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The Annual Show of the Association of German Racing Homer Breeders (Verband Deutscher Brieftaubenzüchter e.V.) took place at 11 & 12 January 2014 in Dortmund. Associated was the Fancy Pigeon Show 'Revierschau' organized by the club 'Rote Erde'.

More than 1.200 Pigeons were shown, however, only about 800 of them were true racing homers. For some years now also beauty racing homers are allowed in extra classes with a different figure and mostly in soft colors. They correspond to the Polish Beauty Homers and Romanian Beauty Homers that are shown as fancy pigeons at shows organized under the heading of the German Poultry Breeders Association (Bund Deutscher Rassegeflügelzüchter BDRG) in the section fancy pigeons. The true racing homers were still in a 2/3 majority. They had to qualify themselves for the show with remarkable results in the flying competitions whereas the beauty homers like other  fancy pigeons are not raced at all.

For racing homer enthusiasts the performance section was of main interest. For active breeders it is still an award to have qualified to show a bird. That was also demonstrated by the evaluation sheets that were created like a certificate notifying the racing record of the bird and also by the fact that most of the highly honored pigeons in the special sections did not compete in the beauty contests. Such beauty contests for racers are an old tradition and is of minor importance. For racing homer breeders it has the character of entertainment on the occasion of the presentation of the top racers of the Clubs during winter time. The event is an extra excitement. To use an analogy:  It would not make much sense to tell an Olympic Champion that he has not the physical ability for his sport without becoming non-creditable in the own judgment.

Thus, also at this show many of the qualified top racers took place at the beauty contest. Winner and 'Standard' cock became a light blue check (Fig. 1) and 'Standard' hen a blue check with white primaries (Fig. 2). The standard cock qualified himself for the class 1a (a always means cock, b means hen) with 8 racing prizes in 2013. The racing performance of the hen (hatched in 2008) qualified herself for the class 3b for hens with outstanding performance over the years, not only in 2013, but over her lifespan with 48 prizes in six years.

 

Fig. 1: Stand cock,  8 prizes in 2013; Fig. 2: Standard hen with 48 prizes in her life-span

A great attraction were the so-called As-Pigeons. Pigeons in that class did classify with top rankings at 5 selected contests according to a point system. However, the birds nevertheless were successful during the whole season and e.g. the first As-hen (Fig.  7) achieved 12 prizes from distances between 219 km and 683 km. The first As-cock (Fig. 4) was successful at nine contests at distances between 186 km and 659 km. At a contest in a competition with 10,044 pigeons he won the first prize and in two other contests also with a great entry he became second (Fig. 3). These top racers did not compete for beauty though they could have done so. All of them are all-rounders and capable to manage short, medium and long distances as well. The performance of the As-Pigeons shown in Fig. 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 are not less impressive.

Fig. 3:  Certificate for  the 1. As-cock with the highest grade at a point system based on  5 contests

  

Fig. 4: As-cock 1 (1151)         Fig. 5: As-cock 3 (1152)                  Fig. 6:As-cock 6 (1154)

 

Fig. 7: As-hen 1 (1186) with certificate

   

Fig. 8: As-hen 2 (1187)             Fig. 9: As-hen 5 (1190)    Fig. 10: As-hen 16 (1198)

 In a special section the first As-cocks from 26 German regions and the first 23 hens from the regions were shown. Also pigeons from the regional champion lofts were shown. There is not one champion loft for whole Germany, but  a championship at a regional level for nine regions distinguished. The champions from these nine German regions had the opportunity to show three pigeons of their winning teams. From the 9 regions also the champions with yearling presented some pigeons. Pigeons from the junior champions and finally the winner from 10 great national contests were presented, too.

   

Fig. 11: As-cock regional (1166), Fig. 12: Hen from the yearling (1262) with 10 prizes,  in two contests first (465 km in a competition with 3.277 pigeons and 612 km with an entry of  2.071); Fig. 13: Cock from the junior championship (1285).

The winners of the great national flights also had an otherwise great record. Thus e.g. the winning hen (1. prize) from Sattleth (604 km) against 5,337 pigeons (Fig. 14) in 2013 achieved 10 prizes over the full season and all distances. The winning cock from Sens (643 km) against 13,604 pigeons was in total clocked 12 times as a prize winner in 2013.

 

Fig. 14: Winner National Flight from Sattledt 604 km and 5,337 pigeons. In total 10 prizes in 2013; Fig. 15: Winner National Flight from  Sens 643 km and 13,604 pigeons. In total 12 prizes in 2013.

The racers shown in the general class all were judged against the standard. Many of them classified themselves by the number of prizes, several also by a point system like the As-pigeons.

 

Fig. 16: class 1a (19) Indigo bar pied; Fig. 17: class 2a (273) white with red eyes; Fig. 18: class 2a (278) Indigo bar

Finally there was an outstanding class for birds with excellent performance in 2013 and, in addition, a great performance over their life-span. A hen (Fig. 19) was far ahead with 78 prizes. That means inclusive the year  of hatching in 2006 in average about 10 prizes every year. As was mentioned above also the standard hen was entered in this class. The hens shown in Fig. 20&21 had a record of 49 prizes and 42 prizes respectively.

   

Fig. 19: class 3b with 78 prizes; Fig. 20: class 3b with 49 prizes ; Fig 21: class 3b with 42 prizes

Two cocks with 63 and 60 prizes were shown. The cocks in Fig. 22-24 had a record of 53, 51 and 43 prizes respectively, in average of about 9 prizes per year.  The motto of the cock in Fig. 22 seems to be 'strength is born of calmness'. All of them seem to be outbalance birds, not only in their physical attributes but also from mentality.

   

Fig. 22: class 3a (sooty) hatched in 2008 with 53 prizes; Fig. 23: class 3a (indigo check) hatched in 2009 with 51 prizes; Fig. 24: class 3a (Spread Ash with ink spots) hatched in 2008 with 43 prizes

Young birds were also shown, e.g. the sooty ash red bar in Fig. 25 and the light tiger in Fig. 26.

 

Fig. 25: class 6a (ash red bar with sooty flecks); Fig. 26: class 6a (light tiger - bandit -)

The photos of some top birds should give a general impression of the all-round pigeon that dominates today the competition. Those are middle-sized pigeons birds without any extravagant attributes. Most with small eye cere and modest nostril wattle, reminding the long beaked highfliers in the ancestry of the modern racer. A few a bit heavier and especially some of the old cocks like Fig. 22 and 23 with a more pronounced wattle as relict of the influence of the Turkish Pigeon and the Camus in ancient time. A few with a shorter beak and more rounded head indicating the owl and Smerle ancestry in the Belgian Racing Homer.

The main coloration were blue bar and light check. Only very few dark (Fig. 27) or dark checks were shown. A little bit a surprise since from investigations of feral pigeons we learned that especially dark pattern types are more resistant against some infections. Perhaps this is not as important in racing homers because of the special care they get from their fanciers .

Fig. 27: As-hen regional dark (1213)

Ash red, ash red bars and checkers and also velvets (dark checkered ash red) were rare. Brown was not found or overlooked, that also holds for any dilutes. Smoky also was rare, however, many sooty in different expression were shown (examples in Fig. 10, 28-32). Most on a blue bar base, but also a few ash red bars (Fig. 29). Different degrees of Sooty are put together here, some of them with very distinct flecks like Fig. 28, some only with a minor dark stripe (Fig. 32). Sometimes the effect is sooting a greater part of the feather, sometimes the stripe is narrow forming a small line.

   

Fig. 28 class 2a (270);                                                     Fig. 29: class 1b (183)

   

Abb. 30: class 2a (291);                                                 Abb. 31: class 2b (350)

Fig. 32: class 5a with 490,76 As-points (512) (blue bar sooty)

Some of the rather rare colorations were indigo bars (Fig. 16&18) and indigo checks (Fig. 23). A hen with bronze bars and black tail band was shown (Fig. 12), interesting to see that different from Modena Bronze the checks were not affected by the bronze. In Fig. 17 a white cock with red eyes, thus not recessive white) was shown.  Interesting also a light white tiger (Fig. 26) and an attractive heterozygous Spread Ash Fig. 24) with beautiful ink spots indicating that his heterozygous blue/black nature. The nice ash red barred grizzle shown in Fig. 13 showed light frilling at the shield feathers that obviously did not hinder him to win. Many pieds with white primaries (e.g. Fig. 10, 20) demonstrated that the belief that white primaries are not robust enough to allow birds to stand the whole season with great success is misleading. There is no reason to eliminate such birds from the racing team.

The difference between the Beauty Homer and the racing homer became quite obvious where both types met cage at cage. Fig. 33 shows a Beauty Homer in the class 7a and Fig. 34 a racing homer in the class 6b. Beauty homers are heavier, blocky and in the last decades have developed in quite another direction.

A Schönheit und Leistung 761 IMG_1222.jpg

Fig. 33: Beauty Homer (class 7a) left und Racing Homer (class 6b) right side by side

A Schön IMG_1247.jpg A Schönh 785 IMG_1240.jpg

Fig. 34: Beauty Homer class 7a; Fig. 35: Beauty Homer class 7b; Fig. 36: Beauty Homer class 7a

The difference between the racing and the beauty homer became also obvious in the 'industry show' in hall 4 where besides pigeon supply also some racing homer lofts offered their racing homers for sale and also Beauty Homers were for sale.

 

Fig. 37 and Fig. 38: View at the industry show

Fig. 39: Beauty Homers for Sale

It seems to be a general phenomenon that fanciers are attracted by the performance, the athletic and nevertheless elegant figure and the charisma of the racing homer. It is interesting to keep a vital breed that is surrounded by myths and legends. Not all fanciers, however, have the capacity to fly their birds and take the risk of a loss of their valuable birds. They do not want to fly them but they want to show them. And regularly after a while, driven by some ambitious breeders and supported by judges, the breed divides out in another direction. When the show type has removed far enough from the starting point there is place for a 'new' breed beginning with pure racing homers, selecting them for beauty, and the cycle may start again. In this way the today fancy breeds Show Homer, Show Antwerp, Exhibition Homer, Genuine Homer, Show Racer, German Beauty Homer and others were developed, too and finally became fancy breeds with their own name and right. This process was illustrated for some breeds in the authors' book Pigeon Genetics' (Fig. 40&41).

Fig. 40: The Development of the Show Racer since the 1950th (Source: Axel Sell, Pigeon Genetics 2012)

Bild2.png

Fig. 41: The Development of the Netherland Beauty Homer over the decades (Source: Axel Sell, Pigeon Genetics 2012)

Fancy Pigeon Show 'Revierschau' 11&12 January  organized by the club 'Rote Erde'

At the 'Revierschau' in total about 1,600 birds were shown plus a sales section. A major contribution were several homer-related breeds with Netherland Beauty Homers (174) ranking first of all breeds shown. Show Racers ranked second with 103 numbers. German Beauty Homers (13) were shown and also the Swizz 'Poster', the smallest of the homer breeds.

Rote Erde IMG_1344.jpg   Rote Erde IMG_1376.jpg

Fig. 42: Strasser black                                    Fig. 43: Show Racer white

Netherland Beauty Homers were also derived from Racing Homers by outcrossing upon German Beauty Homers, but they preserved their more elegant racing homer figure and gain in popularity.

Rote Erde IMG_1386.jpg 

                Fig. 44: Netherland Beauty Homer black   Fig. 45: German Beauty Homer white

Dragoon are also relatives of the Belgian Racing Homer. They were still mentioned in the English literature in 1735 by Moore and are told to have served as one of the homing pigeons in England up to the imports of the superior strains from the continent mid of the 19th century. The origin of the Dragoon probably was a cross of the Turkish Pigeon and a long beaked Highflier. The superior strains from the continent at that time in England all were called 'Antwerp' because they were imported via the harbor Antwerp in Belgian (e.g. Tegetmeier 1868). Some Dragoon are told to have been crossed with 'Antwerps' and thus also has contributed to the melting pot of the modern Racing Homer.

As remote relatives of the Dragoon in Dortmund 10 Carriers were shown. As still was argued by Selby 1835/1843 and Tegetmeier (1868) the Carrier as a breed never was used as a messenger as the name suggests. The breed originated from the Turkish Pigeon like the Dragoon and was raised by English fanciers for beauty only.  

 

Fig. 46: Carrier black pied                            Fig. 47: Poster ash red bar

King (76), German Modena (78), different Owl breeds (92), Vienna Highfliers and Tumblers in different variants (88) and the German Magpie Tumbler (86) are established breeds in the 'Revier'-region. That also holds for different Dewlap breeds like the Syrian and Basra Dewlaps and the Lebanon-Pigeon that were shown with 58 numbers in total in excellent quality. There were many attractive smaller groups, a highlight finally some also in Germany very rare breeds with a long tradition, e.g. 8 Stettin Tumbler, 8 Elbing White Head (Elbinger Weißkopf) and 8 Ancients.

Rote Erde IMG_1542.jpg Rote Erde IMG_1538.jpg 

    Fig. 50: Stettin Tumbler owl-white belly      Fig. 51: Stettin Tumbler grizzle ash red bar

 Rote Erde Altstämmer IMG_1548.jpg Rote Erde Elbinger IMG_1547.jpg

                             Fig. 52:  Ancient crested yellow      Fig. 53: Elbing White Head (Elbinger Weißkopf) black