You might have seen some pigeon breeds but did you know, there are hundreds of pigeon breeds? Breeds like the Rock pigeon exist in almost every town but some breeds are so rare that they exist in very few numbers around the globe. In this article, I am going to show you the 10 rarest breeds of pigeon.
Bokhara trumpeter sounds like trumpeting when it coos and since it originated in an Uzbek city, named ‘Bokhara’, this breed was given the name bokhara trumpeter. It has a large body, an exceptionally beautiful double crest & long muffs. It’s crest is so big that the bird can barely see everything around it.
The breed has existed for centuries and over the years it was brought to Germany, UK, Russia & other countries where its variants were developed. According to historians, the Russian trumpeter, English trumpeter and German trumpeter, all breeds are a result of a cross-breed between bokhara trumpeter and other pigeons.
This breed is also known as the Indian fantasy pigeon as some breeders claim it has Indian origin. American fantasy pigeon breed was developed in the USA in the 1970s using Indian fantail and jacobin pigeons. This is why the American fantasy pigeons have a short hood like jacobins and a fan-like tail and muffs like Indian fantails. The breed is still uncommon outside America.
The origin of frillback pouter is unknown but this breed has been developed in the early 2000s. The breed is also absent in the National Pigeon Association’s list of recognized breeds. The breed looks like a cross between saxon pouter & frillback pigeon. Frillback pouter has almost the same size as saxon pouter and it has considerable frill on both wings & muffs.
From the appearance of frillback pouters in images (available on google), looks like the earliest frillback pouters had very less frill or had a smaller size. The present-day frillback pouter must be a result of years of selective breeding.
You might have seen regular types of fantail pigeons but do know about the Silky fantails? Their exact origin is unknown but they were first mentioned in literature by a researcher in 1735 and according to him, the origin of this breed is Africa. Interestingly, Silky fantails were also mentioned by Charles Darwin in his research work. So for sure, Silky fantails have existed for more than 250 years.
Runt pigeon is one of the oldest known fancy pigeon breeds all over the world. Its earliest mention dates back to the first century; Pliny the Elder, a Roman author mentioned a pigeon with the same identification in his writing. The breed is engraved in some interior designs in Italy, created during the Roman era. So there is enough evidence that the breed had existed at least from the time of Roman empire. In fact, some sources claim the breed was once known as Roman pigeon.
This breed was once a utility pigeon; bred and raised for pigeon meat (squab). But being the largest known pigeon breed, pigeon keepers from the USA & Uk started working on this breed. The American pigeon fanciers cross-bred giant runt with other breeds and developed the American variant of runt (called giant runt) which has a broader mane and more compact body.  Today, the original runt is hard to find and it is one of the rarest pigeon breeds ever.
The nicobar pigeon is one of the rarest pigeon species on earth. It belongs to the nicobar island of India and its recorded history starts from 1738 but it is believed to have existed for a very long time.  It looks more like a partridge than an ordinary pigeon. Its metallic blue and green plumage makes it look exceptionally beautiful.
Some of the other birds from its scientific family (dodo bird and rodrigues bird) have gone extinct, the nicobar pigeon is the only alive bird of the Caloenas genus. It is closely related to the victoria crowned pigeon. The exact population of nicobar pigeons is unknown but it is facing serious threats. Nicobar pigeons are often hunted for their headstone which is considered precious and used for making jewelry. It is also hunted for meat.
Hungarian Giant House
The Hungarian giant house pigeon is one of the largest pigeon breeds in the world. It was initially developed for meat but with time, pigeon keepers started working on it. Later this breed helped develop new breeds. Despite being an old breed that has existed for centuries, Hungarian giant house pigeons are still rare because they don’t breed well.
This breed was actually developed in Turkey between mid-16th and mid-17th centuries. However, the breed did not get much attention, and later the breed was further beautified in Germany in the 20th century. But the breed was still not recognized by the National Pigeon Association (USA). Later, the Hungarian breeders worked on this breed and after only four years, the breed was recognized and named Hungarian Giant House. Some sources still mention this breed as Turkish giant house. 
German Beakcrested Trumpeter
This breed has been developed in the early 20th century in Germany by cross-breeding a bokhara trumpeter (double-crested trumpeter) with a color pigeon. As a result, the German beakcrested trumpeter was developed which has a crest very close to its beak rather than on its head. Despite having long muffs and a crest on its beak, it is a good flyer.
Gaditano pouter is one of the largest pigeon breeds in the world. Its huge size has helped produce several kinds of pouters. Gaditano pouters originated in Spain around the 15th century. According to some researchers, the breed was developed by cross-breeding thief pouters with other breeds. Unlike other pouter types, gaditano pouters have a huge balloon that they cannot easily blow.
Volga Posture Tumbler
Volga pigeon is an old Russian breed that has existed for a long time but the exact century of origin is unknown. According to some sources, the was no system of pigeon breed standardization in Russia and that is why this breed was never standardized.  After the breed was exported to other countries, finally the breed was standardized.
Some of these breeds are slightly common in some European countries, India and Pakistan but they are rare in the rest of the World. Thankfully the recent interest of pigeon clubs and breeders is playing a vital role in the conservation of these breeds. Hopefully, their number will grow with time.
Bilal is a freelance writer and a content creator. He has been in the pigeon hobby for over 15 years. Over the years, he has worked on various fancy pigeon breeds and explored their history.