History of the Stafford Canary in England
We wish to thank Mr. Stephen Berrill, Secretary of the Stafford Canary Club in England, for providing information on the origin and history of the Stafford Canary.
"In the late 1970's a group of fanciers assembled and talked about the possibility of creating a new breed of canary, namely a crested red/rose bird. They were aware that at that time this type of bird existed on the mainland of Europe (the Deutche Koife). This bird did not sport the English type crest but just a sputting of feathers and was based upon its depth of red. Essentially, a colored canary with a form of a crest. A standard was drawn up to help create the new breed and fanciers set about the task of creating this new breed. These fanciers included Peter Finn, Jack Askins and many others.
In 1987 Zoe Finn (Peter Finn's daughter) exhibited in the Perry Hill show in Birmingham, the first of what later would become recognized as the Stafford Canary. This bird created quite a stir within the fancy and was followed by articles in the Cage and Aviary Birds publication. Thus the breed came into existence. I along with other fanciers became aware of this new breed and wanted to be a part of the new creation. Late 1988 saw the birth of the Stafford Canary Club, still following the original standard that was created years before.
In 1990 the Stafford Canary Club applied for membership in the Canary Council of Great Britain and was accepted forming what was to become the New Varieties Section. This was the first new variety canary since the acceptance of the Fife Canary in the 1950's.
The early 90's saw a great influx of fanciers, including many Americans, wishing to get in on the ground floor in helping to develop the Stafford Canary. One of these people was George Gay who had been corresponding with the SCC for quite a while. It became apparent that Mr. Gay had been breeding crested reds for some time. (George Gay went on to help organize the Stafford Canary Club of America and was it's first president.) "The Americans accepted the name of the new canary and the written and pictorial standard as laid down by the Stafford Canary Club, and then set about forming the Stafford Canary Family.
It became apparent in the early 90's that the original line drawing was not the type of bird that was being bred, so Dr. Achmed El Soussi was charged with the task of drawing a new pictorial standard. He drew six line drawings, three of which were presented to the SCC membership for approval. (The drawing selected by the SCC is the drawing that is presently being used by the SCCA.)
The interest in the Stafford continued to grow and the bird started to appear at major shows in both the UK and in the US with more and more fanciers, both British and American, joining the SCC. At the 1991 National Cage Bird Show in America a meeting was held by interested fanciers. (The following year bylaws were presented, seeing the formation of the SCCA. The bylaws were an adaptation of the constitution of the SCC.) I was very privileged to be at the meeting in Houston in 1992 and see the SCCA born.
Throughout the 90's changes were made to the written standard. Such changes included the new standard for the dimorphic (mosaic) hen. Late in the nineties it was agreed to allow the plain head to be exhibited in the Stafford section. Prior to that only crested examples were permitted. Penny Berrill was charged with drawing up a pictorial model of the plainhead, and a written standard was drawn up. In the UK, the plainhead competes for it's own award but cannot compete for the best Stafford Award