The Netherland Dwarf Show Rabbit
Getting Started
Helpful Tips

Here we hope to give you some ideas not only how to prepare you bunnies for the show table, but also what you might need to take and how to act and react at the shows. 


It is fine to be competitive and want to go out and win and do good, even want to go out and be the best. However with showing rabbits, dogs, horses or anything, the most important thing you must do first is go out and have FUN, and remember that every show you will not win and that is ok. However every show you can make at least one new friend and that is the best part, and maybe that new friend or maybe a friend you meet at a past show is going to be the one that won this time and you are going to be able to go up and say Congrats. Also by not winning every show you will take home that energy to go home and work that much harder to make a better bunny to do better the next time. We have been at shows that the first show we have taken Best of Breed and even Best in Show and the second show in the same day with the same judge that gave the bunny Best in Show places him second or lower in class. It happens and we have learned to just laugh about it, we have other breeders come up and are so mad about it, and we have to calm them down about it now. It is just a Bunny Show......we are there to have a good time and have fun with our friends....

CONDITIONING TO WIN: by Getitia Matheny

How often have we admired a beautiful Netherland Dwarf; healthy, full of vigor, in beautiful condition, and with a wondrous prime line that runs from the back of the neck all the way to the tip of the tail? Today, when I stop and think about what is required to condition a Netherland Dwarf to the optimum, I am overwhelmed by the amount of work that is necessary to achieve this goal. Netherland Dwarf competition continues to increase every year. Best of Breed wins in challenging competition are not easy to achieve these days. If a Dwarf is exhibited with superior body type, but is "out of condition", first off the table instead of first in the class is the most likely award. When it comes right down to the a close decision for Best of Breed, and the Dwarfs have the similar type, then condition is usually the deciding factor.
The ARBA defines condition as the state of a rabbit having a definite appearance of health and vigor; to be bold and bright of eye, and to have a good coat firmly set in the pelt. It is to be firm in flesh covering; neither too fat with soft, flabby flesh, nor too think in flesh allowing a bony effect when examined. Flesh is to be deep and even over the entire body.
Just what is required to achieve "excellent condition:? After years of trial and error (usually more error), I would like to share the elements that I consider most important in the goal - "Conditioning to win" . The elements are: breeding stock selection, cooping and housing, and nutrition. All are important, for if one is neglected, like a puzzle with a missing piece, it will be impossible to have a complete picture.

Items you might need at a show:
1) Bunnies of course
2) copy of your entry
3) extra clothes in case you get sprayed
4) leak proof cary cages
5) something to cover you bunnies cages is nice to have. Sometimes those shows can be drafty and it also just gives them a quiet area.
6) show table or a piece of carpet to get your bunnies ready for the show table on.
7) water from home and feed
8) paper towels, some breeders use baby wipes
9) pen and paper
10) pedigree's of any bunnies for sale


Information on molting. Most of us will tell you what we think we remember
and probably most of that is subject to much error.  In my experience
molt is not just one thing, as you are alluding to.  The quickness of
molt, the completeness of molt, how often a rabbit molts, when it does
its first molt and when it does each succeeding molt are all probably
subject to some variation within families, or even between

Shaded Dwarfs got a bad reputation for always being blotchy (and still
do in some circles) until someone realized that maybe there was a
genetic component to it and began selecting for animals that molted
fully.  I know that I went through that 10 years ago, and still am
dealing with it with my top Sable herd buck.  I've had to trade a lot
of type for a bit of a molt problem on the lower skirts.  I know there
are judges that will not put such a rabbit up for breed with a speck
of molt on them, but they will put up a rabbit with lesser type.
Doesn't seem like a good trade to me, but ....  I do try to select
from stock that does molt cleanly, and by-and-large that is the case
with 90% of my Shadeds.

Another factor you need to consider in keeping your records is time of
year, temperature at the start and end of molt, the condition of the
rabbit (bred, milking, overweight, underweight, etc.)  There are a
number of things that probably factor in and it may be very difficult
to know which are the important ones without a lot of record keeping.

I am planning to begin keeping records this summer, too.  I have
tended to lean toward the idea that molt is more related to age than
temp, as I have a bunch who molt in January, when you'd think they'd
love to keep their coats!


Good Winners and Poor losers:
Over the last few years I have noticed in our area we show in, that we have alot of poor losers. It is very hard to see how some Adults and even the youth in our area act at shows. Yes we are all going to have those days that we wish we would not have gotten up so early to attend a show we not only did poorly at but did not agree with the judge and tired of seeing the same person win again.
WELL GROW UP....when my daughter was showing there was always clapping and there was always Congrats being given. Do I see that at shows today, not very much if any. I have tried to keep in practice no matter what kind of day we have, I will clap and give congrats to those that do well and win the breed. You do for those that you want others to do for you.
I would like to see more breeders also talking with the newer breeders and lets give them some help. We can give the option to get hands on with some better dwarfs than they have and lets train their hands. We all like to win and we like to win all the time, but you know what, it makes us all work harder if we have to work for that win, and when we go to a show and not do so well it makes us come home and look over things and see what we can do to make our next show better. We all like the challenge.
Heads held high at the show, support those breeders that also make the long trip to the show and grip about it on the way home away from the show.


FUN, MEETING NEW FRIENDS, SPORTSMANSHIP and a little competitiveness is what rabbit showing is all about. We must always remember to congratulate the winner for that day and walk away with our heads up. We are not going to win every show we go to, and there is always a better rabbit out there to beat, that is why we love the Netherland Dwarfs and why they make us work so hard. We are always striving to make them better.