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SilverStar Polish Rabbitry

Obtaining a Registrar's License

Achieving a Registrar's License.

Me, a registrar? Well, at the time of this penning, I'm not. So what business do I have writing an article like this? Actually, I'm about to get my license!

Anyway, I thought that an informal as-I-go progress report might be interesting to those thinking about being a judge or registrar some time. As for me, I'm testing on Saturday, August 5th. Today is Sunday evening, July 30th. No I'm not nervous... really. I'm not afraid that I haven't learned enough, but I'm irrationally paranoid that I'll forget like EVERYTHING Friday night or something.

The ARBA claims to be in need of new Judges and Registrars. As my examining judge put it, "lots of judges are just getting old...and dying!" Though in Michigan alone I know of nine people who either just got their registrar's license, or are applying for one.

Getting a license isn't all that difficult, I don't think. Of course I can't really speak with authority on that yet! I have only been seriously studying for like 2 to 3 months, even though before that I had a
general knowledge of the standard from studying for youth contests. I do feel pretty well prepared.

Ok, I'll get my thoughts in line now and start at the beginning. What does a registrar do? Well, most obviously a registrar registers rabbits (or cavies!). (And because I can't find a better place, I'll mention here that rabbit and cavy licenses are achieved separately.) Many people are surprised to hear that yes, a registrar can register their own animals. You know, if you register your own rabbits you need only pay $2 each as opposed to $4.00, because half of that $4 goes to the ARBA, and half to you, the registrar. So if you're the registrar at a show and you register 40 rabbits a day, making $2 on each... well it helps for entry fees. And it really doesn't interfere much with showing your rabbits. Many registrars are 4H judges, and I know many newcomers to the rabbit shows consider any registrar a real expert, and will go to them with rabbit questions. One of the reasons I want to get my license is because I think that it will increase my
score on achievement, royalty, and other youth contest applications--not to mention college apps. And of course, no one may apply for a judge’s license who has not been a registrar for two years or more.

Anyone who has raised rabbits (or cavies) and been an ARBA member for three years or more can apply for a license. Simply call the ARBA office and they'll mail you your application!

On your application for a license will be twenty spaces for signatures from adult ARBA members. I got mine pretty easily at the Coldwater show in July. Nearly everyone who signed was like "here I have some friends who can sign, too," so in pretty short order I had 26 signatures: some extra in case that I had a lapsed member sign.

The application also asked if you are colorblind... but what I began this sentence intending to say is that there is an area to request an examining judge. You may or may not get this judge to give you your exams, but it's likely.

This judge will administer your written and oral exams, upon your sending the application back to the ARBA with a fee of $25.00. Once you receive notification from the ARBA office that your application has been approved, and the name of your examining judge, it's up to you to contact that judge and set up a testing date. I believe the whole process must be completed within two years of your application being filed, so it's a good idea to study before applying. Try to set up a testing date right away, because if you fail you have to wait at least six months to retest.

The written test, I've been told, consists of 100, multiple-choice questions asking about the standards for each breed; the registration procedures, system, and requirements; and the general and breed-specific disqualifications. For the oral test, one must examine a few rabbits of different breeds, and show that you can tattoo a rabbit. I'm a little sketchy on what happens for the oral, but I'll update after Saturday!

As for study tips, the standard is a big book to study! I know that many people make flash cards, but instead I created a booklet (just 20 sheets of printer paper, folded and stapled) that summarized the important points of each breed, as well as other parts of the standard. This included the DQ's, severe faults, bone weight, and fur and ear specs for the various breeds, and other things like that. Don't forget the color requirements and eye colors too!


For the three spotted breeds (Checkered Giant, English Spot, and Rhinelander), I learned the marking disqualifications all together, and then the exceptions to them. Like, all three DQ for missing or double cheek spots, but the Rhinelander is the only one that does not DQ for more than one stray spot on the head. Grouping is really helpful when trying to memorize information. For instance, there are 6 breeds that don't call for a taper from the shoulders to the hips; 7 breeds that DQ for a dewlap; 2 breeds whose blue is to be a lavender shade; 5 breeds that DQ for over 50% color on brokens; 7 breeds with medium-fine bone... the list goes on and on. Exceptions are easy to remember too. Like, the Giant Chinchilla is the ONLY semi-arch breed whose arch start's mid-shoulder as opposed to in the back of the shoulder; the only chin breed with a flyback coat; the only breed with a dewlap disqualification, apart form the 7 that DQ for any dewlap; and the only chin breed that severely faults salt and pepper coloring. (Note: I don't know how important severe faults will be for the registrar's exam, I think they're more of a judges test thing. But I'm learning them anyway just in case!) Numbers are easy for me to remember for some reason, like all those groups mentioned above. Or like the Satin fur lengths: the key number is 1/8 of an inch. Notice that the ideal range for satin fur is 1/8", the guard hairs are to extend 1/8" above the undercoat, the minimum "allowable" length is 1/8" less than the minimum ideal, and the maximum allowable is 1/8" over the maximum ideal. On breeds with minimum ear lengths, be sure to remember to what ages those lengths apply.

I really didn't mean to turn this into a study guide--I'll write that later. However, when studying, do think about the reasons for the disqualifications, and they will be easier to remember than just random
facts. Read the articles on breed specialty club websites and the ARBA judges training site:  and talk to breeders. Try to get a feel for the breeds, and what they're looking for, and often the DQs will then make sense.

No, you won't know the exact weights or point allocations for the breeds. But I was told that you should be aware of if a breed is 4 or 6 class, and the most important points of the breed. I'm learning the order of the features, or whatever you want to call them. i.e., the Netherland Dwarf is Type>Color>Fur>Condition, in order of importance. Also know the most important markings on marked breeds. And watch out for those harlequin eye colors!!!!

Once you've passed both the written and oral exams, all that is left is working with three judges and one registrar. You assist these officials at their work during the course of the show, learning all the way. At least 2 of the 3 judges and the registrar have to pass you. If they don't... well I don't know what happens. If they do: you're a registrar!

Another thing I would recommend is joining a registrars study yahoo group. The one that is currently active is  but old ones  and  have TONS of good info in the archives and files.

Well that's all till Saturday- I have to make 70% on the written and 70% on the oral tests. And my examining judge has dwarfs. I totally don't get dwarfs, or the breeds that pose like that. And tattooing those teeny tiny THICK ears... help me!


Well... I did remember all that stuff until today, but I think I've forgotten it already. Lets see, the DQ's for a Britannia petite are bulldog head, ears over 3 inches, dewlap, and what's that last one? Oh yeah, rollback coat.

I think I did OK on the written test. The only one that I know I missed is how many rabbits were registered last year. For the oral, I got this really jumpy ND sr buck to try to pose, and got bit really bad on my finger. And once I had gotten him all nicely worked up with my posing attempts I had to clamp tattoo him: bad idea!! The needles stuck in his ear like anything, he screamed, and when he finally got loose he leaped clear off the table into the judge's face, giving him a nice long scratch down the nose. Told ya I don't do dwarfs! And I missed that the dumb animal had a split... well you know. I did catch the mismatched toenails on the AFL though.

And now that everyone who doesn't like me is snickering, my friends are "aww-ing" thru their giggles, and those who don't know me are flat-out laughing at my bad luck and stupidity, I'll now confess that it really is still just Sunday, July 30th, I haven’t tested yet, that all that above was entirely made up, and I'm off to go find my standard. Wish me luck!


I didn't like get any sleep last night, but I don't think that hurt me too bad since I've never needed a lot. My exams began and 9am, minus the time it took me to fall in love with the Judge's homing pigeons!

They say that the written test usually takes an hour and the oral not over ten minutes. Well, they each took me half and hour to 45 minutes, since my examining judge and I talked the whole time! There were only about 3 questions of 100 that I wasn't real sure on. When I checked the answers when I got home, I got one of those three right, one wrong, and the other one was worded so weird that I'm still confused.

When that was done, we headed out to the barn for the oral test. He had me look at several rabbits, including New Zealands, a Holland Lop, a Dutch, and dwarfs. I checked them over for DQ's, answering his questions about what I was looking for. I evaluated some of the rabbits, and discussed the breeds with the Judge, demonstrating my knowledge and handling ability. Finally, I tattooed some NZR juniors who were nice and well behaved.

I did pretty well: scored 200/200 on the oral exam! I won't know for two weeks about my score on the written, since it's graded by the ARBA executive director. Once I get my results back, if I passed, I can start working shows!

I did over-study some when it came to the written, but the info was useful in the oral. Like, I learned the point allocations of each breed, but was never asked about that in the written. Severe faults only came up as an option for a characteristic, but never the correct answer. Even in the short time I worked with the judge today, I learned some new things. I bet I'll learn a ton working with judges: I can't wait! Feel free to email me with any questions! My email is  

UPDATE: I scored 192/200 on the written and 200/200 on the oral! Even though there are 100 questions, they score it by 200 points.

Links to online quizzes by Pam Nock. They need some checking, the silver fox and angoras especially, because they were done with an old standard. Also, they ask a few questions that go into more detail than you need to know for the registrar’s exam, but it never hurts to know them.


A few specific pointers:
Be sure to study the wool texture and length on the wooled breeds. (density is more important but it is pretty much the same in all breeds.)
Check out the english spot marking size specifications!
Breeds without a taper from shoulders to hindquarters: ND, DH, HM, Rhinelander, JW
- breeds that DQ for over 50% color: Rex, Polish, mini rex, JW, french angora (the french is the only angora that recognized broken)
- breedst that DQ for over 10% color: all excepting satin.
Toenails on broken varieties:
- fault unmatched on ML, FL, EL, and AFL
- fault any colored toenails on rex, french angora, holland lop
-no fault or disqualification for colored toenails: polish, satin, MR, JW,
Breeds with ear lengths specified:
English Lop: DQ under 21 inches on all ages
Flemish: DQ under 5 and 3/4 inches on seniors. Ideal is 6+
Checkered Giant: DQ under 5 and 3/4 inches on seniors.
Beveren: DQ under 4 and 3/4 inches on seniors and intermediates.
Standard Chin: DQ over 5 inches.
Mini Rex: DQ over 3.5 inches.
Mini Satin: DQ over 3.25 inches.
Polish: DQ over 3 inches.
Britannia Petitie: DQ over 3 inches. Ideal 2".
Jersey Wooly: DQ over 3 inches. Ideal 2".
Dwarf Hotot: DQ over 2.75 inches.
Netherland Dwarf: DQ over 2.5 inches. Ideal 2".
Breeds with fur lengths specified:
Am Chin and St Chin: Ideal 1 1/4 inches. Ideal range 1 1/8 to 1 3/8. fault under 1 inch. (confusing heh?)
Am Sable: guard hairs to extend 1/8 inch above underfur.
Blanc de Hotot: Ideal 1 1/4 with long, visible guard hair.
Beveren: Ideal range 1 1/4 to 1 1/2, DQ over 2 or under 1".
Holland Lop, Thrianta, and Lilac: Ideal 1 inch
Mini rex and rex: ideally 5/8". DQ under one-half inch and over seven-eighths inch.
Stain: "acceptable" range is seven-eights inch to 1.25 inches. Ideal range is 1 inch to 1 1/8 inch. guard hairs to extend 1/8inch above underfur.
Wool Lengths:
-all angoras DQ under 2
- AFL and JW dq under 1.5 inches.
Ideal wool lengths:
- EA: 3.5 to 5
- FA: 3.5 to 4.5
- GA: 4
- SA: 3
-JW: 3
- AFL: "at least 2")