The Indian Fantail, although a very old breed, is relatively new to the North American continent. The first documentation of Indian fantails in America was the arrival of a box of them that came to the San Diego Zoo as food for a shipment of snakes from India in 1927. Twelve years later, in 1939, Harvey Gatlin, the "Father" of the modern Indian Fantail, obtained two pair, and kept them until the war in 1941. Harvey had to dispose of all his pigeons in 1943. After the war Harvey's fascination with the Indian Fantail started him on a search so he could begin once again to raise and breed these beautiful pigeons. His search rewarded him with a tailmark hen. While waiting for a cock to show up, Harvey mated this hen to an English Trumpeter cock. He retained a couple of young from this mating. Harvey finally found an Indian cock for the tailmark hen, and this mating produced one youngster. A later addition of a white Indian fantail cock and two Thailand fantails put Harvey on the road to producing the beautiful birds we see in todays show halls.
Tony Brancato entered into the picture a few years later, and with Indians he had imported from India, along with birds from Harvey, he built a stud of whites that set the standard for todays Indian fantail. Harvey and Tony made note in Harvey's Indian fantail biography that there were NO standard fantail blood in the breed at that time.
Next came the Luden brothers..Stan and Monty were to introduce most of the colors and markings found in the breed today. Some of the most noted were the Whitesides, Almonds and the outstanding Blue Barless. In 1998 Stan, with the assistance from Bill Larson, started introducing Brown into the Indian gene pool. Stan with bars and checks and Bill with the spread.
The names of breeders who contributed to the success of the Indian fantail has grown long over the years, but one that deserves mention is Gene Machado. As show birds go, Gene was the dominant show winner. His whites of the 1970s could compete with the whites of the 1990s.
Gene and Harvey have passed on, and Tony no longer breeds Indians, but the Luden brothers are still in there breeding away. Who knows what wonderous color and markings they will be introducing to the fancy in the years to come. I can hardly wait!
The latest of the super breeders is Joe Ceaser of Arizona. At the 1998 Grand National Pigeon show in San Bernardino, California, Joe had ten of the final fourteen birds in the parade of champions! The quality of the Indians in this show ran deep. What made this feat even more impressive is that Joe went on to sweep the show! Joe is not a one or two color specialist but breeds from many different colors and marks. All of them of outstanding quality!
The foregoing was submitted on 4-11-99 by Frank German