Type determines if a SA Distance Roller is representative of its breed. Type is mainly determined by the outlines of the pigeon, in other words, the form of the body, head, wings, tail and feathers. Type is also determined to a large extent by the skeleton and muscular development of the pigeon. Type constitutes those characteristics which represent the specific pigeon breed, in the judging of SA Distance Rollers, and is of the utmost importance. The ideal SA Distance Roller must be viewed as a dual-purpose breed in its entity, in other words as a roller and a working pigeon in the air, and as exhibitor in the walking-pen; therefore, it is of the essence that the SA Distance Roller should be handled thoroughly when it is judged. All the parts of its body must be in proportion and in harmony with each other. The entire standard (inclusive of everything) describes the type. One should strive to breed the right type. Breeding should be directed at ensuring the type concerned. The end result of breeding must represent the standard as a whole.


The SA Distance Roller is of medium size, gracious, and a well-balanced short pigeon. Viewed from the side, the pigeon should not appear too thick. Viewed from above, the pigeon should appear wedge shaped from the shoulders (widest part) to the rump and tail (narrowest part). The breastbone runs through far to the back and cuts in sharply to the aitchbones, so that when the pigeon is handled it feels as if the breastbone forms an integral part with the aitchbones. In other words, no space or hole should be felt between the breastbone and the aitchbones. The aitchbones of the pigeon must also appear solid and should not become depressed with handling. The aitchbones should be placed solidly next to each other. Watch for pigeons whose aitchbones are deformed or of which one aitchbone is solid and the other is soft and flexible, so that the pigeon will also roll unbalanced in flight. The length of the SA Distance Roller is approximately 21 cm in the male and 20 cm in the female.


The head is full of character. Ideally the top of the skull should appear neither round nor visibly flat. Viewed from the side, the forehead rises smoothly from right behind the wattles and directly over the top. From there it reveals a straight line only for a short distance and then slumps down with a gradual curve until it flows into the neck. Viewed from the front, the forehead must round out immediately behind the wattles and appear relatively broad and clearly rounded between the eyes, not flat or angular. A thin, pinched appearance must be avoided. The male must have a characteristic male head and the female a characteristic female head. The beak of the SA Distance Roller must be strong, but fine, with the top bill slightly bent. The beak of the pigeon must, however, be suited to the head of the pigeon and approximately 18 mm in length in both sexes. The colour of the beak is irrelevant, because the SA Distance Roller is not bred for a specific colour. The wattles of the SA Distance Roller must at all times be fine in texture and of a clear white colour, irrespective of the age of the pigeon.


The eyes of the SA Distance Roller must be situated slightly to the front of the head and the pupil must be precisely in the middle of the eye - not to the front or to the bottom. The eye cere must be small, fine and prominent. The eyes must be clear, clean and sparkling and speak of health and energy. The eyes can be any colour, e.g. pearl-coloured, grey, orange or yellow. The eyes of a SA Distance Roller need not be of the same colour. The dark eyes which are found in white-head pigeons, are permissible, so too are different coloured eyes and broken eyes which will be regarded as a penalty and not a disqualification.


The neck of the SA Distance Roller must be of medium length, neatly rounded off, with smooth, soft feathers. The neck must flare out from underneath the ears of the pigeon up to the shoulders, without lumps or irregular curves.

Shoulders and back:

The shoulders of the SA Distance Roller must be broad and strong, but must nevertheless suit the pigeon. The back must be flat and feel strong and solid when someone pushes on it with his thumb. Weak, humped or skew backs are viewed as serious defects.


The breast of a good SA Distance Roller is full, well-muscled and well rounded off. The breastbone must stretch through far with no deviating curves and must cut in relatively sharply to the aitchbones. The breastbone of a good SA Distance Roller must be flexible and jump back when it is slightly depressed. The point of the breastbone must preferably end between the aitchbones, so that the point cannot be felt.


When the pigeon is in a resting position, the wings must be folded stiffly against the body and it should appear as if the wings form an integral part of the body. The wings must rest on the tail and the covering feathers must cover the back completely, so that only the tail of the pigeon is visible among the flight feathers. The tips of the flight feathers must join up neatly and may not cross each other under any circumstances. The main flight feathers, as well as the additional flight feathers must have solid, buoyant cores and must overlap one another far, so that there is a strong resistance when the wing is spread open. As the SA Distance Roller is bred to roll very deep, the wing muscles should be well-developed, especially the biceps muscle, i.e. the muscle which can be felt in the part of the wing where the wing joins the body. The SA Distance Roller must hold its wings on top of its tail at all times when judged.


The rump must be narrow and suit the general symmetry of the pigeon.


The tail of the SA Distance Roller consists of 12 feathers which are packed tightly onto one another. The tail must not extend more than 15 mm past the wingtips. The tail must seem to be one feather when the pigeon is sitting. The tail must not hang down or show an upward inclination, but be carried well in line with the bottom part of the body.

Legs and feet:

The SA Distance Roller pigeons are bred and shown in three different categories namely, clean-legged, grouse-feathered and muffs.


The legs and feet must be a rich red in colour, solid and well-placed. The legs and toes must be well spaced out. The legs should be moderately long and straight when the pigeon is in a resting position and the lower legs must stretch to the front and not right down, so that it appears as if the pigeon can fly away without effort. Viewed from the front, the legs must be parallel and relatively widely placed, approximately 30 mm from each other, and the pigeon must not trample on its own toes. The lower leg of the clean-legged SA Distance Roller must be completely free of any feathers.


The required features of the legs and feet are the same as for the clean-legged pigeon, except that the legs, feet and toes must be covered with short grouse feathers. The legs and feet should show no open spaces.


The requirements for the legs and feet are the same as for the clean-legged pigeon, except that the legs, feet and toes are covered with long feathers up to 50mm in length. The birds should also have well- developed hocks, especially those with very long muffs. The legs and feet should show no open spaces.


The stance should be upright and robust with a line of approximately 45 degrees from the middle of the eye to the point of the tail. The tail should be carried approximately 5 to 10mm from the ground and the pigeon should show a well-built and balanced appearance. The bird should always be vigilant and energetic in the show pen.

Feathers and condition:

The SA Distance Roller must be covered in firm, thick and smooth feathers from head to tail and on the upper legs. The feathers must have a healthy and full-grown appearance. The condition of the SA Distance Roller is judged by more factors than just the shine or development of the feather system. A certain firmness of muscular tone and solidness of build, especially in the area of the aitchbones, are essential. The pigeon's reaction should be quick and his/her system should be healthy. He/she may not show any sign of tiredness or a lack of energy. A pigeon which is fully covered in feathers, has a better appearance and is therefore preferable. Nevertheless, a pigeon which appears good in its own right, should not be penalized on the basis of a few lacking feathers. An efficient judge should be able to estimate its true value, even when it is molting, and therefore the resulting plumage has to take a backseat when compared with most other fancy pigeons. SA Distance Rollers who have external parasites or pinholes, must be disqualified immediately.


The facial expression of the SA Distance Roller betrays its inherent characteristics such as perseverance, balance and alertness. The eyes are a reliable measure for the pigeon's ability to perform and maintain stability in the sky, and must therefore be exceptionally attractive and reveal an eager, alert nature and an individuality. The clarity of the eye must be apparent and leave the judge with the impression that the pigeon is an exceptional bird. The facial expression must encourage admiration on its own, irrespective of other characteristics such as form, plumage, colour and marks.

Colour description of the SA distance roller:

The following colour-features are recognized:


Any barred or checkered pigeon with any marks or self-coloured plumage, so that 75% or more of the pigeon's body colour is blue.


Any barred or checkered pigeon or solid red pigeon with any marks or self-coloured plumage, so that 75 % or more of the pigeon's body colour is red.


Any barred or checkered pigeon or solid yellow pigeon with any marks or self-coloured plumage, so that 75% or more of the pigeon's body colour is yellow.


These pigeons are also known as tri-coloured pigeons. The basic colour is red, black/blue and white and the three colours must appear on every feather. The body creates a tortoiseshell effect, as the name indicates. These pigeons are genetically related to those with a checkered pattern and can be used to breed checkered (blue) pigeons. Marks such as white heads or head marks can be exhibited in this class. 75% or more of the pigeon should be tortoiseshell and shown in the tortoiseshell/sandy class.

Grizzle, any Shade:

These pigeons are also known as blue "grizzle" and are in reality blue pigeons with the blue colour interspersed with white. These pigeons normally show bars, but should not be exhibited in the tortoiseshell/ sandy class. 75% or more of the pigeon should be sandy.


Pigeons with a light grey body colour are found in the silver class. The males normally have black specks on their feathers. The neck has a silvery shine and these pigeons are genetically blue pigeons. True silver pigeons also exhibit a slightly barred or checkered pattern, but this is not always clearly visible, because of the light colour. True silver pigeons are relatively scarce and lavender pigeons are often erroneously classed as silver. 75% or more of the pigeon should be silver and shown in the silver/dun class.


These pigeons are also light grey in colour, but a red colour is noticed in the feathers. The pigeons' necks also normally show fine red marks. These pigeons are also exhibited in the silver and dun class. Lavender pigeons are actually red bar or checkered pigeons in disguise, and this phenomenon is called the spread factor. Black pigeons are the lavender pigeon's blue match. Lavender males sometimes show large black spots in their feathers. 75% or more of the pigeon should be silver and shown in the silver/dun class.


The dun colour is widely known as silver among fancy pigeon breeders as it appears in Croppers. Dun pigeons can also be barred or checkered or self-coloured without any of these patterns. Males in this colour are extremely scarce. Dun is genetically related to yellow, although the pigeons are exhibited together with silver. The scarcity of these two colours is the reason for this. 75% or more of the pigeon should be silver and shown in the silver/dun class.


Black pigeons normally do not have a barred or checkered appearance and are actually blue bar or checkered pigeons in disguise. The body should be pitch-black, but the pigeons may wear any marks such as white heads, head marks, white wingtips and tails. Just as in the case of the lavender class, the phenomenon is known as the spread factor. 75% or more of the pigeon should be black and shown in the black class.


White self-coloured pigeons are not common, and another colour is often dominant in such pigeons. Because white pigeons are scarce, those with a few differently coloured feathers can also be classed as white, provided that more than 75 % of the pigeon's body colour is white.

Red bar grizzle:

Pink bar pigeons are those with clear red bars. The neck of the true pink bar is red grizzle, which may also sometimes appear in the wings. These pigeons are, however, exhibited in the white class.

Red grizzle:

The basic colour of the body is white and this colour is interspersed with a red grizzle pattern. These pigeons are exhibited in the red class, as the pigeon exhibits a 50/50 appearance of red and white.

Red/Black mottle:

The basic colour of the body is red or black respectively which is interspersed with white. The body appears to be covered in large red/black and white spots. The pigeons are exhibited in the red or black classes.

Description of markings:


This pigeon has a snowy white head with a slight bib. The wingtips are white and the tail should also be white, but sometimes a few coloured feathers could appear in the tail.


The head is the same colour as the body and is interspersed with marks. The rule for wingtips and tail is similar to that for baldhead pigeons.


These pigeons have a solid body colour and white does not appear in the body at all.


These pigeons have a solid body colour with bars or checkered markings on the wings. The tail should also show a bar at the tip.


This phenomenon is usually found among blue bar and red bar pigeons where large white patches appear at random on the body.


The pigeon's body is white and a saddle in any of the colours discussed, appears on the back.


These pigeons can be either chequered or barred, but the pigeon's wings are different. One wing could be solidly chequered or barred with the other wing white with a saddle.