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Rabbits and cavies take over fairgrounds at annual show
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Maddie Hall, 15, of the Castro Valley 4-H club inspects a rabbit during a mock judging at the California State Rabbit & Cavy Breeders Association Show last weekend at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

More than 1,200 rabbits and several hundred cavies were on display at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds last weekend during the California State Rabbit & Cavy Breeders Association Show.

The show, which can best be explained as the super bowl of rabbits and cavies, had entries from all over the West, with some rabbits from as far away as Utah.

Nearly 50 breeds of rabbit were represented at the convention. Some of the more popular breeds included the Netherland Dwarf and Holland Lops, along with Angoras, Dutch and Polish breeds. Flemish Giant rabbits, which weigh as much as 25 pounds, also had a good showing at the event.

Rabbits and cavies (cavies are guinea pigs) in the show were judged on a certain set of criteria based on the American Rabbit Breeders Association judging handbook.

“The rabbits are evaluated on body type, fur, color and markings,” explained Scot Williamson, an animal science professor at CSU Fresno. Winners from the California State competition can qualify for the National Convention, held in Indianapolis later this year.

While the show was a competition, part of the allure of rabbit breeding is the family atmosphere around the show.

“We certainly don’t make any money from breeding rabbits. It’s really just fun and kids love it because they get to be involved and feed the rabbits,” said Ceres resident and rabbit breeder Annette Jackson.

Debra Sandoval, a lawyer and long-time rabbit breeder from Coarsegold explained that there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to rabbit breeding.

“Breeding rabbits for show is cheaper ($3 entry fee per rabbit) than dog and cat shows, rabbits can be house broken and rabbits can use a litter box. Breeding rabbits is really an artistic outlet for some people, like it is genetic sculpting and rabbit meat is healthy,” she said.

Prize winning show rabbits range in price from $40 to $500.

The weekend event also included local 4-H contest and judging education for 4-H kids.

For more information on rabbits and cavies, visit

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.