The following Rabbit Hopping Rules will be used for 4-H Level Competitions held by Pawprints 4-H club.
Cloverbud Exhibition: Cloverbud 4-H members and other youth in grades K-3 may exhibit at the show. This is a non competitive division, and is for exhibition only. No placings will be given. All Cloverbuds will receive a gift.
- 4-H Member: All animal handlers must be 4-H members in good standing in grades 4-13 (one year out of high school).
- Open: Non 4-H members in grades 4 and up and adults are welcome to enter in this division.
- High Jump
- Team Hopping
- No smoking in the building.
- Animal handlers are responsible for ensuring that they and their family members do not behave in a disruptive manner. Violations will result in warnings, followed by disqualification.
- Animals must be in solid bottom carriers for transport, and have access to water at all times.
- Animal entered may be any breed of domestic rabbit, no pedigree is required.
- Animals must be at least 4 months of age to compete
- Rabbits must be healthy and free of any disease or parasite. Health checks will be required upon entering the showroom. Any animals found to be in poor health must be removed from the showroom immediately.
- Pregnant or nursing does are not permitted to compete. In addition, any doe who has had a litter in the past 8 weeks is barred from competition.
- Dogs, with the exception of service animals, or service animals in training, are not permitted in the show room.
- Animal handlers will be responsible for cleaning up the area around their carriers prior to departure, as well as cleaning up any debris their animal leaves on the competition mats during the competition.
- Mating of rabbits is not permitted in the show hall.
- Carless handling of rabbits will result in a warning. Serious negligent handling will result in a disqualification. No refunds will be given for disqualifications.
- Rabbits shall proceed through the course and over the jumps voluntarily. Animal handlers are prohibited from forcing or carrying animals through the course, but may lift them over jumps, if necessary. Assistance and encouragement may not involve yelling loudly or any other method that would subject a rabbit to excessive stress. Touching your rabbit with your feet is not permitted.
- Judges are entitled to disqualify any rabbit who must be repeatedly lifted over jumps, or entirely refuses to move, as being clearly unwilling to jump.
- Animal handlers may choose to scratch any round in which their rabbits decline to jump, which constitutes voluntary disqualification. No refund will be given for scratches.
- Animal handlers must always embody good sportsmanship. Violations will result in warnings and disqualification. It is up to the judge’s discretion as to what constitutes poor sportsmanship. The judge’s decision is final.
- Animal handlers need to line up at the gate when their name is called. Names will also be displayed on a board. Failure to line up after your number is called 3 times will result in a disqualification.
- Only 1 rabbit is permitted on the course at any time.
- Each rabbit may only have one animal handler. The animal handler must be the trainer.
- Animal handlers are not permitted to step over jumps. They must go around the jump. Repeated violations will result in disqualification.
- Beginning and ending jumps must always be present, and are not taken into account on scoring (no faults will be given for displacing rails on these jumps).
- The jumps must be hopped in the correct order, otherwise a “wrong way” judgment shall be declared, and the rabbit will be disqualified. In order for a “wrong way” to be declared, a rabbit must have jumped an obstacle and all four feet must touch the ground. The start obstacle prior to the beginning of the course does not count in the wrong way judgment.
- The final obstacle must be cleared in the right direction for the clock to stop. Once the rabbit has touched all four feet on the ground after clearing the final obstacle the clock is stopped, and the course is considered complete.
- No treats (for you or your rabbit) will be allowed on the hopping course.
- Cloverbuds are youth in grades k-3 are exhibition only. They will receive a scorecard with times and faults, but not placings. All Coverbuds will receive a gift.
Food will be available.
Faults will constitute any of the following:
- Upsetting an obstacle, or any part of an obstacle. One fault shall be issued for the upset, regardless of how many rails were upset.
- Lopsided jump: to clear an obstacle the rabbit must jump with its body between the obstacle supports. A lopsided jump fault will be called if the rabbit jumps outside of the obstacle supports.
- Lifting over undisturbed obstacle. A rabbit may be lifted over or around an obstacle, but one fault per obstacle will be issued.
- False starts: a false start is issued when the rabbit starts the course before the judge has indicated to the animal handler that they are ready to go. One fault will be issued, and repeated false starts will result in disqualification.
- Out of bounds: if a rabbit goes more than 5 foot off the course it shall be considered an out of bounds fault. One fault shall be given for each out of bounds instance in a course,
All rabbits entered in hopping will start on the Easy Course, and qualifying rabbits will proceed to Medium, Difficult, and Elite Courses.
Easy Course: 8 obstacles, not including the start and finish jump. Minimum height 6”, maximum height 10”.
Medium Course: 8 obstacles, not to include start and finish jump. Minimum height 10”, maximum height 14”.
Difficult Course: 10 obstacles, not to include start and finish jump. Minimum height 12”, maximum height 16”.
Elite Course: 10 obstacles, not to include start and finish jump. Minimum height 14 inches, maximum height 20 inches.
Placings for Hopping
Placings for hopping shall be as follows; each rabbit will be placed in a class based on the number of faults received. In the event of a tie, the rabbit with the faster time is placed higher.
Each exhibitor will make 3 runs at the course. All 3 runs are recorded on the score sheet. Advancement to the next class will only be issued to rabbits with 2 clear (no faults) runs, and the third run cannot have more than 6 faults.
The winner shall be indicated by the rabbit with the least number of faults on the highest class. In the event of a tie, the rabbit with the least amount of time shall be declared the winner, and in a fault and time tie, there shall be a run-off to determine the winner.
The High Jump shall be the only jump on the course. The initial setting shall be set at 16”. Each exhibitor will be allowed 3 attempts at each height, one right after the other. They only need to clear the height once out of the three attempts for the jump to be counted as complete.
All of the exhibitors that complete first height setting shall be eligible to move on to the next height (2” is added per time). The winner is the exhibitor who can clear the highest jump.
Rabbit Agility: 10 obstacles, not to include start and finish jump. Minimum height 4 inches, maximum height 16 inches. Agility course will include: A frame, teeter totter, bunny walk, double jump, triple jump, and standard jumps. Rabbits will have 3 runs at the course. All 3 runs are taken into account when scoring.
Scoring for Agility: Number of completed obstacles (no rails or bars displaced, rabbit completes the obstacle), and in the case of a tie, the faster time wins.
Team hopping utilizes the easy hopping course, and includes a team of 3 rabbits and 3 handlers. Each handler takes their rabbit through the course one time, and the scores of all three team members are totaled together. The team with the least number of faults is the winner. In the event of a tie, the team with fastest time prevails. Only one entry fee is taken per team.
Rabbit equipment needed
- Harnesses must be a flat webbing “H” style harness. The harness needs to be loose enough not to restrict the rabbit’s movement, but not let the rabbit slip out of the harness. Harnesses that pull on the rabbit’s neck will not be acceptable.
Look for cat or kitten harnesses. Harnesses will be available to purchase at the show.
Only H style harnesses will be allowed!
2. Leashes must be between 4 and 6 feet long depending on the size of the competitor and be made of the same type of material as the harness. Elastic or retractable leashes are not allowed for safety reasons.
3. Leashes and harnesses not meeting safety standards for rabbits will not be allowed to be used on the rabbit.
4. Rabbits must wear harnesses and leashes at all times when on the hopping course.
Awards will be given for the following (open and 4-H divisions for each):
Best in Show Hopping
Reserve in Show Hopping
Best in Show Agility
Reserve in Show Agility
Best in Show High Jump
Reserve in Show High Jump
Best in Show Team Hopping (award for each team member)
Reserve in Show Team Hopping (award for each team member)
All others will receive place ribbons (up to 6th place)
There is no running water at the venue. Please bring water for your animals.
These rules have been adapted by the PawPrints 4-H Club in Blackwood, NJ, from the Swedish Rabbit Jumping Federation(1988), the Rabbit Breeding Organization of Denmark(1999), Iowa Hopping (2010), Rockin’ Rabbit 4-H rabbit club(2011), Kansas 4-H Agility Dog Show Rule Book(2012), and the American Rabbit Hopping Association(2010).