These are exciting times for the London Fancy canary. We were denied a show season in 2020 thanks to lockdown, but the photographic evidence showed that the breed had made significant progress that year. Several breeders including Antonio Cientanni, Joe Coakley, Andy Early, Richard Knowles, Martin Walker and Andy Williamson had produced excellent specimens that they were prevented from showing. I had high hopes for the crop of 2021 and the National Exhibition offered the first opportunity to see them.
Circumstances prevented all bar Andy Early and Richard Knowles from competing at the National. What might have been an anti-climax turned out to be an impressive occasion thanks to the quality of the birds on show. They eclipsed any previous display of London Fancies bred in the UK, and in my opinion the winner would have been good enough to be included in the presentation to COM at the World Show had it been possible to take British exhibits there. (1)
Kevin McCallum, a COM judge, chose Richard Knowles’ current-year fawn (white-brown) as Best London Fancy. It was a deserving winner with an almost unblemished white head and body combined with cinnamon coloured wings and tail. It also displayed an almost perfect crescent where the wings meet the body; one of the most difficult design details to achieve in the London Fancy. Purists will mutter about the white-brown combination rather than yellow-black, but these colours are accepted by both the LFCC and the OMJ because they are inherent in the modern London Fancy. (2)
Richard also won the award for Best Spangle-back with a current year jonque displaying a rich golden-yellow ground colour and minimal spangling on its head and body. Kevin was so impressed that he chose this bird as his Second Best London Fancy, even though there was no official award.
The over-year London Fancies may have been beaten on this occasion but they still impressed. Andy Early’s team of mealy cocks came first and second in their class and confirmed the tendency of modern London Fancies to improve the clarity of their body feathers while retaining the darkness of their tails and wings.
With the likelihood of no infusions of new blood being available for some years, it is possible that the British London Fancies will evolve in different ways from their continental cousins. The most promising of these developments is the darkness of the wings and tails. In my opinion, they are already showing signs of superiority.
I’m looking forward to the 2022 National.
- COM-UK has decided not to take birds to the 2022 World Show because the transport of birds between the UK and the European Union is so difficult and expensive.
- Piet Renders used a colour canary possessing recessive genes for white and brown in his ground-breaking breeding experiments. These genes have been present in the modern London Fancy from the outset.