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Hamsters Get Judged At The CHA Hamster Show at AFPE

The California Hamster Association held a hamster show that judged both Pet Classes and Standards Classes at the 2012 America’s Family Pet Expo in Costa Mesa, California.

By Marylou Zarbock
Posted: April 25, 2012, 3:15 p.m. EDT

hamster with show ribbons
Marylou Zarbock
Grayson, a Dark Gray hamster, won Best In Show for the Syrian Standards Class at the California Hamster Association's recent hamster show.

Hamster judge Linda Price decided the hamster show fate of 11 Syrian hamster entries and seven dwarf hamster entries for both Pet Classes and Standards Classes on Day 2 of America’s Family Pet Expo in Costa Mesa, California, on April 21, 2012. A crowd gathered at the California Hamster Association booth as the hamster show began. Would the Yellow Rex Syrian hamster win anything? What about the large Winter White dwarf hamster that had mostly molted into its winter coat color?

Judging began with the Pet Classes. Price explained that 1st, 2nd and 3rd place would be awarded in four categories:  Best Pet Hamster, Biggest Hamster, Mellowest Hamster and Cutest Hamster. The 11 Syrians were first on the table at the hamster show for judging. Price carefully spritzed her hands with disinfectant before opening each hamster show carrier and bringing out a hamster for judging. She told the crowd each hamster’s sex, coat color, pattern, etc. She also commented on characteristics, including the Yellow Rex hamster’s coat. Being a Rex, his fur stood up and he had curly whiskers. Price said he was a bit young, though, so at his next show he would probably be in his prime.

After reviewing all 11 Syrian hamsters, she then went back to some to consider further. Then she made notes and stood up to hand out the awards. The Biggest Hamster awards went to entries 3, 11 and 5. Mellowest winners were entries 2, 4 and 8. The Cutest winners were entries 6, 9 and 7. Entry 6 was the Yellow Rex. His fluffy coat got him a win! The Best Pet winners are determined 2/3  by temperament and 1/3 by condition. The hamster winners in that category were entries 1, 10 and 11.

The spotlight then shifted to the dwarf hamsters as their show carriers were brought to the judging table. Again, Price examined each hamster and talked about it to the people gathered at the show booth.

One of her first comments was about a Winter White entry, #5 in the group. This male in winter coat was clearly quite a bit larger than the other dwarf hamsters. Price said she didn’t need to take him out of his carrier to determine he would win the Biggest category. She also explained that Roborovski hamsters are the smallest of the dwarf hamsters, so they never win in the Biggest category; however, what they lack in size they make up in cuteness. Price said they often win the Cutest category.

The results? A Roborovski trio entry swept the Cutest category! Mellowest went to a Campbell’s, Winter White and another Winter White for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. A Winter White won as Biggest, but 2nd place went to a Campbell’s and 3rd to another Winter White. For Best Pet, the winner was a Winter White (the same one that earned 2nd in the Mellowest category), and a Roborovski and a Campbell’s rounded out the category.

If you are wondering why no Chinese hamsters are being mentioned, it’s because that species is illegal to own in California, so there weren’t any Chinese hamster entries. CHA staff commented that although there weren’t a huge number of hamster entries, it was a good representation. All four eligible species were present in various colors/patterns.

After a brief lunch break, the hamster show resumed with the Standards Classes. This compares each hamster against a written standard for characteristics like markings, coat density, body condition and more. The hamsters do not compete against each other, but against how well they measure up to the standard.

Judging began with the male Syrians split into groups by color/pattern: Agouti, Self and Patterned. The Agouti was the “crowded” group with five entries. A young Dark Gray Syrian emerged as the winner of the group. A White won the Self group and, with only one entry, the lone Patterned won his group. Price then determined that of all the males, the Dark Gray was closest to its standard. She then judged the three female Syrians, which had one entry in the Self group and two in the Patterned group. The winner turned out to be a tie between the two Patterned females.

The two Patterned female Syrian winners were then judged against the Dark Gray male winner to determine which was closest to its standard and would be Best In Show. The Dark Gray male won!

Finally, it was down to judging the seven dwarf hamsters for the Standards Classes. These were divided by species, not sex. Price placed 1st and 2nd for the two Campbell’s hamster entries, 1st, 2nd and 3rd for the three Winter White hamster entries, and 1st and 2nd for the two Roborovski hamster entries. The overall victor was a female Roborovski, and 2nd place went to the winner of the Winter White group.

Check out these snapshots of the hamster show to see the hamsters that participated. For more about hamster shows and to see when the next CHA hamster show will occur, check out the CHA website.

Interested in hamster shows? This article gives tips on buying a hamster to show, click here>>

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