Milestones in the Development of Pigeon Breeds:
Shield Owls are widespread throughout Europe since
centuries. The anthology 'Alles über Rassetauben', Vol. 1, edited by
Erich Müller, traces the diffusion and differentiation into numerous
regional breeds. In early figures such as 1763 at Frisch and 1765 in
the Treatise they have a very moderate beak length and head shape.
Historical painting of Shield-Owls, Frisch 1763, Tischbein about
1800, from left to right (Source: Sell, Pigeon Genetics, Achim 2012)
This still applied to the representation on a table
at Gustav Prütz in 1885. In Central Europe, the introduction of the
round-headed and very short-beaked African (Self) Owls and Oriental
Owls from North Africa and Asia Minor was a revolution (Assmus/Hegemann
German Shield Owl at Prütz 1875 and cover of ‘Assmus/Hegemann’ 1997
But not all owl breeds followed the trend towards
round heads. For the English Turbit Donovon L. White in his 'Turbitology'
2017 has documented the development path to a short beaked owl with
a continuous arc line from beak, forehead and vertex to the peak
Cover of ‚Turbitology‘ from Donovon L. White
Even under the fanciers of German Shield Owl the
development path was controversial. Dr. Ernst Lehmann pleaded in
1891 not to follow the trend for a round head as in the Self Owls
and some Oriental Owls. The German ‘Mövchen’ should "be bred on as
many curved archlines as possible. Even the bent down strong beak
should form with the broad beak warts a single not too weak bulge.
Whether the beak is a bit longer or shorter is less important. The
greatest possible width at the root and a fairly rapid downward
course is the main thing. A thin, narrow beak distorts the head of
the pet as well as a tiny, short beak. Both beaks break off
abruptly, instead of taking up almost the entire width of the face.
In the imperceptible transition of the beak to the forehead there is
actually the secret of the beauty of the head of a Mövchen"
(translated from German, Lehmann 1891, p. 18).
Fig. 4: Cover and
Painting of a German Shield-Owl (Source: Lehmann, Ernst, Das
Deutsche Mövchen, Leipzig (1891).
Ultimately, however, the supporters of the round head
have prevailed, as shown by photos in Lavelle / Lietze 1905. The
‘German Mövchen’ has survived in the Aachen Lackschildmövchen
(Aachen Lacquer Shield), which was still treated by Prütz as a
separate breed. Against the conviction of Lehmann (p. 13), but
perhaps in the wise foresight of further development.
German Shield Owls (left) und Turbit-Owls at Lavalle und Lietze 1905
(Source: Sell 2012)
The German Schildmövchen was shown at the last
National in Leipzig in 2018 by an exhibitor with 4 numbers and at
the VDT show in Kassel in January with 12 numbers, also from one
exhibitor. For the Aachen Laquer Shield it was after all 130 in
Leipzig and 107 in Kassel.
Different Owls breeds from left to right: Turbit, German
Peak-Crested Shield Owl, Antwerp Smerle, Aachen Lacquer Shield Owls,
Old German Owls and Polish Shield Owls (Source: Sell 2012)
Assmus, Werner, and
Werner Hegemann (Hrsg.), Mövchentauben international, Reutlingen
Lavalle A. and M. Lietze (eds.), Die Taubenrassen, Berlin 1905.
Lehmann, Ernst, Das Deutsche Mövchen, Leipzig (1891).
Müller, Erich (ed.), Alles über Rassetauben Band 1. Entwicklung,
Haltung, Pflege, Vererbung und Zucht, Reutlingen 2000.
Prütz, G., Illustrirtes Mustertaubenbuch, Hamburg 1885.
Sell, Axel, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in the
Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012.
White, Donovon L., Turbitology. A Study of the
Modern-Type Turbit Pigeon, Hemet California, USA 2017.