The transfer of the Stipper factor in domestic pigeons to another
breed: Almonds, Multi-colored and Stipper
How can I breed good Almond
in my breed? Most people who ask that do not want Almonds according
to the standard for fancy breeds and the first standard for the
Almond Tumbler from 1764 (Fig. 1). First standard paintings like
that at Eaton 1851 show how the standard was understood (Fig. 2).
Fig. 1: The first Standard for the
English Short Faced Almond Tumbler
Fig. 2: Englischer Short Faced
Almond-Tumbler at Eaton 1851
Most fanciers today,
however, want colorful, sprinkled pigeons in some beige basic color,
which they call Almonds. They do not want a few outstanding
individuals only, but a greater number to share with their friends
and which are qualified to be shown at the exhibitions. If Almond
then ‘Almonds-Light ' would be the better term!
The creation of multi-colored
These breeders who want nice
colored sprinkles can be helped quickly. The sprinkling and
lightening of the relevant Stipper factor St is sex-linked dominant
(Christie & Wriedt 1925). You only need one individual with that
trait, preferably a cock, and get a whole range of stipple variants
when mated with blue-check, red and others, in half the progeny.
Fig. 3: Danish Tumbler Stipper (Staenkede)
yellow and cross-breed progeny in later generations with self
Pomeranian Eye-Crested Highfliers in the process to create
Pomeranian Sprinkles (Stippers)
Most are the first young
from such crosses of whitish basic coloration (Fig. 3). These can be
enriched in color by mating with partners with bronze factors. With
the aim to breed black stippers (white with black flecks) you will
select against color and mate with black partners. Two stippers
should not be mated with each other because of the lethal effect of
homozygosity at cocks. The re-pairing of these young to the own
breed will result in additional Stippers with improvements in the
desired breed characteristics. In the fancy pigeon standards they
are listed as multi-colored, sprinkles or stippers (Fig. 4).
Fig. 4: From Danish Stipper
towards Blue and Black Sprinkles
In a few breeds, there are
also some individuals among the multi-colored with a brown-yellow
basic coloration, which corresponds to the almond-class. They are
found in Debrecen (Fig. 5) and Oriental Rollers. The somewhat
irritating Brown and Yellow Stipper called Danish Tumblers (Fig. 5
at the right) correspond to them also largely, however, primaries
and tail on a light background mostly have black spots only and no
brown / yellow as is strictly required in the standard for English
Short Faced Almond Tumblers.
Fig. 5: Debrecen Roller multi-colored
and Danish Tumbler yellow Stipper and a golddun hen
The creation of Almonds
Almonds in the true sense
with the in the standard required intensive yellow (almond-colored)
basic coloration, the black sprinkles and tri-color in primaries and
tail, are another matter. One could introduce the coloration by
mating with a well colored Almond or DeRoy of the English Short
Faced (Fig. 6). That brings in addition to the stipple factor also
the other necessary color modifiers.
Fig. 6: Englisch Short Faced
Almond Tumbler, old cock with typical at that age darkened primaries
and tail feathers, but still indications of tri-colored feathers, at
the right a Red Agate, a Kite and an Almond cock from the book
In the often recommended
further approach, the mating of two young of F1 among
themselves, the required modifiers are quickly out of the breed. One
could get the coloring by rejoining a kite. The backcross is a big
step backwards for the desired breed traits, but helps to preserve
the complex coloration. Many descendants from the young of that
generation, re-pairings and strict selection can lead to success.
From the complexity of the task it is no wonder that most who try it
do not succeed.
Almond and / or Multi-color?
In Germany Stipper with
beige or yellowish-reddish basic coloration is called 'multi-colored'.
That leaves a relatively large lee-way for the coloration that is
used by the breeders of Oriental Rollers (Fig. 7).
Fig. 7: The range of colorations
at Oriental Rollers at German Shows, from Almond-Mimic to light
beige with some stippling
In practice this is
sometimes overused by irregular piebalds, bluish colors, dominant
red appearing colors and grizzle variants (Fig. 8) similar to the
tricolor (bronze grizzles) in Portuguese Tumblers. Also individuals
with complete blue tails and primaries are shown that are considered
Hickory, an allele of the Stipper-gene.
Fig. 8: Bronze grizzle at at
Fantail and und Hickory at German Modeneser and a Fantail in the
class for multi-colors at German Shows
In the first standards in
the USA, the ‘Vielfarbige’ were literally translated "multi-colored".
This was renamed later from the Club of the breeders of Oriental
Rollers, and probably all breeds, today in 'almond'.
Fig. 9: Standard description for
color classes inclusive multi-colored for Oriental Rollers in the
US-American Standard of Perfection 1979
From the current discussion
about the color-class one can assume that the breeders of that time
misjudged two things.
For one thing, they overestimated
their own breeder art. Probably they assumed that in a few years
they could breed almond-colored in the sense of the original
standard description, which did not succeed up to now.
On the other hand, they have not
seen that many breeders of stippled Oriental Rollers were not so
much interested in Almonds at all. They found their multi-colored,
sprinkled pigeons at least as attractive.
However, why should not both
color-classes coexist in a breed, each with its own name?
The meaning of appealing
Multi-colored in English
language for some breeders seems not to sound attractive. Younger
breeders even do not know that this was the original name in English
standards. Are there alternatives? 'Magnani' as in the Modena
Pigeons could be one. ‘Arlequin’ in the French language, 'harlekin'
or 'harlequin' in the sense of a colorful iridescent appearance can
be found in ancient literature as another term. The harlequin owls
and Vienna Short Beaked Tumblers appearing in the German literature
could have been something similar, namely silver sprinkles or multi-colored
respectively (Sell 2015, p. 116). A harlequin Prague Tumbler may be
found at collection of cards about Prague Tumblers edited in 2006 by
Fig. 10: Harlekin Prague Tumblers
in a collection of cards from Ladislav Seidl, Prague 2006 und
Harlequin Wikipedia SAND_Maurice_Masques_et_bouffons_01
John Matthews, A Treatise on
the Art of Breeding and Managing the Almond Tumbler, London 1851.
National Pigeon Assn. Inc., Book of Pigeon
Standards, Revised 1979.
Genetik der Taubenfärbungen, Achim 2015.
Sell, Axel, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in
the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012.
Wriedt, C., and W.
Christie, Zur Genetik der gesprenkelten Haustaube (On the Genetics
of the Sprinkled Domestic Pigeon).
Zeitschrift für induktive
Abstammungs- und Vererbungslehre 38 (1925), pp. 271-306.