sometimes wonder which were the best pigeons in history. This subject
is more than often an item in the pigeon press as well.
am repeatedly asked the same question but then I do not react. Why not?
is delicate. And why is it delicate? There are several reasons:
you compare results achieved in the past with those in recent days? What
I mean to
say is: Was the competition in the old days as strong as it is now? Take
the famous ‘45’ from Catrijsse. His results (both racing and
breeding) were sensational indeed. But what if this bird would have been
born some decades later and would have raced against another generation
of pigeons? Would the results have been as good as well? No one can tell.
the average quality of birds in one area undoubtedly differs from
another. Take National Aces in Holland. High prices are paid for
them but it is generally known that such birds in most cases are to be
found in areas where competition is poor. In several areas it is
absolutely impossible to have a national Ace simply because competition
is too strong. In a previous article I referred to National Orleans in
Holland in 2001. Mr S won provincial 1st against 6.000 birds.
In a nearby club he would not have won a prize within the first 10 in
the same race as can be seen in the NATIONAL result sheet. So, how
strange it may seem, winning a 1st prize against 6.000 birds
may be a less good performance than winning a 3rd prize
against say 200 pigeons. It all depends on the strength of the
But there is more. For example it is quite possible that in say
Scotland a fancier has the best pigeon of the world. However it will
never get the credit it deserves for the simple reason it is a Scottish
bird and not a Belgian or Dutch one.
remember a Belgian Provincial winner. It was sold like most provincial
winners. However in the Steenbergen area in Holland it only would have won a
The point is our sport is different from others.
Fanciers who live many kilometres apart can only meet at long distance as at
Middle Distance they race in different competitions.
As a cyclist you can compete another cyclist, even if he lives on the other
side of the world. The same applies to a boxer, a billiard player, an
athlete, a swimmer a tennis
layer and so on.
A pigeon fancier is not in that situation. A Middle distance racer in the
West of Belgium cannot race against a champion in the East. If he could he
might be humiliated by his opponent whereas he may be unbeatable in his own
It happens repeatedly that a fancier who wins the 1st prize in
his club is beaten by 10 or more birds from a fellow fancier in a provincial
race in which their birds meet.
Regarding the best birds I have PERSONALLY KNOWN I have an opinion though.
best birds I have known myself are the so called ‘Olieman’ (which means
‘Oilman’) owned by Mr v d Veken and the ‘05’ from Mr Vermeulen.
The ‘Olieman’ was called so as he came back from a race his feathers
full of oil. He was born in 1973 and was at its best in 1976. Mr v d Veken
lived just a few kilometres from Janssen Bros in Arendonk. They had their
famous 019 in those days. ‘019’ Was at his best in the hot summer of
‘019’ Won one first prize after the other and so did ‘Olieman’ from
the same station (Noyon). However Mr v d Veken raced in another club.
If he would have raced in the same club as his neighbours the famous
‘019’ of Janssen Bros would have won numerous… 2nd
Why ‘Olieman’ never got the fame he deserved? Simply as he was born at
the wrong time at the wrong place. Mr v d Veken was a fancier who did not
like publicity and 019 was owned by Janssen Bros.
‘Olieman’ won 14 firsts in the greatest competition of Belgium (Turnhout
area) from Noyon (235 kilometres) and he managed to win 1st
prizes 10 minutes ahead against over 1.000 competitors.
Initially Mr v d Veken did not have any babies off of ‘Oliemans’ as he
was sitting too hard on his eggs so that they broke.
Till a fellow sportsman advised him to put sand in the nest bowl so that
there was a soft underground and from then on the eggs hatched.
However not one baby of ‘Olieman’ could win a decent prize so the owner
thought he was a poor breeder.
Later on it turned out Olieman’s babies were poor racers indeed but…
they were excellent breeders. In world famous ‘Fieneke’ from Flor
Vervoort is his blood like in many other famous racers of these days.
other flying miracle I have known personally was as I said ‘05’ from
Vermeulen. He was a man with money who bought good birds wherever he could
and whenever he could. What he did was mate the most expensive cocks with
the most expensive hens, the best against the best, at least theoretically.
Then one year 2 pigeons were left after the birds were mated. Birds he had
got as a gift and they formed a couple. Vermeulen never knew why but he kept
babies off of this pair, one of them was ‘05’ a bird which was almost
unbeatable. I remember that one day he won the 3rd prize against
over 600 birds and fanciers reacted ‘see, also 05 is just a pigeon and can
To find a good mated hen for ‘05’ Vermeulen went to Klak and Janssen
He showed Klak his ‘05’ and asked him if he could him a hen for it.
reaction was: ‘I do not have a hen which is good enough for such a cock.
Then Vermeulen went to Janssen Brothers and asked the same question.
Adriaan, the best connoisseur of the brothers looked at the bird carefully,
then shook his head and said: ‘We ourselves do not even have a cock like
this, not to speak about a hen to pair with.’
‘We do not know anything about pigeons’ people say and writers write.
But there exceptions as it seems such as Klak and Adriaan Janssen.
Foreigners might have expected names of other birds but fame and quality are
two different things in our sport.
Both ‘Olieman’ and ‘05’ are history but recently my attention was
drawn by another sensational bird, one which is still alive but already a
legend as he had an enormous impact on long distance in Belgium.
Its name is ‘Klein Geschelpt 13’, the owner Mr Robert Dobbelaere and son
had heard so much about Dobbelaere’s results at long distance that I went
there, despite a drive of about 400 kilometres. On my way to his place I
found that he lived in the Mecca of International long distance.
Nearby Dobbelaere’s home town I saw signposts everywhere on which names of
towns in which the greatest champions of all time had lived or still live.
Fanciers such as Delbar, Vereecke, Desmet, Bostijn, Stichelbout, Vanbruane,
Descamps van Hasten, Catrijsse, De Vriendt, Desmet Matthijs, Carteus,
Huysentruyt, Decroix and so on and so on.
It was the descendants of their birds and those of other locals that created
the modern long distance bird.
Also Jan Aarden, the Dutchman, got the pigeons which made his name world
famous in this very area shortly after World War 2.
Dobbelaere is not a great talker but for that he has his son Chris and…
his pigeons. They do the talking by results so outstanding that Dobbelaere
was the man to be beaten in any long distance race in recent years.
I will give a summary of their performances most of them on National level.
‘National’ refers to the whole of Belgium (pigeon country number one),
provincial to Flanders, famous all over the world for its long distance
3rd National Champion Long Distance KBDB.
1991: 9th National Champion Middle Distance KBDB.
National Champion Long Distance KBDB.
1992: National Brive 21.012 pigeons: 1st and 2nd.
1st and 4th
National Ace pigeon KBDB long distance.
National Champion Long Distance.
1995: 1st National Champion Long Distance KBDB.
1996: 2nd and 3rd National Ace pigeon Long Distance
National Champion Great Long Distance KBDB.
prizes provincial and three 2nd prizes provincial.
National Cahors 9,043 birds (‘Herkuul’ 92-3153113) and also 4th
Narbonne 6.092 birds (again won by ‘Herkuul’)
International Dax 6,491 birds (‘Primus’ 90-3180399).
National Champion Long Distance KBDB.
World Champion Long distance V.L.
3rd, 7th, 8th, 11th Provincial
Ace Long distance.
National Ace pigeon Long Distance KBDB.
2nd Provincial Ace Pigeon.
Over All Champion of National competition ‘Belgische
prize National Souillac 6.035 birds.
prize National Limoges 10.737 birds.
prize Provincial Tours 4.800 birds.
prize Interprovincial Barcelona. 2.101 pigeons.
we do not have an up date of last year. The Dobbelaere family are so busy
receiving visitors from all over the world who want to see their birds that
they did not find the time yet to up date their bookkeeping.
‘DE KLEINE GESCHELPTE’
fairy tale like career of this loft is the story of just one pigeon ‘De
Kleine Geschelpte’ (‘the little Checker’). It is mainly this one and
only bird which made the name of Dobbelaere spread like wild fire.
‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ was a good racer but as a breeder second to none.
His children were not only better racers than his father, they were better
breeders as well. A study of the pedigrees of their best recent racers shows
that every further generation seems to be better than the previous one.
Dobbelaere got the father of ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ from De Baes who had
the Stichelboutbirds. De Baes
is one of those many fanciers who never got the credit they deserved. The
mother of 87-3206313 came from Houtekiet who had the Noel Peiren birds. How
good these are every Belgian knows.
As I said ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ was a real good racer but not
sensational. For that reason Dobbelaere did not breed many babies off of him
in his younger years. Moreover he was raced then.
I was so lucky as to handle him and noticed that despite his old age (1987)
‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ was still very vital.
The first impression is ‘how small this bird is’, the following ‘and
what an excellent balance and speaking eyes he has.’ They seem to radiate
It was because of this that
Dobbelaere decided to try out his youngsters later on.
Then he found what a terrible mistake he had made.
He should have bred far more babies off of him before but fortunately it was
not too late yet.!
A strange thing is also that ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ was a Middle
Distance bird whereas his descendants do better at long distance, up to
Barcelona (more than 1,000 kilometres). His most famous son is ‘Noel’
was bigger than his father, a real Dandy and already as a baby he was
Dobbelaere’s favourite. However when being raced one disappointment
followed the other: ‘Noel’ did
win not win one single prize.
Still Dobbelaere decided not to eliminate him and raced him as a yearling.
It was the same song though. He arrived too late from every race.
‘Was I so wrong?’ Mr Dobbelaere wondered and decided to give him one
more chance in the last race of the year. That was from Narbonne, 850
kilometres and guess who was his first bird? ‘Noel’!
Robert told his son: Winning a good prize from such a distance in such hard
weather cannot be a coincidence and he was not eliminated.
‘Noel’ showed his gratitude for not being killed.
The year after, In 1992 he became 1st National Ace. The best bird
of a country in which then about 80.000 fanciers raced pigeons.
The results in 1992 were so exceptional that Dobbelaere stopped racing
‘Noel’ and he put him directly into the breeding loft.
But he did not stay there for long.
After a bird has won the title National Ace in Belgium everybody knows what
happens next, especially if long distance is concerned:
Fanciers from all over the world queue up to buy it. Dobbelaere did not even
think about selling him till he got such a high offer that he could not
resist it and ‘Noel’ was sold. Meanwhile he had given several super
birds and so had his father ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’.
One of them was ‘Herkuul’ (halfbrother ‘Noel’) who was 3rd
National Ace in 1996. For a 3rd National Ace whose halfbrother
was 1st National Ace even more buyers are interested who are
prepared to pay even more money. ‘Herkuul’ however was not
those who wanted to buy ‘Herkuul’ had the same question on their lips:
‘Dobbelaere must be nuts. Why sell 1st National Ace (‘Noel’)
and reject a fortune for 3rd National Ace? This question also
intrigued me and I asked Dobbelaere.
‘I should not have sold Noel either’ he said. ‘It was the biggest
mistake I ever made in my life’. Looking at the results of the children of
‘Noel’ I understood what he meant.
‘Noel’ the superior racer and son of ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ was not
only Belgians best racer at Long Distance, as a breeder he was also
outstanding.‘Noel’ (90-3180408) became father of excellent racers and
breeders such as:
93-3080101 which was 8th National Ace Long distance in 1998
and was the runner up for Olympiad in Blackpool.
93-3080234 who won 2nd prize Poitiers 3.552 birds before he
93-3189976, father of 1st National Argenton yearlings in
2000. ‘Tornado’ is one of the basic breeders now.
Noel’ 93-3333752, father of stars such as ‘Baron’ and
OTHER CHILDREN OF ’DE KLEINE GESCHELPTE’
mentioned before ‘Noel’ was not the only super son of ‘De Kleine
Moreover just one champion does not make his father a super breeder and
‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ WAS a super breeder. ‘One swallow does not make
spring’ is a saying in Belgium. A summary of the children of ‘De Kleine
Geschelpte’ is no less than amazing.
92-3153113 (mentioned before).
‘Herkuul’ was 3rd National Ace pigeon KBDB in 1996. He won
National Cahors 9.043 birds 3rd, National Narbonne 6.092 birds 4th
and so on.
92-3153114, the nest brother of Herkuul.
Blacky won 3rd National
Brive 4.931 birds.
Kartouche won 15th National Brive 4.179 birds, 11th
National Brive 3.979 birds, 21st National Limoges 9.222 birds and
23rd National Limoges 8.883 birds.
5th Ace bird over 2 years
Cobra won 4th Provincial Tours 2.031 birds.
‘Son Kleine Geschelpte’ 95-3333758
This bird was
never raced but what a good breeder he was. He is father of ‘Rex’
97-3213019 who won 1st NATIONAL Souillac in 1999 (6.035 birds).
‘Rex’ is father of ‘Athos’ 99-3111844 who won 2nd
Provincial Blois 802 birds, 2nd Dourdan 703 birds, 84th
National Bourges 5.708 birds and so on. Furthermore ‘Son Kleine
Geschelpte’ is father of Aramis 99-3111843 who won 3rd
Provincial Tours 2.867 birds
Is another daughter of ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ which bred one winner
after the other. One of them is 1st National Perpignan in 2000 in
the loft of G Carteus.
This daughter of ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ is mother of Eenwitpen
(95-3220858) which won 14th National Narbonne 7.691 pigeons.
She is mother of ‘Ramses’ 99-3111854 who won 1st National
Argenton 3.496 birds in 2000. ‘Ramses’ was 2nd Ace KBDB
Middle Distance East Flanders.
‘Belle’ is also mother of ‘Fabian’ (98-3001340) who won 44th
National Brive 22.026 birds(!) and 107th National Souillac. He
was 11th National Ace KBDB West Flanders in 2001, of course at
Also Tobias (98-3001241) is a son of Belle. He won 21st
Interprovincial Blois 7.377 birds and 30th Interprovincial Tours
It never ends indeed. This daughter of ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ is mother
of Camino 98-3001259 which won 30th National Souillac 7.154 birds,
40th National Cahors 9.989 birds and 59th
Semi-National Brive 6.793 birds.
birds such as
‘Den Donkeren’ 95-3220892, ‘Emperor’ 98-3001273, ‘Show’
96-3074234, ‘Poupette’ 93-3080213 are children of the wonder bird ‘De
Kleine Geschelpte 87-3206313”.
might be boring to read the figures mentioned above. But what do terms like
‘Super bird’ ‘Breeding Miracle’ and so on mean if they are
not supported by facts? Talk is easy, show up with results is another thing.
For sure it will not be easy to come up with a bird that is still alive
whose descendants did so well as ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’.
Of course also in pigeon sport one sometimes needs luck.
Dobbelaere’s luck was that he could breed more children off of ‘De
Kleine Geschelpte’ than would have been possible with most other birds.
The reason is he is a real ‘womaniser’. As soon as his hen laid eggs
these were put under a ‘foster couple’ and the hen was taken away.
Unlike most other cocks ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’ immediately accepted any
another hen and within two weeks he had another pair of eggs from him. There
are not many cocks like that.
Some cannot forget about their hen for weeks. As ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’
seemed to like any hen Dobbelaere had lots of opportunities to try out new
crosses. He mated him with the best hens of his own loft and with hens he
An explosion of real super birds for long distance was the result !!
About Dobbelaere you cannot say that he can excel because his birds lack
competition, on the contrary. See the names of the big shots in his area
referred to before.
studying the results of the off spring of ‘De Kleine Geschelpte’
superlatives fail to describe the quality. A bird like him is a dream, a
once in a life time pigeon, a money maker. Robert Dobbelaere had confidence
in him, he did not lose patience and was paid back for it more than he could
ever have dreamt of.
by Ad Schaerlaeckens
© Ad Schaerlaeckens