First experiences with Dominant White

White high-flyers with pearl eyes were classified as dominant whites early on. Genetically, they are not typical grizzles. From the first cross with blue and other colored pigeons you get white or almost white pigeons, less often those with stronger colored shades or red bars and yellow bars.

The author had had the experience more than 50 years ago when he crossed white Pomeranian Eye-Crested Pomeranian Highflyers with blue Danzig Highflyers and Danish Tumblers to standardize other colors besides the white Pomeranian Eye-Crested Highflyers. This is shown in Fig. 1, a section from the illustration of the breeding route.

Pomeranian Eye-Crested Highflyers are a split off from the Danzig Highflyers. Pomeranian breeders did not accept the standard description adopted in 1904 by the Club of the Breeders of Danzig Highflyers, in which narrow tails and small eye-crests, which were common among many strains of Danzig Highflyers of that time, were classified as disqualifying faults. Against a lot of resistance, they managed to get the recognition of at least the color hue white, which was particularly widespread on the Pomeranian coast, as a Pomeranian Tumbler. An official standard was published in 1927 (Sell, 2010).

As is shown in Fig. 1 the author started the project in 1966 with the cross of a white cock and a blue hen. At the right a white hen and a reddish grizzled white cock of the F1. In the second line from the breeding year 1967 the mating of a blue bar Danish Tumbler and the white F1-hen from 1966, at the right selected youngsters. The whitish young from the mating were not important for the project. It is therefore only by chance that a bluish grizzle-like female is preserved from the photos received.

Fig. 1: Excerpt from the Breeding Plan for Creating Colored Pomeranian Eye Crested Highflyers. Source: Sell, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012.

What does the white of the Stralsund Highflyers hide?

The first cross and the first backcross upon colored Pomeranian Eye-Crested Highflyers

From the pairing of a white Stralsund with a Spread Ash Pomeranian a red barred cock on a very light reddish-tinged background was raised. The pairing of this cock to a platinum bar hen also gave some information about his genetics. In addition to selfs like an ash red, he raised light grizzle variants (Figs. 2 and 3). The base color was dominant red, because there were none with a recognizable black base color when more than 10 young were bred. The indicated yellowish bars in two near to white young and one ash yellow in Fig. 3 show that the cock was heterozygous for dilution, which must have been also true for the Stralsund high-flyer of the original pairing after the inheritance of the dilution factor.

Fig. 2: Mating of a Flying Stralsund with a Spread Ash Pomeranian Eye-Crested Highflyer, a red-banded F1 and two youngsters of the first back cross on a self-colered hen (a platinum bar hen). Source: Sell, Taubenzucht, Achim 2019.


Fig. 3: Selected juveniles from the first back crossing to self-color Pomeranian, the white red bar on the right subsequently used in breeding

Pairings in a second backcross to colored Pomeranian Eye-Crested Highflyers

The red-barred cock shown on the right in Fig. 3 was subsequently mated to platinum hens. With a platinum bar, there was a platinum grizzled pigeon in addition to an ash red bar (Fig. 4). The platinum grizzle will be discussed again below.

Fig. 4: Second backcross from a whitish red barred first backcross and a platinum bar hen

In further pairings of the cock with spread platinum (Fig. 5 top left) there were, in addition to colored selfs, also grizzles and veined variants with a brightly contrasting head, which also shows the veining of the dark and light-veined Danzig Highflyers.



Fig. 5: Selected youngsters of the second backcross of a whitish red banded cock on self hens

A second whitish red barred from the first backcross at a platinum hen also raised a veined-like young hen (Fig. 6 middle), the mother is a Spread Ash in the foreground in Fig. 6. In addition, this pairing showed that the dilution factor that can already be seen in some youngsters from Fig. 3 was passed on through the generations in this cock. He showed that by a diluted Spread Ash (the ‘creme’ far left) and a dun colored hen on the far right.

Fig. 6: A red banded of the first backcross with his Spread Ash dam and three of their youngsters, a Spread Ash is missing.

Finally the third backcross of a hen of the second backcross upon a black cock

The general splitting in the offspring with self colored on the one hand and and grizzle- and veined-like youngsters at the other hand is continued in the offspring of the platinum-grizzle hen of the second backcross (Fig. 4) when mated to a black cock (Fig. 7).


Abb. 7: Eine platingeschimmelte Täubin der R2 mit einem schwarzen Täuber und zwei Jungtieren

Platinum has been mentioned several times. The factor was discovered during the creation of the colored Pomeranian Eye-Crested Highflyers. It was probably hidden under the white of the individuals used at the time, similar to Indigo found in the crossing of blue homing pigeons with white Carneau in 1938, according to W.F. Hollander's reports in the genetic parts in Levi, 1969.

Most of the non-selfs from the back crosses have the brightly contrasting head in common with the red barred bred in the F1 and also with the dark and light veined Danzig high-flyers. They also have a resemblance to similar strains that occur in the flight lines of Danzig and Memel Highflyers, also a breed from a neighboring region (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8: Excerpt from the book ‚Taubenfärbungen‘ on grizzle-like variants. Source: Axel and Jana Sell, Taubenfärbungen, Oertel + Spörer, Reutlingen 2005.


Genetics. There is a desire for simple statements, and too often, as an author, one shies away from long explanations with relativizing words that only would be understood by few. Nevertheless, dominant white in a completely white plumage has the character of a phenotype and is only understandable from the interaction of a probably decisive dominant factor with many modifying factors acting on this basis. These ensure differences within the group of 'grizzle-likes in a broader sense'. For the existence of one fundamental factor speaks the fact that around 50% of the variants occurring in the case of back crosses can be attributed to this group. One of the aim of this demonstration was to show the variety of colors that slumbers beneath the surface of the white color. The results are nevertheless exemplary in some respects: The effect of hereditary factors depends largely on the absence or presence of modifying factors. For a deeper understanding of complex relationships, knowledge of dominance and recessiveness alone is not enough; there should also be an openness to epistatic and other combinatorial effects.



Levi, W. M., The Pigeon, Sumter, 1969 edition.

Sell, Axel and Jana, Taubenfärbungen. Colourations in the Domestic Pigeon, Reutlingen 2005.

Sell, Axel and Jana, Vererbung bei Tauben, Reutlingen 2004, 2007.

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

Sell, Axel, Pommersche Taubenrassen. Pigeon Breeds from Pomerania, Achim 2010.

Sell, Axel, Taubenzucht. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen züchterischer Gestaltung, Achim 2019.