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Site last updated on 07/10/2022

paint_pallet_200We maintain a number of different families. Each one represents a slightly different gene pool. While these pools are each a subset of the larger gene pool of all racing pigeons, it is their subtle differences that potentially give them great value in the breeding of winning racers. They are a little like the artist’s paint pallet. There are only three primary colors, but used together there is no limit to what they can create.

The primary colors of our breeding program It is important that you understand the role of a family in breeding pigeons. It is a means to an end (winning races) and not the end itself. The families that we keep are here because we think they may add value to our breeding program. They are all under constant evaluation. Over time, some are eliminated and others are blended together. Occasionally we experiment with new ones.  As a breeder, we keep more (many more) than the average fancier will need. The one or two families that will be appropriate for you will depend upon the goals you have for your loft.

Listed below are the families we currently maintain. While they are grouped together and discussed in generalities, don’t forget that each family exhibits variation and individual pigeons may deviate (sometimes wildly) from the characteristics of the family. The three letter acronyms (such as JRJ and BRO) are listed here since they appear in some of our pedigrees and reports that you may come across.

As discussed in “About Us”, our “Primary Families” are indicated below in blue, the “Foundation Lines” are in red, the “Heirloom Families” are in green and the “Trial Families” are in black.

Group 1 - The Sprinters (SPT). There are a couple of reasons we maintain a family of sprinters. First, many Old Bird and Young Bird schedules have a number of races that are under 200 miles. It makes competitive sense to have a family that can excel under these conditions. Second, the genes necessary to excel in the very short races (for example, quick orientation)  may be a useful component in building other families and in producing race or futurity birds.

    Julien & Roland Janssens (JRJ) - Two generations of specialization in the sprint races by this father son team, coupled  with an extraordinary exportation by Hapyco Lofts of many of their very best birds has made this an ideal starting point for our sprint family.

Group 2 - Middle Distance (MID).

    Janssen Brothers (JAN)  - While we suspect there were a few more outcrosses than generally believed, the birds of the Janssen family nevertheless represent one of the few true families in the sport. A treasure that should not be lost over time, this family will remain unblended and intact in our lofts for as long as we have pigeons. To be sure, they will be used in the development of new families, but the “old line” Janssen family will be preserved. We maintain a number of subfamilies, based upon their origins:

      Jan Kuijzer (KUI)

      These birds are down from  the loft of Jan Kuijzer of the Netherlands. Jan is the breeder of “Libra” (mother of “Van Moorsel”), “Vos Schalie 39” (called the “Best  Racing Red Janssen the the World” by Campbell Strange) and “Vos 31” (perhaps his most prepotent sire).

      Tini Van Herpen (TVH)

      Down from the birds of Tini Van Herpen and intensely linebred around his famous “De 64”, considered by Piet DeWeerd as the best Janssen breeder in Holland at the time. This family has been one of our best performers. One of the most outstanding breeders of this line has been the imported cock “Bold Ruler” that Alex Bieche brought into the US in the mid ninties. Today the influence of this exceptional cock is seen over and over in his descendants three, four and even five generations down.

      De Klak (KLA)

      Down from the birds of the late Jos Van Limpt (De Klak) De Klak was a very good pigeon breeder who had exception access to the pigeons of the Janssen Brothers. What made his birds special though was the practical nature of his methods. He had no place in his loft for birds that did not perform. Even at a time when direct Janssen birds were bringing very large sums, De Klak would take birds he obtained from the Brothers, settle them to his loft and fly them. We have been very fortunate to work closely with Hapyco Lofts and have been able to follow the results of the five pairs Chic purchased at De Klaks estate auction. We have seen over and over how these birds perform well even at the longer distances and in the tougher races. They do not handle as nicely as many Janssens (some Janssens are so perfect one might think they have been moulded from clay), but they fly better and with more reliability than just about every Janssen family we have tested.

      Hekkenklak (HEK)

      Linebred around the great racer and breeder “Hekkenklak”. Exceptionally nice handling birds who have won a number of large futurities for flyers like Brad Hoggan, Ken Christopher and Jim Gabler.

      Oude Merckx (MRK)

      “Oude Merckx” was one of the most prepotent breeders ever to be produced at the Janssen Brothers loft.While they were still available, we collected a number of descendants and have concentrated them into this sub family. “969”, “Contenental Class”, “019” and  “De Raket” are some of the birds behind this sub family.

      Blue Miracle (MIR)

      Linebred around “Blue Miracle” considered by some as one of the great imported Janssens to the US.

      Blue Van Lier (BVL)

      Linebred around the “Blue Van Lier” a great Janssen of the sixties. Some say this was the greatest Janssen ever imported to America. See Janssen book on page 214. He was perhaps the best pigeon van der Flaes ever possessed. Winner of 64 prizes including 20 X 1st.. An outstanding racer and breeder.

      Janssen Blend (JAN)

      A blend of the above subfamilies and other selected Janssen pigeons.


    Mostly Janssen (JNX)  - When you read pedigrees, you can’t help but notice that people will sometimes get a little loose about the family they ascribe to a given pigeon. I have rather frequently seen birds that were less than 25% Janssen called “Janssen”. For this reason, we are very careful not to call birds “Janssen” when they have some degree of outcrossing (beyond what the Janssen Brothers introduced).

      2034 (034)

      ”The Gold Standard” (2034-AU-94-HANG) was a bird bred by Mel Miroth and  given to Ray Roemmich (the breeder of Campbell’s famous “Lodi”). This  hen was mostly Janssen (7/8ths) with a touch of Delbar (1/8th). We  acquired her when we bought out Ray near the end of his pigeon career.  She has been a breeding wonder for us, not the least of which was breeding “Roi Tan” who is the sire of Jim Richesin’s 4 x 1st American Ace, “Smokin  Joe”. She was also the dam of a California Convention Race winner. A full sister bred over 15 first place winners for Jim Cain. A son (since named the “Signature Cock”) was taken to Brad Laverne to be graded by Ray in 1996. Brad fell in love with the cock and insisted on signing the grading sheet for Ray, as he was that sure the bird would become a world class breeder. He did and his offspring are found throughout the pedigrees of this family.

      Vegas Doll (DOL)

      At the first, there were a dozen birds which shared over  $500,000 for the first drop. One of these birds was bred by Hapyco Loft  and is known as “Vegas Doll”. Over the last few years we have had  several opportunities to purchase children and siblings of “Vegas Doll”. As we do with all of our “experimental” purchases, we put them through  our testing program. Without exception, this family has tested very very well.

      Fire Flight (FIR)

      “Fire Flight” was a Janssen pigeon, but the ones I have contain a touch of Van Loon hence their classification as “Mostly Janssen”. “Fire Flight” was a German bred bird that was a fantastic racer (1st vs 11,874 birds, 1st vs 9,971 birds and 1st vs 5,238 birds among others)and who was first bought by Campbell  Strange and then sold outside of the U.S. relatively early in his  breeding career. The availability of his descendants in the US is rather limited. Our early tests have shown this to be a very  promising family.


  • Van Rhijn Kloeck (VRK)  - This family has become one of our very top lines in the past few years. If I was forced today to reduce my loft to a single family, this would be the one I would keep. They don't handle badly, but they also do not produce the kind of birds that you would notice on shipping night or in an auction. In fact, we had them here for a number of years and they never made it to the breeding pen, being beaten out every year by families that handled better or looked on paper like they were a better utilization of our limited breeding facilities. Finally after several years, I made the decision in 2013 to breed out of about 10 pair just so I could have enough data to justify getting rid of them. They distinguished themselves with the very first birds that I tested and have been at or near the top of our loft ever since.

    While many pigeon flyers in the United states will not recognize the Van Rhijn Kloeck name, most are very familar with the names of three famous pigeons from the line that were imported to the U.S. - Ikon (9323197-NL-93), The Godfather (1393719-NL-91) and Lichte Orleans (6596084-BELG-88). Jan Kloeck and his father-in-law, van Rhijn, raced in the Antwerp Union of Belgium. In the period of 1960 to 1975 they won the title of “King of Antwerp” an unprecedented 11 times! Their family is behind the Hofkens, Traets, Van Loons, Grondelaers and Leen Boers.

    Van Loon (VAN)  - One of the most celebrated families of the past two decades. Truly great pigeons who have produced spectacular race and breeding results for many fanciers. The Planet Brothers, Campbell Strange and Gijs Peters to name just three.
    • Louis Van Loon (VAN)

      Our Van Loons come from three basic sources - about a dozen birds  directly from Louis Van Loon in the mid to late 90’s, birds down from  the Planet Brothers collection that was obtained from Louis Van Loon in  the mid 80’s and a nestmate to the European record bird “The Raven” who  was a Van Loon bred by Thei Bours of the Netherlands.

      Super 73 (S73)

      This family is strongly linebred around the great “Super 73”. There are  several subfamilies of the “Super 73” around the U.S. based on his  most famous sons. The three that have done the best for us are those of “De Marco”, “Super Secret” and “2778”. An excellent family for the  futurities. They cross particularly well with Grondelaers, Janssens, Van Loons and Hofkens.

      De Marco (MAR)

      The De Marcos have done so well that we used them to form another sub family.

      Super Frankie (FRA)

      Linebred around “De Olieman” (the sire of “Super 73”) and also down from “Super 73” and “De Marco”, this super racer and breeder was bred by Gijs Peters and imported by Hapyco Lofts. His offspring have been exceptional racers and breeders.

      The LaVerne cock (LAV)

      One of the greatest birds of all time in our opinion is the cock known as “The LaVerne Cock”. This 1998 bred cock is still fertile (as of 3/1/2014) and is distantly down from “Super 73” on both the sire and the dam sides. He was bred from two birds bred by Gijs Peters and imported by Hapyco Lofts in the late nineties. His sons and daughters have won at multiple levels and have been key breeders in a number of outstanding lofts.


    Hofken (HOF) - These are some of our most valued pigeons. Not everyone will admit it, but the Hofkens are behind many of the really big futurity wins of the past several years. We like them because they consistently race well and can at times win by wide margins. They cross particularly well with Janssens, Zoontjens, Van Loons and Grondelaers.

      Hofken (HOF)

      The majority of our Hofkens are from or down from Verheyen. You will  find “Rocket”, “De Oude Pol” and “Oude Merckx” in the background of just about every one of our birds in this family.

      Dribander of 64 (DRI)

      Hofken’s “Driebander” (of 1964) is the key bird to the Hofken family.  While he is long gone, his influence continues to this day. We have some of the most highly linebred “Driebanders” to be found anywhere.

      Hollywood (HOL)

      Not much probably needs to be said about “Hollywood”. A great racer  purchased by Mike Ganus, who has gone on to sire many great breeders and racers. We started this family when we could still get direct children  of “Hollywood”. Our core breeders consist of six sons and daughters of  “Hollywood” when bred to either “Breeder’s Best” or daughters of  “Hollywood” and “Breeder’s Best”.

      Jan Traets (TRA)

      One of our first purchases when getting into pigeons was a group of “Traets” squeekers from Rick Mardis. This family did not “handle” well,  but flew like few others. We eventually came to find that they were  “Hofkens based” and this was one of the primary reasons we got the  Hofkens.


    Zoontjens (ZOO) - This is our bread and butter family. If we had to reduce our operation to just two families, this would be one of them (the Hofkens would be the other). They have a remarkable ability to find their way home. We experience probably our fewest losses with this family. Bred by Wal Zoontjens and Son of the Netherlands. They are a small loft, fly all the races and live at the top of the race sheet year after year. The Zoontjens were started by Wal’s father and so they represent a three generation family of birds. They trace their origin back to Janssen and Van Loon, so they are an excellent cross to either of these two families. They also cross very well with the Hofkens. We were fortunate to be at Wal’s loft in 1998 and were able to arrrange the importation of his entire Round 4 from 1999. It has been without a doubt, the best single purchase we have made with pigeons. We have kept them straight and bred them for performance.

    Gaby Vandenabeele (GAB)  - Gaby was the breeder of the phenomenal breeding hen “Sissi”. This is a truly performance based family that has been selected for no nonsense flyers who are particularly good in tough conditions.

    Kannibaal (KAN)  - Bred by Dirk Van Dijk, this 1st 1995 National Middle Distance Ace Pigeon of Belgium has proven himself over the past decade as a tremendously prepotent cock that has made a huge impact on dozens of lofts around the world.

    Grondelaers (GRO)  - One of our favorite families because they have consistently been top performers.  We have keyed on “Bliksem” since he was the common ancestor behind our most successful flyers. Jan Grondelaers was a very sharp breeder. Some of his best birds go back to Hofken’s “Driebander”. As a result the Grondelasers are an excellent cross with the Hofkens.

    Houben (HOU) - The record of the Houbens in the South Africa race over the past decade has been quite remarkable. This is a family that seems to do remarkably well in middle distance and the tough longer races of 12 hours or more. It is hard to classify them as strictly middle distance or distance. We are keying on the “Young Artist”, “410” and “Never Say Die”.

    Meulemans (MEU) - Again, just a few and very selective. The Meulemans were behind “Super 73” and are descended in part from Janssen and Van den Bosch. The very key “Driebander” of Hofkens also goes back to a (different) pair of Janssen and Van den Bosch.

Group 3 - Long Distance (DIS). It takes a different kind of bird to fly 600 miles in a single day. Unfortunately, the expense of shipping to these long race stations and the predominance of the middle distance futurities are reducing, somewhat, the number of these birds in the U.S. We believe it is important to maintain these distance genes in our pool. We value them both for their ability to fly 15 straight hours and for certain traits that they can contribute to our futurity crosses.

    Jan Aarden (ARD) - To date these are the best distance birds we have. They also win a surprising share at the shorter distances. As everyone knows, they are an excellent cross to the Janssens.

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