Klaas van Waveren – The father of the Ysterberg dogs

Some people know him as Klaas, well most people know him as Klaas.  Others know him, as Niek or Nieklaas but what does it matter?  If you speak about him as a dog breeder you are only touching one of the many facets of this animal lover.  Whenever you arrived on his farm you will find everything there, just like that, around the house.  Dogs and ostriches and Impala and Drakensbergers and sheep and ducks and and and… just to name a few. It is no wonder my children constantly want to go visit.  They don’t talk about uncle Klaas they call him uncle Plaas.

But here I want to tell you about him and his Boerboels.  Where do I start?  I can only start from where I’ve known him and that is many years ago, since 1940, if I remember correctly. Back then he was a young man still visiting Sarie and today they are happily married with 3 sons of which Niekie passed away at a young age and the other two are now staunch businessmen.

When I met him in 1940 he rode motorcycles.  In front of him on the motorcycle was Wagter.  Wagter went everywhere with him.  This Wagter is, in my opinion, probably the ancestor of the Boerboel breed as we know it today. Back then a Boerboel was just another mutt and it would take a long time before it was recognized as a breed.

I remember his dogs from those years very well.  There was Gyps.  He could catch hare like no other dog could do. And Bella.  Klaas recons his dogs stared with her.  She was a big dog.  Something of a bulldog type and not exactly what is acceptable today, but that was back then.  She was piebald.  From her he bred Mollie and Luce, my first Boerboel.  And off course Leeu.  Leeu was oom Jan’s dog, oom Jan is Klaas’s father.  Even still in his 80s he would ride long distances with his bike and wherever he rode, Leeu jogged along.  The other one was Oubaas.  These where all dogs that would leave their mark along the way. 

Klaas always said he wanted to breed Boerboels.  And if he spoke about a Boerboel he knew exactly what he wanted and how the dog should look. Because he knew then already what he wanted, he planned and took care and with his breedings. He went and searched for the qualities he wanted in a dog and when he found a dog that could give him that he would arrange a mating. Mollie was one of his dogs.  She was bred to a Bullmastiff type dog from Acornhoek – from this litter, Vaaltyn and Rubi was born.  Rubi was then bred to a Boerboel from Mr Rabie.  At the Selatiriver he saw Nero.  And that was the origin of Vegter. Vegter was as strong as an ox with the heart of a lion. One day he killed a donkey and that is no joke! If you know anything about a donkey you will know how impressive this is!

Vicks was born out of Nero and Ruby’s offspring and out of them were another Vegter and Ounooi born. Looking at the history of the SABT you will know that these were the dogs Klaas joined with.

Klaas walked a long road with the Boerboels and it is probably for him a dream come true, to see the Boerboel as a recognized breed. He also bred other breeds, but always returned to his first love, the Boerboel. I have said it before, Klaas could envision what the breed should look like and he went looking for those qualities. When he found it, he would build on it and always try and improve on it. The results were evident when you looked at the uniformity of his dogs. These qualities are now fixed in his bloodline, proper Ysters! Look at the most recent results from the Association: he registered 311 dogs, 93 were brought forward for appraisal and only 1 was disqualified by a fraction of a point. 8 received championship status. Not bad hey.

A man like Klaas needs to be recognized, even in other countries. You will find his dogs in neighboring countries, USA and even Russia. He regularly receives letters from all over, even Poland.

He doesn’t talk about it nut I have the idea that the highest price paid for a Boerboel was for one of his dogs. But as he says, he doesn’t brag, his dogs are the evidence of his hard work and breeding, they do the talking.

Klaas van Waveren, a man with a vision. It took him almost a lifetime but it is one dream he fulfilled.  With that he contributed to the canine world.

 Written by:  Prof. DJ Booysen

translated from an article in the SABT newsletter

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