Aller au contenu principal

The history of pigeon racing in Belgium: some of the most important original Belgian lofts

Belgium has had quite a few very successful pigeon fanciers before the war of ’40-’45, especially in the period between 1925 and 1939. Before that period we also had the famous Karel Wegge, who died in 1897.

We give you a list of some great champions, which is not in chronological order:

       K. Wegge, Lier
       A. Hansenne, Verviers
       Theo Vandevelde, Oudenburg
       Delombaerde, Waregem
       Biebuyck, Olsene
       R. Benoot, Olsene
       Dr. Bricoux, Jolimont
       Caramin, Jolimont
       Maurice Delbar, Ronse
       Charles Vander Espt, Oostende
       Oscar Devriendt, Moere
       Nestor Tremmery, Oudenburg
       Aloïs Stichelbaut, Lauwe
       Julien Commine, Leers Nord
       O. Degandt, Dottenijs
       Gebr. Brunin, Dottenijs
       Edw. Ranson, Spiere
       E v. Havenith, Hoboken
       Jos. Hermans, Luithagen

After the Second World War pigeon racing became very popular in Belgium: we had about 200,000 fanciers in 1949-50. That number dropped to about 125,000 in 1973. In this article we will not discuss the reason for this sharp decline in pigeon fanciers. It is actually surprising to see that pigeon racing has gained prestige in the last fifteen years.

The achievements of the Belgian pigeon fanciers in national and international races between 600 and 1,100km have significantly increased the value of the average Belgian racing pigeon. New methods and increased knowledge to make pigeons fly better and faster have further improved the growing reputation of the Belgian pigeon. Today fanciers at every level pay a lot more attention to the origins of a pigeon before they decide to introduce it in their own breed.

A lot of young people who decide to become pigeon fanciers have the misconception that a pigeon is bred from one single pigeon. It seems they cannot understand that a pigeon, whether or not a champion, is always bred from two parents: a cock and a hen. The two parents were in turn bred from a cock and a hen as well, etc. When we take a look at the origins of a particular pigeon we notice that it is often a mixture of different bloodlines and pigeon breeds, as we call it. We have always had the belief that the best Belgian pigeons come from crossings of pigeons that stem from different origins. This has always been the case, no matter what some say about blood related breeding.

On the following pages we give you the pedigrees of several big champions. We agree that there are plenty more pedigrees that could be added to this list but we decided to focus on the pigeons that have shaped the most important lofts in the period between 1945 and 1971. For some pigeon breeds we did not compose a pedigree (for instance Huyskens – Van Riel) but we have included the lists of achievements of some of their most successful pigeons. Huyskens – Van Riel bred their champions from crossings of different pigeon breeds and apparently the pigeons of Jos Vandenbosch from Berlaar (who died in 1970) were often used. The truth is that every Belgian pigeon champion (in the past and today) who is willing to give the origins of his best pigeons is not afraid to show the pedigrees: he will likely be proud of the fact that his pigeon was bred from either a famous or an unknown loft. He is honest with his fellow fanciers and he tells them where his pigeon breed comes from. He also allows other fanciers to try the same combinations and crossings.

A pedigree is important for different reasons but you should always keep in mind that there is more to it than just breeding pigeons from well known names. I think you get the point. A pigeon with an excellent pedigree has no value as long as it does not have the qualities to become a good addition for your team of breeders. It is a good idea to breed pigeons from top class birds with excellent origins. However you should not breed from these pigeons if they are past their best, suffer from a disease, have weak muscles or hard feathers. You will probably notice that the biggest champions have composed their breed with the descendants of famous pigeons. There is some truth in the idea that the most famous Belgian pigeon breeds have certain similarities with one and the same pigeon family.

In the pedigrees below you should not focus too much on the unknown names, because not that many famous pigeons are born within a generation, whose descendants breed equally famous champions. There are a lot of good pigeons but only a few of them are real champions. There are thousands of lofts who have never housed a champion. Good pigeons are a combination of good quality and good origins. The real champions come from that same combination but they have a unique feature: they are able to perform outstandingly well in races and they can breed even better descendants in the breeding loft.

The following pedigrees are the result of a lot of hard work. As we said, we could have added tens of other pedigrees as well. We continue to believe that the Belgian racing pigeon stems from one and the same family. We also think that most of you could come to the same conclusion. This list of pedigrees is an homage to all Belgian pigeon fanciers, each of which has helped us to turn the Belgian racing pigeon into a famous and well respected creature.

Le Concentré was a pigeon of Georges Fabry from Liège

The late Georges Fabry played an important role in the history of the 
Belgian racing pigeon. Victor is the worthy successor of his famous father.

The wonderful lofts of Fabry in Liège.
Georges (+) and Victor Fabry - Liège