New Colors and Breeds in the Domestic Pigeon: Sensible and less sensible rules in the discussion

The regulations for the new creations in the General Exhibition Regulations (AAB) of the Federation of German Fancy Poultry Breeders (BDRG) have been controversial for years. So also recently after the show season 2018/2019 and the ratings at the VDT pigeon show in Kassel in January 2019. This was reported on this homepage, and with a different view, from the perspective of the Federal Breeding Committee BZA in the newspaper ‘GeflügelZeitung’ 12/2019.

'New Creation', or translated with new breeds and color-classes, as headline is actually incorrect. The rules also apply to old races, which are mostly recognized abroad for a long time and often have a long tradition. There are understandable reasons why they are not automatically recognized when they first appear. Thus, the differences to already recognized breeds may be too low and different ideas exist in the countries with regard to animal welfare-relevant characteristics. However, it cannot be rationally explained why every color must be recognized separately for every race. In the potentially more than 100 recognition candidates alone among the Triganino Modeneser from Italy - it will be no less than the color-classes of the German Modeneser - a full program for the BZA for the next decades. A company would be happy about full order books. However, it cannot really be the task of the rules for new breeding to guarantee a committee long-term employment.


Fig. 1: Triganino Modeneser in different colors in the class for new breeds and colors Kassel 2019

Many newly presented color-classes, even with breeds bred in Germany for many years, are not new, but are not yet standard. In the breeding pens they are often found for years. Some of them are automatically produced when recognized colors are mated together. Sometimes this is the case in the first generation, otherwise in the subsequent generations. Why they, if they are to be shown how dilute blue Romans in Leipzig, as ‘new creation’ to prove their racial status remains a secret.


Fig. 2: Runt dilute blue bar at the German National Leipzig December 2018, and Brive Colour head blue Kassel Januar 2019 in the class for new breeds and colors

Perhaps this is due to a lack of basic genetic knowledge among those who devised these rules. In the standard of 1951 and 1954 one finds behind the enumeration of colors the term ‘and others’, without it leading to chaos in the respective breed.

If it is bizarre that ‘intermediate’ colors that may be raised from matching recognized colors have to prove their racial affiliation at all, the requirement with 370 points in four animals is already overdrawn. A grade good (g92-91) is awarded if an animal has small defects, but no gross faults, a collection of 364 points provides a sufficient basis for breeding improvements when applying the scale. For the breeder, for the local clubs and for the organization as a whole, it would be good if this breeding work could be done on breeds and colors within the clubs. Breeding results and progress would be shown and appreciated for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone at local shows in the general class. Excluding breeders with their breeding activities from the club life, cannot be in the interest of an already shrinking community.

It is also important to correct a common misunderstanding. The purpose of the BRDG as the German Fancy Poultry Breeding Association is not to achieve a specific breeding goal in our breeds, such as maximum size. However, some people seem to believe that when they write: 'Let's make the existing colors perfect, then you can look ahead'. A 'perfect' cannot and should not be in the breed breeding for shows. If there are only perfect individuals in a breed, the competition is superfluous. From the history of our breeds, we know how breeders respond to an 'almost perfect' on a broad front. The standard or at least the standard requirements are changed. In some races readable on the applications for larger federal bands, easy also to see at photo sequences that document the changes over the decades.

Not only pigeons continue to develop, but also standards. The first breeder of some breeds would be surprised to see what has become of their pigeons, often they would consider the modern representatives a different breed. Not surprisingly, nostalgic precursors of today's races are brought back to life as 'new' old races. Prominent examples are Old German and Old Oriental Owls.

Fig. 3: Pigeon Breeds in Change: Strasser 1905 and today (Source: Pigeon Genetics)


Fig. 4: Pigeon Breeds in Change, Exhibition Homer 1925, 1955 and today (Source: Brieftauben und ihre Verwandten)


Fig. 5: Pigeon Breeds in Change: Stargard Shaker 1905 and today (Source: Pommersche Taubenrassen)

Let's take a look at the statutes of the BDRG. Purpose is according to § 5 of the statutes among others the promotion of breeding poultry and fancy fowls as a valuable pastime. This applies both to a creative approach to the living creature as well as to the preservation of ancient cultural heritage. However, promotion cannot mean that you ban essential breeding activities from the exhibitions. Exhibitions are also places of competition with an emphasis on 'also'. They are also a meeting place for like-minded people, they serve the self-affirmation and the exchange of thoughts about the common hobby. For a variety of motives, collections are shown in which the exhibitor knows from the outset that it does not reach the title of German champion. It would be a misunderstanding, and would contradict the idea of ​​promoting recreational activity, if exhibitions were seen as a show of the elite, expecting only near-perfect individuals of the current standard and denying others access.