Intermediate color classes

How many pigeons would Noah have had to take on his ark to save the eight sex-linked color classes of the Thuringian Selfs, apart from the grizzles? If he knew anything about pigeon genetics and knew the pedigree of the pigeons, there would be only two. From the pair shown in the diagram you may raise all eight colors if the parents have the proper genetic make-up (Fig. 1). That is even one color more than listed in the official standard.

Fig. 1: Intermediate Color Classes at Thuringian Selfs

Recognized as standard colors are three characteristic cocks colors, blue-ground colored, light-ground colored and yellow-ground colored, as well as the four hen pigeon colors, namely blue bar, blue check, silver-colored with bars and larked. 'Grey-ground colored' cocks occasionally occur in breeding, but are not recognized.

Blue-ground-colored cocks and blue-bar hens may be considered the base or central colors of the color group (Fig. 2). Genetically, they have the slightest deviations from the blue field pigeon considered the wild-type. Experts recognize that cocks have a brown-red noster (crescent moon on the chest) and a silver wreath on the back of the neck in addition to the clouding in the shield.

Fig. 2: Thuringian Blue Ground Colour Cock and blue bar hen: Source: Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012.

The brown-red noster is also required in the blue and blue-check females and is expressed in the dilute colors as yellow (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Thuringian larked hen (at the left) and yellow ground colour cock (at the right). Source: Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012.

As is shown at this example, it would be premature if breeding committees temporarily deny non-existent color streaks 'to protect the breed'. In this case, all six temporarily lacking colors would have to go through the time, money and nerves consuming recognization process for new breeds and color classes, and - depending on the perspective - would block breeding committees for some time from other activities or give them reason to exist. This was still shown in the Yearbook of the German Pigeon Breeding Association for 2019. Even if there were distortions in the print, the statement of the puzzle for genetically interested fanciers should have become clear. Andreas Leiß had found the key to solving the puzzle decades ago with his investigations. It is the combination of the sex-linked recessive inheritance of the Frosty gene and the dilution as well as the non-sex inheritance of the gene for the check pattern.


Ilgen, Horst (2000), Thüringer Farbentauben, in: Erich Müller (Hrsg.), Alles über Rassetauben Band 4 Farbentauben, Oertel+Spörer, pp. 103-133.

Leiß, Andreas (2000), Genetische Analyse der Kennfarben der Thüringer Einfarbigen, Deutscher Kleintierzüchter, Ausgabe Geflügel Nr. 18, pp. 24 ff.

Sell, Axel (2015), Genetik der Taubenfärbungen, Achim

Sell, Axel (2012), Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim

Sell, Axel (2019), Taubenzucht. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen züchterischer Gestaltung, Achim, especially pp. 319-327.