Fife Fancy


A tribute to the late Walter lumsden



Father of the "fife's" is the Scottisch breeder Walter Lumsden, the man also known as the "great old fancy five's man". From his childhood on he took care of several native corn-eaters. In 1950 he specialized in breeding canaries. Being a proffesional miner, these birds protected him during his mining activity and warned him for the feared deadly mine-gas.


Untill the beginning of the second world war Walter had been a fanatic "borderman" and was even a founding member of the Scottish All Border Fancy Canary Club. While he had to give up breeding birds during the second World War, he rediscovered his canary breeding-hobby soon after the end of the war. He couldn't agree with the devellopment of the borders according to their size, as far as his opinion is concerned caused by unthoughtfull crosbreeding Norwich.


He wanted to get back to the "Wee gems", the pre war "tiny Juwels". Therefore he gatherred out of existing colonies the small old border types. Within a periode of three years Walter Lumsden succeeded in reducing the birds to their original size. Rumours originated that he crossbreeded Glosters to achieve this result. Lumsden denied this rumours strongly although he was still in possesion of some glosters at that time. He needed 5 more years to improve the types, at that time Walter compared the slender birds with coulourpencils. He bred an attractive bird in shape and in size.


In1957 , being convinced of his succes, he invited interested breeders to visit the Baker Hall in his hometown Kirkcaldy(county Fife in Scotland). Many breeders considered his interference in the "pre war borders" and his current results rather a step back in history than an improvement and didn't take him too seriously. According to the history of the existing english canarytypes this new bred miniature border had to be named after a county where he originated from. The "Fife Miniature Fancy Canary Club" was founded during this convention allthough only 4 more breeders attended this convention.


Already in 1958 the recently founded club changed its name into the "Fife Fancy Canary Club" according to the race. These club was founded for the purpose of develloping an standard discription for the race and to get the final recognition.


The amount of clubmembers raised slowly from 46 in the 1960 to 51 in 1971. In 1971 it was finally decided to raise the points for the size of the birds from 20 to 25 and to achieve a further devellopment in size of the birds. Therefore the judgement for condition, overall impression, was brought from 10 points to 5 points.


The real breaktrough for the five's was realised during the national in 1973 organised in the Alexendra Palace in london. Lumsden exhibited together with his son David and won the "best in show" with a Brown-white Fife. According to a scottish fellow breeder he overwelmd all other competitors.


With this triumph he definetely put his "Wee Gem"on stage in spite of the fact that the fife didn't have its own category and had to compete in an overall category.(AOV)


After this victory the Fife race finally achieved an own specific category in 1975 for the exhibitions and more than 50 Fife's participated in the National.


Ever since this moment the fife's concur the exhibitions. It must have been a great satisfaction for Lumsdale to get bit by bit the appreciation he deserved from former contesters and non believers

Jo Brauns