We recommend you read through all the advice here before attending your first show. We have further articles of interest on our Show Articles page.
We have two shows you are able to enter. Varieties (rats are judged against their variety standard) and pets (rats are judged on their temperament). You can only enter your rat into one of these, unless the show is a dual-entry show; this will be listed on the Show Calendar.
If it’s your first show, you’re unsure which variety your rat is, or your rat does not conform to a standard (e.g. a mismarked rat), you should enter them into the pet class. Pet classes are determined by the owner (if you are an adult, junior (under 16), or registered Stud), and whether the rat is a buck or doe. Alternatively, you can have a look at our varieties page to determine the class your rat should go in. If you have entered them in pets, you could then ask someone at the show if you could enter them in the variety section next time.
If you wish to enter varieties, the Show Secretary can help you out with which class the rat should be in. If you’re entering Varieties, remember to let the Show Secretary know if the rat is a dumbo/rex, as well as their colour/markings.
It is the responsibility of the exhibitor to ensure the rat is entered into the correct class. Once judging has commenced, no class changes shall be permitted.
We have a limited number of hire tanks available, up to 2 tanks per exhibitor. Please let the show secretary know if you require hire tanks. These cost £3 each.
If you wish to purchase your own show tanks, please ask the show secretary well in advance of the show. We have a limited number, and the lids are handmade by one of our members so they may not always be available. Show tanks cost £14 each (lid and base). You can also purchase tanks (£11) and lids (£3) separately if needed.
The NFRS does not have kitten sales at shows so you cannot buy rats at the show. If you have been in contact with a breeder before a show, they may be able to deliver them to a show for you. However, anyone delivering/exchanging rats to a show must be an NFRS member and inform the show secretary before the day. No rats should have shown any signs of illness within the last 14 days, or have been exposed to any rats of unknown background during this period.
Any pre-booked kittens must be 6 weeks or older. The seller must supply the buyer with documentation for each animal, indicating the breeder’s name and address and the kitten’s date of birth. No kittens under the age of 6 weeks are allowed at NFRS shows for any reason.
We are always after more volunteers/helpers at shows! There are many different ways you can get involved such as helping out in the kitchen, selling raffle tickets, sweeping up at the end of the day etc. Help on the day is never turned down; just ask the show secretary if you would like to volunteer to do a job.
If you are interested in judging, stewarding or becoming a show secretary at a show, please contact the General Show Secretary.
Exhibitors place their rats in show tanks on the judging bench. There are two sets of benches – one each for pets and varieties. Behind the benches is the judging table. Before judging starts, stewards will organise the tanks into class order.
When judging begins, stewards will bring up all tanks in the first class to the judging table. The judge will handle each rat, one at a time, and judge them against their variety standard. The judge’s comments are written down as a critique (which you will receive at the end of the show).
When all rats in a class have been judged, the judge places them in order (from first to fourth place). The rats are given a corresponding coloured sticker on their tank label: red (first), blue (second), yellow (third) or green (fourth). The tanks are then returned to the show benches. This is repeated for all classes and paperwork is completed by the show secretary.
After all the classes have been judged, the best rat of each class goes through to the challenges. More stickers are placed on the tank labels depending on how the rats have placed.
Benched rats/tanks may not be touched by anyone other than the show secretary, judge or stewards.
Once judging has finished you will be told by the show personnel that you may collect your rats from the show bench.
The prize cards, rosettes and cups are presented after the hall has been tidied, swept, and tables and chairs have been put away. Any offers of help with clearing up are gratefully received, just ask somebody who looks like they know what they’re doing! Unfortunately, the clearing up is often left to the same few people at each show whilst everyone else stands around and chats. If you do not wish to help clear up, please ensure you have put your belongings and rats away quickly, so that those are helping can clear the hall.