The Russian Singer canary is the result of 300 years of breeding in Russia after being brought from Tyrol, Germany in the 1700's. Prior to being introduced to the German Tyrol Canary, Russians kept wild native song birds in cages such as Siskin, Woodlarks, Buntings, Linnets, Tits, Warblers, and Goldfinches. They were thrilled when they realized that their new canaries were mimicking the songs of the local wild birds. Selection was carried out according to birds abilities to mimic, as well as their pitch and voice timbre coloration. The song of the Bunting was used more than any other to train the canaries to sing and the Russian canary became known as the Bunting Tuner.
In the nineteenth century, breeding of the Russian canary began to develop quickly, and in some areas even became a source of income for the population. The peasants of villages who did not receive a piece of land and therefore engaged in various crafts, managed so well to establish breeding canaries that the sale of these birds for several decades gave them substantial financial support. Taverns often held competitions, bringing lovers of the birds together to discuss the pros and cons of different bird's songs. Song contests were organized, and the areas of Pavlovo-on-Oka, Nizhniy Novgorod, and Petersburg became hot beds of breeding and showing for the Russian Singer.
In an effort to improve the song of their birds, to make it softer and more tender, breeders began a systematic selection of the most melodious birds. At the same time they began using different methods of song training. They removed all the most loud and sharp sounds, and perfected the most gentle, melodic, and high songs. Most breeders used wild birds as teachers for their birds such as ovsyanok, tits, oatmeal, yul, sandpipers and many other songbirds. Only the nightingale is not used to teach young Russian Singers. It's considered to be too loud and sharp. Many breeders also used special flutes, whistles, organs, and other musical instruments.
Moscow gradually began to hold competitions of a nationwide scale filled with out of town breeders and fans. Breeders from other cities often had a different take on the Russian Singer song, a different set of tours. From time to time the interests of fans of a particular tour or song begin to collide, and as a result the scale of assessment of the song has evolved.
The Russian Singer was eventually brought to North America within the last ten years, but is still fairly unknown.