Many people who come to our shows tend to prefer to have a go at entering the Pet Class to start with as you don’t have to register in advance and you will not have to be at the show for the whole day.
To find out if the show you’re hoping to attend has a Pet Class you will need to look at the show schedule. If you’re a member then you will be sent this in advance with your journal but you can also find them online. As a general guideline though, most of the SHC shows will have a Pet Class.
Hamsters in Pet Class can be shown in their own cages or a suitable travelling cage, however it’s worth mentioning that space during the Pet Class can be at a premium at some of the busier shows so it’s best to leave large cages at home. You will need to make sure that they have a water source such as a water bottle or a piece of moist veg and something to nibble on such as a dog biscuit. You can also provide your hamster with a source of enrichment but bear in mind that the judge will have to take your hamster out of their cage/carrier to be judged so anything that your hamster could hide in that you can’t get them out of easily is best left at home.
When you arrive at the show you will need to book in with the Show Secretary, who will usually be sat at a desk surrounded by lots of paperwork. You’ll need to tell them what species and sex your hamster is, they will tell you how much to pay and then they will give you a label to stick on your hamster’s cage/carrier. This label will be how the judge identifies your hamster so make sure it’s in a visible place.
Once you’ve done that you can place your hamster with the other pets and have a look around the show. At many of the SHC shows there will be a kitchen where you can buy yourself a drink and some snacks, a sales table with hamsters and supplies for sale and there’s often a tombola too so do have a go! You will be able to see the hamsters in the main show being judged and there may be colours and varieties that you may never have seen before so do go and have a look but make sure that you don’t touch or pick up any of the show pens. Visitors and exhibitors are asked to stay outside the judging ring (between the judge and the bench with all the hamsters on) until the show is over.
Your pet will be judged by another member of the hamster club and during judging they will take them out of their cage or carrier and assess how tame they are and allocate points for condition and may give points for their environment too. You are welcome to watch but please refrain from identifying your hamster to the judge.
Once all the results for the Pet Class are in then there will be a presentation of the prizes. Everyone will leave with a certificate of entry and rosettes will be awarded for 1st-7th placings.
After the presentation you will be able to take your hamster off of the bench and you are free to go home or stay and watch the rest of the show.