Fewer pigeon fanciers and a multitude of races and colors

The decline in fancy poultry breeding, including pigeon breeding, can hardly be stopped. This is no reason to rush the process from within. Many breeds and many colors on the one hand and falling breeder numbers on the other hand result in a simple calculation for many observers in Germany: delete colors and prohibit new breeds. Then the relation is correct again. However, the rare Stettin Tumbler will not be saved by banning all colors except for the blue. Also, the Breslau and Prague are not promoted by deleting colors in the standard.


Fig.1: Rare Short Beaked Tumblers. Source: Sell, Pommersche Taubenrassen, Achim 2010

Also, it is not helpful to condemn in other breeds dun-colored individuals who appear after crossing a yellow with a black, and also other intermediate colors, from the shows. On the contrary, you will frustrate and lose some breeders. The multitude of colors is available today due to the fact that pigeon fanciers successfully mate different colors with each other.


Fig. 2: Three colors each, which complement each other very well in breeding. Source: Axel and Jana Sell, Vererbung bei Tauben, Oertel & Spörer 2004, 2007, Pigeon Genetics 2012

This alone results in more colors than many long-term breeders or keepers who also hold high honorary positions in the organization can imagine. This is a playground in our hobby, where breeders can gain genetic knowledge and learn about inheritance laws. With the deliberate exclusion of new, rare and sporadic colors from the shows, the organization blocks the most important way in the fancy pigeon breeding to build up basic genetic knowledge.

Some breeders despite many hindrances have gained genetic knowledge from this, which they also use successfully to preserve rare breeds. Many races would no longer exist if they had not borrowed vitality from other races from time to time.

Fig. 3: Turbiteen and Domino-Owls as examples for several times as extinct announced Owl-variants at a pigeon show in Leipzig. Source: Critical Issues Part II, p. 57, Achim 2020.

A temporary disappearance of color classes does not mean that the genes have also disappeared. Vanished breeds have also emerged from a few remaining individuals or from related races after devastating wars. The thesis that has been brought up again and again to support the defense against anything new, that the genes of a race or a color of a race is lost forever if it disappears, is at best partially correct. In almost all of today's breeds, the old genetic base is partially lost through crossing with other breeds, mutations and selection. Such serious type changes are unthinkable without crossbreeding with other breeds and without gene exchange. (Fig. 4, 5).


Fig. 4: Maltese Pigeon old and new type at Dürigen 1906 and the development of Fantails from Buffon 1772, Selby 1835 up to today at the cover of ‘Taubenrassen’, Achim 2009

Fig. 4: Old and new type in the Kassel Tumbler. Source: Sell, Taubenrassen, Achim 2009.

It is a deliberate breeding design in the beauty contest. Not everyone loves the new. If the majority of breeders follow the new ideal, however, the new supplants the old, a 'creative destruction'. Whether positive or negative, everyone can decide for themselves. But it should prevent us from portraying ourselves to others too much as preserving 'ancient' races, which absolutely have to be protected from the new.

Even molecular geneticists (A. Biala et. al in the Journal of Animal & Plant Sciences, 25(6): 2015, S: 1741-1745) were surprised by how 'mixed' the gene pool was in the examined breeds.

It is a shame that the bodies responsible for the exhibition rules allowing and forbidding color-classes and other regulations only have a limited insight into the actual breeding process and capacity of many breeders and are reinforced in their restrictive position by simplifying advice. You can only beware breeds and colors with the help of knowledgeable breeders, and you don't keep them in your own ranks through restrictions. It cannot end well when the ignorant want to show the way to experts who are not allowed to have a say. The topic sounds in some of the articles in the series' Critical Issues in Pigeon Breeding. What we know and what we believe to know ‘, but even there will hardly reach the actual addressees.


Fig. 5: Sources 2019, 2020. 2012 http://www.taubensell.de/003_Neu_Buchshop/taubenbuch.htm