Below is a brief overview of the process the used when judging rats and mice at rodent shows.
Whilst Pet classes do have score cards, they are not calculated to indicate the winners like in the Regular Classes. The score cards are there to ensure that the judge is inspecting every aspect of the animal, however it is the judges who choose the winning animals themselves. Another purpose of the score cards is to give the exhibitor a bit of feedback about their animal from the eyes of a trained judge.
This is what is on the score card for the Pet Classes.
Tractability (*/5) - This is how easy the rodent is to handle, pick up etc. This is important to us as tractability shows a familiarity with handling and the ability to relax and trust new people. It also indicates a rodent that will be easy to handle in a strange situation, e.g. at the vet.
Health (*/5) - This is where minor health issues such as minor wounds, cysts, excessive sneezing etc is covered. Anything significant would result in the judge disqualifying the rat or recommending it be withdrawn.
Condition (*/10) - This is the overall physical condition and fitness of the rodent. It takes into account their weight (if its healthy or not), their muscle tone, if their fur is in great condition and their tail profile. It's aimed at giving owners a second view on how there rats are doing overall, it can be useful to get a second opinion on these things as well as tips that might help improve the rats lives.
Preparation (*/5) - This is how well prepared the rodent is for the show day, typically rodents should have a clean tail & body. Rats should also have their nails trimmed to stop the judge becoming covered in scratches. This is very much a good way to see that the owner is able to do these things, which shows a good level of confidence between the rodent & owner.
Temperament (*/10) - This is all about how interested, engaging, friendly, affectionate etc the rodent is.
Rats and mice entered into a Varieties Class will compete to win Best Rat in Show or Best Mouse in Show, among other titles. But how do our judges work out which rat or mouse deserves the award? Judges use a score card to rank each attribute of the rodent, and whichever rodent has the highest score in it's class is the winner.
How the rodent's actually score in each section depends on how closely that rodent resembles the Standards. You can download a copy of the QRF standards for rats here and for mice here. Here is a quick breakdown for those interested...
Condition & Temperament (possible 40 points out of 100)
Condition (20 pts) & Temperament (20 pts) are the most important values for the AusRFS QLD, therefore it takes up a larger portion of points. Condition refers to how healthy the rodent is. A rodent with a decent size, shiny coat, bright clear eyes & clear breathing will score well. Temperament refers to how friendly the rodents are. A rodent that is very comfortable and relaxed with being picked up, prodded and generally handled will score well.
Conformation (possible 40 points out of 100)
Conformation refers to the actual body & bone structure of the rodent itself. Conformation consists of the first 6 attributes on our score cards - Type/Size/Body Shape (20 pts), head (5 pts), eyes (5 pts), ears (5 pts) and tail (5 pts).
Variety (possible 20 points out of 100)
The variety refers to the rodent's individual colour, marking and type. Each colour, marking and coat or body type has it's own Standard as to what it should ideally look like. Each rodent is scored according to how closely it resembles that standard. Colour & Marking are worth 10 points, and Coat type is worth 10 points. Hairless mice & Patchwork rats are not judged on colour/marking, and all scores are added up via percentages to fairly calculate winners.