Judging Giant Chinchillas
By Carl W. Filliater
ARBA Lic. # 463
This is an article I wrote for the Judges Continuing Education news letter, back during the 2001 through 2005 edition of the Standard of Perfection. I was told that beforewe could put it on the web site I had to remove any copy of the Standard of Perfection, to avoid copyright violation. So those items, such as points for each section, weights, and wording of the Standard are omitted . However,if you take a new standard everything is in it. Follows is an explanation of each section of the Standard.
Before I get into the Standard for Giant Chinchillas, I am going to do a little review of the Standard of Perfection Book, published by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. After having attended many Judges Conferences, I feel this review is long overdue.
Page 2 of the Standard Of Perfection tells how it is published as a guide for ALL Breeders and Judges to arrive at that top show rabbit of each breed. The last paragraph says the Standard is revised every 5 years. Then only after careful consideration and approval of the Standards Committee and the ARBA Board of Directors, which is made up of the Directors and ex-officio members of the Board, are any changes made. The Standards Committee is made up of 8 members and the Board of Directors is 9, plus 4, members. That is a total of 21 people deciding what is best for each breed listed in the Standard. That tells me, as it should everyone else, that no one single person should have any influence on the wording of the Standard or the Judging of Rabbits.
Page 4 has an article on the Interpretation of the Standard. The article states that No One but the ARBA Standards Committee, with the approval of the Board of Directors, can interpret the Standard. The Standards are worded so that when anyone reads them, and if they will listen to what they read, they will tell you just exactly what the Ideal Rabbit of each breed will look like. Give an Artist a Standard, and the judging aids, and they will draw a very good picture of that breed, without ever looking at a live rabbit. I believe the ARBA would be better served if we would contract with an Artist-Painter to produce the pictures, as the Poultry Fanciers do for their Standard of Perfection, rather than have pictures sent in for publication in our Standard of Perfection.
Page 21 tells of the Procedure to Change An Existing Standard. How a National Specialty Club can suggest changes they would like made, on the approval of the ARBA Standards Committee and the approval of the Board of Directors. Again there is nothing stated about how a single person would be able to make any changes to any Standard, but by Committee only.
On the right-hand side of Page 22 starts the ARBA COMMERCIAL NORMAL FUR STANDARD. All breeds that have the statement that the fur is to conform to the above Standard should have the same type of fur, ideally.
Page 34 through 41 shows several good Judging Aids. Pay close attention to the drawing of a rabbit, on page 34, especially the dotted line showing where the front of the hip is. Page 36 lower right hand corner, a drawing showing the taper and well rounded hindquarters. Notice also that the depth is the same or equal to the width. No more or less depth. On page 37, upper right hand corner, under the picture of a rabbit, it tells the proper pose of most rabbits in the Standard of Perfection. It does not say any thing about pushing them together, tucking them up, or making a medium length rabbit into a compact one or a compact rabbit into even a more compact rabbit. In fact in the upper left hand corner there is a rabbit with the statement under it of being too tucked up.
Page 95 thru 97 is the Giant Chinchilla Standard. Do not go by the picture!!!
The first thing we should read is the Schedule of Points. The main attraction being the over-all type, is 3/5ths of the animal, with the points being broken down more to the different sections of the animal. Then the fur is listed at not quite 1/7th of the animal, a very small part of the over-all picture. The Color has the same points as fur. Over-all condition is only worth 1/10th of the animal.
Next listed are the Showroom Classes and Weights. The first thing the weights tell me is that the 12 lbs for Senior Bucks and 13 lbs for Senior Does, minimum weights, makes the Giant Chinchilla just a little longer than the American Chinchilla and a lot shorter than the Flemish Giant. If you would like to do a little comparison checking, using the middle of the weights of the Giant Chinchilla (13 ½ lbs and 14 ½ lbs) and the middleweights of the American Chinchilla or New Zealand, which ever is the easiest to come by, at 10 lbs. and 11 lbs., and now get a 3 ½ lbs. rabbit of any breed. Using your imagination, take this 3½ lb. rabbit and distribute it equally over the 10 and 11 lbs. rabbit. The 3½ lb. rabbit just doesn’t add a whole lot, overall, to the larger rabbit, especially when you have to use part of that 3½ lbs. to make the larger rabbit just a little longer in the shoulders, roughly 2 in. from the base of the ears to the start of the rise.
We move on down to the two NOTES. Pay particular attention to the second note, that the Giant Chinchilla should be judged just like all the rest of the commercial breeds; Type and flesh condition being of primary concern with the fur and color being the frosting on the cake, just as the points show.
Next is the General Type.
BODY-Read the Standard in the Standard of Perfection. Lets take a look at the word moderately and its meaning: The dictionary states; within reasonable limits; avoiding excesses or extremes. That should tell anyone reading the Standard, that the Giant Chinchilla should not be as short as the other commercial breeds, or as long as the Flemish Giant, which has a minimum length of 20 ins.. The third sentence seems to be the one most Judges are over looking, especially the part stating “with the arch starting in the middle of the shoulders”. Too many Judges are placing animals with the arch starting at the back of the shoulder. The farther back the arch starts from the middle of the shoulder the longer the animal is going to be, which is getting away from a moderately long animal, and should be faulted for being too long. (Flemish Giant Type). If the start of the arch is forward of the middle of the shoulder the animal is going to be on the short side. If the arch starts at the base of the ears then it is a DQ for being extremely short. The third sentence further states “continuing to the highest point over the center of the hips, then carrying down over a smooth, well rounded rump.”. The center of the hip is halfway between the stifle joint (remember the dotted line in front of the hip on page 34) and the rear of the rabbit, at the base of the tail. The next sentence states; Hindquarters are to be massive and deep, with shoulders and mid-section to balance. This sentence is further broken down in the next three sections of the Body Type.
The first section we will cover is the HINDQUARTERS--Lower portion of the hips are to be well filled. Depth and width to balance. Loin is to be very broad and deep. (Be sure and read the faults.) This section should be self-explanatory, when taken into consideration with the Body section, but I would like to cover three items with you. First “well rounded”. Do not take into consideration just the Top Line or side view; you can see if the high point is over the center of the hips. If it is forward or back of that point it takes away from the statement in the Body section “then carrying over a smooth, well rounded rump”. There is also the top view, looking down so that you see the rear, from side to base of tail to the other side; this view, along with the side view and feeling, you can tell if the animal has a chopped or squared off rump, and if it is pinched; the back view or from the rear, looking towards the head, so that you see how round the hindquarters are from side to top to side; from this view you can see if the depth and width balance (harmonious proportion or equal in quantity). There are two implied faults in this section that should not have to be listed in any breed. The word “Balance” covers both faults. Too much depth and you loose the rounded hindquarters, it becomes oval shaped and a lot of times the animal does not have the fullness of loin and will be flat on top of the rump. This is not just for Giant Chinchillas only. It goes for all breeds that call for the Depth and Width to Balance. I will agree that you can not have to much depth in your breeding program, it is to easily lost, but according to the Standard of Perfection it is not wanted on the Show Table. After all you want the Best of Breed to be the best Balanced animal. If it has more depth than width, it is not balanced.
MID-SECTION-- It is to balance (harmonious proportion) with the shoulders and hindquarters. The mid-section is the area from the 6th rib, back to the rear legs. (Per ARBA Rabbit Glossary).
SHOULDERS- They are to balance with the mid-section and hindquarters. The shoulders should not be overly wide, but have enough width to give the animal a slight taper. The shoulders should have enough depth to balance with the width and give a graceful rise to the back. If you read the faults, it calls for extremely flat shoulders to be faulted. The animal will not have the extremely flat shoulders if the raise to the arch starts at the middle of the shoulders as is called for. Extremely flat shoulders come from the arch starting at the back of the shoulders.
HEAD-- The head is to be set firmly on the shoulders. It is to be rather broad in bucks. Color is to match the body. There are to many bucks with snippy heads and pinched muzzles being placed with the remark Good Head. This is definitely not the type of head that is called for.
EARS—This section should be self-explanatory. The ears are to be faulted for not having jet-black lacing on the upper edges. Here again many are being placed without the lacing, without a comment about it. This is another distinction from Light Gray Flemish Giants.
EYES- Eyes are to be bold.
FEET & LEGS-- Feet and legs are to be strong, straight and medium length, with fairly heavy bone. Standard goes on to tell about the color on the outside of the legs. Top of the hind feet are to be white with blue under color. Toenails are to be brown, the darker the better, with uniform color on each toe. The leg bone should be heavier than other commercial breeds, but not as heavy as Flemish Giants. Watch the under color on the hind feet. Here again animals are being placed that do not have the blue under color.
FUR-- Animals with a Rollback coat should be faulted severely.
COLOR--The Color is to resemble real Chinchilla. The under color is to be dark slate blue at the base; intermediate portion is to be as light as possible (base definitely wider than intermediate portion); with the top edge being a very narrow black band; above this is a very light band, brightly ticked with jet black hairs. Color is to have a wavy ticking to resemble the beautiful Chinchilla surface color. Neck fur is to be lighter in color than the body, but strictly confined to the nape. The chest is to be lightly ticked with a uniform shade of pearl, slightly lighter than the body. The body color is to extend as far down the sides as possible. Belly color, next to the skin is to be white or blue. Outer portion is to be white. Eye circles are to be well defined, narrow, and light pearl in color. Eyes--Brown.
UNDER COLOR-- Under color is to be dark slate blue at the base of the hair shaft.
When checking the undercolor watch for white at the base of the hair shaft. I have seen it as high as approximately ¼ in. up the hair shaft. These animals should be DQ’ed, per ARBA General Disqualifications, for having the wrong under color.
RING COLOR-- Intermediate color is to be light pearl, with dark edging.
The color pearl is a very disputable color. According to Mr. Webster the pearl can be any where from white to bluish-gray. The accepted color in the Chinchillas is light pearl. According to the ARBA Rabbit Glossary it is Off-white.
SURFACE COLOR-- The surface color is to have a wavy, ticked topcoat.
The wavy effect is made up of alternating narrow dark lines and wider light lines. The dark lines are made up of a lot of black tipped guard hairs with a few light (off white) tipped guard hairs mixed in. The wider light strips are made up of a lot of light tipped guard hairs with a few black tipped guard hairs mixed in. The Ideal is for these lines to start at the edge of the belly color on one side, go up and over the back and down to the belly color on the other side. Ideally these lines are to start at the base of the ears and carry all the way back, and down to the base of the tail. Most Giant Chinchilla breeders would be glad to settle for a lot of chopped waves all over the body (a series of short alternating light and dark lines). Do not call it good color when it is an even ticking over even part of the body. It is very poor color when there is more light than dark, which is the salt and pepper appearance. The only gray hairs would be in the area of the chest and the nape of the neck.
Check your faults and DQ’s for the color section. Fault each portion of the hair shaft according to the number of points listed. On the DQ’s watch the extremely Brownish tinge in the ring color. Make sure that it is a brownish tinge and not a yellow tinge. A lot of the young juniors will have a yellowish cast throughout the fur, especially over the back. This is normal and in fact good. As they will usually have the best color after they molt out.
CONDITION-- Per ARBA definition.
See page 23 for the ARBA Condition Standard. It is for the whole rabbit, not just the flesh condition, as the faults would have a person think.
One finial thought on judging Giant Chinchillas. There is no reason to grab a handful of skin and fur to turn a Giant Chinchilla over. They are not hard to handle for their size. After one has been handled a couple of times they are very gentle. The nick-name “The Gentle Giant” says it all. In the thirty-five plus years that I have been raising them, one has never bitten me. Can’t say that for most of the other breeds. Just sure as shooting one will nail me tonight when I feed.images, and other content