Entering A Sanctioned Show
Before entering a show, you should first make certain that the club or organization sponsoring the event has received sanction approval from the IHA. This is very important as it assures you that the show will follow the Society’s guidelines; that judging will be conducted following the IHA Standard of Perfection; that the judge has been comprehensively trained, tested and licensed under IHA supervision; all up-coming shows and show results will be published in the Society’s newsletter; and, lastly, “legs” towards Grand Champion Certificates can be earned.
Entry forms for the show you plan to attend are supplied by the group sponsoring the event. It is your responsibility to ensure that all of the information required on the form is correctly filled in and received by the sponsor before the deadline given. Most shows will allow you to enter your hedgehog on the day of the show, but this normally is more expensive than pre-registering and makes the show organizer's job all that much more difficult. If at all possible, pre-register your hedgehog well in advance of the show.
If you miss any information on the entry form, it can create delays and headaches for both you and the show secretary, so it is essential that you understand how to use the entry form correctly. A detailed look at the show form and the terms used should help to avoid confusion. Keep in mind that entry forms vary depending on the show and some shows do not have separate age classes.
After you have filled in your name and address, the first area of information required is CLASS. Class really means the hedgehog’s age. Show classes are broken down into 2 basic groups - those hedgehogs that are between 3 and 11 months of age (“A” class) and those who are 11 months and older (“B”) class. Remember that when entering hedgehogs in the “A” category, they must be under 11 months of age at the time of the show.
The next section on the entry form is COLOR. Do not fill this in unless you are absolutely certain of the animal’s color. If you have any doubts, leave this section blank and allow the judge to correctly identify your hedgehog for you at the show,
The next section is NAME. This is the hedgehog’s name and should be printed clearly.
Next is SEX. Although this may seem self-explanatory, it is best to double-check any animals entered - especially those in the 3-11 month category. Even the best breeder can sometimes make mistakes when sexing young hedgehogs so, to avoid embarrassment and unnecessary delays, it is always best to take another look!
The last column on the entry form is for you to tally up your entry fee for each animal. At the bottom of the column is a space for the total.
When entering a number of hedgehogs, it is always best to organize a draft list before filling out the entry form. This will ensure that there are no mistakes. As well, it helpful if you group the entries according to age, sex, etc. Remember too to keep a copy of your entries.
After you have completed the entry form, your are ready to mail it off, along with a check to the show secretary. Remember that although you can enter your hedgehog at the door, you will be charged a higher fee.
Preparing Your Hedgehogs
The goal of all exhibitors is to show off their hedgehogs in the best manner possible. Having a clean hedgehog is one of the best ways to do this. A warm, shallow bath and a thorough toothbrush scrubbing of the quills the night before the show is an excellent suggestion. Trim the and clean the toenails and make sure that the eyes and all orifices are clean and free of discharge. Be sure to check your hedgehog for fleas, mites or any other parasites before taking them to the show as they will be refused entry if any infestation or illness is suspected.
Personal attire should be professional yet casual. The secret here is to keep the judge's attention focused on your hedgehog - not you! Attire that is either too casual or too formal is not recommended.
Since all show hedgehogs must have a friendly, tractable nature, it is essential that they be well handled long before the actual show date. This will ensure that they are on their best behaviour when presented to the judge. It will also be helpful when you inspect them for condition and health. Ill-tempered hedgehogs will never do well at the show table.
The big day has finally arrived and to make sure it all goes smoothly, here are a few helpful pointers. First, make certain that all cages of the cages have been cleaned and prepared the night before. Second, arrive on time, or better yet, early. And thirdly, follow the instructions of the show superintendent. The superintendent is there to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Your cooperation will benefit both you and others.
When you arrive at the door, a color classifier will look at your hedgehog to determine which class it is to be placed into. The show classes are divided according to color, sex and age.
There are a total of 7 color classes in two sex categories and 2 age categories. Hedgehogs that are between 3 and 11 months are placed in Class 'A' while any animals over 11 months are placed in Class 'B'. The color categories are divided using the following system:
Class 1 STANDARD:
Grey, Dark Grey, Salt & Pepper, Chocolate, Brown, Silver Cinnamon and Cinnamon
Class 2 APRICOT:
Dark Cinnicot, Black-Eyed Cinnicot, Ruby-Eyed Cinnicot, Champagne, Apricot, Pale Apricot
Class 3 SNOWFLAKE:
Silver, Silver Charcoal, Charcoal, Chocolate, Brown Snowflake, Cinnamon Snowflake, Silver Cinnamon Snowflake, Dark Cinnicot Snowflake, Black-Eyed Cinnicot Snowflake, Ruby-Eyed Cinnicot Snowflake, Champagne Snowflake, Apricot Snowflake and Pale Apricot Snowflake
Class 4 WHITE:
Platinum, Silver Charcoal White, Charcoal White, Chocolate White, Brown White, Cinnamon White, All Cinnicot Whites, Champagne White, Apricot White
Class 5 ALBINO:
Class 6 PINTO:
All hedgehogs with pinto markings including Papillon
Class 7 AOC:
Confetti colours, tri-colours, Double Whites, etc.
Listen carefully for the class that your hedgehog is entered into and your hedgehog's name being called. When called, quickly take your hedgehog to the judging table and follow the judges instructions. Do not talk during the judging and listen carefully to the judges comments.
Last Minute Preparations
In most cases you will have a good 3-5 minutes warning before being called to the table. Use that time to your advantage! Pick up your hedgehog and work with it during that time. By the time you get to the table, your hedgehog will be wide awake and ready for inspection.
You will be asked to stand with your hedgehog behind the show table to the right of the judge. Place your hedgehog on the table with it's head facing to the front of the table. Do not let it scurry around. A good way to 'set' your hedgehog for the judge is to block it's forward vision with one hand and tuck it's rump up with the other.
The IHA Standard of Perfection, as well as the Official Color Standard form the basis of the hedgehog judging and show system. This system is unique amongst small animal show systems in that the judge provides a detailed explanation for his or her decisions to both the exhibitors and audience while judging each class. By doing this, it is hoped that everyone in attendance will leave the show with a clearer picture of what they should be looking for in their own animals.
Hedgehog classes at this time are divided according to age, sex and color and are generally judged at the show table in groups of 5. When called to the table, you will be asked to stand behind the table with 4 or 5 other exhibitors. Place your hedgehog on the table, with its face towards the judge. Follow the judge’s instructions and be prepared to answer questions regarding your hedgehog’s age and, if it is an adult female, when and if it was last bred or had its last litter. This information will help the judge make a final decision.
The Standard itself is broken down into several distinct areas with a detailed description provided for each. Although points for size, weight and form are used by the judge to make his or her's final decisions for each class, the actual judging is done by comparison. When judging hedgehogs this way, the judge is comparing one animal against another to find one that most closely matches the Standard, or ideal hedgehog. This sounds far easier than it actually is, but by having a sound working knowledge of the Standard and point system and by carefully comparing one hedgehog against another, the judge can make a sound and valid justification for the final placements.
We look forward to seeing you at a hedgehog show soon!