The History of the South African racing pigeon.

Two South African strains Although South Africa is a young country when compared with the Continent, the sport of pigeon racing has been practised here since early days, dating back to the turn of the century.

The History of the South African racing pigeon
The first pigeons used for racing were from English origin and strains  like Barker and Logan were common among fanciers. Further importations included strains of Belgium origin, but which have been imported through English lofts and strains trom English fanciers who had themselves imported Belgium pigeons into England.
After World War I more importations into South Africa were made, and at this time some of Belgium's latest strains came into the country. These were mainly pigeons of the Grooters, Bricoux, Gits, Van de Velde and Stassart culture. Interest in the sport now gained momentum in South Africa, and thus many more people became involved in this most fascinating of sports. These were the days shortly before World War II in which the  sport was growing fast.
At this time many people were emigrating from countries on the Continent to South Africa and among these was a pigeon fancier from Belgium by the name of Frans Putterie.
The late Frans Putterie was an expert diamond cutter and cigar manufacturer, but above all he was an outstanding pigeon fancier.
He came to South Africa in 1932, after having been club champion in an Antwerp club, and settled at Kimberley, the diamond city, as a cigar manufacturer.
He soon discovered that he could also race pigeons in South Africa  and so it came about that he imported twelve pigeons from his home town of Antwerp in Belgium. These pigeons came to South Africa in 1937. Few fanciers who saw the birds liked them whilst even fewer ever realised that these pigeons were destined to cause a major revolution in pigeon racing in South Africa.
One of the twelve pigeons disappeared or died before she could breed a youngster in South Africa. She was a Blue Chequer hen Belg 37 6509034 from the Frans Cools loft.

The other birds were as follows :
6509032 37 Blue chequer pied cock from the lofts of Frans Cools, strain Vincent Marien.
6526785 37 Blue chequer white speckled hen from the lofts of Frans Cools, strain August Remael.
6512546 36 Blue cock from lofts and strain Alphons van Engela.
6512523 36 Blue hen from lofts and strain Alphons van Engela.
6512503 36 Blue cock from lofts and strain Alphons van Engela.
6512513 36 Blue hen from lofts and strain Alphons van Engela.
6514024 37 Blue chequer cock from lofts and strain Alphonse Lambrechts.
6509014 34 Blue chequer hen from lofts and strain Alphonse Lambrechts.
6514032 37 Dark chequer cock from lofts of Jos de Bot, strain Alphonse Lambrechts.
6500212 36 Dark chequer hen from lofts and strain Alphonse Lambrechts.
6509008 37 Blue chequer cock from lofts and strain Frans Cools.
6509034 37 Blue chequer hen from lofts and strain Frans Cools.

Mr. Putterie mated the pigeons during November 1937 and bred some youngsters.

In Kimberley the backyards of most properties were closed off with galvanised iron sheets and Mr. Putterie's lofts were erected against such an iron fence. A small lane separated the stands behind the back yards and this lane was used for deliveries and the removal of rubbish.
Unfortunately this lane also enabled some schoolboys to remove a sheet of Iron from the back of the Putterie loft and, as a result of this, five of the imported hens were either stolen or simply escaped from the lofts, over a period of four months, early in 1938.
At this stage 17 youngsters had been bred from them. Towards the end of 1939 Mr. Putterie sent all his pigeons, amounting to about eighteen pairs, to Mr. Jack Waddington of Johannesburg and requested him to sell the birds for him. He himself moved to Johannesburg in 1940,
only to discover that nobody liked or was prepared to buy his pigeons. They were of a type unknown to fanciers here and did not resemble the well-known English pigeons which the fanciers knew and had raced until that time.
Mr. Putterie settled in Johannesburg and bred another set of youngsters in 1941, which he raced in 1942. This was the most shocking season for his fellow club members, since he won eleven out of the club's fourteen races and came second in the other three, not to mention the other positions which he took.
This was the start of a revolution in the pigeon racing sport and soon other fanciers realised that their pigeons were outclassed. Other fanciers began acquiring birds from him, and whenever these were raced, the old strains were beaten and outclassed. Through the years these pigeons have been mated together, and a family or strain of pigeons has developed which South African fanciers know as the old Putteries.
Encouraged by his tremendous success, Mr. Putterie made further importations after the war, but unfortunately these were not as great a success as the 1937 importations. The 1937 pigeons were crossed among themselves and even though Mr. Putterie would never entertain the idea that he has, in fact, bred a family of pigeons and created a strain of his own, this has in fact been the case.
The birds imported in 1937 could count amongst them the finest pigeons of Mr. Putterie's old club members in Antwerp. Pigeons of the same origin were unobtainable in Belgium after the war. It is known that the entire van Engela loft was wiped out by a bomb during the war.
Through distribution to various lofts, fanciers have again reached a status quo in as much that they all more or less have the same type of
pigeon. On the Witwatersrand or Reef area and Pretoria, where the greatest concentration of pigeon fanciers is found, most lofts consist of pigeons which still have a great percentage of Putterie blood in them.
The Putterie birds have retained their supremacy and have dominated racing in most clubs from 1942 up to the present day. Another great importation of pigeons was made during the early nineteen fifties when a stout supporter of the Putterie pigeons, the late F.J. (Sonny) Kippen, on the advice of the late Frans Putterie, bought two pigeons at the sale of the late Louis Vermeijen in Antwerp, Belgium.
These two pigeons were the "Slimme" cock Belg 46 6336858, a great racer in Belgium and an even greater stock pigeon, and the "Boerin" hen Belg 48 6117327, also a great racer in the Vermeijen lofts.
They were mated and their offspring were crossed with a line of the Putterie family. This crossing had almost the same impact as the introduction for the first time of the Putterie pigeons. The new strain fiew exceptionally well and their offspring, in turn, produced many outstanding racers and stock pigeons.
The two families of pigeons can be regarded as the most important families of pigeons in South Africa and although thousands of other pigeons have subsequently been imported, they have not yet been abie  to produce better pigeons or even pigeons in the same class as the pigeons imported by the late Frans Putterie or the two Vermeijen pigeons imported by the late F.J. Sonny Kippen.
The Putteries and Slimme Putteries, as they are known, have, in the past thirty and twenty years respectively, won the most races and prize  money in South Africa and even today they account for between eighty and ninety percent of the winners.
They have succeeded in winning races from the shortest distances to the longest and their progeny will doubtless continue to win for many years to come. Fanciers who still have them should appreciate that they possess some of the best blood in the world and thus they should be careful not to cross them with too many other strains.
This blood has been distributed so widely that one can still benefit from a cross with another fancier's pigeons of the same origin, rather than by bringing in a new cross of a different origin.
The most outstanding characteristics and qualities of the Putteries are that they are a type on their own. They were, and still are, inclined to be on the big side, although fanciers have, over the years, tried to breed a smaller pigeon. Thus today the Putteries are of average size,
though one still comes across some larger specimens.
They have a superb silk-like feathering and outstanding eyes. Eyes in which the colouring is outstanding and, which one sometimes find difficult to describe except that it radiates vitality. Among them are some of the best Pearl and Chestnut eyes I have ever seen with all the variations in between and many of them display a very prominent full eye sign circle.
The Putterie pigeons give one the impression of having short wings yet they are abie to fly any distance. Around the loft they exercise at high speed and anyone who has seen a pack of Putterie pigeons exercising will never forget the sight. This is one reason why so many fanciers have succeeded with these birds since they are easy to train and reach top form very quickly. Fanciers who know the Putteries become spoiled by them and therefore, do not easily change to another strain,
let alone use it for crossing with their Putteries.
The Putterie pigeons have, over the years, proved that they prefer to be flown on the natural system and fanciers who have made use of this characteristic have been most successful. The Slimme crosses have proved to be a little harder than the pure Putteries and have excelled in the harder and more difficult races. In
type, they look even worse than the Putteries and those Slimme pigeons which were bred pure, some fanciers have tried to keep them pure by mating full brother and sister together for up to five consecutive generations, but have succeeded in breeding pigeons which nobody likes.
These birds are inclined to be deep-keeled and one can not feel much muscle on them. The bone structure is strong, the feathering soft and they all have a distinct yellowish-coloured eye, with little eye sign, but a very small pupil. They are not raced, when bred this way, but are again used for crossing with the old Putteries.
The first crosses full generation have flown well, but many fanciers have had better results with the back crosses, where only twenty-five percent Slimme blood was retained.
Through the late F.J. Sonny Kippen, one pigeon out of the Putterie family has become immortal, being known throughout the country. She was a dark chequer hen TRPF 41 1105 known as Lady Dudley. She was bred from a pure van Engela cock and the Dark Cheq Lambrechts hen, a small hen, but an outstanding racer and an even greater producer, who won two races in one season and was 2nd Federation on both occasions.
She was the mother of many outstanding, stock pigeons.
The best known were "The Churchill" cock, "The Boxer" cock and "475". "475" in turn bred the Queen hen for Sonny Kippen who became the motehr of the hens that were mated to the Slimmes such as "Lorraine" and "Shirley". These latter actually produced the Slimme Putterie strain as it is known today.
Mr. F.J. Kippen has spent a fortune on importing pigeons, but although he has imported quite a lot of pigeons only the one pair from an outstanding Antwerp family of pigeons, has proved to be of equal quality to the Putterie pigeons.

Three car competitions in Pretoria - 1971 - 1972-1973
The car Competition in the Pretoria Racing Pigeon Union has been flown on a points system over a series of six or eight races, which are well spread over the programme. These six or eight races usually include short, middie and long distance races, but never included one of the two marathon races Leeu Gamka 960 km or Matjiesfontein 1100 km.
Each fancier participating in the competition is allowed to nominate two or three pigeons in each of the car races and only his first nominated pigeon clocked counts for points. Points are given on the basis of the winner receiving fifty and the fiftieth pigeon only one point.
In the 1971 competition it was run on a three bird nomination, and on a two bird nomination in the 1972 competition, it was again a three bird nomination for 1973.
This basis of competition has the advantage that the fancier must fly consistently throughout the season to win uniike in other organisations which also have organised car races, but where the winner is determined  by the result of one single race, the geographical position of the loft and the influence of the wind is to a great extent eliminated over the series.