Rare and still not completely understood pieds: Covered and hearted at bagdettes and Franconian Trumpeters

'Covered' is a regular pied marking on Bagdettes and Franconian Trumpeter pigeons. In races in which it can be found, there are also hearted pieds. Those are named after their colored shoulder mark and the colored back (Neumeister/Prütz 1876, p. 37). From above, the colored parts appear heart-shaped. In addition, hearted and covered have a colored cheek. In old literature covered were named simple pieds. In the standard of 1951 for Nuremberg Bagdettes is was made clear by an addition in brackets that pied for this breed means covered: "Color classes: All main and minor colors in hearted, pieds (covered) as well as selfs". When covered, the entire wing shield except for the wing bug is 'covered' in color.


Fig. 1: Franconian Trumpeter black covered from the German language book ‚Tauben. Züchten mit System‘,1995; Nuremberg Bagdette hearted in the German Book of Standards 1951

A first, albeit not quite correct, drawing of a covered stems from Neumeister 1837 in the depiction of a 'bagadotte'. Only the colored cheek is missing. The covered is probably almost coincidentally hit almost right, because Neumeister seems to have recognized in the piebalds of the breed, inclusive the hearted, yet no regular pied marking and the distribution of the colored patches more likely to have considered arbitrary. This also applies to Prütz 1876 as editor of the 3rd edition of the Neumeister, which shows the same drawing, however further alienated there from reality.


Fig. 2: Detail from the table on Bagdettes at Neumeister 1837 und the same complete table from the third edition edited by G. Prütz 1876 with enlarged distance to reality

However, the correct drawing of a hearted can be found at Prütz in his pigeon book of 1885. Schachtzabel shows 1910 next to a white and three hearted also a covered. Such is also found on the brochure by W.K.G. Moebes on the Nuremberg Bagdettes from 1950.


Fig. 3: Bagdettes blue covered (at the lefts) and yellow, black and red hearted (middle) as well as white (at the right) at Schachtzabel 1910; black and red hearted and a white and blue covered bagdette at the brochure from Werner K.G. Moebes on Nuremberg Bagdettes 1950

Figures and the contrast in the coloration has not only motivated animal painters. The figure of the Nuremberg has also found its way into the formative art of pigeon sculptures.

Fig. 4: Nuremberg Bagdette hearted and covered by Dieter M. Fliedner https://www.pigeon-anatomy.com/kontakt-contact/

The traditional name 'hearted' has not been so long back in the German pigeon standard in some races converted in 'geganselt'. Not necessarily helpful in understanding the genetics of this marking, as they differ from ‘gansel’ both historically and genetically, as gansel is historically found in tumblers like Vienna Gansel and related breeds that not only differ in lacking the cheek.

The inheritance for 'covered' is complex according to previous findings (Sell 2012, 2015). For breeders, pigeons that breed not true but split, after the literally understood motto, ‘breed pure and breed real’ often are considered something indecent. They try to eradicate the inexplicable for them. For others the initially incomprehensible splitting of the covered, the reassembling in the breeding in further generations as well as the color contrasts of the pied marking appear as a miracle of the nature. From this point of view, a worthwhile heritage of pigeon breeding. Information on inheritance we owe breeders of the Franconian Trumpeters around Rudolf Hartmann years ago. Covered mated together split in the breeding pen and could be bred in a symbiosis with whites, other selfs and hearted ones. Two covered mated together can produce in the appropriate genetic constellation in addition to covered and hearted also selfs. The secondary colors can also be used in the breeding pen to raise covered again.

Fig. 5: Montage on the possible splitting from mating two covered Franconian Trumpeters in colored selfs, covered, hearted and self whites

The organised pigeon fancy understands itself as an organization that preserves ancient cultural assets. However, the organisation is sometimes more successful at destruction. The renaming of hearted in gansel is certainly not helpful for understanding the color class. In genetic terminology one should stay better at 'hearted'. Also breeders for themselves contribute to destabilization of the hereditary traits by frequent pairings with unrelated colors and pied markings, not only in the color classes discussed here. At the shows, deviations from the traditional phenotype often are not recognized as fundamentally different, such as in the case of the Franconian Trumpeter shown, which despite a colored underbelly and lack of the white bug was exhibited and judged as covered.

Fig. 6: Franconian Trumpeters exhibited both as covered. At the left with colored underbelly instead of white and also the white wing bug is missing. May be a late consequence of a former cross with English Nun Pigeons to improve the crest structure, at the right an individual with correct marking

Wrongly highlighted as the representative great Nationals and reported and shown in the fancy press as correct representatives, the new piebalds can lead to the disappearance of the originals and with them the hereditary factors behind. That was once mentioned in a chapter of the German language book "Breeding with System" years ago as ‘not recognized new breedings’ (heimliche Neuzüchtungen). You substitute a color or marking by a similar one and nobody realize that. If you wanted to seriously protect what is worth to be saved in breeding pigeons, monitoring and education about breeding backgrounds would be an indispensable task for breeding committees.


Hellmann, Thomas, The Scandaroon. A Historical Review by Werner K. Moebes, o.O., July 2018

Moebes, Werner K.G., Die Nürnberger Bagdette im Wandel der Zeit, Bochum, no year (1950)

Neumeister, G., Das Ganze der Taubenzucht, 3. Auflage von Gustav Prütz Weimar 1876. Unveränderter Nachdruck Verlag Neumann-Neudamm 1988

Neumeister, G., Das Ganze der Taubenzucht, Weimar 1837

Prütz, Gustav, Illustrirtes Mustertaubenbuch, Hamburg, no year (1885)

Schachtzabel, E., Illustriertes Prachtwerk sämtlicher Tauben-Rassen, Würzburg, no year (1910)

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

Sell, Axel, Tauben. Züchten mit System, Reutlingen 1995

Sell, Axel, Genetik der Taubenfärbungen, Achim 2015

S. Jürgens Verlag (Hrsg.), Die Musterbeschreibung der Tauben. Autorisierte Ausgabe der Fachorganisationen der deutschen Rassegeflügelzüchter, München 1951