stains; ears, eyes and vents should be clean.
  • Your rabbit’s nails should be clipped as short as possible but not so they bleed (look and trim carefully), filed smooth if still sharp.
  • If you have a white rabbit, it should be purely white.

Showing Procedures

NOTE: The judge may ask exhibitors to come the table one at a time or they may ask all exhibitors to bring their animal to the show table and line up all at once.  You should be comfortable with both methods.

When coming onto the show table, always pose your rabbit frontwards. Sometimes, the judge will have you all turn to the left, towards you and to the right making a complete circle or he will tell each individual a position which may be different than your neighbor. KEEP that position after examining your rabbit until/unless he/she tells you to do otherwise.


When asked to “check” the teeth/nails/sex, show yourself. If asked to “show” the teeth/nails/sex, the judge wants to see it. Look at the judge after you complete each step.  When “showing” you have to do it the “opposite” or whichever way you feel most comfortable. You should have plenty of practice with your rabbit when not checking yourself, use a parent or another kid to be the judge. When asked to “check” or “show” the teeth/nails/sex, do it in that order and that order only. Keep one eye on the judge and one on your rabbit.

  • Carry to Table
  • Pose Rabbit. When you are told to begin, carefully set your rabbit down on the ta Pose your rabbit on the table with left ear facing the judge, so the judge can see ear tattoo (if applicable). Use correct pose for breed, proper setting of front and hind feet, ears and tail. Describe your rabbit including breed, age, variety and sex.
  • Ears for mites, cankers, rips/tears, tat Open ear using your index finger and second finger with thumb for support behind ear so that the judge can see inside the ear. (you may use one finger.) Do left ear first, then right ear using a ½ turn so right ear faces the judge. (Do not drag rabbit, lift rabbit when turning).
  • Eyes, left then right eye for proper color or diseas Know proper color for variety/breed and know diseases that affect the eye.
  • Nose. Look at/in nose – know what symptoms of disease would be there. Look at insides of legs.
  • Teeth. Look at front and bottom teeth. Know what problems affect teeth and know proper bite.
  • Front Feet/Toenails. Count correct number on left and rig Proper nail color and pad color.
  • Front Legs/Bone. Lift and feel each bone in right and left.
  • Back Feet/Toenails.Count correct number on right and left. Know proper color and check hocks.
  • Back Legs/Bone. Lift and feel each bone in right and left
  • Know Sex. (Doe – expose vent, Buck – expose penis, check for both testic Know possible diseases (make sure the area is clean))
  • Tail. Check bone for breaks, straightness and carriage.
  • Checking Top Body: Place your rabbit facing you and smooth its fu Check body area with both hands for bare spots, spots in fur color, abscesses, scratches. Start at the tail and work towards the neck.  Feel back and both sides. Repeat, starting at the neck and work towards the tail. (Do not just tickle your rabbit, feel it.) Check back of neck for mites and scratches. Hold up ears with one hand and feel behind neck for scaly patches or scratches with the other hand. Explain body type. Check upper & under body, feel for abscess or rupture, sides and neck area.
  • Check Fur.  After you are all done, stoke fur backwards and blow, checking for mites/mange. Set fur properly when done. Know DQ’s, how to treat and what fur type you have.

If you are given the wonderful chance to switch rabbits with your neighbors, know that breed and how it’s posed. If it is posed correctly, leave it alone. If your neighbor forgot something, FIX IT! When switching, always put one hand on your neighbor’s rabbit while switching positions with them. If the other showman is on the other end of the table, look to the judge and he should hold your rabbit while you walk over to the other. 

Depending on your age level and the judge, he/she may put a carrier on the table and have you place and remove the rabbit in the carrier. Always control the back feet to make sure you don’t hook nails and latch the carrier when the rabbit is in. After removing the rabbit and it’s safely tucked, close and latch the carrier back up.

General Showmanship Guidelines

  • ALWAYS handle your rabbit and others with 100% safe handling skills.
  • NEVER drag your rabbit’s toenails on the carpet; ALWAYS pick your rabbit completely off the table {judges like to see air}.
  • Use 1/4 turns and do not rush.
  • If asked to “pick up your rabbit, turn around and walk back”, do not set your rabbit down unless instructed It gets kids every time. Pick your rabbit up, tuck its head and legs under your arm and support the rump with the other hand.
  • DO NOT watch your neighbor. Do not repeat what they said. Usually the reason a judge asks kids who are next to each other is because one person said it wrong and he wants the right answer. If you truly do not know, it’s okay to say, “I do not know”. If you have an educated guess, go ahead and say it – you might be right.
  • ALWAYS speak loud and clear If the words don’t come out right, try to rephrase yourself before the judge goes onto another showman. Most are patient and willing to listen. Do not “over” talk, but don’t talk too little. The more good information you can get out in reasonable time, to show the judge what you know is preferred.
  • When the judge moves to the next person, slowly move your feet so you are still facing him. If your rabbit moves, calmly place it back on your rug, repose and put your hands behind your back. If your rabbit is way out of control, you should keep one hand on your rabbit’s head, or whatever keeps it still. Even if your rabbit is rowdy, knowing how to calmly keep your rabbit in place and answering questions to your best ability, you can still come out a winner.
  • After showmanship, whether you’ve won or not, always smile and shake the judge’s h He/she should offer a time to ask questions and tell you what he was expecting or looking for and what some of you did wrong. Take this advice wisely.
  • SMILE.
  • Refer to all other General Showmanship Guidelines on pages 1-3 and your county or show rules.