Brown Stippers in Danish Tumblers

Rare colourings have a hard time. In fancy pigeon breeding, poorly informed breeding committees and reporters contribute to this. Also, artists with fantasy products, which are mistaken for reality by collectors and are repeatedly posted in the social media without reflection. They spread uncertainty about breeding goals and genetic backgrounds and discredit what exists. In some cases, accompanied by many 'likes' by art lovers, they can mean the end for rare colourings. This is also not quite strange for breeders of Danish Brown and Yellow Stippers, called Copper and Gold Stippers in the old German literature.

Reality and Standard Drawings

In the composition of photographs of Brown Stippers, the drawn standard images stand out more clearly than when viewed in isolation. The first three pictures show Danish Brown Stippers from Danish breeders. Then the standard drawing for Brown Stippers on the homepage of the special club in Denmark. The basic coloration is not dark brown, but red. Then in the picture of Brown Stippers by the author in continuation of the Danish line of Kristian Schriver (DK) in Germany over several decades. Finally, the standard drawing on the homepage of the German Special Club. If one takes the unsuccessful drawings of the special clubs as a yardstick, the pigeons shown in Germany and Denmark are not Brown Stippers.


Danish Brownstippers from Denmark and Germany and standard drawings from the Special Clubs in Denmark and in Germany

For Germany, the author of these lines could also read that years ago as a then breeder of Brown and Yellow Stippers in a German poultry newspaper. It had not succeeded so far to breed completely unicolored browns with black splashes, so the statement.


Danish Brownstipper as standard drawing at the homepage of the German Special Club and Brownstipper cock from the own loft in continuation of the line of Kr. Schriver, DK.

Tracing the inspirations for the misrepresentations in art

Where the artist got the idea of such a breeding target was not apparent at first. The written standard said otherwise, then as now. Was it perhaps the colouring of Brown Stippers before the Second World War? No. Wriedt and Christie, who had extensively studied the stipper colouration of Danish Tumblers and reported on it in 1925 with many b/w pictures, did not know such stippers. However, Schachtzabel (1910) was the first to find them. In his plate 82 he shows a monochrome brown-golden pigeon from head to tail and to the half-covered wings with black splashes. Obviously, the imagination of the artist, who was inspired by his phantasy and considered the text to be of secondary importance. As with the more recent drawing in the German Standard. In the book 'Taubenrassen, 2009, the picture at Schachtzabel has already been commented on.

Source: Sell, A., The German language book ‚Taubenrassen, Entstehung, Herkunft, Verwandtschaften‘, Achim 2009, with the quoted plate from Schachtzabel 1910 and a Brown Stipper cock from the own loft.

From the time before 1900, moreover, preparations are preserved, which show that the Danish Stipper already had the Stipper gene at that time. And this provides a white ground in the flight feathers and tail. This becomes less with the years, but then replaced by black, and not by red.

Quelle: Sell, A., Taubenrassen, Entstehung, Herkunft, Verwandtschaften, Achim 2009

The official written Standard requires a dark brown ground colour, not the red in the Danish standard drawing. This applies to the Danish Standard as well as to the German Standard based on it.

Danske Standard: Brune: Bundfarven skal være jævn, mørkebrun, med stærkt fedtet, rødlig metalglans. Stænkene skal være sorte. Halen og slagfjerene skal være lyse, med mørke og brune stænk.

Danish Standard translated in English: "Browns: the ground colour must be even, dark brown, with a strongly oily, reddish metallic sheen. The splashes must be black. Tail and feathers must be light, with dark and brown splashes."

German Standard: Braunstipper: Grundfarbe sehr gleichmäßiges tiefdunkel­braun mit starkem rötlichem Glanz und schwarzer Stippung. Schwingen und Schwanz auf möglichst hellem Grund längliche Zeichnungsflecken in verschiede­nen Farben.

Sources: Homepage of the Special Clubs in Denmark and Germany and the English translation of the Danish text.

Genetics of the Brown Stipper

The main hereditary factors responsible for the colouration of Brown Stippers were identified by Wriedt and Christie in the 1920s. The stipper factor was transferred from English Almond Tumblers to Danish Tumblers. As pure-bred Stipper cocks lack vitality, the complementary colours Agate, Kite and DeRoy are systematically used in breeding, as in English Almonds. The inheritance mechanisms correspond to those in English Short Faced. Yellow Stippers are dilutes and form different colour classes with Yellow Stippers, Goldduns and Yellow Agates.

Source: A. Sell, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012


Breeding-wise, it cannot be clarified whether the bronze factor of the kites at Brown Stipper families is genetically identical to that of the English Short-Faced Tumblers in almond breeding. Probably also no longer molecularly. The genetic make-up has changed in colourings that were on the verge of extinction for decades and were partly newly bred. For comparisons of today's kites with those of the past, one needs the genetic material of the kites of that time, which one no longer has.

This also applies to Brown Stippers. If geneticists choose a red pigeon for their molecular genetic analysis, as in the current standard picture on the homepage of the Danish Special Club, they will be in for a surprise. Their probable result, the cocks are for black pigment heterozygous ash red with ink splashes. They will no longer find the stipper gene. Such misjudgements of colourings by breeders are not unique: Bruder et al. had already pointed out in their molecular genetic study of the stipper gene (2020, 11/25) that some of the samples submitted as stippers were genetically not stippers. In the case of Brown Stippers, such a result could mean the 'official' and supposedly scientifically approved end of a colour variety. 


Bruders R, Van Hollebeke H, Osborne EJ, Kronenberg Z, Maclary E, Yandell M, et al. (2020) A copy number variant is associated with a spectrum of pigmentation patterns in the rock pigeon (Columba livia). PLoS Genet 16(5): e1008274. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008274

Schachtzabel, E., Illustriertes Prachtwerk sämtlicher Taubenrassen, Würzburg (1910)

Sell, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012 https://www.taubensell.de

Sell, Taubenrassen. Entstehung, Herkunft, Verwandtschaften. Faszination Tauben durch die Jahrhunderte, Achim 2009 https://www.taubensell.de

Sell, Genetik der Taubenfärbungen, Achim 2015

Wriedt, Chr. und W. Christie, Zur Genetik der gesprenkelten Haustaube, Zeitschrift für induktive Abstammungs- und Vererbungslehre 38 (1925), 271-306.