©Diane Jacky

[The drawing above is by Diane Jacky and may not be used or duplicated without written permission by the artist.]

Standard For Ringneck Dove
adopted by the American Dove Association

There are several things to be considered in judging doves. The dove can be extremely tame. Its only means of defense is to try to escape from what it may consider as harmful, and will struggle to accomplish it. It is a well known fact that the wild dove can and will molt a lot of feathers instantly and try to slip from its captor’s hands, leaving him with a handful of feathers. This may also happen with the domestic dove, tame or not. So, it is suggested, DO NOT handle them anymore then necessary.

Always move slowly about to catch the bird. A fast move disturbs the entire group and it becomes more difficult to handle any of them. Likewise, wearing bright clothing will have a similar effect.

This standard is offered with a viewpoint as a guide to judge all Ringneck Doves (Streptopelia risoria)1 and is not to be construed as universal for all doves.

General Conditions: Since the dove by its very nature, is a fast flyer, it should have, when at rest on a perch or floor, a racy, streamlined and alert look to its carriage and body. Feathering should be smooth and tight over the entire body. Feet and legs should be free of feathering, clean and the skin shiny and bright. A healthy bird never sits hunched up, eyes closed and feathers rumpled. The body should be firm and solid.

Posture: The stance should be roughly at a forty-five degree angle when the bird is standing quietly and not crouching. In this position the dove should be standing approximately six inches high and about ten to eleven inches long, from beak tip to the end of the tail. The tail may touch the door of the judging coop.

Head: It should be a little long rather than short but not flat-headed, but with a smooth round curve. There should be a gradual break at the beak and graceful curve to the top of the head, then a graceful curve down the back neckline with no protruding feathers; with the exception of the Tufted & Crested. The throat down thru the belly should have a smooth and continual curve.

Eyes: These may vary in color according to the color marking of the bird. Example: the Fawn will have orange eyes, the White, orange with a reddish tint, the Pied will have black eyes, often called "bull" eyes. The Wild Type will have red-orange eyes sometimes darker than Fawn. True Albinos will have pink eyes. All (Ringneck) doves have a very fine slate-colored eye cere. The location of the eye should be very near the center of the head.

Beak: It should be long, short being undesirable, and even with the eye. Fawn doves will have a very dark beak, Wild Type almost black, Peach lighter, and White will have a flesh colored beak, while the Pied will have a light colored beak with a dark stain on the tip. There should be very little wattle protrusion on the beak of any dove.

Neck: A shorter neck is more desirable than a long, rangy one, tapering from the body to the head in a shallow, smooth curve. No frill feathers on the nape of the neck. On the Ringneck dove, the ring should start right below the eye and continue around the back of the neck to just below the other eye. On all colored doves this ring should be bordered by a fine line of white feathers. Some White doves will also show a semblance of this ring in white feathers which may be somewhat at variation with the smooth pattern of the rest of the neck feathering.

Body: The body should be up to ten or eleven inches in length overall from the beak tip to the end of the tail, giving a long look rather than short. The widest part of the body should be across the wing butts, gracefully tapering to one feather width in the tail. There should be no bulging in the chest area, no ~ill feathers, no wing butts protruding to break the smooth general curving of any part of the body conformation. In general the body should be well proportioned and nicely streamlined to present a pleasing appearance to the eye. The birds should be fully feathered and free of vermin, dirt and feather lice. Feathers should be tight and close to the body. Care must be used in handling the bird to avoid feather loss and damage. Color of feathers to be in accordance with the accepted standard.

Wings: Wings should be closely folded against the body with the coverts well over-lapping the back and no sideboards sticking up to mar the smooth covering on the back. The wing, when out-stretched should not be pointed but should be slightly rounded at the extreme end. When it is folded against the body, the wing tip should be approximately two inches from the end of the tail and not drag below it. Flight feathers should be at least ten on each wing, after a full molt.

Legs: Legs should be short and sturdy, bright red in color and free of any feathers or signs of leg mites. When the bird stands at ease, the feet should be slightly extended forward as if ready to take off. From the side view, the legs should be parallel.

Rump: This should be almost straight with no hump to mar the smooth line of the body contour from the nape of the neck to the end of the tail.

Tail: It should have twelve strong feathers, extending beyond the wing tips by two or three inches. Split tails are not desirable.

Silky: The body of the Silky dove is like any dove of the Ringneck variety, the only difference being the feathering and that sideboards are acceptable. The inner web of the feather is connected to the feather shaft, but the outer web is not, causing the Silky effect.

In order to clarify designations for the various colors, the American Dove Association recommends the following classifications for all Ringneck doves as guidelines to use for judging doves.

Wild (1952)

Cream (1986)

Frosty (1989)

Tangerine Pied (1994)

Fawn (1955)

Bull-eye White (1955)

Orange Whiteback (1989)

Orange Neck (1994)


Orange Pearled (1986)

Orange Chinmoy (1991)

Violet Neck (1994)

Peach (1955)

Tangerine Pearled (1986)

Orange Pied (1991)

Lt Frosty (1994)

Rosy (1955)

Wild Pied

Ash (1992)

Frosty Ash Pearled (1993)

Ivory (1966)

Peach Pied

Dark Ivory (1993)

Frosty Ice (1994)

Albino (1967)

Fawn Pied (1955)

Pink (1993)

Dk Frosty (1995)

Tangerine (1986)

Rosy Pied

Pink Pied (1993)

Tangerine Whiteback (1995)

Orange (1986)

Cream Pied (1986)

Pink Pearled (1993)

Apricot (1997)

Roan (2001)


Sunkist (2002)

All the above colors may also be in the Silky, Tufted & Crested varieties

1 J. Pire 8/2004; "the following comments are only a suggestion & in no way alter the above standards already adopted by the ADA. Do not use my comments & interject them as the ADA’s Standards, they are just mentioned here to inform the fancier that there can be variations to the already described and accepted descriptions for the Ringneck Dove."

"With the advent of new colors & combinations of the old & new colors the following may be different then what is stated in the above Standard. The accepted & written descriptions are quite vague & updated descriptions are warranted."

"The body colorations of any mutant; eye (iris) coloration; legs & feet coloration; in the description of the neck ring, many of the newer mutants do not have the accepted description (see NECK); bill/beak coloration – such as Pied (can be from solid light to solid dark); as well as other facets can be of varying degrees of coloration/shade.