The Jacobin Pigeon- Breed Guide

The Jacobin pigeon is a unique breed of fancy pigeon with a very distinctive ‘ruff’ of feathers, born of hundreds of years of selective breeding all over Asia. They are primarily bred for show and decoration.

They are named after their ruffled feathers which reminded breeders of the distinctive habits of Jacobin Monks.

The Jacobin Pigeon- Breed Guide

The Jacobin Monks were an order of monks founded in 1100 by Dominican friars and have a classical ruffled cape-like addition to their robes, probably one of the most common images of medieval monks depicted.

Read on to find out more about this unique and beautiful bird!

Where Are Jacobin Pigeons From?

The first recorded breeding of Jacobin pigeons is from a mutation as early as 1500 and has since been through many different stages of breeding to become the pigeon we associate with the name today. 

The Jacobin pigeon is originally from India and is a descendent of the wild Rock pigeon. Because they are able to live in all climates, they are now bred around the world for their unique and eye-catching appearance.

Having been selectively bred, they are not a bird you find in the wild and are usually only found when bred by fancy bird enthusiasts and serious breeders as they require experience and foster birds to raise their young. 

What Do Jacobin Pigeons Look Like?

The Jacobin pigeon is smaller than a racing pigeon, around 14inches, and has a weight of around 12.3 ounces or 350 grams.

They are relatively slender and tall but their head-framing feathers make them look a lot taller than they are.

Their distinctive ‘ruff’ is made up of five or six large feathers that start at the back of the neck and curve a few inches over their head, shielding it completely.

Currently, there is a trend to breed them with longer necks as this is said to make their feathers look more prominent and show them off more. As with all show birds and breeds, the qualities that make the breed appealing vary slightly over time, and different unique traits are highlighted.

There is no feathering on the Jacobin’s feet and over the body its feathers are fluffy, giving it an appearance of being much larger than it is. In reality, it is a very slim bird and of medium build.

The breed can be a wide variety of colors including black, silver, blue, yellow, and white. They can also come in multiple tones, known as a ‘splash’. 


The Jacobin pigeon can be very territorial and cocks are recommended to be housed separately in breeding pairs as they can be quite aggressive to other male birds. 

What Are Jacobin Pigeons Bred For?

Due to their unique and beautiful feathers, Jacobin pigeons are usually bred to be show-birds and ornamental pets. They have an average flying ability so they are not usually racing pigeons.

They also require quite a lot of upkeep and grooming, so though they are classified as good pets, it’s recommended that you only get one or a few if you are already an experienced bird owner or breeder and have knowledge of how to take care of them and their unique plumage. 

How Long Do Jacobin Pigeons Live For?

The Jacobin’s average lifespan is around 7-10 years and they are not prone to any unique or bred diseases.

Jacobin hens can lay eggs up to 6 years, and cocks can fill eggs up to around the same time, though some serious breeders will clear out their birds every 4-5 years despite them having an average lifespan of double this.

They can potentially suffer from CDR (chronic respiratory disease) but this is easy to spot in affected birds as they will have a severe heaving chest and labored breathing so it is usually pretty noticeable. 

How Do You Breed A Jacobin Pigeon?

Breeding Jacobin pigeons is not necessarily for beginners as they require foster parents to raise young after laying.

Because of the way Jacobin hens have been bred, their necks are unable to see whether their eggs have moved out from the safety of their mothers whereas a foster (usually a Homer bird) would be able to spot them immediately and move the egg back under her.

Jacobins have also been bred to have short beaks which makes it very difficult for them to feed their young, which is another reason foster homers are used to raise their young.

They are usually mated around the end of July and usually are allowed three lays during their season, with the hope of each lay having two eggs, a day apart from each other.

Breeders usually trim Jacobin cock’s feathers before the mating season as their large plumage can become rather cumbersome and interfere with the mating process. After laying, eggs hatch after 17 days. 


These birds are often bred for competitions, especially in Pakistan and India where they are very common, but also all over the world. Their distinctive plumage makes them very appealing to breeders of show birds. 

How Much Is A Jacobin Pigeon?

As with all birds, price is dependent on where you are buying them, but the average price is around $50-$200.

They eat regular pigeon feed so do not cost extra in that regard, but bear in mind they do take extra time and care to groom and look after. This is also factored into the cost of selling them as breeders have to put in the effort to maintain their plumage as well as look after their overall health. 

How Do You House A Jacobin Pigeon?

Jacobin pigeons require about 4ftx6ftx6ft housing for three pairs. Breeders tend to use sand instead of sawdust on the cage floor to stop it blowing around and a cage deep clean is recommended fortnightly. Food should be given fresh daily.