Harald Zabel, daughter Iris & Bernhard Kanz (Oberhausen, DE) are among the best fanciers in the Ruhr region!

They live in the Ruhr region, which is still the region with the highest number of pigeon fanciers in Germany. Unsurprisingly the number of fanciers has gone down here as well but there is still quite a high number of pigeon lofts in this area, and one of these lofts is the home of the pigeon loft of Harals Zabel, his daughter Iris and Bernhard Kanz.


Harald Zabel and Bernhard Kanz

This has been the name of this pigeon family for a few years now, and the least we can say is that their loft is home to some of the finest bloodlines available. Harald has been highly successful with pigeons of the Janssen brothers for many years, and these pigeons were obtained directly in Arendonk. He also invested in pigeons of Van Boxtel, De Klak and Flaes. He wanted nothing but the best. He managed to win countless championship titles, and his top class pigeons have won many first prizes. The Janssen breed alone was of course not sufficient in the long run, which is why he introduced pigeons of Vandenabeele ans Soontjes later on as well. His approach worked out well, as he continued to achieve great results. In fact, it would be impossible to include his many top results in this article.

Harald Zabel used to run an animal feed store but today, at the age of 76, he is enjoying retirement. He could never leave his pigeons behind, and that is why his daughter Iris is now helping him with his favourite hobby. Bernhard Kanz joined the team a few years ago as well; he is now mainly responsible for the caretaking of the pigeons.


The loft of SG Zabel, Daughter & Kanz

His approach: total widowhood!

The Zabel family races pigeons in total widowhood in its most basic form. Hans Zurhöfer developed a new racing approach in the early 1970s, which he wrote a book about called “Die Totale Witwerschaft”. Harald Zabel is now racing his pigeons based on this approach, with a team of about 25 cocks and 25 hens. These hens are all kept together in a hens’ loft, and they are released from this loft. They have to enter the cocks’ loft when they return home, after which they are brought back to the hens’ loft where they are fed. The cocks are released from the cocks’ lofts. This is basically the approach of total widowhood. It is a very simple yet effective approach. It does not require a large group of racing birds, and it allows fanciers to race both the cocks and the hens.

Their most successful racing birds

His current best racing birds are obviously not the same pigeons with which he managed to win so many prizes in his early career. This is a new generation of outstanding pigeons, and we will take a closer look at some of his very best racing birds in recent seasons. We will discuss the pigeons that were particularly successful in the past two seasons, under the name of SG Harald Zabel, daughter Iris and Bernhard Kanz. You will quickly understand that these pigeons have played an important role in recent seasons.

The 3 most successful cocks

We begin with the 03250-11-11, a cock that won 11 prizes in 12 races in 2015. These were mostly top results, and it made him the Best Cock in the RV. In addition, he won 11 prizes in 13 races in 2014, as well as 7 prizes in 8 races in the region.


The DV 03250-11-11 was the best cock in the RV with 11 prizes in 2015

This prize winner has a very interesting pedigree. His sire is 04334-02-506, which can be considered a stock breeder in the Zabel pigeon family; he originates from a son of a First National of Herbots. As you know, this cock won a first national from Bourges in 1987. The grandmother from his mother’s side is NL 96-1036420 of Klak, and Harald Zabel believes you cannot get a better Jansen hen than this one. The dam of the 11 is B 07-6385904, a super class hen of Dr. Marien. No less than 12 youngsters of her are currently kept in Harald Zabel’s breeding loft.

The second best cock in this loft is 03250-13-381. He won 10 prizes in 12 races in 2015, and became 4th Best Cock in the RV. He won 12 prizes in 13 races in 2014, and he won 8 prizes in the region as well.

And how about his pedigree? He originates from B 09-6359742 of Dr. Marien, and his sire is again the 02098-06-400, an outstanding racing bird and breeder of Günther Prange from Meppen. The 400 is a son of the world famous Ringlosen, perhaps the best Prange breeder ever to have existed.

The dam of the 381 is 03250-10-579, a daughter of super class breeder 04334-02-506. This 506 was paired to B 07-6385904 of Dr. Marien. In other words, the 579 is a super class hen that originates from nothing but super class breeders.


The 04334-02-506 is the stock sire in SG Zabel-Kanz

The third cock that deserves a mention is the 03250-10-391, which continues to win prizes even at the age of five. This tells us something about how well the pigeons are looked after in the loft of SG Zabel. Many fanciers fail to win prizes with pigeons that have reached the age of five; we will not make any presumptions about why that is. The 391 won 9 prizes in 12 races in 2015. He also co-winner of the union championship. He won 10 prizes in 13 races in 2014, including a first prize. The sire of the 391 is the cock B 04-6468143 of Dr. Marien, which also originates from the Prange cock 02098-02-474 – a super class racing bird and breeder. The 474 was paired to an original Gerard Koopman hen, the NL 99-1585517, which originated from Zebran x Black Power Lady. The dam of the 391 is the B 07-6102136, another outstanding hen of Dr. Marien.

The 3 most successful hens

When racing in total widowhood the hens often tend to be the strongest, and this is also the case in SG Harald Zabel, Daughter Iris & Bernhard Kanz. Their best hen is 04700-12-396, winner of 12 prizes in 12 races in 2015. She was the best hen in the RV and co-winner of the union championship. She was also co-winner in the championship RV and of the title of 1st Championship RV hens. In addition, she won 11 prizes in 13 races.


The 04700-12-396 is the best hen in the RV in 2015, and co-winner in the Union Championship

Her sire is the B 10-6151442, an original Dr. Marien. This cock is a half brother of the 653 from his mother’s side, 1st Olympiad Pigeon Allround 2007 in Ostend. The dam of the 396 is the B 10-6151417, an original Dr. Marien. Her sire is a son of Ysabele.

The second most successful hen in this team is the one year old 03200-14-320. She won 11 prizes in 12 races and she is the best one year old hen in the RV. She originates from two original Dr. Marien pigeons: her sire is the B 04-6468142, a full brother of the sire of the 03250-10-391. The dam of the 320 is another pigeon of Dr. Marien, the B 11-5169772.


The 03200-14-320 is the best one year old hen of 2015 in the RV, and co-winner in the RV and Union championship

The third hen in our overview is the 04700-12-415, winner of 10 prizes in 12 races. It made her the 3rd best hen in the RV and co-winner of a first prize in the union championship. In addition, she managed to win 10 top prizes in 13 races both in 2013 and 2014.

This is her pedigree: both her sire and her dam come directly from super class breeder 04334-02-506, the son of the 1st National of Herbots. It is worth noting that the dam of the 415, the 03250-10-579, is a full sister of the best racing cock of SG Harald Zabel, Daughter Iris & Bernhard Kanz.

Closing words

Our brief overview of this loft’s best racing birds should give you an idea of what the pigeon family from Oberhausen currently looks like. Only the very best pigeons will get a place in the breeding loft, and this approach leads to stellar results. The descendants of the Herbots pigeon 04334-02-506 are particularly successful here, especially when paired to the pigeons of Dr. Marien.

The 2015 championships

In RV Neumühl (58 lofts):
1st RV Champion with 54 prizes (with a lead of 7 prizes over the 2nd)
1st RV Yearlings' champion with 44 prizes (with a lead of 3 prizes over the 2nd)
1st RV Hens' champion with 51 prizes (a lead of 9 prizes over the 2nd)
1st Champion for the "Die Brieftaube" magazine
1st, 4th, 8th 13th and 14th best cock in the RV
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 8th best hen in the RV
1st, 3rd and 6th best yearling in the RV
4 x 1st prize, 5 x 2nd prize and 3 x 3rd prize in the RV
A bronze and silver medal and winner of the sports watch

In Union 400 (11 RVs with 1,044 members)
1st Union champion in the RV with 25 prizes and 1,593 points
1st Union champion yearlings at regional level with 16 prizes and 1,070 points
3rd Union champion nominated with 15 prizes and 1,093.48 points