Allen's Kazan Tumbler & Rostov Pigeons

What is a Kazan Tumbler

What is a Kazan Tumbler
Brief History of the Kazan Tumbler Pigeon

The Very Rare Kazan Tumbler Pigeon 

What is the American Kazan tumbler?  In the United States, it is a distinct breed that is so rare it often doesn't appear in the various pigeon shows held throughout the United States.  I wasn't aware of just how rare until we began looking for new blood for our birds.  Finding another line of Kazans proved to be a real challenge; and, along the way, we saw birds that we believed were crosses between Kazans and other breeds--not surprising in a bird so rare.
The Kazan is in a grouping of Russian breeds known as Trisuni.  There are some excellent articles on these birds with their history posted on the internet and one can see these articles as well as their standard by putting "Kazan tumbler" into a search engine.  Unlike other, well-established breeds, finding good Kazans for breeding is a challenge.
We started raising pigeons seven years ago when we took over our daughter's loft. She raised frillbacks and over time acquired one lone Kazan tumbler cock.  The frillbacks were not the hardiest bird, so when she gave us her loft, we sold all of her birds except for him.  Finding him a mate took almost a year until we spotted another Kazan cock over the internet--one for sale by a breeder in Arizona.  He was good enough to sell us two hens plus the cock.  Our breeding of them has been both exciting and frustrating.
Our first birds had many flaws and did not represent the breed very well; however, we did not hesitate to take these birds to show, and it is our habit to have every single youngster judged.  Being novices in the pigeon breeding business, we were most eager to learn.  We often listened to the advice of the judges in deciding which birds to keep for our breeding program.  Fortunately for us, several of the judges we met knew the breed very well because they themselves bred them.
What continues to be a frustration for anyone breeding them is their rarity.  Many people see the, like them, start breeding them only to give up after several years.  When I ask people why, they give answers like its too hard to sell them and there are not enough breeders to make it all worthwhile. 
Another frustration is that like most Russian breeds, they carry the recessive gene for crest; every year we get a crested baby or two that cannot be shown because the standard does not allow them to have a crest.  Since they have the same parentage as other Russian birds which can be crested or plain-headed, and the recessive gene always seems to be there, breeding them without the crest is difficult. 
One of the very positive characteristics of this breed is its domesticity.  I often step into the loft to care for them to find them extremely curious about me and not at all unwilling to approach me; one even sits on my shoe while I'm standing still.   Others eye me with cocked heads as if to say:  "If I run past you, will you promise not to catch me."  Then after a few minutes they dare me and race past me to get to some other part of the loft.  I can reach under a sitting hen; sometimes she pecks in defense of her eggs, but often she just sits unafraid and patiently tolerate me.  When I do catch a bird and am about to release it, it will sit on my hand and look around as if deciding exactly where it wants to fly. I have no doubt that if I had more time to devote to them, I could have them so tame, they would fly to me, sit on my shoulder and eat from my hand.
Although they are a very ancient Russian breed (Russia's royalty bred them), the original Russian Kazan became extinct in 1917 during the Russian revolution.  They hailed from the city of Kazan in the Ukraine in Russia.  That Kazan tumbler was so short-faced that it could not feed its own young.  When pigeon breeders from America and Canada recreated the Kazan tumbler, they bred a medium short-faced tumbler, enabling the Kazan to care for its own youngsters without the necessity of feeders.  As a result, most Kazan tumblers are excellent parents.
They continue to be rare in this country, so rare that it is my belief the American version of them could easily become extinct.  I have written this article in the hopes of promoting this breed with its fine delicate lines and its elegant appearance.  We love them and they are such a delight and have a calming, soothing effect on us.  We never suffer through long periods of depression.  Caring for them and the challenges of raising a pigeon so rare gives us a hobby that has the ability to lift us out of dull periods.  And the shows, judges and people we meet are so great.  They are so willing to help us, give us tips and befriend us.  We love every aspect of our pigeon-breeding life, even delighting in the challenges.  To see pictures of our birds, please visit our website at  We also raise another close cousin of the Kazan--Rostov tumblers.


Some tips on buying Kazans: how to choose a good bird; and what to avoid: 
The standard for Kazans calls for a bird who holds its tail above its wings at a nearly even level.  So when looking at the side view, the tail should be held at a 50 to 60% angle.  A good way to remember this is to consider an upturned pancake turner; it angles gracefully, but not high. The Kazan's wings should drop down nearly to the floor; but not drag on the floor.  The back of the bird, to the base of its neck should not be more than two inches; also it should not be so short as to not have a back at all.  The bird should have a tumbler head; and its neck rising gracefully to taper as the head meets the neck. It is always plain-headed (crested birds are rejected for show).  The tail of the Kazan has at least 14 feathers and holds them neatly together; it is wedge-shaped with the end feathers stacked neatly one under another, but flat in the middle. It should always be muffed (muffs can vary from an inch or less, but not be more than 2"). This breed is best when it is neither too small nor too large--in other words, medium in size.
Some things I have learned through my search: 
1)  Question the genealogy of any Kazan that does not possess muffs; or is extremely heavily muffed;
2)  Crested Kazans shouldn't be bred; but could make good feeders or pets
3)  If the tail is held at a 75% angle or higher, the Kazan is probably a mixed breed
4)  Kazans have a characteristic called "zittering".  That's means they shake their necks.  If the bird you are looking at doesn't do that, it may not be a Kazan.
5)  If the tail is very wide and the back so short as to be nonexistene, it is probably a mixed breed bird
6)  If it possesses a very long beak, it is probably a mixed breed