Janssens of Arendonk
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strain which is the main focus of this article
is what legends are made of, for in the sport
of pigeon racing the Janssens' reputation has
been confirmed by the Fancy throughout the world.
base or core founder of the strain was Hendrik
'Drikske' Janssen who was born in 1872, and following
his marriage to Pauline he fathered Louis, Adriaan,
Charel and Jef (the main pigeon men) as well as
two girls and three other boys. An exceptional
family unit and by all accounts a humble family
who loved their God and the birds, who in their
belief symbolized Him. If the family had not kept
pigeons the little village huddled in the north
of Belgium, Arendonk, would not have been known
to anyone, whereas today it owes its reputation
to an exceptional family of pigeon fanciers.
the father, had his first pigeons in 1886 and
was an exceptional pigeon man who laid the basis
of this unique strain.The family was based upon
four lines which were carefully inbred and then
tested on health, performance, beauty and quality.
He then moulded pigeons from the few sources based
upon the above criteria which saw him owning many
good pigeons between 1908 and 1914.One was the
famous 'Het Blauwtje' who won 20 races. When it
was required, crosses were brought into the strain
to keep it right, for example birds from the Ceulemans
lofts were brought in after 1919. This was to
be followed by pigeons of the Schoeters family
prior to 1932 and then in 1960 the 'Half Fabry'
entered their breeding stock.
racers, the Janssens favoured the short and middle
distances although they were successful from the
few long distant races which they entered.They
were opposed to the longer races because of too
many risks to the pigeons and because they did
not like losing birds. When the humble Henri died
in 1947 it was a heavy blow to a very close knit
family, but Pauline headed the family until her
death in 1967. Pauline was known far and wide
for her kindness and compassion to all whom she
met and the children loved her deeply. In spite
of their sadness however, the family got on with
life and the brothers continued the work of their
father. They divided the management amongst themselves
with Adriaan taking care of the nestbirds and
and Louis took care of the breeders. The cleaning
of the nestbowls and the basketing was left to
Jef, and Charel took care of the widowers.While
alive Henri had no time for widowhood but after
his death the brothers installed the method.
well over 75 Years the Janssen Bothers won 1st
prizes and many others. >From 1935 to 1939
they won over 60 x 1sts, and when we look at the
years from 1945 to 1951 they won 80 x 1sts. In
fact in the six years between 1953 and 1958 the
Janssen lofts won 152 x 1sts. From 1976 until
1985 the total of the races won were 31 at distances
between 240 and 350km. So successful were they
that they were suspended for a time from racing
because their birds were too fast.
the '60s and the '70s birds like 'Merckx', 'Geeloger'
and others were born and can still be found in
the pedigrees of successful racers today, as are
others like the later 'Kleine Blauwe' and 'De
Afgekeurde', icons of the sport of pigeon racing
and of a strain which has when crossed given a
lift to the longer distance strains throughout
Europe and the world.
conclude this tribute to the Janssens, I recall
when I was at primary school of being told that
the meek or the humble shall inherit the earth,
and this truth has a relevancy to the Janssen
dynasty of short and middle distance racing pigeons.
Yes, they shall be remembered!
by: Liam O Comain