Tag Archives: show rabbits

The Quirky Art of Tattooing

Every show rabbit must had an identifying tattoo in its ear.

Every show rabbit must had an identifying tattoo in its ear.

As a kid raising rabbits, we never worried about tattoos in their ears – we knew which rabbits we had and which cages they called home. No biggie!


As an adult coming back into raising rabbits the need for tattoos has become apparent. Not only are tattoos required for any rabbit in a show, having permanent ear markings can come in quite handy when you’re trying to discern just which all black bunny you’re you’re checking out!


Almost every rabbit we have has an ear tattoo now. ARBA requires the tattoo to be in the rabbit’s left ear. If you choose to register the rabbit, they receive another tattoo in their right ear. Tattoos can be words, letters, numbers, or combinations and can be applied using a clamp or a tattoo pen.


We have chosen to use the KBtatts Tattoo Pen. This is the only tattoo device we’ve used so I don’t have a basis of comparison, but I don’t want to use another one… ever! I was expecting the rabbits to twitch or jump while tattooing… and they don’t. In fact, I began to wonder if I was actually tattooing correctly because they didn’t move a bit. Turns out it’s just a great pen with a quiet motor and needles that get the job done quickly and efficiently.


Trying to decide how to tattoo is another fun occupation. We’ve decided to use a system that begins with “H,” representing Mad Hatter Rabbitry, the number of the month the rabbit is born in (using letters for any two digit numbers), the last digit of the year, the number of the rabbit in the litter, first letter of the name of the sire and first letter of the name of the dam.


So, Mister, who was born in November 2012 and is the first kit out of Bucky and Duchess, has the tattoo: HB21BD.


Other people will use their own system or the name of the rabbit. Judges at shows get an eyeful when they see rabbits with names like “HOT STUFF,” “DINNER 4 5,” or “HONEY BEW BEW.” Hopefully judges keep a good sense of humor and breeders use common sense in their tattooing!

Funny Things Rabbit People Say

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zettmedia / stock.xchng

One of the very best things we’ve done as people who will be taking rabbit breeding seriously is join the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc., or ARBA. One of the supports offered by this organization is a Facebook group where breeders gather to compare stories, share remedies, and communicate best practices.


I’ve learned an amazing amount from reading through past posts… but one thread tickled me more than any other! For the rabbit newcomer, there are many aspects about the care and nurture of our four-legged friends that might be confusing. Other breeders shared some of the funny questions and statements they’ve gotten from rabbit innocents:

“My female rabbit keeps pulling fur and putting in the corner of our sofa.”

Friend’s reply, “Are there any other rabbits in the house?”


Friend’s reply, “IS the other rabbit a male?”


Friend’s reply, “Then your female is making a nest to have babies.”

“But they’re brother and sister. They wouldn’t do that!.” (courtesy of N. Anderson) (Rabbits have no regard for anything except gender!)

“How far can my rabbit swim?” (courtesy of S.H. Brown) (Rabbits don’t do well with water at all)

“I judge 4H rabbit kids & sometimes you get some very funny answers. My favorite: I asked a young man senior showman (very experienced) What is smut? He lowered is head, face blushing & answered very quietly, “My momma won’t let me look at that stuff.” It was hard not to laugh but I continued with the judging. Later that day the young man came up to me and asked about the question. I showed him in the book & explained it to him. We had a good laugh together. Gotta love those 4H kids!” (courtesy of B. McCall) (Smut is a reference to poor coloring)

“I once had a FFA mom call me in a panic because she was bunny-sitting her daughters rabbit and while playing with it noticed a large tumor on its end. I asked her to go get the rabbit and bring it back with her to the phone. She did and I asked her to turn it over which she did and started screaming! She was so freaked out because now there were two growths on the rabbit! After I stopped laughing I told her, “Congratulations you have a boy!” (courtesy of B. Rowan)

“Can I breed this 3 lbs. mini Rex doe with that 11 lbs. Satin buck?” they asked me. To which I replied, “All things may be possible but common sense says that’s not prudent.” (courtesy of J. Veale)

“I was on one group and and one woman told everyone else that rabbits store MILK in their dewlap…I was like, “Really now???” (courtesy of K. Southall) (The dewlap is an extra amount of hair used by mama rabbits to pull and line their nests)

“At our local fair last year people kept asking us “What’s wrong with all the rabbits that they are broken?” (courtesy of K. Krejci-Giminiani) (“Broken” is a coloring description. It means the color is broken instead of solid)

“I have to admit I was confused with the “legs” a rabbit has when we were new. I told L. there was no way I’d pay for a three-legged rabbit that she couldn’t even show! But we figured it out!”(courtesy of M.S. Guidry) (When a rabbit wins at a show it is awarded a “leg.” After earning three legs, it is eligible to be given the honor of Grand Champion, which is quite desirable.)


I hope this has given you a bit of a chuckle, as I got a chuckle while reading! Thank you to all the people who posted on the FB page… and I’d love to hear of any funny questions you’ve gotten in the comments!

Show Offs

This weekend we traveled to Tucson for our first show.

We’ve never really considered ourselves “show people,” although I’m not sure we ever really defined the “show” stereotype. (I believe my perception was vaguely informed by watching the movie Best in Show. I loved the movie but also though it was a train wreck of people who were completely obsessed.)

With that in mind, I was highly interested to visit the rabbit show circuit!

The SARBA show was a full day, 8 a.m. to a bit after 5 p.m., and offered six shows, three youth and three open. (Here’s a great list of the vocabulary and things you’ll encounter at a rabbit show.) I don’t know the exact number of rabbits entered but… it was a lot!

Some people had rabbits for sale, some set up shop to tattoo rabbit ears, others had little tables available and grooming tools. Overall it was an amazing cross-section of humanity, all brought together by love of the lagomorphs!

The showing itself was ridiculously easy – you simply brought your rabbit to the table and placed them in the little box in the right order! The judges were incredible about giving concise comments on each rabbit, and by leaning in and listening carefully we were able to learn an enormous amount about our breeds and what a judge looks for in the comparison process.

It was also amazingly useful to lay eyes on the various types of colorings and breeds of rabbits. Even though I’ve been online and read a ton of books about rabbits, seeing is believing. I have a much better understanding of coloring, temperament, and type after one little day spent at the rabbit show.

Our rabbits did reasonably well. We discovered there is a difference between having a “show quality” rabbit and a “showable” rabbit! Our Silver Martens performed the best of the rabbits we took, winning Best of Variety, Best Opposite Variety, and Best of Breed. Most importantly, we have a clear direction of where we’re going with our breeding program in the future.

We loved our show experience and are very grateful to SARBA for sponsoring the show and making it available to us! I’d recommend anyone give it a shot! I think you, like us, will discover you’re looking forward to your next time to get together!

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