The Annual Show of the
Association of German Racing Homer Breeders (Verband Deutscher
Brieftaubenzüchter e.V.) took place at 11 & 12 January 2014 in Dortmund.
Associated was the Fancy Pigeon Show 'Revierschau' organized by the club
More than 1.200 Pigeons were
shown, however, only about 800 of them were true racing homers. For some
years now also beauty racing homers are allowed in extra classes with a
different figure and mostly in soft colors. They correspond to the Polish
Beauty Homers and Romanian Beauty Homers that are shown as fancy pigeons
at shows organized under the heading of the German Poultry Breeders
Association (Bund Deutscher Rassegeflügelzüchter BDRG) in the section
fancy pigeons. The true racing homers were still in a 2/3 majority. They
had to qualify themselves for the show with remarkable results in the
flying competitions whereas the beauty homers like other fancy pigeons
are not raced at all.
For racing homer enthusiasts the
performance section was of main interest. For active breeders it is still
an award to have qualified to show a bird. That was also demonstrated by
the evaluation sheets that were created like a certificate notifying the
racing record of the bird and also by the fact that most of the highly
honored pigeons in the special sections did not compete in the beauty
contests. Such beauty contests for racers are an old tradition and is of
minor importance. For racing homer breeders it has the character of
entertainment on the occasion of the presentation of the top racers of the
Clubs during winter time. The event is an extra excitement. To use an
analogy: It would not make much sense to tell an Olympic Champion that he
has not the physical ability for his sport without becoming non-creditable
in the own judgment.
Thus, also at this show many of
the qualified top racers took place at the beauty contest. Winner and
'Standard' cock became a light blue check (Fig. 1) and 'Standard' hen a
blue check with white primaries (Fig. 2). The standard cock qualified
himself for the class 1a (a always means cock, b means hen) with 8 racing
prizes in 2013. The racing performance of the hen (hatched in 2008)
qualified herself for the class 3b for hens with outstanding performance
over the years, not only in 2013, but over her lifespan with 48 prizes in
Stand cock, 8 prizes in 2013; Fig. 2: Standard hen with 48 prizes in her
A great attraction were the
so-called As-Pigeons. Pigeons in that class did classify with top rankings
at 5 selected contests according to a point system. However, the birds
nevertheless were successful during the whole season and e.g. the first
As-hen (Fig. 7) achieved 12 prizes from distances between 219 km and 683
km. The first As-cock (Fig. 4) was successful at nine contests at
distances between 186 km and 659 km. At a contest in a competition with
10,044 pigeons he won the first prize and in two other contests also with
a great entry he became second (Fig. 3). These top racers did not compete
for beauty though they could have done so. All of them are all-rounders
and capable to manage short, medium and long distances as well. The
performance of the As-Pigeons shown in Fig. 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 are not less
3: Certificate for the 1. As-cock with the highest grade at a point
system based on 5 contests
4: As-cock 1 (1151) Fig. 5: As-cock 3 (1152)
Fig. 6:As-cock 6 (1154)
7: As-hen 1 (1186) with certificate
8: As-hen 2 (1187) Fig. 9: As-hen 5 (1190) Fig. 10: As-hen
In a special section the first
As-cocks from 26 German regions and the first 23 hens from the regions
were shown. Also pigeons from the regional champion lofts were shown.
There is not one champion loft for whole Germany, but a championship at a
regional level for nine regions distinguished. The champions from these
nine German regions had the opportunity to show three pigeons of their
winning teams. From the 9 regions also the champions with yearling
presented some pigeons. Pigeons from the junior champions and finally the
winner from 10 great national contests were presented, too.
11: As-cock regional (1166), Fig. 12: Hen from the yearling (1262) with 10
prizes, in two contests first (465 km in a competition with 3.277 pigeons
and 612 km with an entry of 2.071); Fig. 13: Cock from the junior
The winners of the great national
flights also had an otherwise great record. Thus e.g. the winning hen (1.
prize) from Sattleth (604 km) against 5,337 pigeons (Fig. 14) in 2013
achieved 10 prizes over the full season and all distances. The winning
cock from Sens (643 km) against 13,604 pigeons was in total clocked 12
times as a prize winner in 2013.
14: Winner National Flight from Sattledt 604 km and 5,337 pigeons. In
total 10 prizes in 2013; Fig. 15: Winner National Flight from Sens 643 km
and 13,604 pigeons. In total 12 prizes in 2013.
The racers shown in the general
class all were judged against the standard. Many of them classified
themselves by the number of prizes, several also by a point system like
16: class 1a (19) Indigo bar pied; Fig. 17: class 2a (273) white with red
eyes; Fig. 18: class 2a (278) Indigo bar
Finally there was an outstanding
class for birds with excellent performance in 2013 and, in addition, a
great performance over their life-span. A hen (Fig. 19) was far ahead with
78 prizes. That means inclusive the year of hatching in 2006 in average
about 10 prizes every year. As was mentioned above also the standard hen
was entered in this class. The hens shown in Fig. 20&21 had a record of 49
prizes and 42 prizes respectively.
19: class 3b with 78 prizes; Fig. 20: class 3b with 49 prizes ; Fig 21:
class 3b with 42 prizes
Two cocks with 63 and 60 prizes
were shown. The cocks in Fig. 22-24 had a record of 53, 51 and 43 prizes
respectively, in average of about 9 prizes per year. The motto of the
cock in Fig. 22 seems to be 'strength is born of calmness'. All of them
seem to be outbalance birds, not only in their physical attributes but
also from mentality.
22: class 3a (sooty) hatched in 2008 with 53 prizes; Fig. 23: class 3a
(indigo check) hatched in 2009 with 51 prizes; Fig. 24: class 3a (Spread
Ash with ink spots) hatched in 2008 with 43 prizes
Young birds were also shown, e.g.
the sooty ash red bar in Fig. 25 and the light tiger in Fig. 26.
25: class 6a (ash red bar with sooty flecks); Fig. 26: class 6a (light
tiger - bandit -)
The photos of some top birds
should give a general impression of the all-round pigeon that dominates
today the competition. Those are middle-sized pigeons birds without any
extravagant attributes. Most with small eye cere and modest nostril
wattle, reminding the long beaked highfliers in the ancestry of the modern
racer. A few a bit heavier and especially some of the old cocks like Fig.
22 and 23 with a more pronounced wattle as relict of the influence of the
Turkish Pigeon and the Camus in ancient time. A few with a shorter beak
and more rounded head indicating the owl and Smerle ancestry in the
Belgian Racing Homer.
The main coloration were blue bar
and light check. Only very few dark (Fig. 27) or dark checks were shown. A
little bit a surprise since from investigations of feral pigeons we
learned that especially dark pattern types are more resistant against some
infections. Perhaps this is not as important in racing homers because of
the special care they get from their fanciers .
Fig. 27: As-hen regional dark (1213)
Ash red, ash red bars and checkers
and also velvets (dark checkered ash red) were rare. Brown was not found
or overlooked, that also holds for any dilutes. Smoky also was rare,
however, many sooty in different expression were shown (examples in Fig.
10, 28-32). Most on a blue bar base, but also a few ash red bars (Fig.
29). Different degrees of Sooty are put together here, some of them with
very distinct flecks like Fig. 28, some only with a minor dark stripe
(Fig. 32). Sometimes the effect is sooting a greater part of the feather,
sometimes the stripe is narrow forming a small line.
Fig. 28 class 2a
(270); Fig. 29: class
Abb. 30: class 2a
(291); Abb. 31: class 2b
32: class 5a with 490,76 As-points (512) (blue bar sooty)
Some of the rather rare
colorations were indigo bars (Fig. 16&18) and indigo checks (Fig. 23). A
hen with bronze bars and black tail band was shown (Fig. 12), interesting
to see that different from Modena Bronze the checks were not affected by
the bronze. In Fig. 17 a white cock with red eyes, thus not recessive
white) was shown. Interesting also a light white tiger (Fig. 26) and an
attractive heterozygous Spread Ash Fig. 24) with beautiful ink spots
indicating that his heterozygous blue/black nature. The nice ash red
barred grizzle shown in Fig. 13 showed light frilling at the shield
feathers that obviously did not hinder him to win. Many pieds with white
primaries (e.g. Fig. 10, 20) demonstrated that the belief that white
primaries are not robust enough to allow birds to stand the whole season
with great success is misleading. There is no reason to eliminate such
birds from the racing team.
The difference between the Beauty
Homer and the racing homer became quite obvious where both types met cage
at cage. Fig. 33 shows a Beauty Homer in the class 7a and Fig. 34 a racing
homer in the class 6b. Beauty homers are heavier, blocky and in the last
decades have developed in quite another direction.
33: Beauty Homer (class 7a) left und Racing Homer (class 6b) right side by
34: Beauty Homer class 7a; Fig. 35: Beauty Homer class 7b; Fig. 36: Beauty
Homer class 7a
The difference between the racing
and the beauty homer became also obvious in the 'industry show' in hall 4
where besides pigeon supply also some racing homer lofts offered their
racing homers for sale and also Beauty Homers were for sale.
37 and Fig. 38: View at the industry show
39: Beauty Homers for Sale
It seems to be a general
phenomenon that fanciers are attracted by the performance, the athletic
and nevertheless elegant figure and the charisma of the racing homer. It
is interesting to keep a vital breed that is surrounded by myths and
legends. Not all fanciers, however, have the capacity to fly their birds
and take the risk of a loss of their valuable birds. They do not want to
fly them but they want to show them. And regularly after a while, driven
by some ambitious breeders and supported by judges, the breed divides out
in another direction. When the show type has removed far enough from the
starting point there is place for a 'new' breed beginning with pure racing
homers, selecting them for beauty, and the cycle may start again. In this
way the today fancy breeds Show Homer, Show Antwerp, Exhibition Homer,
Genuine Homer, Show Racer, German Beauty Homer and others were developed,
too and finally became fancy breeds with their own name and right. This
process was illustrated for some breeds in the authors' book Pigeon
Genetics' (Fig. 40&41).
40: The Development of the Show Racer since the 1950th (Source: Axel Sell,
Pigeon Genetics 2012)
41: The Development of the Netherland Beauty Homer over the decades
(Source: Axel Sell, Pigeon Genetics 2012)
Pigeon Show 'Revierschau' 11&12 January organized by the club 'Rote Erde'
At the 'Revierschau' in total
about 1,600 birds were shown plus a sales section. A major contribution
were several homer-related breeds with Netherland Beauty Homers (174)
ranking first of all breeds shown. Show Racers ranked second with 103
numbers. German Beauty Homers (13) were shown and also the Swizz 'Poster',
the smallest of the homer breeds.
42: Strasser black Fig. 43: Show Racer
Netherland Beauty Homers were also
derived from Racing Homers by outcrossing upon German Beauty Homers, but
they preserved their more elegant racing homer figure and gain in
Fig. 44: Netherland Beauty Homer black Fig. 45: German
Beauty Homer white
Dragoon are also relatives of the
Belgian Racing Homer. They were still mentioned in the English literature
in 1735 by Moore and are told to have served as one of the homing pigeons
in England up to the imports of the superior strains from the continent
mid of the 19th century. The origin of the Dragoon probably was a cross of
the Turkish Pigeon and a long beaked Highflier. The superior strains from
the continent at that time in England all were called 'Antwerp' because
they were imported via the harbor Antwerp in Belgian (e.g. Tegetmeier
1868). Some Dragoon are told to have been crossed with 'Antwerps' and thus
also has contributed to the melting pot of the modern Racing Homer.
As remote relatives of the Dragoon
in Dortmund 10 Carriers were shown. As still was argued by Selby 1835/1843
and Tegetmeier (1868) the Carrier as a breed never was used as a messenger
as the name suggests. The breed originated from the Turkish Pigeon like
the Dragoon and was raised by English fanciers for beauty only.
46: Carrier black pied Fig. 47: Poster ash red
King (76), German Modena (78),
different Owl breeds (92), Vienna Highfliers and Tumblers in different
variants (88) and the German Magpie Tumbler (86) are established breeds in
the 'Revier'-region. That also holds for different Dewlap breeds like the
Syrian and Basra Dewlaps and the Lebanon-Pigeon that were shown with 58
numbers in total in excellent quality. There were many attractive smaller
groups, a highlight finally some also in Germany very rare breeds with a
long tradition, e.g. 8 Stettin Tumbler, 8 Elbing White Head (Elbinger
Weißkopf) and 8 Ancients.
Fig. 50: Stettin Tumbler owl-white belly Fig. 51:
Stettin Tumbler grizzle ash red bar
Fig. 52: Ancient crested yellow Fig. 53: Elbing White Head (Elbinger