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Mr. Louis Janssen has passed away

We have learned that the world-famous pigeon fancier Louis Janssen from Arendonk (Belgium) has passed away. Louis died this morning (16 April) at the age of 100. He would have turned 101 on 5 August 2013.

The funeral will be held on 22 April at 11 a.m. in the Onze Lieve Vrouw church in the centre of Arendonk.

The PIPA team and all its visitors wish to extend their deepest condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of Louis. We wish them much strength and courage in these difficult times!

Louis Janssen (photo source: Jarrod Boord - Streamline Media)

Louis Janssen, the last member of the illustrious Janssen pigeon family, has passed away

The death of Louis Jannsen marks the end of a legend. This was probably the greatest success story ever in the long history of pigeon racing!

There is one thing we can all agree on: the Janssen brothers from Arendonk have been the greatest ambassadors of the Belgian racing pigeon worldwide. Fanciers from anywhere in the world have been playing with the famous Janssen pigeons and owe their success to this amazing pigeon breed. There has never been a better pigeon breed than the glorious breed of the brothers from Arendonk. No wonder the loft in Arendonk has turned into a sacred place for many fanciers. Thousands of visitors from all around the globe have paid a visit to the lofts in Schoolstraat 6. The Janssen pigeons were world famous, not only thanks to their own achievements but also thanks to the achievements of thousands of other pigeon fanciers who obtained descendants in Arendonk.

They were mainly successful in the sprint races in the region

Only the brothers knew their pigeons inside out. They knew their pigeon breed like the back of their hand. They knew how to handle their slate blue, clear blue, white-eyed, red-eyed and yellow-eyed pigeons every season again. It was their secret weapon with which they managed to breed a homogenious group of great pigeons year after year. These pigeons have very soft feathers, supple wings and well defined and strong muscles. These pigeons look great and they are generally in great health. These pigeons have everything you need! The Janssen brothers were always limited in space and the number of pigeons that could spend the winter in Arendonk was limited to 80 to 100 birds. In the last few years there were only a few couples left in their loft. Janssen wanted to keep things simple, regardless of their worldwide reputation. They could have grown as much as they wanted but Louis decided not to. He had a few basic values: a small, healthy and good group of great quality. “That is all that matters”, said Louis shortly after he was forced to get rid of his pigeons due to health reasons.

It was not thanks to impressie results in the national long distance races that the Janssen brothers gained their excellent reputation. It was not thanks to a short period in which they dominated the field in the races over 150km that they gained international recognition. Keep in mind that there was no internet back then; there were only a few pigeon magazines that reported about their amazing achievements. However, they knew surprisingly well how to draw the attention to their results. They managed to promote their pigeon breed in the newspapers and many fanciers paid them a visit to have a look at their pigeons or to purchase some of these birds to reinforce their own lofts. Many of these fanciers turned very successful with these birds. Jos Van limpt (aka ‘De Klak) from the nearby town of Reusel, just over the border with The Netherlands, was one of them. Many other fanciers followed in his footsteps. It was only later that fanciers from China, Japan, America and the rest of the world found their way to the lofts in Arendonk. That is when Janssen turned into a world famous pigeon family. They have become world famous thanks to the achievements of thousands of fanciers from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany etc., who obtained pigeons from the Janssen brothers and with which they were able to breed the greatest champions in races of 1,100 and 1,200km.

Arendonk is synonym to pigeon racing, Arendonk is pigeon racing. This is mainly thanks to Louis Janssen and his companions. They have turned Arendonk and the Schoolstraat into a sacred place for many fanciers. People would do anything to obtain one of these precious pigeons. There was a long list of orders… The descendants of the old ‘Geeloog’, ‘Bange’, ‘Scherpe’, ‘Witoger’,  ‘Oude Lichte’, ‘Schone Lichte’, ‘Merckx’, ‘Schouwman’, ‘Raket’, ‘Oude Donkeren’, ‘Oude Vos’, and ‘019’ have conquered the planet; they have turned into iconic Janssen pigeons. They will go down into the history books as illustrous and highly popular pigeons.

The collection of pure sprint racers have turned into a world famous breed. It was partially thanks to the breeding methods based on inbreed and family breeding that these pigeons can be crossed with other lines very easily, without losing their intelligence and their speed. This is what made them so successful in the national long distance races. No one has ever been able to create a bloodline of similar quality. I think we will never see a pigeon breed like this again in the future. Today the achievements and the results of every pigeon are instantly published on the internet and every successful pigeon immediately attracts the attention of wealthy fanciers, especially from abroad. They will not hesitate to purchase our very best pigeons and take them out of their home loft. No one knows if the world famous Janssen brothers would have had the courage to refuse the money and to turn down the offers from rich fanciers as we know them today. Most international fanciers started to take an interest in these pigeons only after they had gained fame in Belgium and in the neighbouring countries Germany and The Netherlands.

Nobody has achieved anything like this! Ludo Claessens came close with his select team of pigeons and his particular vision but a theft put an end to his success story.

Today the Leo Heremans pigeons are probably (almost) in the same class as the Janssen pigeons back then. They are superior in the sprint races (as National Champion KBDB 2010 and 2012), they have a great body and they are easy to cross with other bloodlines, which means they perform very well in the long distance races as well. The big difference is that Leo has been keeping a lot more pigeons in his loft compard to the brothers from Arendonk. In fact Leo will not be able to tweak and improve his pigeon breed for 60 years in a row like the Janssen brothers did!

Louis Janssen was the last member of the most prestigious pigeon family in the world, the Janssen brothers from Arendonk. Pigeon racing in Belgium became world famous thanks to this family and they have promoted Belgium as the birthplace of pigeon racing. We have managed to keep that reputation over the years. Goodbye Louis, thank you for everything!