This page is just a few rabbit terms that breeders use on a daily basis so to help someone not familiar with the terminologies that are used I have a few that are used more often and given a quick description of what some of these terms mean.
Show abbreviations and meanings
In an ARBA Sanctioned and Judged Show:
BOB - Best of Breed - Judged the best rabbit of that breed.
BOS - Best Opposite Sex - Judged the best of the opposite sex of the BOB rabbit. For example, if a doe wins BOB, then the judge will choose the best buck for the BOS.
BOV - Best Of Variety - The rabbit judged best of its variety. "Variety" is the same as "color" in most breeds. Some breeds only come in one color, and BOV does not apply. "Variety" can mean something else in some breeds. In Angoras, all whites are shown together, and BOV is the designation for the Best White. All colors are shown together, and BOV is the designation for the Best Colored. The Lop breeds have a similar situation, but their varieties are designated as being either Solid or Broken.
BOSV - Best Opposite Sex of Variety - Judged the best rabbit of the opposite sex of the BOV rabbit.
BOG - Best Of Group - In some breeds, varieties are lumped together, and shown in groups (Harlequin and Jersey Wooly), or first shown in individual varieties, then the best of each group is chosen (Netherland Dwarf).
BOSG - Best Opposite Sex of Group - Judged the best rabbit of the opposite sex of the BOG rabbit.
Best 4-Class- Judged the best rabbit of all the breeds that have four showroom classes. The four classes being: Senior buck, senior doe, junior buck, and junior doe. This is an optional award.
Best 6-Class- Judged the best rabbit of all the breeds that have six showroom classes. The six classes being: Senior buck, senior doe, intermediate (also called 6-8) buck, intermediate (also called 6-8) doe, junior buck, and junior doe. Some of these breeds also have a pre-junior class, which is not counted. This is an optional award.
BIS - Best In Show - Judged as the best rabbit in the rabbit show. BIS may be chosen by comparing all the BOB winners, or a Best 4-Class and a Best 6-Class may be chosen first, and the BIS chosen from these two winners. Another method, is to designate several groups, with several breeds in each group, choose a Best of each Group, then choose BIS from the group winners. Usually, only very large shows use this method. All shows are required to choose a BIS.
RIS - Reserve In Show - Judged the second best rabbit in the show. This is an optional award. If a Best 4-Class and a Best 6-Class are chosen first, the RIS is the one not chosen for BIS.
Runner-up BIS - Same as RIS. Termonology may be different in different areas of the country.
Rabbit care has it's own unique language and terms. I thought it might be helpful for the beginner or for the person who does not yet own any rabbits to learn the lingo and use this post as a quick reference.Show TerminologyIf you want to show, you will hear a lot of new terms.
A.R.B.A. - American Rabbit Breeders Association: This is the AKC of the rabbit world. Although you do not have to be a member of the ARBA to show at most shows, you will need to be a member if you plan to register your rabbits or rabbitry. The ARBA also governs the rules and regulations of "Sanctioned Shows." They also train and license rabbit and cavy(guinea pigs) "Registrars" and "Judges."
All breeds of rabbits & cavies must be approved by the ARBA. They set the standards and qualifications for each breed. The guide breeders, registrars, and judges use to pick the best rabbits and cavies is the "Standard of Perfection," which is published by the ARBA. The D.R. or Domestic Rabbit magazine comes out every other month. This as well as a Year Book is published by the ARBA.
Doe- female rabbit Buck- male rabbit Kit- baby rabbit Lagomorph- the Order that rabbits and hares belong to. Family Leporidae. Rabbits are not rodents! Binkies- a term for when a bunny is running and jumping around in a very happy fashion! Herd- the name used to describe a group of rabbits. Rabbitry- generally called such for people with any amount of rabbits who raise for exhibition, breeding, pets, meat, etc. Barn- similar to rabbitry. People refer to their rabbit barn as such if they keep their rabbits in their own unique building just for the purpose of housing rabbits. Sexing- term used for the technique of looking at the rabbits genitals to determine if it is male or female. Quick- the pink part of the toenails/claws that contains the blood vessels and nerves. It is to be avoided when trimming a rabbit's nails. Rabbits nails can grow very long and can increase the chance of breaking a nail or toe if it becomes too long. This is not only painful but can get your rabbit disqualified at a show if it has a broken toe. Also, can make getting scratched much more dangerous. You should trim your rabbit's nails regularly. A rabbit can be disqualified from exhibition if it's nails are not trimmed. ARBA- the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Pellets/feed- the pressed grains and plant materials of commercially produced food to feed rabbits with. Should be 16% or more in fiber, and in the 16-18% protein range. Hay- everyone knows what hay is. Rabbits should be fed hay as it gives them lots of chewing which they need to be happy and gives them something to do in their cage. It also provides them with much needed fiber. Rabbits need a very high amount of fiber in their diet or they simply will not be healthy. It should be a "stemmy" variety of hay. The two best types of grass hay and are listed in the preferred order are Timothy and Orchard Grass. Some breeders feed Alfalfa. However, Alfalfa is a legume and is very high in protein and does not contain as much fiber as the other hay. It is also the main ingredient in most commercial rabbit pellet feeds. You can purchase little bags of hay at your local pet store for $3-$6. Or... you can buy a bale of hay for roughly $12-$15 depending where you live. Most bales of hay are 50-80lbs so it is much cheaper to buy it by the bale. It also serves as bedding material and to use in nesting boxes. Cull- term used that means either killing or getting rid of a rabbit. People can cull a rabbit from their herd by selling it to someone else. Examples: It's time to cull some rabbits from the herd because we have too many. That animal is inferior and should be culled from the breeding program. Today we culled some rabbits to the freezer. Galvanized wire and gauge- important things to know about the type of wire used in your cages. Wire should be galvanized after weld which means it was dipped again and coated which slows down the rust process that will occur in the cage over time. Gauge is the size of wire. The smaller the number of the gauze of wire, the larger it is. 14 gauge wire is a really good choice for rabbits as it is large enough to hold their weight and also prevent them from chewing through it. Colony housing or raising- a style of housing rabbits that is closest to their nature in the wild. It involves housing the rabbits in groups (usually breeding trios/quads) and is done on the ground. There are many ways to colony house rabbits. Some people fence areas and allow the rabbits to dig and burrow in the ground. Others do it indoors with cement floors and lots of hay bales for the rabbits to burrow into. Sore hocks and urine scald- if a rabbit does not have enough thick fur on the back part of it's legs, it can become raw from rubbing against the cage floor. This is a relatively rare condition and considered to be a sign of poor genetics. If a rabbit develops sore hocks it is usually culled from any responsible breeder's program. Large heavy breeds of rabbits are more prone to sore hocks on exclusively wire cage floors so should have a firm surface to sit on when they want to. Scald can occur if the rabbit gets areas of it's skin burned from frequent contact with it's urine. Teeth- everyone knows what teeth are, but you should understand that rabbits teeth continually grow during their life. They will need something to chew on like wood or lots of hay. The teeth should line up nice and straight with the upper teeth overlapping the bottom teeth just slightly. Otherwise, they can develop several issues of irregular growth that can impact their ability to eat properly. Chipped teeth will grow out and is ok. Most responsible breeders will not breed a rabbit with bad teeth and will cull due to this flaw. Weaned/weaning- since rabbits are mammals, the babies nurse from the mother (drink milk). They are usually ready to say goodbye to their mom around the age of 6-8 weeks. Stating that your rabbit has been weaned means it is no longer with the mother and that it is on it's own eating and drinking. Nursing- process of allowing the kits to suckle milk from the mother's teats. A doe's milk is one of the densest, riches milks of any animal. She will usually only nurse the kits once a day. Fostering- process of placing rabbit kits from one litter in with another doe's litter. Should be done with kits of the same age/size. This is usually only done for the sake of giving the kits a better chance of survival if their litter is too large to support all of them, or if a mother rejected her litter. Litter- group of rabbit kits. Trio/Quad- a group of rabbits that refers to breeding groups. It is usually a non-related buck and two or three does that are sisters (but does not necessarily have to be). This is usually the bare minimum of rabbits that people start out with for their breeding program. Breed/breeder/breeding- a breed is a type of rabbit. A breeder is a person who owns and mates their rabbits to produce more rabbits. Breeding is the process of placing the doe in the buck's cage to allow them to mate. Gestation- gestation is the time it takes from when the doe is impregnated to when she gives birth. It is usually 31 days. Nesting box- a shoe box shaped and sized container (can be larger or smaller depending on breed of rabbit) that is placed in a cage with a doe on the 27th day of gestation. It should be filled with soft hay or wood shavings. The doe will usually begin building her nest and carrying hay around in her mouth. Usually right before the doe gives birth she will pull fur from her belly and use it to line and insulate the nesting box for the arrival of the newborn kits. The nesting box will hold the kits in it and keep them protected. Fryer- term used for when a rabbit reaches butchering age/weight. This is usually around 8 weeks and 5 lbs for commercial breeds of rabbits. Roaster- a rabbit older and larger than a fryer. Should be baked with lots of liquid to make it moister and easier to eat. Stewer- old and large rabbit. Considered to be tough and dry and requiring long boiling to make it easier to chew. Commercial breed- a commercial breed of rabbit is one that was developed for meat production. Examples are: New Zeland, Californian, American, American Chinchilla. Fiber- term used by people who like to spin and knit with various animal's hair/fur. Rabbits hair is a fur technically, but also commonly called fiber or even wool. Familiar breeds of rabbits that are used for fiber related crafts are Angoras. Enteritis or diarrhea- a dangerous condition that has many causes. Rabbit's poop pellets should be firm and dry looking and slightly smaller than marbles. Diarrhea is a real problem to any rabbitry so be sure to inspect your rabbits pellets as a part of your daily health checks. A commonly thought cause (other than contageous diseases) is tainted commercial pellet feed. Do not feed anything that smells moldy or that is wet. Cecotropes- a special stool that rabbits will eat. It is thought to be a way for them to get additional nutrition and beneficial bacteria. It is not the rabbit's regular droppings. It looks more like a little bunch of shiny dark brown or even dark green grapes. It is usually covered in a layer of mucous and the rabbit will eat it directly from their anus as it comes out. Hutch- a special type of outdoor cage used to house rabbits. It is usually made out of wood on the sides and has a slanted roof. It is an all-in-one type of cage that functions as it's own outdoor building. Care should be taken to select or build a hutch that has at least half of the floor made out of wire. Otherwise the hutch will quickly become soiled and germ-riddled with urine and feces. A hutch should be inspected and cleaned daily as any section of flooring that is wood will get moist and covered in waste quickly and your rabbit will become dirty in a hurry!ADULT/ SR. Any fully developed, mature rabbit of breeding age of 6mths or older BALANCE-(1)Type-Shape or conformation. An orderly and pleasing arrangement of physical characteristics so as to present a harmonious appearance.(2)Markings-Equal distribution of corresponding markings, such as color divisions of the Harlequin, or equal amounts of color on the cheeks of the Dutch. Equal distribution of color in the pattern and side markings of the Checkered Giant, English Spot, and Rhinelander. BANDING-(1) A hair shaft having various colors. Normally associated with an agouti coat. BASE COLOR-The fur color next to the skin, undercolor BLEMISH-Any defect or fault which detracts from the appearance. BOWED LEGS / SPLAYED LEGS May be applied to the fore or hind legs. Bent like a bow. Legs curved outwardly or inwardly from the middle. BREEDING CERTIFICATE-A written certificate, issued by the owner of a stud buck, showing its pedigree and the date of breeding to a particular doe. It is issued as proof of the ancestry of the anticipated litter. BUTTERFLY-A nose marking found on some breeds. The wing portions cover the whisker bed from lip to lip, with the body, or nose fork, extending up the center of the face. CHARLIE-An extremely lightly marked animal in marked breeds or Broken Groups. Usually having colored ears, light eye circles, and a Charlie Chaplin mustache like marking. Usually devoid of back and side markings. CONDITION-The overall physical state of a rabbit in relation to health, cleanliness, fur, and grooming. DEAD HAIRS-Fur which lacks life. Caused by molting or dead coat. DISQUALIFICATION or DISQUALIFICATION FROM COMPETITION-One or more defects, deformities, or blemishes which render a rabbit ineligible for competition or registration. EAR LACING-A colored line of fur which outlines the sides and tips of the ears. EXTENSION-(1) Length of leg and limb.(2) Depth of color carried down a hair shaft. FINISH-The desired degree of perfection in condition. Fully prime in coat, color, and flesh. FINE COAT-A coat of fur too fine in texture, lacking body. Guard hairs weak and thin in structure. Lacking the proper amount of guard hairs. FLABBY-The condition of a rabbit when the skin hangs loosely by its own weight. Not trim, shapely, or firm of flesh. FLAT COAT-Fur lying too close to the body. Lacks spring or body as noted by touch. Usually a fine coat coupled with lack of density. FLAT SHOULDERS-A trait that occurs when the top line over shoulders is noticeably parallel to the surface of the judging table. A lack of continuous arch from the neck over the shoulders. FLYBACK-A coat of fur which flies back to its smooth normal position when stroked from the hindquarters to the shoulders. LUSTER-Brightness and brilliance of fur. MALOCCLUSION-Teeth having the lower incisors extending in front of the upper incisors or meeting with no overlap. This condition may be hereditary and may also be known as buck or wolf teeth. MEALY-Off colored stray hairs in a colored pattern, giving the appearance of being powdered or sprinkled with meal. OPEN COAT-Coat lacking the ability to return to its natural position when stroked towards the head. PEDIGREE-A written chart of the male and female ancestors, showing the date of birth, the parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. It may contain other information such as color, weight, etc. PINCHED HINDQUARTERS-Hindquarters tapering towards the tail, giving a pinched appearance. POINTS-(1) The ears, tail, nose, front feet, rear feet, and leg markings in Californian, Himalayan, or Pointed Whites.(2) A scale of points, as listed in the Standard, showing the comparative value of each feature to the ideal.(3) Points that an animal receives toward display. Points to be figured by multiplying 6 points for first, 4 points for second, 3 points for third, 2 points for fourth, and 1 point for fifth, times the number of animals in the class. POOR COAT-Fur not in good condition due to molt, stain, ill health, or general poor quality due to genetic factors. PRIME-An animal which exhibits ideal condition of flesh and coat. ROLLBACK-A gradual return of the fur to its normal position when stroked from the hindquarters to the shoulders. Slightly slower return than a fly back coat. SMUT-(1) A dark, sooty appearing surface color, usually formed by a large number of dark guard hairs. Found in many rabbits that carry the genetic factor of red.(2) Pelt stain found in Himalayans, Californians, and Pointed Whites.(3) The nose marking found on Himalayans. SNIPEY-An elongated, narrow head, usually terminating in a pinched muzzle. TYPE-Denotes the conformation. The shape or size of a particular part. The general physical makeup of the rabbit. VARIETY-A division within a breed or group. Color determines the variety. VENT DISEASE-A venereal disease in rabbits which affects both sexes. Indicated by a scabby, reddened sex organ, often exuding puss.