The New Zealand Cavy Council
Standards for Exhibition Cavies
Introduction to Exhibition Standards
Standards provide the fundamental basis of all forms of livestock competition in which the appearance of the animal, as opposed to its ability to perform tests, jump obstacles or run more quickly than its peers, determines success or failure. Standards state what breeders and exhibitors should look for in the perfect specimen; and when, as is inevitable, exhibits prove to be less than perfect in some respects, standards should indicate which features are the most important and which are the least when making a decision on which are the winners and which the losers. Without clear standards, all breeding and judging of exhibition livestock would come down to a simple matter of opinion. For example, if a given judge were to dislike Selfs that have broad heads because he likes them to look like thoroughbred horses, or believes that it is unnatural to keep longhairs in wrappers, then, without standards to tell him otherwise, he would be perfectly entitled to place long-headed Selfs above typey ones and clipped longhairs above long-coated ones. So for anyone who shows any cavies other than pets, and who cares even in the slightest whether they win or lose when they show, standards are important.
Standards have been in existence for exhibition cavies for probably as long as there has been a cavy fancy, well over 100 years.
The role of the New Zealand Cavy Council in looking at standards is:
To determine the Standards to be applied when judging the various breeds of Cavy in New Zealand.
In doing this job, the Council attempts to ensure that such standards are phrased to be as clear as possible to judges, breeders and exhibitors; offer a difficult but achievable challenge to the breeder and exhibitor; and provide a logical basis for comparisons to be made regarding the relative merits of exhibits of different breeds.
There are two types of Standards, known as ‘Full Standards’ and ‘Guide Standards’.
Defined for all breeds of Cavy that in the Council’s opinion represent varieties that are distinct from all other existing breeds, provide a desirable addition to the Cavy Fancy, and for which a standard of excellence has been established and agreed after a sustained process of breeding and exhibition. Such standards will describe the most important characteristics of the ideal exhibit of each breed and indicate, via an allocation of points adding up to 100, the relative weighting to be given to each of these characteristics in assessing different exhibits. However, the importance of ‘balance’ in an exhibit must always be considered: an exhibit that is a ‘near miss’ on all characteristics may be regarded as more desirable than one that is perfect in several but very poor in a particular one, and the points allocated are therefore not intended to be used as the basis of a scoring system.”
Defined for breeds of Cavy that are in a process of development but that, in the Council’s opinion, represent varieties that are distinct from all other existing breeds, are likely to provide a desirable addition to the Cavy Fancy, and for which a provisional standard of excellence can be stated after an initial period of breeding and exhibition. Such standards will describe the most important characteristics of the ideal exhibit of the breed, but are likely to be stated in more general terms than for a Full Standard; and no points allocations will be given to indicate the relative importance of different characteristics.