The most important criteria for entering is that your hamster is a friendly, easy to handle, healthy happy pet.
Entries into the pet class can be of any species, colour, shape or size of hamster, to enter into the main show your hamster does need to conform to a recognised species, colour etc…but in the pets class..anything goes! It can be a hamster purchased from a breeder or a pet shop.
So you have your pet hammy and would love to show him/her, so what next?
Well the obvious thing is to find out where your nearest hamster show is.
There are 3 hamster clubs in the UK, plus many multi rodent clubs, and all have both main show classes AND pet classes for hamsters.
So you’ve found there’s a show near you and you need to prepare your hamster.
Your hamster should be in tip top condition, although allowances would be made for thinning fur on an elderly hamster for example.
Your hamster should be in a clean condition, free from wounds, parasites etc. It is OK to show a disabled hamster in the pet classes, i.e. a three legged hammy as this doesn’t affect its well-being or suitability as a pet. Your hamster should be tame, friendly and easy to handle. The judge will accept that some species are different to handle than others, for example, a Roborovski won’t be penalised for being fast….its meant to be! The judge should be able to handle your pet without getting bitten.
Your hamster should be in a clean & healthy condition, so if their nails are long give them a trim. Long haired hamsters would benefit from a brush. (A soft baby’s brush or a clean tooth brush will do the job).
So your hamsters smart and tidy and ready for the show, so what now?
You need to think about how to transport your hamster to the show.
Ideally it would be good to bring your hamster in its own cage, but this is not always possible. Rotastak type cages can be fragile and difficult to transport, and glass tanks too heavy to carry.
If your hamsters cage cannot be transported then a small travelling box or cage can be purchased. The most important thing is that the cage/travelling box is SECURE.
It’s a good idea to remove your hamsters water bottle before the journey to the show, the movement of the car will cause the bottle to continually drip, resulting in arrival at the show with an empty bottle and soggy cage!. When transporting your hamster remember to keep their cage out of direct sunlight and heat so you pet doesn’t overheat.
So you’ve arrived safely at the show…….you now need to report to the person taking the entries for the pet class, this is usually the Show Secretary. The Show Secretary will take your name and details of entry and give you your pen label/entry number.
Most clubs charge about 50p to £1 per hamster for entry into the pets class.
Once you have made your entry and paid your fee and placed your hamster in its cage/travelling box on the pet judging table then all is ready for judging.
The judge will take each hamster out of its cage and examine him/her. The judge is looking for all the criteria already mentioned…..good health, condition, tameness etc.
As someone who has often judged the pet classes it can sometimes be difficult to choose a winner, particularly when faced with 10 or 20 lovely pets, but often one will stand out with star quality.
Once judging has taken place and the prize cards have been written then the results will be announced.
Even if your hamster doesn’t win top honours remember that you are still taking home your much loved pet.
For a video of a pet class judging, see this article.