Regular readers of this blog will be aware that the London Fancy canary passed the second of three tests at the World Show in Matosinhos, Portugal last month. If you didn’t know, you can read my report here. I don’t want to prejudge the outcome, but recognition of the London Fancy by COM would give the revival of the breed a huge boost.
COM is an international organisation, and when I was asked by Andy Early to become involved in the project in 2018 we agreed that we should present the breed in as many languages as possible. The show standard has been translated from English into six other languages, which may help to explain the growing international interest in the breed. It supersedes the LFCC show standard that I published here in 2015. The ideal bird is recognisably the same, but both the Scale of Points and the Technical Description have evolved over the last few years. There is a new drawing of the ideal bird too. To avoid confusion I have removed the 2015 post and now publish the show standard that has been submitted to COM in all seven languages.
Most canary fanciers will have a good idea of what the London Fancy should look like: a yellow bird with dark wings and tail. Right? Yes, but there’s much more to it than that. There are several reasons why it was necessary to update the standard, but these are the most significant:
i) Piet Renders, the founder of the modern London Fancy canary, used a colour canary in his breeding experiments. That bird possessed recessive genes for white and brown. We now have several colour combinations that never existed in the original breed: yellow-brown (cinnamon); white-black (white) and white-brown (fawn) in addition to yellow-black (the traditional colour) in both intensive and non-intensive versions. They were all accepted when the proposed standard was submitted to the OMJ in 2018 (1).
ii) One of the most important characteristics of the London Fancy has never been formally acknowledged, even though it is evident in all the illustrations from the 19th century. It is the crescent-shaped boundary between the dark feathers of the wings and the light feathers on the back. It may sound obvious once you are aware of it, but is very difficult to achieve. Most birds, and good ones too, have either light feathers in the coverts, or conversely, dark feathers on the body which results in an irregular profile. This feature has now been introduced into the Show Standard.
iii) The third change is more pragmatic, but is essential if the London Fancy is to thrive as an exhibition bird. It accepts the reality that most London Fancies display some melanin on the head and body (3). This was also true of the original London Fancy; a bird with perfectly clear feathers is (and was) exceptionally rare. I have seen instances where judges have discarded good birds that fall short of perfection in this respect. The new show standard therefore makes allowances for this in the wording “clear, or almost clear”; birds with melanin feathers on the head and body should be penalised according to the extent of those markings, but not disqualified.
The show standard follows the usual COM format: a Technical Description with an illustration of the ideal bird. The Technical Description combines a written description of the show features of a breed together with the points allocated to those features. It is a succinct summary, usually printed on a single sheet of A4 paper. It forces the document to concentrate on the essentials; there is no space for waffling or digression. I like it.
The portrait of the ideal bird is usually just that (you can see it at the head of this article), but for the purposes of the presentation to COM, I produced a drawing with annotations so that judges and breeders could better interpret the text.
My thanks to all my friends who translated the standard into their first language. They are all authentic translations by native speakers with a knowledge of bird keeping. Canary culture is a specialist subject and a knowledge of the terms used by bird keepers is essential if the standard is to be communicated effectively.
All seven versions of the London Fancy show standard are published here (3). I will stick with an alphabetic order so the first is Dutch, with thanks to Marko Dielen for the translation. Marko is a breeder of London Fancies.
Next is the French version, with thanks to Danielle Sugliani for the translation. Danielle is a very knowledgeable student of the London Fancy.
Next is the German edition, again with a translation by Marko Dielen, but with the input of Helmut of Quiko whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the World Show in Porto.
This is the Italian version translated by Angel Citro, another London Fancy breeder.
Here is the Portuguese edition translated by Paulo Ferreira whom I had the good fortune to meet at the Spanish National Lizard Show.
Last, but not least, is the Spanish edition by that great supporter of the London Fancy, Ernest Gracia.
- General: Copies of the brochures presented at the World Show are available in each of the seven languages. The brochures provide a broad introduction to the history and special characteristics of the London Fancy canary, and are illustrated with many colour photographs. Available from Andy Early, price £5.
- A white-black London Fancy was included in the 12 specimens that passed the assessment at the World Show in Zwolle 2019.
- In Britain, separate classes are provided for spangle-backs and over-year birds. It enables many more birds to be exhibited. The proposed COM show standard is for current-year classic London Fancies only.
- The documents are watermarked for the present. The reservations of copyright will be removed as soon as the London Fancy is officially recognised by COM.