One of the oldest existent breeds, there is written evidence of the Dragoon Pigeon in 1735.
Itself a breed developed through selective breeding, it is one of the pigeons used in the development of the Racing/Homing Pigeon.
The Dragoon Pigeon is classed as both a wattle pigeon and homing pigeon.
Dragoon Pigeon Origins
Not much is known about how the Dragoon came about other than it was just one result of many cross breeding efforts that went on in the UK and it could have been in the 16th, 17th or 18th century.
Once the most popular breeds of pigeon in the UK, there were originally two types, the Birmingham and the London but the London took over as it became more accepted as an exhibition pigeon.
A Dragoon can easily be given the epithet of being a Darwin Pigeon.
Charles Darwin was a well-known pigeon fancier, but pigeons were more than just birds to him. Dragoons were one of the most popular breeds in Darwin’s time and he used it to record anatomical measurements.
This pigeon originally had the name of Dragon but over time this changed to Dragoon to represent its upright posture (like the stiff pose of a dragoon soldier on horseback).
It was probably also thought a more appropriate name as it became more popular for flying contests with gentlemen than common men.
Dragoon Pigeon Appearance
The most outstanding feature that was registered earlier on in the Dragoon breeding process – its bold, upright posture – remains in the modern breed.
Generally a medium-sized bird, they stand on short legs with stout, muscular thighs and they have a broad and full breast which just adds to their stately posture.
Of medium length, Dragoon Pigeons have a wedge-shaped broad head with large, prominent blood-red eyes with finely-laced damson-colored ceres.
There is no gullet, there’s a large peg-shaped wattle and they have stout, quite blunt beaks.
As a good flyer, the bird has powerful wings with the short flight feathers that rest on the tail which is made from close fitting feathers and thanks to its posture is carried above the ground.
Dragoon Pigeon Colors
The most common colors of the Dragoon Pigeon are white, blue checks, blue bar, yellow, red and dun.
However, the whole list of noted colors beyond those is black, red, yellow, red checks, yellow checks, silver checks, cream bars, silver bars, mealy and grizzles.
Newer colors being evidenced in recent years in the United States include indigo, brown and almond.
The Dragoon resembles the Indian Gola Pigeon, but the latter is distinguishable by its more mottled wings.
Dragoon Pigeon Characteristics
As an amenable bird, Dragoons do not place much onus on the owner.
They tolerate temperate climates very well so there is no need to provide anything beyond the norm for a loft or coop.
Their home should provide good shelter, be clean, have perches and shelves or boxes for nesting.
They make very good pets so are happy in the indoor environment.
They have a natural tendency to be active so they should be given good time outside.
As they demonstrate good behaviour, Dragoons make good exhibition birds.
They’re watchful and alert and you’ll never see a scruffy looking Dragoon.
Breeding Dragoon Pigeons
As a breeder, you can be pleased that Dragoons can raise a good number of young in a lifetime and they are excellent, attentive parents.
Still, it is better not to over-breed, three litters a year is a good benchmark.
There are various traits that a breeder needs to take care of if they want a true Dragoon pigeon.
These are the bullet-shaped beak, the damson cere and the blood-red eye and no single gene seems to control these traits.
Orange is the natural eye color for pigeons so careful attention is needed by the breeder to make sure new Dragoons don’t revert.
Natural sunlight enhances the damson hue of the cere, so it is important that the bird receives good exposure.
A breeder also needs to pay attention to the beak structure. To produce that characteristic, the upper and lower mandibles should be of equal substance.
If your idea of a beautiful pigeon is a strong, characterful bird with a sleek profile, you’ll love the stately, proud Dragoon.