Descriptions of Breeds:
Heavy or Utility Breeds
As the heading implies, heavy breeds are larger than normal pigeons. They were, and in many cases still are, bred for the table, especially in Europe and the USA where they are bred by the thousands at so-called pigeon plants. When they are used for commercial purposes they are known as "squabbing breeds" and their youngsters (squabs) are slaughtered at the early age of four to five weeks. They are also very popular as show birds and in South Africa the following utility breeds are kept in large numbers: The Gros Mondain, King, Swiss Mondain, Carneaux, Couchois, Strasser and Polish Lynx.
The classification of breeds as Utility or Heavy will differ from country to country. . All the breeds mentioned under this heading are not necessarily classified as Heavy or Utility but they are all much larger than the normal fancy pigeon.
According to the Encyclopedia of Pigeon Standards of the National Pigeon Association of the USA, the following are classified as Utility Breeds:
Show King: French Mondain (Known as Gros Mondain in SA - there is also a difference in the Standard); Giant Runt (The General Runt as we know them in SA does not excist in the USA); American Giant Rumbler (Not available in SA); Carneau; Giant American Crest (Not available in SA); Polish Lynx; Swiss Mondain; Texan Pioneer (Not available in SA)
For general interest Standard Drawings for show purposes all of these will appear in the left hand table.
Origin: The King is solely of American origin. Levy stated in his book, "The Pigeon", that the first King was bred in 1890. In later years, many prominent breeders of the USA played their part in the development of the breed.
The height of the King is 30 cm and the length about 24 cm. The head is moderately large and broad with the skull well rounded in proportion to a full neck and broad body. The neck is stout to balance with broad shoulders and a well-rounded body. The back of the neck enters the shoulders as near as possible in line with the hocks. The breast must be prominent, broad and well rounded, and the body must be short, broad, firm, deep and well rounded. The tail is short and the wing tips must rest on the centre of the tail. The King has straight, stout legs to give the bird an erect appearance. The shanks must be beetroot-like red in colour and free of feathers.
Show Kings are found in a large variety of colours like white, barred, chequered, tiger (tiger-marked) and many more. For show purposes, the following are of utmost importance: The head (28 points) body (43 points) and legs (13 points).
Origin: The Gros Mondain is French in origin and in Europe also known as the French Mondain. The Mondain was named Mondain because in French it means "worldly or "earthly".
This "earthly" pigeon prefers to walk on the ground rather than to fly and perch on high.
The overall impression of a Gros Mondain should be one of great size and roundness. It must have a broad chest, deep, short body and appear low on the legs. The mass should be 1 kg or more, height 30cm and length 32cm. Size & appearance total 20 points. The body should be short and massive (15 points) and the breast (15 points) should be deep and prominent.
The plumage of the Gros Mondain should be clean, with dense feathering. It should be short and compact, giving a trim appearance with a slight looseness near the legs, which gives the impression of greater depth to the body and shorter legs. All colours are acceptable. Patterns should be clear and colours rich.
Origin: The Runt is one of the oldest known pigeon breeds. This large Pigeon was widely bred in Italy, from which its French name, Roman pigeon, was derived. Spruijt (1927), p. 223, says that the Runt (le Romain) was bred in Paris in about 1835 in blues, whites, silver, checks and blacks. In 1860 a certain Mr. Prosche took several with him to Germany where they became very popular. They are very tame birds and are bred in many colours.
For show purposes: - The carriage & size (20 points) of the Runt is the most important part according to the standard. The body should be carried almost horizontally with the tail off the ground. The Runt is a very long and large pigeon. The wings (15 points) are long and rest on the tail without crossing. The wingspan varies from 95cm to 120cm. The Runt has strong, short, beetroot-like red coloured legs. The iris of the eye should be white. A red or yellow eye is a bad fault.
The Runt is a very powerful bird and weighs 1 kg or more. To breed a smooth feathered bird is not easy.