Pigeons at the 62. VDT-Show Leipzig December 2013

More than 30.000 pigeons were entered at the VDT-Show in Leipzig 6-8 December 2013. With such a great number  only a very selective and subjective review is possible and by far not all breeds are mentioned.

Traditional Runts (119 numbers, Fig. 1), Montauban (87) and Hungarian Giant House Pigeons (35) open the pigeon section. They were outnumbered by Cauchois with 193 entries. Of special interest in this breed was the great number of self black and the rare red and yellow with white bavette (Fig. 2). Carneau were shown in self red (Fig. 3), yellow and a few white. They are popular for themselves but also a source for fanciers of other breeds to improve the coloration of their breeds. Often new created coloration in some breeds like German 'Mittelhäuser' (Fig. 4) but also some other breeds do not differ much from the original. It might become a problem for judges and fanciers to separate them at the shows.

Tête Noire de Brive for a long time were only accepted in France in the black pencil coloration. In Germany the activities of a fancier to get blue ones  accepted in the standard were rejected. Now also blue penciled are excepted in France. In agreement with the French Pigeon Association the breed's name changed to Brive Colored Head. Some blue penciled were shown in the AOC-class (Fig. 5), thus they still exist in Germany and I hope they soon will be standardized here as well.

Texan, or formerly Texan Pioneers, were shown with 452 numbers in all accepted colorations. Also some rare dominant red hens (velvets, dark check dominant red with the faded trait)were shown (Fig, 6-7). In addition a 'multicolored = vielfarbener' cock was shown with a very light Almond coloration in the American terminology (Fig. 8). Figure and shape was Texan-like, from the genetics he is a heterozygous St-cock. It is well known that due to the vital problems of homozygous Almonds it is not possible to get an auto-sexing strain at this basis, interesting nevertheless.

Polish Lynx are very popular and were show with more than 500 numbers in many colorations, also red and yellow white bars and checks, with colored wings or white wings, laced etc. Interesting some 'silver-white laced' in the AOC, from the phenotype perhaps milky plus the Toy Stencil complex (Fig. 9). This variety was shown still some years ago and is told to exist for long in the breed.

Spaniards probably have a bagdette background though they may not be traced back to the historical Spaniard pigeon of the old literature. The breed is a German creation after 1900 and probably Nuremberg Bagdettes, relicts of the Turkish Pigeon that became extinct at that time and Field Pigeons were the ancestors. Perhaps also some French  breeds participated since in early years and now again some self red and yellow with a white rose at the bug and at the back similar to some Carneau are shown (Figures 11 and 12). Of special interest in Spaniards are coloration with the pencil-gene present also in Tete Noire de Brive. Thus some rare colorations like blue, black, yellow (Figure 10) and red bars with their atypical bars and the laced variety exist.

Basra Dewlaps were shown in a small group but with different colorations. For Rihani with the more bluish hens (Fig. 14) the sex-dimorphism is well known, Abrasdel are yellowish with feint yellow bars and light grey primaries and tail (Fig. 13), Schrabi are even lighter and Abiad are very light cocks lacking bars and lacking any grey in the tail and primaries. A classification with photos demonstrating the difference as a pre-condition for a serious analysis is included in the author's book 'Taubenfärbungen. Colourations in the Domestic Pigeon'.

Syrian Dewlaps (Fig. 14 and 15)and other breeds from the Near East have some serious fanciers over the decades. One cock was shown in the AOC-section as a reduced (Fig. 16) but from the appearance was somewhat different.  Egyptian Swifts were shown in blue-yellow with light torc (Fig. 17) and black with light torc. In addition in the AOC three ash red with torc (Fig. 18)were presented with the hint that all three cocks were heterozygous black color that also showed in some black ink flecks. Syrian Swifts are considered to be somewhat smaller in the wingspan and that was demonstrated by the 'blue-laced' gergati (Fig. 19), but from outside the blacks (Fig. 20) appeared not shorter than the Egyptians.

180 German Barbs were shown (Fig. 21). Since the change in the standard requiring a longer head shape and a medium length beak instead of a butt ( German stumpf) one the entries at the shows increased, however, for traditionalists it needs getting used to. Spanish Strawberry Eyes (ojo de fresa) are an old Spanish breed that is told to have been know still in the 8th century and formerly was a tumbler breed. There is some similarity to the Vienna Short Beaked Tumbler in the general type and the eye cere as well. In the head formation it is more similar to the former German Barb than the modern German Barb, but still two numbers smaller. Interesting again that the red coloration (Fig. 21) differs from the typical recessive red of other German breeds as is the case also in many Spanish Cropper breeds with a darker brownish shade (ibero-red).

Carrier were shown with 131 numbers with many brown-color based individuals. Thus brown (Fig. 24), brown bar, brown and brown bar pieds were shown in the regular class and in addition self khaki as the dilute of self brown (Fig. 25) and brown check (Fig. 23) in the AOC.

German Modena were by far the largest group with more than 2.100 numbers in the general class. Despite the great number of accepted coloration there are still some gaps. One was brown in the barred variety with brown bars (Fig. 27) instead of bronze bars (Fig. 28). Some of them were shown in the AOC, some in the section for new colorations. In that section also dilute blue Gazzi sulfur checks were presented. Modena were with 295 entries far behind.

Gent Croppers in outstanding quality are shown regularly and are a contrast with their balanced stand compared  to the Old-Dutch Croppers, the Pomeranian and especially the English Pouter (Fig. 30)with the more erect stance. Interesting the 'Dominikaner'-pied marking (Fig. 29). Compared to usual gansel-marking the white of the crop extends wide to the belly.

English Pigmy Pouters are also popular (344). In the AOC 10 red-laced were shown (Fig. 31 and 32). 'Red laced' and 'yellow laced' is a special story in Germany. Some Spread Ash depending on the pattern more or less hidden by the Spread factor and other modifiers from some distance appear reddish or yellowish laced. With some selection a strain of red-laced mimics is possible and got accepted in Old-German Owls, Voorburg Shield Croppers and other breeds. Norwich Croppers standardized Spread Ash (Aschfahl) with a light and clear coloration and in addition 'Strawberry' with a little bit more laced coloration. Basically all of them are Spread Ash. The comparison of the red-laced English Pigmy Pouters and the strawberry Norwich Croppers (Fig. 33-35) shows that both are also basically the same.

Lower Bavarian Croppers with the Gimpel coloration (Fig. 38) got their fans world wide. Despite their beauty they are rare also in Germany and were presented in a small group of 6 individuals in copper-blackwings. Saxon Croppers are very popular, impressing again some Spread Milky (Silver) with an outstanding clear coloration (Fig. 39), beautiful white barred in different colors (Fig. 40)and last not least also some light blue (dominant opal) with white bars and isabel with white bars. Isabel  (Fig. 41) genetically is homozygous recessive red plus heterozygous dominant opal. The underlying pattern has to be bars, the underlying basic color seems to be not as important since early tests reported an ash red basis, later investigations indicated black color for most pigeons tested.

Hessian Pouters (285) were first mentioned with that name by Dürigen 1923 as the small variant of the ancient Old German Cropper that was bred in that type and size for more than 100 years (from today about 200 years) in the Hessian region.  Most of them are selfs, white is very popular, however, at Leipzig it was possible to see the rare monks (Fig. 42, 43), two of them, barless ash red (Fig. 44),  in the AOC-class.

For Steiger Croppers (396), Swing-Pouters, it is well known that the yellow class entirely covers gold pigeons (recessive red plus pale instead of dilution) and thus the difference between red (Fig. 45) and yellow (Fig. 46) is not as great as in other breeds. In the yellow class of the Starwitzer Croppers (302) also some gold (Fig. 48) were entered and highly graded instead of 'wrong color for that class'. The cock was remarkable darker than his yellow neighbor (Fig. 49). May be that in some years also in other breeds yellow gets replaced by gold since usually standards require a deep and intensive coloration and judges and fanciers seem to consider darker to be more intensive and thus select for  gold. This ignorance may be observed by many breeds. Even in the Maltese pigeons a true yellow (Fig. 55) was framed by two gold (Fig. 54 and Fig. 56) that were highly ranked though for that class again 'wrong color' - German abbreviation 'f. F. falsche Farbe' would have been correct.

The interest in the fancy in uncomplicated middle-sized Croppers was underlined by 364 Steller-Ccoppers. They are somewhat smaller compared to the other breeds mentioned. The yellow color in that breed is intense but still seems to be dilute and not pale (Fig. 51 red and Fig. 52 yellow). Interesting the difference in size to the Pigmy Pouters, represented here by an excellent Brunner (453 numbers) yellow hen (Fig. 53). Silesian Cropper (681) are one of the most popular breeds and always impress the visitors by the many variants available, reaching from selfs, white capped (Fig. 57), monk marked to Schalaster. Asked for the difference to the new created Show Horseman and the Silesian Cropper there is no easy answer. They are very similar if not identical. A difference seems to be the myth associated with the name of the ancient horseman cropper that got extinct before 1900. That horseman cropper was described by Moore 1735 as a cross between Pouter and Horseman (probably a cross of the Turkish Pigeon as a forerunner of the English Carrier and a tumbler) with a good homing ability at short distances and the ability "to pitch stray Pigeon that are at a Loss to find their own Home" (Moore 1735, p. 38).

Thuringian Croppers are always peak-crested and most popular in self white. Shown were also self blue with black bars and monked in different coloration. Red monked (Fig. 57)and red checks monked seem to recover after some corrections in the standard. Over the decades the fanciers were mislead by an early misinterpretation of the light mealy tail and light mealy belly of some ash red monks. There were famous old paintings presenting reds and yellows in the baldhead pied marking with white belly and tail. For the artist simple to be done, in the breeding pen - with the genes available in the breed - it proved impossible and nearly ruined these colorations. Now in accordance with reality a light ash tail and an ash underbelly is required.

Spanish Croppers have a lot of engaged fans who are also interested in rare coloration and well aware of genetics. Thus there are always some strange coloration presented and also combinations of rare genes. For those who do not know the parents and grand-parents of the individuals shown it is a guessing game. Marchenero Croppers with 108 numbers were the greatest group in many coloration with many brown variants in the standardized classes. The AOC contained e.g. a homozygous indigo check (Fig. 59, for Germany a new term  'indigofahlgehämmert'), a khaki check (Fig. 60), in the class of silver-sprinkles one looked similar to qualmond (Fig. 62), another one possibly also qualmond or faded (Fig. 61). 2 Jiennense Cropper in blue with black bars were followed by 8 Rafeno Croppers all with very clear Spread Ash(Fig. 63). 3 Sevillano Croppers followed, and finally 20 Canario Croppers in blue, black, white pieds and 2 blue spenkles (Fig. 64) closed the Spanish Cropper section.

From the many color pigeon breeds the Gimpel pigeon with 366 entries seem to have been the largest group. Besides the well know colorations in outstanding quality also some rarities were shown, e.g. Monk-marked copper red checks (Fig. 66), red checks (Fig. 68), Monk-marked copper blackwing (Fig. 65) or copper bluewing checks with white flights (Fig. 67).

Among the Ice-Pigeon also two 'porcelain' were shown (Fig. 69), now with a new standard that allows the mirror of the Oriental Frills at the primaries and the tail and thus combines the Toy Stencil complex and the Frill Stencil complex. Since the fanciers try to preserve some rose at the shield similar to the rose coloration of the Cauchois an additional handicap is involved that does not ease the task.

Swizz Color Pigeon are regularly shown in a greater number and high quality at German shows. To get the Swizz breeds at the exhibitions near together also some non-color pigeons are integrated. Thus some Poster were shown at the beginning, probably the smallest of the Homer-related breeds.  A few self white, a blue bar and some mealy bars (Fig. 70) were shown . Self Swizz Pigeons had as a great surprise some fine ice with white bars in their collection (Fig. 71), Thurgau Monks brown with white bars (Fig. 72) are also a rarity. Finally in the class of the Lucerne Self besides white, red checks (Fig. 75), blue grizzles  and some other colorations black, red and yellow laced were shown with presented the Lucerne Type and at the same time the Blondinette marking of the Oriental Frills. A blue laced spot tailed is shown above (Fig. 73). Since the breed impresses with graceful lines and some nice but not overdone attributes a photo of a self white Lucerne was used for cover of the author's book 'Pigeon Genetics' (Fig. 74). Lucerne Copper Collars and Gold Collars and some other Swizz breeds followed.

In Fantails white was the by far most numerous color but also many otherwise rare colorations were shown. Disappointing was the class of the nine  ribbon-tailed fantails. Some at sunday still were sold and there is some hope that they are better than the remaining. Although with sg and g graded they were no ribbon-tails at all but ordinary dark ash red that often show a lighter mealy tail band (Fig. 76, 77), the contrast to a fair ribbon-tail is demonstrated by a red Volga-Tumbler (Fig. 77). The Indian yellow 'Ribbontail' Fantail (Fig. 80) was not better. 162 Indian Fantails were shown with some nice birds in the traditional colorations like Milky (Abb. 79) as the second numerous color after white. 4 shell crested Indian Fantails were announced but they also were peak crested (Fig. 81).

Frillbacks formed a great group with 350 numbers in many variations. Decades ago only self white existed with a shell crest but nowadays many whites with colored shields are shell crested, too. Dilute blue shields were shown in the AOC (Fig. 82), black, blue, red, yellow and mealy are still standardized.

At the Figurity-Owls it was possible to study the difference between Wild-Type blue and Smkoy blue (Fig. 83, Fig.84, in addition two 'behost', according to the German standard small feathers with near to clean toes, were shown (Fig. 85).

Oriental Rollers were the most numerous tumbler breed, 319 Cologne Tumbler and with the same number German Long-Beaked Tumblers (Fig. 86) followed. 239 German Show Tippler were shown, but also the numbers of some rare old German breeds compared to the entry in former years was satisfying. Thus 116 Stralsund Highfliers were shown, Pomeranian Eye Crested Highfliers were shown in self white (Fig. 87), black, red (Fig. 89) and Spread Ash (Fig. 88). 46 Markish Magpies seem to recover as a breed and were shown also in some rare colorations like khaki (non-Spread, Fig. 90). Stettin Tumblers were not shown at the VDT in the last years, now it was a pleasure to see 15 of them from 3 fanciers with a blue-grizzle white belly (Fig. 91) as a reminder of the great days. Berlin Short Beaked Tumblers (141) were still good presented, however, Posen Color-Heads were only shown with 6 numbers, some traditional breeds like Prague and Breslau Tumblers were lacking, to name only some breeds.