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Expert distance:中、短距离
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Famous expert’s introduction


The Janssen strain consists of only three families of pigeons plus one single bird, the “Half Fabry” which in itself was half Janssen-Arendonk. The first family was started by the father, Henri Janssen, before World War 1. He obtained pigeons from within his own area, i.e., Arendonk and surrounding districts. He was very particular in his selection and would select and breed from birds that were only the very best. Henri used both cross-breeding and inbreeding methods with pigeons which satisfied his highest standards with regards to looks, performances and natural health. This resulted in a family of pigeons which were far superior to any others. Henri was also closely related to Jules Janssens, the owner of a super family of long distance pigeons that descended from the Wegges. Some sources believe that Henri also blended in selected pigeons from Jules Janssens in forming this early Janssen-Arendonk family. In fact, the Janssen-Arendonk pigeons fall within the Wegge classification of the Belgian strains. Jules Janssen pigeons were imported into Australia many years ago by a number of fanciers, one of them being Charlie Henderson of West Croydon.
In 1919 and again in 1926, crossings were made with the Ceulemans (pronounced Coolmans) pigeons. Fons Janssen, born in 1895, the oldest of the Janssen brothers and lesser known due to the fact that he moved out of the family home and got married, was instrumental in introducing the Ceulemans to the Janssen family. Always in search of something better in order to improve upon their own pigeons, Fons met Ceulemans of Berlaar and was immediately impressed with the quality of his pigeons which were mainly reds and often won races with minutes to spare. Fons returned to Arendonk with the “Vos 1919” which was never raced and was mated to a hen of father Henri’s old family. It became apparent almost immediately that this “Vos” was a golden breeder. A second Ceulemans pigeon, again a red, was introduced in 1926 and the reds of Janssen originate from only these two Ceulemans pigeons. For a number of years red pigeons were regularly produced by the Janssens and the “Wondervoske” and her progeny, the “Bange of 51” and the “Bange of 59” became celebrities on the international scene.
Fons Janssen married in December 1922 and through his job with the excise tax department he was appointed to the town of Baarle Hertog. This is where he met Schoeters (pronounced Shooters) who was a brewer from Herenthout. From 1924 to 1935 Fons raced his Janssen family crossed with the Schoeters with such devastating effects that it turned pigeon flying completely upside down in Baarle Hertog. The Schoeters pigeons were introduced by the brothers of Arendonk around 1936. Schoeters obtained his pigeons from his father Benoit. Benoit Schoeters was said to have been quite a strong competitor in 1875 and is thought to have obtained his pigeons from the legendary Karel Wegge. Another thought is that he obtained his family from Swiggers who rates highly among the developers of the modern racing pigeon and it is thought that Swiggers had Wegge pigeons and also pigeons from Grooters which were partly Wegges. So it can be seen that with this Schoeters blood the Janssen pigeons are connected right back to the forerunners of the modern day racing pigeon, i.e., the Ulens pigeons and the Wegge. Benoit’s son Joseph was to cross the best of his father’s pigeons with that of Mr de Ceulaer of Noorderwijk. At that time De Ceulaer had a dark cock which created a sensation week after week by incredible victories minutes ahead of its competitors. Joseph Schoeters bought a daughter of this cock and in 1928 the dark cock himself spent a few weeks in Schoeter’s loft in order to produce a couple of eggs. The descendants of these pigeons combined extremely well with Schoeter’s existing family and he achieved glorious fame with his “Bordeaux hen” when she won from this racepoint by two hours. Schoeters never kept more than 40 pigeons and was always on the winning lists. This attracted the attention of Fons Janssen from Arendonk. The Janssens purchased several pigeons from Schoeters including a daughter of the “Aap”. The legendary “Aap” was bred from the “De Ceulaer cock” and a sister of the “Bordeaux hen”. The father of the “Bordeaux hen” was an old cock that Schoeters spotted in a basket which contained birds destined for slaughter at the poulterer’s. Schoeters took a liking to the bird and bought him for a few francs thus saving him from certain death. He mated him to one of his best hens, the cross took effect and the rest is history.
One other Schoeters pigeon which played such an important role in the Janssen pigeons was the “Schalieblauwe”. He was not purchased from Schoeters himself but from Cas Goossens who was Schoeters closest friend and adviser. He was bred by Goossens from two Schoeters pigeons and was a slatey blue. This is where the slates in the Janssen pigeons originate from. The “Schalieblauwe” of 1932 was to become one of the most famous pigeons in the Janssen strain and would write history at the Arendonk lofts. When purchased from Goossens it was a late bred with five nest flights remaining. It was decided to home the bird and then race it. It was lost in an early training toss but as luck would have it, it was reported 100 kms away in St. Niklaas and brother Jeff went off to collect it. It was this “Schalieblauwe” which would make the Janssen brothers of Arendonk the most famous pigeon fanciers of all time. He sired the “Rappe”, a pigeon who won a tremendous number of races. He also sired the “Oude Witoger of 33” which was almost as good. He was the great grandfather of the legendary “Wondervoske of 45” which in turn became the grandmother of the “Bange of 51” whose blood runs through numerous miracle pigeons like the “Oude Merckx”, “Oude Scherpe”, the “019”, the “Young Merckx of 70” etc., etc. The famous “Blauwe of 48” also descends from the “Schalieblauwe”. Descendants of the “Schalieblauwe of 32” were also to make Jos De Klak the most famous fancier in the history of Dutch pigeon racing.                      
It is said that the Janssens of Arendonk were probably the most successful fanciers with the Schoeters family. However, others such as Rene Maes and de Kepper Deurne also had great success with the Schoeters pigeons. In fact Rene Maes lived in the same village and was as wealthy as Schoeters and was his greatest opponent. Schoeters raced his pigeons so well that in fact he only had to compete with Maes. Schoeters and Maes also exchanged pigeons. Tournier purchased pigeons direct from Maes and kept it fairly quiet before the death of Rene Maes. Just after World War II, Tournier purchased pigeons from the Janssens in Arendonk and Fons Janssen at Beerse. Tournier became a famous champion in the middle to long distance events and became particularly well known in Holland. Fanciers of the calibre of Van den Hoek, Postma, Peppermans and Braakhuis owe much of their fame to Tournier.
In 1960 the “Halve Fabry” was introduced from Victor Fabry and was a good racer at the Arendonk loft as well as a top class breeder. The “Halve Fabry” sired the “Oude Witoger” winner of 10 x 1st prizes, who in turn sired numerous excellent racers with perhaps the “Oude Raket” the best. The sire of the “Halve Fabry” was the “Trage”, a son of the “Blauwe of 48”. The “Trage” was mated to a Fabry hen whose grandsire was “Porthos”, winner of 2,000,000 Bfrs in 1952 and 1953, a record at that time.
That gives a very brief picture on the founding of the Janssen strain, a strain that has produced continuous success now for close to 100 years. Literally thousands of champions have come and gone in that time but the Janssen strain has ruled supreme. Countless numbers of champions, world wide, have completely owed their status to the introduction of the Janssen-Arendonk pigeons to their lofts, either direct from the brothers themselves or via other successful fanciers who have gone to the source. The pigeon racing world will never see the like of them again. It all started as far back as 1886 when father Henri already had his first pigeons. He was a gifted breeder who aimed at a special type and bred consciously towards it. He died in 1949. His eldest son Fons was the procurer. If he thought the Janssens needed a cross and he knew of better birds elsewhere he was listened to and his advice was often followed. He was the one who discovered and introduced the Ceulemans Schoeters birds to the Janssens. Frans Janssen, like Fons was a lesser known brother because he also married and left home. Frans lived in Arendonk and raced his pigeons with great success until just before his death. Frans was the second oldest brother, also had very good birds from Van Craendonk. Louis Van Loon claimed that his early great successes were achieved with Janssens pigeons and according to the brothers they came from Frans. Jef Janssen, the third brother was not a real pigeon man. He mainly done the basketing of the pigeons and took the clocks to the clubhouse. He never married. Vic Janssen was the fourth brother and he never cared much for the pigeons either. He never married and was more interested in small birds and football. Irma was the unmarried sister who cared for the brothers like a mother until she died in 1980. Adriaan Janssen was the silent one but when he had something to say he was listened to and was rarely proven wrong. Aadrian took care of the pigeons and had much to do with the breeding side of things. It could be said that Adriaan had a “photographic memory” when it came to pedigrees and he kept them all in his head. Adriaan died in 1981 and was sadly missed. He never seemed to recover after the loss of Irma one year earlier. Franz died a year or so after Adriaan in 1982. Marie Janssen was another daughter of Henri and she married Tist Eyssen who was a pigeon fancier all his life and competed with the same Janssen pigeons. He was a great competitor for quite some time but found it difficult to continue this form. Naturally his pigeons were in great demand and it is possible that he sold too many and lost the basic principal bloodlines. Louis Janssen was the sixth brother and he was the book keeper. He kept the breeding records, he recorded the race results and he kept the ledger on the profits and expenses. He also recorded the names and addresses of the buyers of every pigeon that left the loft. He also never married and is the only surviving brother today. Charel Janssen was the seventh and youngest brother. He was born in 1913. He was a real pigeon fanatic and pigeons have ruled his entire life. For a while he raced with his brother Franz. It was mainly Adriaan and Charel who done most of the looking after of the pigeons and after Adriaan died he had to do most of it on his own. He cleaned the loft many times each day, vacuumed, and scrubbed out weekly. He regularly listened to the weather forecasts to determine if the weather would be good enough to release the pigeons. Charel passed away in 1996 in his 83rd year.
To buy a bird today direct out of the Janssen lofts would cost a minimum of US$3,000.00 and up to 20 times that amount each has been offered for certain proven producing birds, and refused. There is a very lengthy waiting list and although no racing has been done for many years now, still no more than the normal numbers are being bred each year. The five unmarried brothers and sister of number 6 Schoolstraat have never owned a motor car but their racing successes and sales of pigeons over the years have left a very wealthy estate as they own 150 homes in the district. Virtually all money for pigeons sold in recent years has been donated to charity. There appears to be no younger members of the Janssen family to take over the reins and continue the tradition once Louis’ time is up and that is very understandable as five of the brothers and one sister never married. Louis is looked after by a niece who comes in and cooks his meals. It will be very interesting when the time comes to disperse the remaining pigeons in the loft of Janssens. Will they be auctioned off one by one? Or will the likes of Eijerkamp, Massarella, De Scheemaecker and Hermes become engaged in a bidding war to buy the whole lot?
To the Janssens, pigeon weather is a good clear day with a head wind that keeps the velocity down to around the 1100 mpm mark. In these conditions they are practically unbeatable, although they have been known to win at velocities well above 1800. While they believe in fine weather a good sprinter should be among the leading pigeons over a distance of about 600 km, they rarely raced distances in excess of 500 km as they considered racing pigeons past this distance is very risky and a risk they do not wish to take. In 1937 Henri and his sons entered two pigeons in a race from Chateauroux, a distance of 565 kms. They scored 100% by winning prizes with both birds but as far as it is known, this was the first, as well as the last time, the Janssens sent their top class pigeons that far away. Many a fancier with good birds has been eliminated for a long time due to a long distance race in bad weather. Having the ability to breed so many super birds over a long period of time, they did not give long distance racing a chance to ruin their colony in one foul stroke. Hence the risk of losing basic pigeons or of being ruined for years by a smash, was diminished. They did not advocate overnight races as the risks are very high and the luck factor plays a prominent part. Many long distance flyers world wide have had great success with the Janssen pigeons and often returned to buy reinforcements after a bad long distance race has taken toll on their stars.

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