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Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Hamster Show Basics

By Catya
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.

Click image to enlarge
dwarf hamster with ribbons
The winning hamster of the “Unstandardized Dwarf” category shows off her awards.
Catya judging hamsters
Photos Courtesy of Catya
Catya judging dwarves at an outdoor hamster show.

Thanks, everyone, for your great comments. One of you asked about treat-based training for hamsters. Although I use treats when I tame, I haven’t gotten my hamsters to do tricks or come when called, even with treats. But smart use of treats as a reward for being calm and to encourage hamsters to play with you can make a big difference.

Question: Where can you find lots of hamster owners interacting, talking with each other and learning from each other while their hamsters compete for awards?

Answer: At a hamster show!

Now, the idea of a hamster show sounds a bit strange at first. The name can make you think of hamster owners walking their pets on itty-bitty leashes in a circle while judges look on, holding clipboards. But really, it’s a great way to meet other hamster owners, compete for ribbons, learn lots and just have fun! With a hamster show coming up this weekend, now’s the perfect time for me to share with you why I love going to hamster shows.

Hamster shows are held by hamster clubs, although sometimes they are mixed with shows for other animals, like rat or mouse shows. As a member of the California Hamster Association (CHA), I go to CHA shows. The CHA shows are pretty casual (no need to put on your high heels or tuxes), and they’re held at members’ homes, parks or other places. No matter where it is, there’s always lots of fun to be had.

First, there’s the judging. The CHA uses the British Hamster Association standards. Judges give scores to each hamster based on how the hamster measures up to the standards, which are like a description of the “ideal hamster.” Some of the things they look at are the hamster’s fur length, body shape, head shape and, most importantly, the color and pattern of the hamster’s fur. They compare the hamster to the standards and to each other, and decide which hamster wins.

While the judges are looking at the hamsters, they’ll talk to the audience about the standards and the hamsters, and explain how they decided on the winners. This means that watching the judging is a great way to learn about hamsters, hamster breeding and the show standards.

While watching to see which hamsters will bring home a ribbon or medal is fun, there’s more to a hamster show than the standards judging, because there are also “fun classes” where hamsters can compete for titles like “Biggest,” “Cutest,” “Mellowest” and “Best Pet.” And when the show’s indoors, there’s the crowd favorite, the hamster ball race! Sometimes, there are also other activities like raffling off fun prizes for hamsters and their owners.

But the best part of the hamster show is the chance to meet other hamster owners and talk with them. They’re always so friendly and eager to share stories about hamster ownership, and if you ever have questions about hamsters, there are always experts who can answer them. The opportunity to make new friends (both human and hamster), while learning is what makes hamster shows so special. 

Have you ever been to a hamster show or similar event? Do you have other hamster owner friends who you enjoy hanging out with? 

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wow this is realy interesting!
Kellen, Monterey, CA
Posted: 7/4/2008 11:57:51 AM
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