Theo Lehnen (Nettetal, DE): among the best

He is one of the most successful fanciers in Germany. In 2012 Theo Lehnen has again won a top prize in the German National Championship Middle Distance in Germany. His results: a third prize and a fifth prize in the category Ace Pigeon Cock with his one-year-old superstar 03902-11-269.

In the last quarter of a century Theo is known to be a creator; someone who can breed pigeons like no other. He is a unique figure in pigeon racing in Germany. Unfortunately tragedy struck in 2008, when over 50 of his precious pigeons were stolen from his loft. After such an incident many fanciers would be disillusioned and might even quit pigeon racing. Not Theo Lehnen. He persisted and he has had some great successes since then.

He is now 75 and in perfect health. He can still surprise friends and foes with his outstanding results, both at club level, regional level and national level. We take a look back at the 2011 season, when he was 5th champion yearlings in his club and 24th champion in his club in the middle distance.

His career as a fancier

Already as a kid he was fascinated by pigeons. Back in the 70s a new warehouse was built that accommodated a loft as well. This loft is situated in the upper floor of this warehouse. This was the perfect location for a new family of pigeons. His first good pigeons came from Jos van Limpt from Reusel, known as De Klak. He purchased them in the 70s. Back then Theo Lehnen was already a decent fancier in his own club and in the old District 10. In 1997 he paid his first visit to Günter Prange from Meppen and soon the first Prange pigeons were moved to the loft of Theo. In the following years he would continue to buy Meppen pigeons. Many German fanciers appreciate the value of these pigeons. At the moment six descendants of the famous Ringlosen and several descendants of the successful 330 are now the basis of the breed of The Lehnen. In 2009 he also obtained a few pigeons of Leo Heremans, including children of first-class breeder Olympiad 03. You are probably familiar with the famous Kannibaal of Dirk Van Dyck? One of his daughters is now one of the main breeders in his breeding loft. He also has a few descendants of Fieneke 5000 of Flor Vervoort, who also played an important role in the breeding lines.

Let’s return to the pigeon theft in the loft of Theo, where 50 pigeons were lost. That is when he experienced who were his real friends. Günter Prange was one of the first to pay a visit to the unfortunate fancier. He had a surprise for him: he gave him 20 young birds and 5 old birds to help his friend. That was a noble gesture of Günter Prange. These Prange pigeons have played an important role in the development of Theo’s breed and can be found in the pedigrees of most of his best pigeons. The best racing birds are bred from crossings most of the time. This is also the main approach of Theo Lehnen. That is why most of his rounds of youngsters stem from crossings. It is only for his later rounds of youngsters that he couples the pigeons of his successful bloodlines. Some of these pigeons are usually transferred to the breeding loft.

That was a brief overview of the road to success of Theo Lehnen and his successful breeding lines. It seems the very best pigeons gather here. What are his best bloodlines? That is a difficult question. It might be helpful to take a look at his best racing birds. One thing is clear: the pigeons of Lehnen know how to fly fast. They stand out as pigeons with an outstanding sense of orientation. It might be interesting to say something more about his regional club, which is situated in the far west of Germany. This means he cannot use birds that fly in flocks. He needs pigeons that find their way home on their own and they do. The best proof is the title of Ace Pigeon that was won by one of the Lehnen pigeons.

The 03902-11-269, 5th National Ace Cock 2012

Breeding methods

I will introduce you to some of his best pigeons to illustrate the breeding methods of Theo Lehnen. Let’s take a look at for instance the star of the loft, the 03902-11-269, which has been particularly successful: he won a 5th prize National Ace Pigeon with 982.87 ace points already as a yearling. Impressive! He also won a first prize at the final race from Wels (661 km) against 4,500 pigeons. Nine out of ten results that counted for the ace pigeon competition were won in a club with about 110 fanciers, not in a small club with few competitors.

He has an impressive pedigree which clearly illustrates the breeding strategy of Theo. He is first of all a crosser, especially when it comes to breeding racing birds. The dam of this 269 is B 08-6374099, a pigeon of Leo Heremans bred from Jan B-02-6113220 x Golden Teresa B 02-6503556 of Dirk Van Dyck. Leo Heremans said that the B 08- 6374099 is one of the most perfect pigeons that Jan has ever bred. Let’s take a look at the mother’s side as well: the dam is an original Günter Prange hen: the 02098-05-849, a daughter of the legendary Ringless. Need we say more? This should give you an idea of the breeding strategy of Theo Lehnen: he breeds from the very best birds only. We wonder if you could possibly find better pigeons. I doubt it.

What is the role of the ace cock 03902-11-269 in the breeding loft once the racing season is over? First of all he has bred an outstanding hen with 03902-10-143. This hen has won ten top prizes in 2011 and 2012, including two first, four second and two fourth prizes as well as a 9th, 10th and 11th. We have only included the best eleven results; she has won a lot more top prizes. In her pedigree we find the bloodlines of Günter Prange and Leo Heremans. Her sire is 02098-05-843, a son of 02098-00-1009 and second Ace Cock of Germany in 2003. The 1009 is in fact another son of Ringless, who was coupled with a daughter of Ons Louis of Gerard Koopman. For the sake of completeness I will also say something about the dam of 843, viz. the hen NL 02-2373035. She is the daughter of Gandor of Gerard Koopman. The dam of 03902-10-143 is the B 07-6050249, a hen of Heremans with unique origins. Its sire is a brother of Euro 003, which says it all.

The descendants of the 269 and the 143 should illustrate the breeding methods of Theo Lehnen and the bloodlines he uses in his breeding loft. I could give some more examples but I think you will understand how Theo Lehnen breeds new racers for his team.

Theo Lehnen and his assistant Walter Franke


Let’s take a closer look at the results in recent years at top level. Theo has won a 24th prize at the German national championship in 2010 and a 15th prize in the yearlings’ category. In district 413 he has won the first prize in the club championship for yearlings, as well as the first, third and fourth Ace Hen.

One year later, in 2011, he won a fifth prize at the National Championships Yearlings and a 24th place National Championship Middle Distance. At regional level he wins the club championship for yearlings and the club championship middle distance and he takes a second place in the hens’ category.

We are 2012 now and it has been another great season for Theo Lehnen. At the highest level he has won a 5th prize Ace Cock and an 11th place Ace Hen. He was third in the Middle Distance Championship, 5th in the Club Championship and 45th in the Long Distance Championship. To conclude he has also won a few titles at regional level: he was first in the Middle Distance Championship, second in the Long Distance Championship and he won a first Ace Cock and a third Ace Hen. These are just a few of Theo’s excellent results in the 2012 championships. Many congratulations!