Registering your guinea pig for a show: What it entails and what to expect

Guinea pig shows are an attractive opportunity for breeders. In addition to the animal displaying itself, guinea pig lovers get to meet and share valuable knowledge and experience. If you have a guinea pig at home, you may have considered taking part in one of the shows. This article, written in cooperation with the breeder and judge Andrea Kroftová, will advise you on how to register for shows and what to prepare for prior to a show. 

How do registrations work?

Before registering your guinea pig, you need to agree to the conditions of the show. I recommend reading them carefully to avoid any surprises at the show. When registering a guinea pig with a pedigree, you should copy the data from it (breed, colour and/or pattern or colour combination, number of colours, date of birth, name including kennel, breeder and owner) into the electronic registration system. Pets can also be registered for some shows, in which case the breeder should enter all known information into the system. The system will tell him whether there are any spots still open for the show. If yes, he will pay all the exhibition fees, and from that point, they are expected at the show. If the exhibition is already fully booked, then the guinea pig is enlisted on the waiting list. Should a spot become available before the deadline, the breeder will receive an e-mail informing him that his guinea pig has been accepted for the show. If unsure, the breeder may contact the organizer of the show who will provide him with the necessary information.


Which criteria are judged at shows?

This depends on the standard by which the guinea pig is judged. At shows in the Czech Republic, the Czech and European standard is applied. The Czech standards A and B have 7 positions on the scorecard. In the first position, type and build are judged, where compact and stocky bodies are preferred, i.e. short and strong neck, full forechest, well-muscled shoulders, firm back and round bottom without protruding hips and knees. In the second position, head, eyes and ears are judged. The third position is focused on the coat or on the skin in hairless guinea pigs. In the fourth to sixth positions, the specifics of the individual breeds are judged. The seventh position is common to all, where condition and presentation are judged, which is an item that the breeder can influence with pre-exhibition preparation. In addition to the score, the scorecard specifies the standard, name of the show, date, cage number, name, breed, sex, colour (and/or pattern), as well as registration number, if already assigned to the guinea pig, and age class (baby, junior or adult). 


Judgement according to the C standard is different. Here, temperament, condition and care judged mainly. There are 10 positions on the scorecard, and for each, you can get a maximum of 10 points. These include body build, coat/skin, eyes, ears, teeth, paws, claws, cuddliness, condition and presentation, and finally, overall impression. Each guinea pig can get a maximum of 100 points. Here, too, the points obtained are written on the scorecard. 


Who can judge guinea pigs and how are guinea pigs judged?

All judges who have passed the training system in the Czech Republic and the judge test are entitled to judge guinea pigs of all breeds and colour patterns recognized by the Czech standard. During the assessment, the guinea pigs are brought to the assessment desk by an assistant or the breeder on a show mat. The judge will move the guinea pig to the exhibition position and examine and judge the guinea pig according to the relevant standard. The recorder will record any comments and points in the individual positions of the scorecard, sum all points at the end of the assessment and record the points obtained in the assessment sheet. If, based on the results, the guinea pig is entitled for the Certificate of Aptitude (CAC), the scorecard will be stamped with the CAC stamp. The owner or assistant then takes the guinea pig back to the cage.


Is it possible for guinea pigs with the same number of points to be in a category?

If a judge is unsure of the winner, face-offs take place at the end of the category, where guinea pigs with the same amount of points are brought to the table again, and the judge determines their rank by comparison. 


How many judges are there at a show?

This depends on the capacity of the show. There are exhibitions with only one show as well as shows with up to 8 judges. The judging standard in the Czech Republic is 60 to 100 guinea pigs per day. At shows, in addition to judging, registrations, i.e. breeding certifications take place. If a guinea pig meets the standard, it is assigned a number that entitles the breeder (member of ČSCH) to issue a pedigree for the offspring of the registered guinea pig. 


Are shows mainly about the looks or are other aspects, such as training, judged as well?

At guinea pig shows, appearance is judged, but a guinea pig that won’t let itself get examined by the judge may be excluded from the show by the judge. Pets are an exception, where temperament is evaluated separately as one of the positions of the scorecard.


Do shows have any benefit for the guinea pig and its breeder?

Since 2008, ČSCH, z.s. and the Central Expert Commission of Rodent Breeders have been awarding champion titles to guinea pigs in the A and B standards. A guinea pig that gets 96 or more points when judged in the Czech standard A and B, gets a CAC stamp on the scorecard. If such a breeder manages to collect 5 CAC stamps for one guinea pig, he can apply for the championship. If the guinea pig is successful, it can get up to 4 titles, but to get them, it would need to have 20 scorecards with CAC in total. The titles awarded are Junior Champion of the Czech Republic, Champion of the Czech Republic, Interchampion of the Czech Republic and Grandchampion of the Czech Republic. Very successful breeders can be proud of the Kennel Title. The Kennel Title is tied to the title of Champion of the Czech Republic. It starts at the Bronze Kennel (for 5 titles of Guinea Pig Champion of the Czech Republic) and through Silver, Gold, Platinum to Diamond for 50 titles of Guinea Pig Champion of the Czech Republic.

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