I imagine most of my readers will have heard the news that London Fancy canary passed the final examination at the Gouden Ring show last week. The breed has been formally recognised by COM.
Under COM’s rules, candidate varieties are required to pass three examinations within a period of four years. Time was running out because the London Fancy had passed the first two tests, but the cancellation of the World Show in 2021 and 2022 had prevented it being presented for a third time. To its credit, COM came up with a pragmatic solution by moving the final presentation to the Gouden Ring show, which meant that the process could be completed before the end of the fourth year. That came as a relief because had COM not done so, the process would have had to start all over again.
I wasn’t able to attend the show, but Andy Early had stepped up and travelled to Belgium with Joe Coakley to make the presentation. He, Marko Dielen and Danielle Sugliani kept me informed of events and sent me the photos that you see here. Twenty nine birds (1) were entered at show and the best twelve were selected for the final assessment by the five experts, all of them OMJ judges. Only yellow and white-ground birds were selected for the top twelve (all bred by Piet or Marko I’m told), but there were also some spanglebacks and cinnamon (brown) London Fancies that caught the eye even though they didn’t make the final cut.
The recognition of the London Fancy by COM is a major milestone in the history of the breed, and I hope you will indulge me if I reflect on that achievement. There have been several attempts to recreate the London Fancy since the last survivors of the original breed were destroyed by a bombing raid during the Second World War, but none succeeded until Piet Renders of the Netherlands began his breeding programme in the late 1990s. The breakthrough came in 2003 when one of Piet’s green juveniles transformed from dark to light at its first moult to reveal a yellow canary with black wings and tail. That bird became the foundation sire of the modern London Fancy.
It is 18 years since I visited Piet to see his wondervogel, and it is five years since Andy Early asked me to become involved in the LFCC’s campaign to seek official recognition of the breed. Over that time, interest in the London Fancy has never stopped growing and excellent specimens are being bred in several countries including, I’m glad to say, Great Britain. Recognition of the breed by COM will give the London Fancy a major boost; its future looks secure. Mission accomplished.
My thanks to Danielle, Marko and Andy for sharing their photographs. Just click on any image in the gallery below to view it at a larger size.
- The 29 entries comprised 18 birds from Piet Renders, 8 from Ralph Pitz, 2 from Marko Dielen and 1 from Geert De Sutter.
- Piet Renders for his original breeding achievement and his contribution to the recognition process (the vast majority of the birds presented for examination have been from Piet).
- A group of international supporters who translated the London Fancy show standard from English into several languages: Danielle Sugliani (French), Ernest Gracia (Spanish) who also guided me on how to achieve our goal, Angelo Citro (Italian), Paulo Ferreira (Portuguese), and Marko Dielen twice (Dutch and German – the latter with the help of Helmut at Quiko).
- Several people who helped at the presentations: François Villaume and Jorge Quintas for their supervision of the process; Richard Lumley, Ghalib Al-Nasser and Simon Tammam of COM-UK for their work behind the scenes; Gary Mann for his practical help at Matosinhos; and above all, Harry Kapel for being such a good ally in the face of unexpected challenges at the first presentation at Zwolle.
- Last but by no means least, Andy Early for inviting me to conduct the campaign and always being willing to share the load.