RatsPacNW Policies & Rules

Members and Guests | Member Code of Ethics | Club Show Rules | Registering and Showing Rats | Rat Standards Committee | Conducting a Show | Amendments and Alterations

RatsPacNW is a social welfare and animal fancy club open to rat fanciers and rat breeders.  Most of our members reside in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia, but membership is not limited to these areas.

These Policies and Rules shall describe the duties and responsibilities of members and appointed committee positions, and describe other guidelines within RatsPacNW that are not incorporated into the Constitution and By-Laws of the club. No rules or policies may contradict the Articles of Incorporations and Bylaws of RatsPacNW.

These rules and policies shall be as follows:

Members and Guests

Members and Guests are expected to abide by the objectives and membership requirements as stated in the Bylaws of RatsPacNW.

Member Code of Ethics

Concern for Domestic Rats Kept for Pets or Breeding
  • I will provide and maintain a healthful, safe, and caring environment for domestic rats.
  • I will take precautions to sell or place rats only in homes where they will be loved, appreciated and cared for well by qualified adopters.
  • Should I breed rats, along with the enjoyment of keeping rats in my home, my motive for so doing will be the desire to preserve and improve the qualities of the varieties I choose to breed.

Accurate Representation

  • I will be professional in all my dealings with prospective adopters.
  • I will make every effort to ensure the adopters' understanding of the proper care of domestic rats, and their desire to provide rats in their care with a safe and happy life.
  • I will be honest, fair, and I will consider it my obligation to display utmost integrity in all descriptions of any rat.

Agreements and Certifications

  • I will sell domestic rats for breeding with accurate pedigrees and health records transferred to the adopter after full payment is received.
  • I will fully abide by all contracts, written and verbal, that I enter into with other breeders or rat adopters.

Integrity, Ethics, Professional Standards

  • I will not knowingly expose any animal or person to disease or parasites.
  • My rats shall be under the regular care of a licensed exotics veterinarian with a good understanding of the needs of rats.
  • I support the Club's objectives, policies, constitution and bylaws.
  • It is the will of the members not to allow breeders, exhibitors, or vendors who cull* their animals and/or breed rats for the purpose of feeding* them to another animal to participate in our club activities.
    • Culling is defined as ending a rat's life in any manner, for reasons other than quality of life.  This includes "culling" litters reduce the number of pups, or "culling" rat pups who do not have desired markings or characteristics.
    • Feeder breeding is defined as breeding rats with the intention of ANY of the rats ending up as food for another animal.
  • Members, guests, exhibitors and vendors must comport themselves in an acceptable manner in any club setting. Any member, guest, exhibitor, or vendor that is socially disruptive or threatening to any person or animal will be asked to leave by a board member.

Club Show Rules

Show Attendance
  • Rat shows are open to attendance by members and non-members.
  • ALL entries, including table reservations by vendors MUST be completed online no later than the specified date.
  • It is the will of the members not to allow breeders, exhibitors, or vendors who cull* their animals and/or breed rats for the purpose of feeding* them to another animal to participate in our shows.
    • Culling is defined as ending a rat's life in any manner, for reasons other than quality of life.  This includes "culling" litters reduce the number of pups, or "culling" rat pups who do not have desired markings or characteristics.
    • Feeder breeding is defined as breeding rats with the intention of ANY of the rats ending up as food for another animal.


  • Vendors, whether selling or demonstrating, shall be at the show by invitation or prior authorization from the Show Director. 
  • Unauthorized vendors will be asked to leave the show. This is in consideration of those who paid a vendor fee or otherwise committed in advance to support the show. 
  • Rat-related products sold by members of RatsPacNW should take precedence over non-members. 

Registering and Showing Rats

  • All rats attending the show must be pre-registered three weeks in advance. This means, attendees must pre-register any and all rats they wish to bring onsite. Registrations will not be performed the day of the show. Unregistered animals are not allowed entrance to the show.
  • Ages (month and year of birth) of all rats are required for registration.
  • The kitten class is for rats aged 8 weeks to 14 weeks. Rats younger than 8 weeks may not be shown.
  • Adult class is for rats older than 14 weeks.
  • A three-week quarantine period begins at registration and must be adhered to.
  • Rats may only be entered into one standard class. Pet class entry is unlimited.
  • Neutered and spayed rats are allowed to be shown.
  • Rats must be shown in their natural condition – no dyeing, plucking, trimming, or other attempts to alter appearance that may deceive the judges.  Bathing, trimming nails, and normal grooming are accepted.

Health Check Process

  • All rats must pass health check. Rat will not be admitted if health checkers believe they may be sick or contagious - conditions including, but not limited to, skin rashes, lesions, wounds, infections of skin, eyes, respiratory system, urinary tract, and infestations by mites, lice, or any other parasite disqualify the rat from entry to the building.  Please check all animals before bringing them. Do not bring sick, contagious, or exposed animals, as there will be no safe place for them to stay during the show.
  • The volunteers designated for the duration of a show as "Health Checkers" are responsible for performing a quick but thorough exam of all rats entering the building.  Health Checkers may ask for assistance or a second opinion from a member of the Board of Directors.  The Health Checkers, the Show Director, and/or the Board of Directors have final determination on whether a rat is healthy enough to enter the show venue.
  • Fanciers (pet owners) and approved breeders may have kittens at the show to exhibit in the standards or pet classes. All rats for exhibit must be at least 8 weeks old and registered. 
  • The Health Checker shall retain the right to declare any rat too small for adoption and deny them entry to the show.
  • Nursing dams and pregnant rats are not permitted at the show.
  • Rats that fail health check for any reason whatsoever, and all rats housed with them, may not be kept at the venue. Take them home for treatment. No animals may be left in your vehicle.
  • Adoptions and sales must take place within the venue. Selling or transferring animals or merchandise outside the venue is not allowed.
  • We value the health of animals and their human carers above all else. The decision of the health check volunteers and the second opinion of a board member are final. Non-compliant individuals will be asked to leave the venue.

Pre-Arranged Pick Ups - Rescues

  • Only rescues with accredited 501(c)3 status (U.S.) or a Registered Charitable Society (Canada) status may adopt out animals at shows. If a membership is held by an active volunteer or director of their organization, one table will be offered at no charge. All rats must be registered during the registration period and quarantined as our rules specify.
    • Definition of a Rescue: Our organization recognizes rescue groups to be an accredited 501(c)3 status (U.S.) or a Registered Charitable Society (Canada).

Pre-Arranged Pick Ups – Non-Rescues

  • Only breeders whom are members in good standing* may bring rats to adopt. Transfers must be pre-arranged pick-ups with vetted adopters only.
    • Member in Good Standing, as defined in our Bylaws, Section 7: Members in good standing shall be defined as any member who maintains current membership by paying on or in advance of their membership renewal date and participates in at least two club activities per year: online discussions, gatherings, events, or shows.
  • For a rat to attend the show as a pre-arranged pick-up, the breeder shall pre-register each rat to be adopted, providing a description and the name of the adopter. In addition, on the day of the show, they will provide the Health Checker with an adoption contract for each rat, showing the adopter's name written clearly in ink or typed on it.  The adoption contract shall contain the following information, written clearly in ink or typed:
    • The breeder's name and rattery name (if one is used).
    • The rat's birthdate, showing it to be a minimum of 6 weeks old.
    • A clear, concise description of the rat, including ear type, coat type, coat color, markings, and sex. (i.e., "Dumbo Rex Black Hooded Female")
    • The rat's dam and sire name and description including ear type, color, and markings.
    • The adoption cost. Minimum adoption charge per rat is $15, or $25 for a pair.
    • The Show Director and/or Board of Directors reserve the right to compare the number of rats at the show venue to the number of adoption contracts provided, either for a specific breeder, or for all pre-arranged adoptions scheduled for the show.
  • Rats attending the show as pre-arranged pick-ups must pass health check. Rats that fail health check cannot be adopted and must be removed from the premises.
  • Under no circumstance shall rats be swapped, traded, adopted, transferred, or sold in the parking lot or the surrounding area.  Rats may not be shown to prospective adopters from or next to a vehicle any place outside the venue. Transfers take place inside and rats must be pre-registered and pass health check. Individuals attempting to bypass show rules to sell unwell, underaged juvenile animals, or animals otherwise unacceptable to enter the venue will be banned from the venue and future shows.

During Show Judging

  • Exhibitors may not interfere with judges or make themselves known to the judge. Origin of animals being judged will not be considered.
  • Exhibitors and their representatives may not remain at the judges table.
  • Judges will not judge a class in which rat bred by or shown by them is exhibited.
  • Exhibitors will provide their own appropriately-sized show boxes and bedding.
  • Judges have sole discretion on choosing the most appropriate rat for each Best of Variety based on what they feel is the best of the variety being represented, regardless of overall end scores.

Guidelines for Treatment of Rats

  • While not in show boxes, rats should be contained in a cage or ventilated tub that is clean and free from excess wet bedding and feces.  At no time shall the rats be forced to stand/lay in wet or soiled bedding due to a lack of access to a clean area.  Soiled and wet bedding should be removed and replaced as quickly as the owner is reasonably able to complete the task.  The Show Director or member of the Board of Directors may ask a participant to change out soiled bedding, for cleanliness in the venue.  Failure to maintain reasonably clean cages will result in the participant being asked to leave the show venue.
  • Rats shall always have access to a water bottle when not in a show box. We do not allow dishes of water in cages due to the mess they create.
  • Rats shall always have access to food when not in a show box.
  • It is recommended that rats have access to a hide in their cage where they may have quiet, security, and privacy.  This includes a box, a hammock, an igloo, etc. Hides and hammocks must be clean and sanitary.
  • Time in a show box:
    • Rats shall not be held in a show box for an excess of 45 minutes.
    • Every reasonable attempt should be made to keep the rat's ownership anonymous in accordance with the club rules.  It is suggested that the Show Secretary or Show Director (if not participating as a judge) will remove the rat from the table, with the judge's' permission, and return them to the table if the rat needs a break.
  • Humane handling is expected of all show attendees and participants at all times. Pulling the skin or tail is not humane.

Process for Dispute Resolution

  • Members with complaints about another member, exhibitor, or vendor may submit their complaint in writing to the President within 14 days of the incident.
  • The person or organization representative in question will be asked to attend a fair and impartial hearing by the Club's member-elected Board (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer), concluding with a decided vote by the Board. Meetings may be in-person or via a mutually agreeable telecom or messaging service.

Consequences for Breaking Rules

  • A 30-day ban from shows while investigation/discussion is pending, at the Board of Directors' discretion.
  • If the member, exhibitor, or vendor is found to have broken Club rules, a ban from shows for a period of 1 to 3 years, or lifetime may be deemed appropriate at the Board of Directors' discretion.
  • Notification of the results of the hearing shall be delivered by the Board within 14 days of the hearing.
  • Censured individuals may appeal the decision within 30 days, in writing, to the Board President. The President will confer with the Board and reexamine their decision. The Board is not required to reverse any decision, but has the right to do so. Only one appeal may be made. The individual appealing agrees to accept the Board's decision as final and binding.
  • All members agree to abide by the rules of the club and the decisions of the Board upon gaining membership.
  • All vendors and exhibitors attending a show or event must abide by the rules of the club and the decisions of the Board upon registration.

Rat Standards Committee

Appointing the Chairperson
  • The Standards Chairperson shall be appointed from the general membership by the President and be approved by the Board of Directors to serve as head of this Committee.
  • The chairperson will select two qualified members in good standing to serve on this committee. The power of this committee shall last 4 years or until dissolved.

The duties of this committee shall be:

  • To suggest, when necessary, changes to the current RatsPacNW rat standards.
  • To view standards for unstandardized varieties, markings, and colors proposed by members in good standing.
  • Upon reviewing, and if determined that the proposed is a new legitimate variety, marking, or color, the Committee shall present the proposed standard to the Board for approval by vote.

Proposing a new rat standard for a new variety, marking or color:

  • At least two rats meeting the standard must be shown at a RatsPacNW show along with the proposed written standards.
  • The variety, marking, or color described in the proposed standard must be proven to be consistently reproducible by pedigrees, photos, and other documentation collected by the breeder.
  • The proposal must be presented to the Rat Standards Committee chairperson before the show. Members seeking to standardize a new variety, marking, or color should bring good documentation to the show to make their case.

Conducting a Show

Hosting a RatsPacNW show or sponsored event:
  • Members in good standing are encouraged to participate by volunteering at or hosting events (shows, expos, etc.).
  • Sponsored rat shows and events may be held in the Pacific Northwest region.
  • Members whom are approved to host a show shall be considered Show Directors.
  • To hold an approved show, prospective Show Directors shall present to the Executive Board:
    • Type of show.
    • Show date and tentative schedule
    • Show location
    • Lodging and camping facilities in the area (with estimated prices)
    • Accessibility of show location (by car, ferries, etc.)
    • Show facilities
    • Projected budget for show
    • May include a summary of tourist attractions available in show area and any other facts felt necessary for presenting a complete overview of the projected show
  • The Executive Board may ask for further details and/or make recommendations or suggestions.
  • The Executive Board must approve the location and date and other details.
  • The Show Director, upon having their show approved, shall abide by these rules, the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws of RatsPacNW.
  • As per the Bylaws: The Show Director shall keep a financial report of their expenditures and income, working in close collaboration with the RatsPacNW Treasurer, and submit a written report to the Board of Directors at the conclusion of the event.
  • As per the Bylaws: The Show Director will turn over remaining funds to the RatsPacNW Treasurer within 30 days of the event.

The Show Director shall:

  • Follow the duties prescribed by The Articles and Bylaws of RatsPacNW.
  • Promote the show.
  • Secure show facilities.
  • Secure judges, show clerks and secretary and any other necessary helpers.
  • Be responsible for all supplies, ribbons/awards, and other considerations for the show.
  • Contact the Club's Board if questions arise.
  • Contact the Club's Treasurer to secure funding, submit receipts for reimbursement, and submit a final report.

Amendments and Alterations to These Policies & Rules

  • The membership may amend or repeal these Rules and Regulations.  The President shall present the proposal to the membership present at the general membership meeting and open the floor to discussion.
  • Any amendment shall become effective upon passage.

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RatsPacNW is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.
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