History and Overview of The Stafford Canary

It is once in a lifetime that a new breed of canary appears on the show bench. I am honoured to be one of the fanciers who helped create the Stafford canary. The development of the Stafford is not just confined to the Staffordshire area of England. Groups of fanciers in Dorset, Nottinghamshire, Cheshire, Essex, Scotland and Wales to name but a few areas have corresponded with the club in order to produce the original show standard.

Why the name Stafford canary? In the late 70's a group of fanciers in Staffordshire held an informal meeting to discuss the possibility of breeding a new canary, we agreed that there was the possibility of creating a new breed. We were aware that at the time existed a crested coloured canary on the continent, but this bird was devoid of type and did not sport the type of crest as is seen upon English birds. It was decided to try and produce red and rose canaries of 5 inches in length with good type and perfect crests equal to that of any other English crested breed. Now after years of selective breeding, good sized birds with good crests are being produced.

The types of Staffords that are being produced are:/p>

Clear Crested, Grizzle Crested Clear Bodied, Dark Crested Clear Bodied, Variegated Bodied and Self Bodied.

Unlike all other type canaries the Stafford has three feather types:/p>

Non-Frosted, Frosted and Dimorphic.

I would advise any beginner to start with frosted and non-frosted types only and leave the dimorphics to the experienced breeder.

The best types of pairings to make are:

  1. Non-Frost plainhead cock X Frosted crested hen

  2. Non-Frost crested cock X Frosted plainhead hen

  3. Frosted plainhead cock X Frosted crested hen

  4. Frosted crested cock X Frosted plainhead hen

  5. Dimorphic X Dimorphic

With pairings 3 and 4, those involving double frost, you must remember to pair back to non-frosted birds the following year otherwise over frosted examples will be produced. These over frosted birds do not have the bright colour of even frosted or non-frosted birds. Never pair together two crested birds because 25% of the youngsters will be non-viable. Also some of the surviving youngsters will not sport good crests.

On no account ever pair back to a Gloster or other crested example of a yellow canary as this will cause an immediate loss in ground colour and will take several years of hard work to regain, and for the slight improvement that will be seen in the crest it is not woth losing your ground colour for.


I hope you enjoy your time with Staffords.

Peter Finn - Life President,

Stafford Canary Club (Founder Member)