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Standards provide the fundamental basis 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.

The Six Agouti Colours

NACC Adult SS 2015

Standards state what breeders and exhibitors should look for in the perfect specimen and when, as is inevitable, exhibits prove to be less perfect in some respects, standards should indicate which features are the most important and which are the least when makng a decision on which are the winners and losers. Without clear standards, all breeding and judging of exhibition livestock would come down to a simple matter of opinion.

Standards have been in existance for exhibition cavies for probably as long as there has been a cavy fancy, well over 100 years. For many years these standards were devised by the relavant Specialist Club for each breed, with new standards or changes to standards having to be agreed by the National Cavy Club Annual General Meeting. As the number of new breeds aof cavy began to increase, and as several breed clubs came to identify weaknesses in their existing standards, the discussion of standards at an AGM inevitably proved more and more difficult and, in the late 1970s it was agreed to set up a new body, the British Cavy Ciuncil, consisting of representatives of all Specialist Breed Clubs, to undertake the vetting of standards.

There are two types of Standards, known as "Full Standards" and "Guide Standards". As the Council Rules state: "Full Standards" are designed 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 beenstablished and agreed after a sustained process of breeding and exhibition.

Such standards will describe he most important characteristics of the ideal exhibit 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 that the points allocated are therefore not intended to be used as the basis of a scoring system"

The above is an extract from the book "Cavy Breed Standards" approved by the British Cavy Council, copies of which are available from the NACC Secretary,.

Both Agoutis and Solid Agoutis have Full Standards.