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 Jules - another Janssen
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I have written about the world famous Janssen Bros of Arendonk but there was also another fancier of the same surname called Jules Janssen whose contribution to the sport of pigeon racing was outstanding. Jules Janssen from Rue Seutin 6, Schaerbeek, Belgium once held the position of the Minister of Finance in the Belgium Government and was in his day reputed to be the 'Father of the Sport' in his native country. At least he was one of its founding fathers.

To the older generation of fanciers this particular Janssen would have been well known especially in these islands and the English speaking pigeon world through the exploits of the stud of the late T.Buck and the world famous 'Theatre Lofts' of Jack Lovell. The Buck 'Janssens' as some referred to them were winners of
countless prizes in Fed, Combine and Open competition and Jack Lovell of London was noted to have received numerous expressions of thanks and congratulations from fanciers world wide arising from the exploits of his pigeons especially of the Jules Janssen bloodlines. In fact there are many outstanding
strains who have had Jules Janssen bloodlines at their foundations including the Janssens of Arendonk. (The latter family were not related to this maestro of the art of breeding). In relation to the base of the Arendonk family some authorities imply that the Janssen Bros and especially their father was somewhat secretive about the pigeons used. This may have been unintentional but there are those who contend that Jules Janssen was a source if not the full source of their strains base. Suggesting that sharing the same surname of an then famous fancier would have seen the Arendonk family making contact with Jules Janssen.

The strain under focus was of the Brussels type of the long distance racing pigeon which tended towards being large, blue and chequered in colour, and was descended from the Wegge strain. Jules Janssen patiently created his strain after he had received some pigeons from Karel Wegge. He had been helping Wegge for sometime to look after his pigeons and when he decided to have a loft of his own the Wegges were an obvious choice.

In due course his name became famous especially as a breeder of marvellous stock and from throughout his native country his bloodlines were sought by hundreds of the fancy. T. Buck had a stud book of Jules Janssen dating from 1893 which he presented to Jack Lovell and in it is revealed the names of many founding fathers and great exponents of the sport who had received birds from Jules Janssen namely Vandevelde, Gits, Delbar, Grooter, Van der Espt and Jurion. Also there are Delmotte, Carpentier, Gallez, Vekeman, Pittevoil and Coopman. The brothers Cattrysse family also carried their bloodlines via the Vandeveldes and in due course the following strains were helped by the Jules Janssens namely Havenith, Sion, Bricoux, Tremmery and Stassart. Of course there are others but the sample provided should confirm that this was a pivotal strain in the sport of pigeon breeding and racing.

In Britain it is opined that the Jules Janssens lie at the base of or influenced the development of the Kenyons via the black pieds of the Thorogoods. They are also said to have been used by the great English national flyer Marriott via T. Buck and there is a story by Jack Lovell in which it is related that N. Barker got in a red stray cock of Janssens which he was allowed to keep, bred good birds off it before gifting it to J.W. Logan who was of the opinion that it was his best breeder. Yes, as well as Logan there were many other lofts in these islands who housed the Janssens for Jules breeding skills helped to develop the sport at its infancy and beyond.

In conclusion, Jules Janssen warrants a special place in this series because of his contribution to the sport of pigeon racing, especially the genetic contribution which is to be found at the base of many outstanding strains of the fancy.

Liam O Comain  -
by: Liam O Comain

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