Very few birds of this breed are being kept in this country at present. This is included for
those fanciers who are interested in the re-introduction of this famous old Variety onto
our show benches once again.
The Belgian Canary is by far the most important of all the old Continental breeds, not only for its own sake but also for the influence it had upon the development of some English breeds, notably the Yorkshire and the Scotch Fancy. Its origins were in the old Dutch Canary of the eighteenth century which gave rise to the various "frilled" and "posture" breeds that we have today. In its own country a flourishing fancy soon developed with bird clubs being organized early in the 1800's. In Britain, by mid-Victorian times it had become the most highly prized of all fancy breeds of exhibition canaries and, at one time, it even had its own specialist society in this country. A decline in its popularity as a show bird towards the end of the last century, which continued throughout the present one, has been attributed to its use for crossing with other varieties, although losses could always be made good, up to 1914, by importation's of pure-bred stock from Belgium. Two world wars fought across its homeland almost brought about its extinction and it has only just survived in a somewhat reduced and degenerate form.
The essential points of the Belgian Canary can be listed under two headings, shape and position, for it is a bird that can take up a typical posture in the show cage. It has a small, neat head and a long, slender neck which is capable of being much extended when in full pose. The body is long and tapering, but is fairly deep through from shoulder to chest. The back is quite straight and the wings are long and compact, being carried close to the body. The tail is long and narrow with the feathers tightly folded. The legs are long and straight, and tend to show quite a length of thigh which should be well covered with feathers. The great feature that distinguishes the Belgian, however, are the high prominent shoulders which give rise to the breed's continental name of "Bossu Beige" (French), "Belgische Bult" (Flemish) which means "Belgian Humpback". In show position, the bird "pulls itself together", gripping the perch firmly, stiffening its legs and reaching up with its shoulders to attain its fullest height, the line from shoulder to tail then being completely perpendicular. At the same time, the head is depressed and the neck stretched out to its limit until the beak is pointing directly down-wards.
As this was such an important breed it was usually dealt with at considerable length in the older standard works on canaries.
With a breed in which position is so important, a good deal of training is necessary to achieve the desired results, although the Belgian has a natural aptitude for display. See separate leaflet for details of the pattern of the show cage.
|The following is the Standard of the C.O.M|
In the work position the bird should pull itself to attain its greatest height. Neck should be below the shoulders. The head should not be visible when viewed from behind. Back & tail completely perpendicular. The legs should be slightly angled.
Breast: long and broad, triangular in shape, when viewed from back and side. Back: full, broad, without being too hollow nor round. Shoulders: broad and high. Wings long, close fitting to body
|HEAD & NECK:||Head: small, oval. Neck: long and thin.||12|
|LEGS:||Legs: long slightly angled, well feathered. The thighs should lie well to the body.||5|
|TAIL:||Long, straight narrow. The tail and back forming one straight line.||5|
|COND1TION & PLUMAGE:||In good health, clean. Plumage: brilliant and smooth.||8|
|LENGTH:||6-3/4 inch – 17cm.||5|