Even before the international pageant season kicked off last year, the Philippine Lapine Club Inc. (PLCI) hosted the first-ever international rabbit and cavy show in the country: RabbitConPH 2019. Now on its third year, this annual event was held at the Ayala Malls Cloverleaf in Quezon City.

The first-of-its-kind show brought in hundreds of rabbits and cavies to Metro Manila for a two-day event of learning, games, grooming, and the most awaited part of the event: a rabbit and cavy show. Participants came not only from different provinces of the country, but also from other countries: USA, Indonesia, China, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Rabbit and cavy parents were in for a fun day of learning as the convention kicked off with a seminar series by one of the judges of the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA), Melissa Magee. There was a lecture on the 13 recognized cavy breeds, followed by a hand-on demonstration on the proper handling of rabbits and cavies.

Beautiful bunnies

Just like other animal shows, rabbit shows are competitions where purebred rabbits are judged based on physical characteristics. The rabbits are compared to breed standards maintained by ARBA, of which PLCI is a member.

Cute cavies, often called guinea pigs, are indeed making their way to the international scene. For the first time ever, a show sanctioned by the American Cavy Breeders Association (ACBA) took place in the country as part of RabbitContPH.

Real stunner

It was the first time for the Britannia Petite to join a Philippine show. This rabbit is of a small built yet has a demeaning stance, catching the attention of the audience during the convention.

A 2018 article by ARBA says, “The Britannia Petite, known as the ‘Polish’ in Britain, is one of the smallest breeds of rabbits recognized by ARBA. Active and energetic, the Petite is more high-strung than other breeds. They take perseverance and patience to handle, but are one of the most showy breeds to exhibit.” They have a maximum weight of 2.5 pounds.

Everyone is welcome

Regardless of breed, rabbits and cavies are welcome to join the festivities and to compete in the convention’s Pet Category. The rules and criteria for this category are set by PLCI.

Joining a rabbit show

Here are a few reminders that might come in handy when you and your furry best friend want to join a show:

1. Pay attention to details – Know not only the usual W’s but also the rules of the show! Do not be afraid to ask the organizers if anything is not clear for you.

2. Plan your transportation – Check if the ride you’re planning to book allows animals. Make sure that your fur babies ride as comfortably as you do – bus compartments are never an option.

If you are flying in, make sure you know which flights also transport animals. Call your airline of choice to confirm schedules and to ask about necessary papers for travel, such as veterinary health permits.

It may also help for your furry friends to get used to short car rides before the actual show.

3. Ensure a good enclosure – Make sure that your traveling carrier has enough room for your furry friend. Carriers with catch trays at the bottom help ensure the pee and poop doesn’t make a mess. To prevent leaks during bumpy rides, place an absorbent pad or old newspapers.

If you are staying in a hotel, make sure it’s pet-friendly! You can try home rentals through the Airbnb app as they have listings that allows animals.

4. Stop up on supplies – Do not forget that fresh water should always be available. Before leaving, make sure that the water drinker has no leaks and it actually works.

Depending on the travel time, it might be a good idea to provide food as well. Prepare not only pellet but also hay. Some treats could come in handy, too!

Don’t forget to clean as you go. Your companion animals might have little accidents in unexpected places. Be sure you are equipped with the basics: poop bag and tissue, to name a couple!

5. Prepare supplements – Traveling and joining shows can cause stress to rabbits and cavies! It’s always better to have them checked by your trusted veterinarian to ensure they are in good shape.

You may also want to look into anti-stress or multivitamin supplements, especially those you can easily mix with water to help boost their immune system.

6. Get some grooming tools – Regardless of fur length, rabbits need grooming. Pack your grooming essentials and make sure to ask the organizers where you can give your furry babies a last-minute retouch before the show.

Showstoppers

A senior buck Holland Lop, with human companion Muhammad Eko Prayseto of Dwarfhouse Rabbitry from Indonesia, was named Best in Show in Rabbit. A senior sow American Cavy, with human companion Jamie Lim from Sugar N’ Spice Rabbitry and Caviary, was awarded Best in Show in Cavies.

Fashionista rabbits

Miss Universse-Philippines bet Gazini Ganados graced the runway with jaw dropping costumes with bunnies and cavies who wore anything from princess-inspired to mermaid costumes. Some wore vampire attires, while others looked like Wonder Woman.

These rabbits and cavies are lucky to have creative human companions who went all out to personalize their costumes.

Join the fun!

The organizers of the event take pride not only in the success of the event, but also in catering to a fast-growing community of responsible rabbit and cavy parents here in the Philippines. RabbitConPH promotes unity through a shared love and passion for rabbits and cavies.

Missed the event last year? Not to worry, as PLCI has a lot of local and international events! Stay updated via facebook.com/PLCI for more details.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s September-October 2020 issue.

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