In My Opinion "My Judging Wish List"


Cindy Pail, North Carolina, writes:

My wish list:

1) Handle the rabbit gently.  Our excitable Hollands can be a challenge to ones patience, but rough handling will make the animal even more unruly, will make the rabbit show poorly, and increase the odds of injury.

2) Pose the rabbit.  So often judges hold the head to the table, then remark the animals are flat.  Of course they will be flat if their head is held to the table!!!  An effort should be made to set each animal in proper pose to evaluate what is really there.  Not all Hollands are self posing, but all Hollands are more beautiful when posed.  Granted, some will not cooperate, but many will, given the opportunity.

3) Judge according to the Holland standard.  Hollands are not a commercial breed and commercial standards should not be applied.

4) Give complete comments.  This shows why one rabbit is placed above another.  The exhibitors are paying for judging comments, not just placements.  Time can sometimes be at a premium, but often remarks are far too general, lacking any specifics.  "Good head, good type" is all the remarks some judges give.

5) Show an appreciation of the breed.  The best Holland judges seem to truly enjoy judging the breed and appreciate the pizzazz and charm of Hollands.  Though no points are given officially on these qualifications, those are traits that make the breed outstanding.

Cheryl Guerin, Louisiana writes:

My wish list would be include judges such as Lee Engel because he always says, "My 2nd place bun is losing to my 1st place because...."  This helps me know what part of my bun needs improving and what I can look for in a doe to match a buck.

Kay Miller, Colorado writes:

I would like a judge to look at the bunnies in their cages before removing them.  Removing them in the correct way from the judging cage is also important to me.  A judge needs to remember they need time to relax.  I want a judge to pose them according to the Holland hand book.  And I like a judge to use the point system for judging them.

Fallon Galloway, Colorado writes:

I want the judge to be knowledgeable about the breed of rabbit they are judging.  I also want them to be fair in their judging and not prefer a certain color or type of rabbit.  I want them to go by the standard and not necessarily what they prefer.

Karen Martin, Colorado writes:

I have several things on my wish list for a Holland judge.  But most importantly I want a judge who is understanding of the Holland breed.  Someone who knows they are excitable and animated.  And someone who will give as much time to them as some of the other breeds with special needs, like the running breeds for example.  I like a judge who stands back and judges them in the coops.  Debbie mentioned all of this in her IMO column in the last Hollander.  I agree with her.  I also like a judge who wants a massive Holland but does not forget the ideal weight of a Holland is three pounds.  Losing the small size in our breed would be very sad I think.  They should be small and massive.  I like a judge that knows what a Hollands head should look like.  I remember something one of my favorite Holland judges, Chris Zemny, a Holland has to have head.  And the head should get more points according to the standard.  The judge needs to know there is more to having a good Holland head than just lopped ears.  That fat little round cute face is what makes our breed so special.  A lot of breeds have lop ears.  But not that face.  I also want the judge to pose a Holland correctly, not push it to the table.  Isn't this the first sign for most of us what kind of a day at a show we will have when the Hollands heads are being pushed down to the table, or maybe even a judge that makes a very limited effort to pose a Holland, for whatever reason.  A judge that loves our breed makes a BIG effort to get everything they can out of a Hollands presentation on the show table.  We don't see this enough.  I also like a judge that gives comments while he is judging as Debbie said.  That rabbit wins over this rabbit because... And for fun I like a judge who kinda mixes things up a bit so you don't know where the first place bunny might be.  I saw Allan Ormond do this at a show and it was fun.  He had the first place in the middle and fooled us all.  Not that judges always have time for this but it does make it interesting.  I think we all agree with each other on the Holland judge we want and we do have a few out there who are great judges but most of those seem to raise the breed.  So how do we get this information out to those who don't raise Hollands?  It would be nice if the consistency in Holland judging would improve.  And that dream Holland we all want and work so hard for in our barn does well on the table and doesn't lose because it doesn't have as good of fur or it's ears are too short or it is too small to compete etc. etc. etc.

Rick Wescott, Nebraska writes:

I am a newbie to Holland Lop breeding, so when I go to a show I really listen to what a judge has to say.  If it is my bunny or another breeder's bunny, I am interested to hear their opinion.  I have found this to be an extremely important source of information.  Being a new breeder, you have to take in as much information as you can get.  What I really like from a judge, first and foremost is: how they treat my animal. My Holland's are a pet first, and a show bunny second, so I won't stand for anyone mistreating my rabbit.  Not that it has happened to me personally, but I have seen a judge throw a rabbit when he was bitten.  Nobody likes to be bitten, but you have to expect it sometime. Second, I like a judge who speaks loudly and clearly, one who will give as much information as they can.  I like for a judge who does not see Hollands on a regular basis to have his standard book there so that he can refer to it.  As a breeder I am not going to get upset if he/she takes a little longer in their judging to familiarize themselves with the breed.  I like it when the judge is in a good mood, and is enjoying what they are doing.  When a judge can take the time to smile, at some antic a rabbit has done, and can joke a little bit with the crowd, everyone seems to enjoy the whole show better.  Mike Avesing is one of the best at making a show fun to watch, I really enjoy watching him judge and learn a lot about the Holland breed in the process.  Mike takes the time to really explain why he chose one rabbit over another.  Well that's my opinion on what I like to see in a judge.

Lee Chenevert, Georgia, writes:

I wish for a judge that:

1) Melts when a little Holland looks up at him and gives him that look that only Hollands can give.

2) Loves the breed.

3) Is gentle with the rabbits.

4) Poses the rabbits well and appreciates a beautiful topline.

5) Is patient when posing this animated breed, especially the nosey bucks.

6) Appreciates the smaller rabbits with balance.

7) Comments on bone.

8) Considers the components of the various point segments -- e.g. crown has 4 elements -- placement, prominence, front-to-back, and side-to-side.

I especially like a judge that appreciates the "pizzazz" this little breed of rabbit has on the show table, sometimes they are so outstanding in their presentation to a judge that even exhibitors of other breeds notice them.  I had this happen to me personally with one of my Hollands this year, and it made me realize how different our breed is from many others, especially on the show table.  I had a fellow exhibitor tell me his rabbit was up against a black Holland Lop for BIS and that little black Holland sat up and looked right at that judge, and right then everyone else knew they might as well go home.  That was at a previous show, and I quizzed him about what show it was, and sure enough it was our beloved Bonletta.  So Hollands can make a big impression when handled correctly and appreciatted.

Christine Feld, California, writes:

What I would like from a judge once I put my rabbits on the table..... 

1) A gentle hand and proper posing.  I have to compliment most judges, I have only run into a couple who did not pose the rabbits according to the standard.... pushing their heads down on the table and posing them like commercial rabbits only makes mine more excitable..... I breed my Hollands for the "look at me" pose.  I do recognize that there are Hollands where the opposite is true.... low rabbits just can't be posed "up." I would like to see judges recognize the difference physically between the two types and pose and judge them accordingly.

2) Judge according to the standard.... Know the points given to each piece of the ideal Holland and judge accordingly.

3) Educate the exhibitors... Chris Zemny gets an A++ for this... she's always turning a class into a mini seminar and educates everyone... I often eavesdrop on the youth Holland tables when she's judging in order to learn a little more.

I think most judges conscientiously judge according to the Holland Lop standard and I have to commend them as a whole.  I have the attitude that it is only and opinion and if I don't agree with the judging, I just wait for the next show.  We can't win them all, and a rabbit may look great one week and the next week blow its coat and lose condition.  I like to keep everything in perspective and most of all... have fun!

Jackie Parker, New York writes:

I would like a judge that judged the Holland Lop to the standard.  DQ rabbits that should be DQ'd.  For example the last show I went to I took one of my bucks.  He got booted off the table and I look down in a coop and there was a siamese sable Holland Lop with ears right straight up.  He lasted longer than he should of with rabbits with no DQ's being bumped off before him.  Now I know it's ears like that is a DQ.  I also wish that judges by the end of the day weren't losing their patience and throwing the rabbits around.  I once was at a table and the judge said Hollands: all they are is four pounds of testosterone and those Holland Lop breeders.  This judge actually made the comments about wanting to get that breed over with because they were so full of it.

Vickie & Brook Glinski, Ohio, writes:

Winning isn't consuming here.  What I want in a judge is someone who understands and knows how to interpret the breed standard, knows how to handle and pose a rabbit for evaluation, gentle hands and gentle words when giving honest remarks, someone who appears to care about what they are doing... professional, if you will... not burned out and just judging for the sake of judging.  These are the qualities that I hope for each time I present my very best to the show table.

Mark Taylor, Utah writes:

What I would like to see from a judge once my rabbits are on the table is basically to see that the judge knows the breed and treats the animals gently and fairly.

More specifically, I want to see Hollands posed correctly. If the pose is correct, you can feel good about a judges evaluation of topline and headset.  If the rabbit's head is pushed down into the carpet then it's judged too much like a meat rabbit and the traits that we have tried to breed into them are not evaluated correctly.

Another thing I would wish for in a judge is that once they have a rabbit out f the show cage they pay attention to the rabbit and not get carried away in a discussion or conversation while holding the rabbit down while they talk.  After being held down while the judge talks, how many Hollands are going to jump up and strike a proper pose?

The third thing on my wish list would be for the judge to be positive in their remarks.  This is not to say that they should give glowing remarks about a poor animal, but it can and is done by many judges in a positive way.  Too many times I have seen youth shows judged by judges who used such negative terms in their remarks that they made kids cry.  It can be done in a positive way.

Lastly, and most basically, I want to see a judge handle all the rabbits in such a manner that they give respect to the animal and the exhibitor.  Just my opinion.

Val Harrell, North Carolina, writes:

I want the judge to show that he is really working the rabbits.  A judge that is talking and joking too much with people when he is supposed to be judging or that does not look interested in the breed and is easily distracted does not inspire my confidence.  Each rabbit deserves individual attention and if a judge allows himself/herself to be wrapped up in conversation many good rabbits could be missed.  You can see on the face of very good judges that they are mentally calculating the points and concentrating on the job at hand.  It can also rest on the shoulders of the onlookers not to be talking to the judge while he is working.  Intentionally or unintentionally some breeders will engage the judge in conversation about how much that rabbit "wants to win" and judges can be influenced just enough to favor their rabbit.  This is not fair to other breeders who are keeping to the rules of not indicating which rabbit is theirs.

Deb Jones, Wyoming, writes:

One of the most important overall things I like in a judge is a gentle hand with my Hollands. I am not interested in having my Hollands touched by a judge that manhandles my rabbits. I have seen judges so rough with rabbits that the Hollands jumped OVER the judging coops to escape the rough hands.

Our Holland standard describes a rabbit that is excitable, so a judge needs to treat it with gentleness and try to get the most out of the animal without forcing the issue. This IMO is a big part of judging, not just expecting to be judging a piece of meat that doesn’t move from its spot on the table where the judge places it, but a rabbit with an endearing personality that is animated. I don’t know about all breeders’ Hollands, but mine can surely be described that way. A judge that enjoys what they do, will enjoy developing their expertise and ability to get the “most” from every rabbit they judge. Once, I had a judge backhand a Holland down off his chest when the little doe stood up on him, not an uncommon behavior in Hollands, his remark was that the doe had bad table manners. I disagree, this judge had poor judging technique. It would also be safe to say he didn’t like rabbits with personality. The little doe was just checking him out… being friendly. Too bad the judge couldn’t reciprocate.

Something I started to do many hears ago was keep records and comments that I felt were pertinent to how I felt a judge did when judging my Hollands. I think this is a very important part of record keeping, why show under a judge that doesn’t know the breed, or handle it correctly? It is a waste of time and money IMO. I don’t have to win under a judge to feel they did a good job, but I do have to be able to “see” what they are looking for.

I like to see a judge that looks over the Hollands while they are in their judging goops, first thing, then again, maybe several times, during the judging process. Taking a step back and evaluating the bunnies while they are in the coops gives a judge a chance to see what that bunny looks like when relaxed. Many pose well in their judging coop, let the ears come down, but once a hand goes on them, they can’t pose up or let the ears down.

I feel there are three important parts to judging any animal, to know the standard of the breed you are judging is first and foremost. Then to take that first look is (in the judging coop for rabbits) the first step in evaluating those animals you are to judge. Then put your hands on the animal to feel how it is built, looks can be deceiving. Fur can hide rough pin bones, or unfilled hindquarters as well as other faults. In other breeds, movement would be the last step. Though some judges do seem to let Hollands run, they are not a “running” breed.

Your first clue that a judge doesn’t know the Holland standard is when they judge doesn’t know how to pose a Holland correctly. When the Holland’s head is pushed onto the table, the topline or other features important to our breed CANNOT be evaluated correctly. Some judges go a bit farther and pose them like a fuzzy lop.

For an example, say you were a running breed breeder, Tans, Checkers, English Spots, Rhinelanders? What if the judge takes you rabbits out of their coops and smashes them into a Mini Lop pose? Head on the table, no running up and down the table… how much credence could you give to the rest of this judges comments if they cannot even get the rabbit into its breeds pose per ARBA standard? What kind of a win would that be? How can a judge evaluate a rabbit by another breeds standard? Obviously, this error in judging shows the judges inability to comprehend the standard, or the judge doesn’t feel they have to judge by ARBA standards, so what criteria are they using?

I like to hear comments about topline, headset, bone, crown placement from a judge. I like a judge that takes time to pose a Holland, each and every one. Bucks can be difficult, especially when does have been on the table before them. I know of one judge that uses Zaps it between classes sometimes to help get rid of odor and encourage rabbits to pose up. I like judges that don’t get too many rabbits out of the judging coops at one time, when you as a judge are trying to control rabbits, how can you be evaluating them? Take time with each bunny. Hollands can be very aggressive with one another, I like a judge that knows this and doesn’t risk the rabbits to injury while judging them.

I like to hear comments on light/white tails, placing them accordingly. I disagree with this change, but we are going to have to live with it in the new standard. So gotta get rid of those light tails. IMO head on a Holland is worth more points than the body. I don’t like to hear “this Holland has a better body, so I will place it over the one with the better head”. Gotta check out the points here folks, I know many breeders feel they are body breeders, but we have to have BOTH.

We all want that fat faced Holland, good bone, smooth bodies, full hindquarters, full shoulders, correct topline and headset, short bodies. But a Holland with an unremarkable head should not win over the Holland with the correct head, ears and crown, just because it has a better body. I think that the commercial type judges we are always having judge our Hollands perpetuate this type of comment and placement. The body follows the head… you see the head first. If I wanted to raise nice bodies, and weak heads, I could find a breed other than Hollands that would fit that bill. I know there are many breeders out there that would dispute the point distribution, but as I see it, IMO, heads, crown and ear are 4 2points. Body is listed in the points standard as 32 points. Feet, legs and bone are 10 points. Fur, condition and color are on the entire rabbit, so are not points to be allotted to the body but the entire rabbit. So go figure how a judge can place a rabbit with a better body over a better head?

I like to hear about crown placement, and a judge that can fault a rabbit for a slipped crown, or ears that go forward due to lack of side to side crown. I like to hear comments on LONG ears… have yet to see ears too short.. but have heard judges say the ears are too short!!  This comment usually goes along with a Holland that has a weak side to side crown. Gotta read the standard again here, no more than 1 inch below the jaw….

I like a judge that will look in the standard, and I like a judge that will judge per the standard. Point distribution is printed for a reason in our standard. As is the ideal 3 lb weight. If a 4 lb Holland and a 3.4 Holland are close, the smaller Holland should take the win because the standard says so. I like judges that have more nice things to say than negative things especially to youth. If a judge has a homely Holland to comment on, use your imagination, say some nice things! Super personality, cute face, nice fur, well taken care of… then give some useful advice, what to breed to and improve on the bunny. Judges that compare as they go are great, I am placing this one over this one because…

When a judge finds a rabbit with a snotty nose not he table, they should take the time to go wash their hands, and inform the superintendent that a coop needs to be cleaned… as well as the table itself if the rabbit was there… AND then ask the superintendent to have the rabbit removed from the show room, or even tell the exhibitory right then to remove it!! Wouldn’t that be a bonus? This is an ARBA rule, and NO sick animals should be allowed in the building, due to risk of spreading the disease. If the judge sets an example and takes the bull by the horns, less breeders would bring sick rabbits to the judging tables.

With our breed being one of the largest entries at shows, we deserve to have judges that will judge per the ARBA standard. Those that will talk to breeders, more than one hopefully, to learn the fine points of our breed, are the kinds of judges that need to be hired. I don’t waste my time and money, stress out my Hollands by going to a show, just because it is a show, if the judges aren’t Holland judges. I would not tolerate judges putting my Hollands at risk, letting them be judged in open topped coops, where anonymity of breeders is lost as well as risk of injury to our Hollands. We take our BEST to a show, why let them be injured? I heard of one judge that put BUCKS together in one carrier hole behind the tables! Unacceptable IMO!! Don’t be afraid to ask for you bunny, no win is worth the risk of injury this practice could allow.

The Hollander/Spring Issue - April 2000 and The Hollander/Summer Issue - August 2000