of Pigeon Breeds
"When characterizing the
breeds, we should let out the color since color alone is not a
species or racial trait. In contrast, all major changes in the
constitutional characteristics in comparison to the rock dove are
important, such as skeletal structure, posture, flying ability, wart
formation, atypical feather positions and structures, voice and
psychic behavior. The size and weight differences are also
significant "(translated from Harms 1939, p. 11). The entrance quote
from Harms is not to be added. So his interest was also the
experimental investigation of inheritance in the crossing of
extremely different breeds (see also Sell 2012).
Fig. 1: Representatives of
groups of different fancy breeds at Emil Schachtzabel 1910
Also in the precursors of
today's standard descriptions such as the illustrated work of pigeon
breeds by E. Schachtzabel (1910, 3rd edition 1919), the naming of
colors in the individual breeds has a more memorial function over
what is most common or was common. If the main breed characteristics
are present, the individuals belongs to the breed. What color and
how good it is, is a question of second order and in the individual
breeds of different weight. However, anyone who wants to present a
new color in a breed at exhibitions today needs a license, which he
can acquire in a costly recognition process. This may, in some
cases, add up to a four-digit euro amount due to presentation fees
for showing the pigeons in the class for ‘new breed’ at the national
shows, transport and travel costs, and rearing costs. After the
recognition, however, the interest of the breeding committees in the
correct color-class assignment seems to be waning again. This is
shown by the unopposed presentation in false classes with rare
colors also on the national shows. Reasons for inactivity might be
that Indications of incorrect valuations could be misunderstood as
un-collusive criticism, but they would be helpful as a guide for
judges, visitors of the major shows and breeders.
characteristics of breed formation, such as size and weight
differences, mentioned by Harms play a surprisingly minor role in
standard descriptions, at least they are hardly ever concrete.
Indirectly there is a control by the band size. This has been raised
several times in some breeds in the past. Other sizes in standards
are rare given. Also at Schachtzabel 1910 one finds sizes only in
some breeds. So in extremely large and extremely small breeds: In
the Roman, the height is 24-28 cm from the sole to the apex, the
length of the beak tip to the tail 48-55 cm and the wingspan at
blue, pale and white not less than 97 cm , in red, yellow and black
not less than 93 cm. The Egyptian Owl (1-3) as the smallest and
petite of the known Owl-breeds has a length of 27-29 cm, the English
(4&5) of 32-34 cm. Otherwise, it is also usually referred to the
field pigeon size as a comparative scale.
Fig. 2: Runt Pigeon and
Egypt Owls (1-3) and English Owls (4 and 5) at Schachtzabel 1910
The largely lack of size
information is a difference to the standards of other breeding
associations of pets. For domestic rabbits and dogs, e.g. Of course
we find weight data or withers heights as race criteria. In the
past, if more detailed information would have been available e.g.
over the beak length of medium beaked tumblers, some frustration
could have been avoided. Also over the overall size is discussed in
some breeds controversial. Breeding committees cannot contribute to
a discussion in the case of contradictory opinions on standard
interpretations and do not contribute. The standards are not
concrete, and monitoring, a record of the development of
characteristics over the years, does not take place. Even about the
actual state nothing is known.
An improvement is not in
sight. Rather the opposite. Some pigeons like Carneau, Mittelhäuser
and Beneschau pigeons have been standardised for several years in
overlapping colors now. They are so similar for outsiders that it
was to be welcomed that for the Beneschau Pigeons with 750 grams for
old ones at least once a benchmark in the standard was given.
Fig. 3: Mittelhäuser, Beneschauer Pigeon and
Münsterländer Feldtaube at the show in Leipzig 2014
As can be seen from the most
recent statement of the Federal Breeding Committee, this information
has now been deleted. From a breeders point of view a regrettable
step backwards compared to other pet breeders associations.
Fig. 4: Announcement of the
change of Standard for Beneschau Pigeons August 2018
Harms, J. W., Untersuchungen über
Haustaubenrassen, Jenaische Zeitschrift für Naturwissenschaft,
Zweiundsiebzigster Band. Neue Folge, fünfundsechzigster Band, Jena
1939, S. 3—75 und Tafeln 1-7.
Schachtzabel, E., Illustriertes Prachtwerk
sämtlicher Taubenrassen, Würzburg 1910, 3. Aufl.
Sell, Axel, Pigeon Genetics.
Applied Genetics in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012.