National German Modena Club

German Modena Standard

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German Modena Standard


****Below is a standard that was found in the Fancy Pigeon Standards book from England. Art Cartey, who has a very large collection of pigeon books was kind enough to look this up for me and send me a copy of the German Modena Standard. We also have a copy of a much more detailed version of the standard from Holland, but have not been able to find someone who is able to translate it for us yet. If anyone knows anybody who can translate from Dutch(I think) to English it would be very much appreciated.

I have also posted a article that was written by Tim Burke about the German Modena. He referenced a very knowledgeabel breeder of German Modenas and it is full of a lot of great info and makes reference to the issue of size, which the English standard does not touch on.

In the future it would be nice to meld these two standars and this article together to come up with our own version of a standard in terms that we can all understand.*****


Origin: Italy. A very old breed originally used in Modena Italy for Kit Flying. A 1328 Statue recorded flying rules. They were imported into Germany in the 1870’s and then into England about 10 years later.Overall Impression: They are the smallest of the Hen or Chicken Pigeons, which include the Modena, King, Florentine, Hungarian and Maltese The type is broad with a rounded body, long legs and neck. The tail is held slightly high and has a gradual rise, but is not as angled as the other hen pigeons. The neck,body and legs should each make up 1/3 of the overall height of the bird. The body length is equal to 2/3 of the overall height.

Head: Round, evenly arched, smooth forehead not low down.

Eyes: Iris is orange-red. The edge or cere is small and dark in dark birds and light in light colored birds.

Beak: Medium in length, comparatively strong. It should be black in dark colored birds and light in light colored birds. The beak is not important in Magnani’s. The wattle should be short and flat.Neck: Harmonious, rising evenly towards the head. The throat should look a little cut out.

Breast: Full and wide, nicely roundedBelly: Full and nicely rounded: backside full of fluff. The breast and belly should form an unbroken round.

Back: Short, not sloping down, wide in the shoulders.

Wings: Short, carried slightly loose at the breast, primaries fairly closed without crossing. Carried on the tail and not reaching the tail end.

Tail: Carried slightly high, as short as possible, not wide and well closed.

Legs: Showing much thigh and strong: not feathered on the feet.

Feathers: Base, fluffy. The rest of the feathers should be smooth and lying flat.


Gazzi: Basic color white: head, upper throat, wings and tail are colored. The head pattern goes from the crown to the forehead and included both head and cheeks also the throat. Back of the head and neck, white. The head pattern should be drawing up the neck and should build a symmetrical shape. Colored upper back(bridge) is allowed. Colors: black, blue without bars, silver, pale, brown, brown shield, brown shield edges, brown marbled, hammered blue brown, copper, sulphur colored with or without bar, red, yellow, isabel, light red shield and light yellow. These colors should be rich and shiny. Brown shield should have a brown head pattern: shield color deep brown: in brown shield with bars, chestnut brown to mahogany color. The wing butts of the blue, brown shield and brown shield edges should be dark when closed. White spots on the wing butts are attractive, but not necessary.

Schietti; One color in black, white, blue, blue without bars, silver, pale brown, copper, red, yellow, isabel. Also, black, white brown, red and yellow bars allowed. Also, hammered blue, red, yellow, black, dark blue, red and yellow shield, brown shield, brown shield edges, brown marble, hammered blue brown, sulphur colored or without edge. The edge color is adjusted to body color. With red and yellow shields in older birds a slightly horn colored beak is allowed. With dark shields a blue tail is required.

Magnani: (Almond) A lot of color distribution in the body feathers, the more even the better. Wings and tail not over colored. Multicolored: basic color dark blue or silver gray with light yellow, brown, dark blue and black splashes. The more multicolored the pattern and more even color distribution the better. The wings and tail should also be multicolored.


Article written by Tim Burke:

The German Modena is the smallest and most elegant of the Hen Pigeon group which includes the Modena, King, Florentine, Hungarian, and Maltese. This little bird is about one-half the size of the English Modena and is built quite differently than the current English Modena. The tail has a gradual rise and is not as angled as the other Hen Pigeons. The body stance is horizontal, neck with head, body and legs each make 1/3 of the total height of the bird. The body length is equal to 2/3 the total height.

The type is short, broad with round body, long legs and long neck. The head is rounded, even domed and somewhat projected above the beak.

Faults include a long body; a narrow breast; too sloped stance; X-legs; horizontal tail station, broad tail, open tail; dropped flights; to plump or too thin neck; interrupted underline; flat skull, pointed forehead, long or thin beaks; coarse red eye cere(except for white with dark eye); excessive loose feathering and dull colors.

In judging consideration should first be given to smallness and elegance, and next to proportions. The German standard warns that when striving for length of neck and leg care must be taken to maintain the small size. A large, long legged, long necked bird is not to be placed over a smaller better proportioned bird. The birds are active but should not be aggressive. This active, non-aggressive nature is what has endeared this breed to me as they make excellent birds for the open loft.

The wings are held tight on the body and should not cross, in addition the wings should not hang below the tail. The body must always hard and tight to the feel and the breast bone should not be prominent. From the side view an uninterrupted underline should go from the neck to the tail. For this to be accomplished the breast must have adequate depth.. Loose feathering on the flank give will distort this line.

Again, proportions determines the correct German Modena and birds with extreme length of neck and legs are not wanted. Remember the correct proportions are “Length:Height = 2:3”. The height from the German Modena consists out 3 equal parts: Neck length = Body length = Leg length.

A note of interest. This breed actually comes in more colors than the English Modena. How can that be? Well, there are colors that do not have Modena bronze! However, I must admit I find the presence of the bronze factor very attractive and I am most drawn to the blue/bronze family.

I wrote to my good friend Thomas Hellman of Germany to explain the origins of the German Modena. Here is his reply:

When did the English and German Modena became known as distinct breeds, or when the different styles evolve?

Well, the first Modenas from Italy were brought to Germany in the 1870s and shortly afterwards the birds were introduced to England (1876-1878 was date of first importation, by Mr. R.C. Chavasse of Sutton; Lairmore "Modern ,Modena Pigeon"). Lairmore mentions the year 1878 as import year of 50 pairs of Modena to Germany. Still, in the book "Die Deutsche Modenesertaube" by Hugo Peschke, pub-lished in 1932 is the following paragraph. Peschke refers to an article in the Geflugel (#50, June 23"" 1911) where a fancier by the name of Dietz (living in the 1800s) said that the first Modenas were introduced to Germany in the late years of the 18th century, i.e. the 1700s.

Schitgen in Betze & Lavalie (1905) states that Dr. Baldamus imported the first Modenas from Italy "more than 25 years ago", i.e. the 1870s . These imports came directly from Prof Bonizzl from Modena, author of the book "Colombi di Modena" (Pigeons of Modena), published in 1876 in a limited edition of only 100 copies. This rough difference of more or less 100 years seems quite strange to me. The fanciers Nohle from Merseburg and Zinztsch. Ellenburg took on the breeding of this birds after the imports of Dr. Baldamus Nohle showed his birds for the first time in 1890 on a local show at Merseburg, these were Gazzis. Modenas (the "German" was not used back then) were also shown on the 1st German National at Leipzig (Feb 24th - 27th 1893), a total of 9 pairs, shown by Nohle, Merseburg and a fancier named Wauer from Debeln. In March 1894 an international show of poultry and birds took place at Vienna and Nohle showed there 5 pairs of Gazzi Modena in the colors black, blue and brown marbled . Nohle died all of a sudden in 1896, his breeding was carried on later by his son Paul who was 9 years of age when his father died. In the catalogue of the 27th German National from the year 1930, a total of 22 Modenas were entered (11 black Gazzi, 3 Gazzi blue or blue checker (class identification), 6 brown laced Gazzi and 2 blue argents. Peschke continues in his book with tracking down the origins of some of the old breeders.

A club for Modena breeders in Germany was founded in 1912, so the book by Peschke marked the 20th anniversary of the club. Now to the differences in type: one Germans seemed to adhere more to the slender more flying type like bird, more to the Italian type, course nowadays there are differences. The breeders in England on the other hand side have always preferred the more robust, plump type. It is interesting to read in this respect is a statement of the breeder Wise from Ottendorf, who, in the beginning of the breed in Germany, often received imports from Italy. While he kept the birds with the smaller bodies for himself or sold them to other breeders in Germany, the birds with the bigger bodies were always sold to England, simply because there was a demand for these birds there. So it's visible that the two different types were there right from the beginning, though not in such a degree like we find them today.

The Modena caught on large interest in England, the Crystal Palace show 1927 saw 567 the 1928 Crystal Palace 577. The English breeders always wanted the beak to be shorter, a large, round head on a short neck and a full nape. Peschke refers to an article in "Feathered World", reporting about the Modena exhibits from different countries on the World Poultry Congress. The birds were judged there by Prof Ghigi and the grades passed out showed, that the English had gone one step too far in their demands. W.F Holmes said, that the Italians on the one hand side made him angry but also on the other hand side showed him how much larger the English birds were than the smallest birds from Italy. In no way he would like to return to the Italian type, but some of the English birds would be too large.

Thank you Thomas Hellman for the history lesson on the origin of the German Modena!

After having this breed for three years I have found them friendly, active, non-aggressive, prolific birds that are a joy to have in the loft. In addition, they make excellent feeders for fancy breeds. If you are looking for something a little different the German Modena may be just what you want!

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