Pigeons: SCRATCHES ON
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.
Excerpt from the Breeding Plan for Creating Colored Pomeranian Eye
Crested Highflyers. Source: Sell, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics
in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012.
does the white of the Stralsund Highflyers hide?
first cross and the first backcross upon colored Pomeranian
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.
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.
Selected juveniles from the first back crossing to self-color
Pomeranian, the white red bar on the right subsequently used in
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.
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
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
the third backcross of a hen of the second backcross upon a black
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
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,
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).
Excerpt from the book ‚Taubenfärbungen‘ on grizzle-like variants.
Axel and Jana Sell, Taubenfärbungen, Oertel + Spörer, Reutlingen
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,
Sell, Axel, Taubenzucht. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen züchterischer
Gestaltung, Achim 2019.