How to Judge Pigeons


Profile should rise gradually and smoothly in an unbroken curve from the top of the beak to the highest point just above the centre of the eye. Then descending gradually and smoothly, flowing into the neck and providing a full and balanced back.


Short “if apple type”, flat and broad across the shoulders and tapering smoothly to the rump. Strong and well padded as it approaches the rump with no indication of indentation or weakness.


Keel (breastbone) shall be centred in the body and curve smoothly from the chest up toward the vent bones. It should show no wave, indentation or crookedness. It should be three to four inches in length. It should be of good structure, not prominent but fleshed out, giving the feeling of a smooth roundness from side to side. Keel should not be too shallow.


Cool, generally unperturbed, without undue nervousness, wildness or panting and with no flying or climbing and no excessive pacing of the judging pen.


Medium size bird is preferred.


Bright, fiery and sharp in appearance preferred.


Well padded and sturdy, showing no signs of weakness, flatness or excessive width, tapering smoothly into the tail slightly convex from side to side.


Should be strong and powerful, held close to the body, just above the tail, with thick and fairly prominent butts. Primary and secondary flights should be wide in web, closely overlapping, with length in keeping with the size of the body. Quills should be strong and steel like. Coverts should be broad, of good length and thickness, covering well over the rump. There should be ten primary and ten secondary flights in each wing. Primary flights not completely grown out, as long as the bird is moulting evenly, should not be considered a major fault. All feathers should be free from holes, fret marks and any other damage.


Erect and bold, with line from the centre of the eye to the tip of the tail being at about a forty-five degree angle. Tip of tail should be approximately 3/4" from the ground. Bird should exhibit well-balanced conformation. The entire picture should be one of alertness and of proud and showy carriage.


In profile cut straight back from bottom of the lower mandible to a throat that is free from gullet and thickness, then descending in a smooth curve to a broad chest.

Vent Bone

Vent bones should show strength and be fairly close to the end of the keel, allowing no more than 3/4" between the end of the keel and the vent bones. Hens may be allowed a little leeway on this, but should not exceed 1".


Twelve strong feathers close fitting and overlapping to give the appearance

of one feather; short in proportion to the size of the bird and extending slightly beyond the flights 1/2" to 1" at most and fitting smoothly into the rump.

Legs & Feet

Free from feathers on the lower legs and feet. Feathers should be close fitting on the upper leg, at hocks and between legs. Legs should be bent at hocks with thighs well set back, strong and muscular and medium to short in length. Feet and legs should be dark to bright red. Toe nails should be sharp and of all the same colour. Colour may vary from dark to black in standard blue coloured birds, to amber in Ash Reds, to flesh coloured in Whites and some Splashes.

The above judging criteria and comments have been provided for the purpose of education and do not represent the views, opinions or position of judges, officials or the RA&HS. Any resemblance to actual persons, competitors, or exhibits living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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