Named after the province of Ancona in Italy, specimens of this Mediterranean breed were imported into England in 1851, first the single then the rose comb. Controversy centres around the view that Anconas are akin to the original mottled Leghorn and, therefore, a member of the Leghorn family. However, the fact remains that breeders adhere to the name of Ancona. The breed has retained its popularity on the show - bench not only for its laying propensities, but because of its combination of breed type and characteristics with usefulness.
Leonard Barber is believed to have been the first importer of chickens from the Andalucia region of Spain in 1846-7, but these had an assortment of plumage colours. The standard Blue Andalusian, with its characteristic sharp lacing, was developed in England. The two leading breeders in the 1850s who started this process were John Taylor, of Shepherd’s Bush, London, and Mr Coles of Fareham, Hampshire. It took several decades of selective breeding by a succession of fanciers before birds with the perfect colour and lacing depicted by Victorian artists became a reality. Andalusian bantams first appeared in the 1880s.
The Appenzell Canton is the north - eastern part of Switzerland. It is not known how long Spitzhaubens have been bred there, but the very similar Brabanter from The Netherlands was depicted in seventeenth century paintings, so Appenzeller Spitzhaubens may date from the same period. The Appenzeller Barthuhner was developed in the 1860s from crosses between Brown Leghorns, Russian Beardeds and Polveranas (now extinct, related to Bearded Polands). Kurt Fischer, of Stuttgart - Zuffenhausen, Germany, was a leading breeder in the revival of both breeds in the 1950s, as they had almost died out during World War Two.
When the Spaniards arrived in South America, bringing with them the light Mediterranean breeds, they found that the indigenous Indians had domestic fowl which soon cross - bred with the incomers. Notable for their fierce resistance to the Spaniards, however, were the Indians of the Arauca province of northern Chile who were never conquered. The name Araucana for the breed is derived therefore from that part of the world where the South American and European fowls had the least opportunity to interbreed.
The Araucana breed standard in the British Isles is generally as envisaged by George Malcolm who created the true-breeding lavender Araucana, among other colours, in Scotland during the 1930s. Araucanas are prolific layers of strong - shelled eggs, blue or green eggs having been reported from South America from the mid - sixteenth century onwards. These are unique in that their colour permeates throughout the shell.
This standard refers to the small Asil (often called ‘Reza’ Asil, which term actually applies only to birds of 3 1/2 – 4lbs, or ‘Rajah’ Asil – which is a term not used at all in India).
The Asil is probably the oldest known breed of gamefowl, having been bred in India for its fighting qualities for over 2000 years. The name Asil is derived from Arabic and means ‘of long pedigree’. In different dialects it can be spelled ‘Asil’, ‘Aseel’ or ‘Asli’. In its native land the Asil was bred to fight, not with false spurs, but rather with its natural spurs covered with tape, the fight being a trial of strength and endurance. Such was the fitness, durability and gameness of the contestants that individual battles could last for days. This style of fighting produced a powerful and muscular bird with a strong beak, thick muscular Neck and powerful legs, together with a pugnacious temperament and stubborn refusal to accept defeat.
Never very numerous in Britain, the Asil has nevertheless always attracted a few dedicated admirers prepared to cope with its inborn desire to fight, a characteristic shared by the females who are poor layers but extremely good mothers.
The claim that the Australorp - an abbreviation of Australian black Orpington - is the prototype of the black Orpington, as originally made by Mr W. Cook, has never been questioned. Its breeders emphasized that its true utility type gives to poultrymen the Orpington at its best, an excellent layer and a good table fowl, with white skin. It was around 1921 that large importations of stock birds were made from Australia into this country and an Austral Orpington Club founded. Later the breed name of Australorp was adopted, and this remains today.
An autosexing breed is one in which the chicks at hatching can be sexed by their down colouring. It was when crossing the gold Campine with the barred Rock in 1929 that Professor R. C. Punnett and Mr M. S. Pease discovered the basic principle in their experimental work at Cambridge, and made the Cambar.
Barring is sex - linked, there being a double dose in the male and a single dose in the female, the barring being indicated by the light patch on the head of the chick. This light patch is very similar in chicks of both sexes having black down, but when the barring is transferred to a brown down there is a marked difference. The light Head - spot on the female chick (one dose) is small and defined, while on the male chick (double dose) it spreads over the body. For that reason, the down colouring in the day - old cockerel is much paler, and the pattern of markings more blurred, than in the newly hatched pullet chick, which has the sharper pattern of markings.
Standards which have been passed by the Poultry Club are gold and silver Brussbar; Brockbar; gold, silver and cream Legbar; gold and silver Cambar; gold and silver Dorbar; Rhodebar; silver Welbar; Wybar. The cream Legbar, Legbar, Rhodebar, Welbar and Wybar standards are given below and all other standards for autosexing breeds are held by the Rare Poultry Society.
This breed was originated in the district of Barneveld, Holland, and stock was imported into this country about 1921, with the brown egg as one of the chief attractions. At first the birds were very mixed for markings, some being double laced, others single, while the majority followed a partridge or `stippled’ pattern. Two varieties were standardized, namely, double laced and partridge or `stippled’, but the former gradually came to the top, and is the popular variety of today.
Belgian bantams standardized in Britain are Barbu d’Anvers (Bearded Antwerp, clean legs), Barbu d’Uccle (Bearded Uccle, feathered legs), Barbu de Watermael (Bearded Watermael, clean legs), Barbu d’Everberg (Rumpless d’Uccle) and Barbu de Grubbe (Rumpless d’Anvers).
Belgian bantams are old-established True Bantams, without counterparts in large breeds. All of these breeds and varieties have many colour variations, some of them intricate and all attractive.
These have a complex history which spreads over Great Britain, Germany (where they are named Federfuflge Zwerghuhner), The Netherlands (where they are named Sabelpoot) and Belgium (where they were crossed with Barbu d’Anvers to make Barbu d’Uccles). Although Black and White Booted bantams are believed to have been developed in the UK, all colours of Booteds have been rare here since they were overshadowed by Barbu d’Uccles when those were first imported in 1911. Fortunately, they are much more popular in Germany and The Netherlands where large numbers in a wide range of colour varieties can be seen at the major shows. There has been a revival of interest in the UK since the 1990s. Booteds have tighter neck feathering than Barbu d’Uccles, with no beard or neck boule. Some young Booteds can seem too tall and narrow, but they usually become stocky, compact and full feathered when fully mature.
Although the name Brahma is taken from the river Brahmaputra in India, it is now generally agreed that they were created in America from large feather legged birds imported from China in the 1840s known as Shanghais. These were crossed with Malay type birds from India, known as Grey Chittagongs, which introduced the pea comb and the beetle brow. Rivalry between breeders of various strains led to a wide variety of names and much confusion. A panel of judges meeting in Boston, USA, in 1852 declared the official name to be Brahmapootras later shortened to Brahma. After a consignment of nine birds was sent to Queen Victoria in 1852, the Brahma became one of the leading Asiatic breeds in this country. Both light and pencilled Brahmas were included in the Poultry Club’s first Book of Standards in 1865.
Brakel is a village near the market town of Aalst/Alost, north-west of Brussels in Belgium.
The Brakel fowl was once kept on almost every farm and smallholding in its home area, and was generally more important in Belgium than the neighboring breed, the Campine, which became better known in other countries. There is still an active Brakel Club in Belgium. Brakel males, which have normal cock feathering, are easily distinguished from the hen-feathered Campine males. The females of both breeds are very similar, but Brakel hens are heavier and stockier.
The Campine (pronounced kam-peen) originated in the northern part of Belgium around Antwerp. It is closely related to the Brakel (also Belgium), Chaamse Hoen (The Netherlands) and Hergines fowl (northern France). Most Campine males bred in Belgium before 1900 had normal cock feathering, although hen-feathered males appeared occasionally. The difference between Brakels and Campines then was in build and weight, the Campines being slimmer.
British poultry expert Edward Brown wrote about Campines in 1897, soon leading to the first importation by Thomas Braken of Lancaster. A Campine Club was formed here about 1900. The Club members had heard about the hen-feathered males, but did not have any at first. They were keen to adopt them as their standard male to avoid the complications of double mating experienced by breeders of Pencilled Hamburghs. The first hen-feathered male in the UK, a Silver from eggs imported from Belgium, won at several shows in 1904. Sons of this bird were spread around club members, some of whom crossed them with Gold females to produce hen-feathered Gold males by 1911. Rosecombed Campines briefly appeared in the 1920s and ‘30s. Campine bantams have appeared from time to time since the 1950s.
Carlisle Old English Game
When the Romans invaded Britain, Julius Caesar wrote in his commentaries that the Britons kept fowls for pleasure and diversion but not for table purposes. Many well-known authorities have considered that cock fighting was the diversion. In 1849 an Act of Parliament was passed making cock fighting illegal in this country, and with poultry exhibitions then taking root, many breeders began to exhibit Game fowls.
The Old English Game Club split in about 1930 as there was already a divergence of birds being shown with larger breasted, horizontally backed, exhibition type birds tending to win, and breeders of these formed the Carlisle Club, developing only some of the original colours. Breeders of the original type, wherein the back is at 45degrees to the ground, maintained the well-balanced, close-heeled, athletic fighting fowl, and formed the Oxford Club, retaining over thirty colours.
It is usually agreed that a good game fowl cannot be a bad colour.
The Cochin, as we know it today, originally came from China in the early 1850s, where it was known as the Shanghai, and later still as the Cochin-China. The breed created a sensation in this country in poultry circles because of its immense size and table properties. Moreover, it was an excellent layer. It was developed, however, for wealth of feather and fluff for exhibition purposes to the extent that its utility characteristics were neglected, if not made impossible, in winning types. There are no Cochin bantams.
The first importation of Langshans into this country was made by Major Croad and, as with other Asiatic breeds, controversy centred around it. Already there was the black Cochin and then the black Langshan, some contending both were one breed, and others that they were quite separate Chinese breeds. As developed here the breed was called the Croad Langshan after the name of the importer. In 1904, a Croad Langshan club was formed to maintain the original stamp of bird. The Modern Langshan has been developed along different lines and, in consequence, the two types are shown in separate classes at shows.
This is perhaps the oldest of the distinctive American breeds, being mentioned in the earliest poultry books as an indigenous and valued variety, as an excellent layer, very hardy and good for the table. They were first seen in this country at the Birmingham Show of 1870 and re-imported in 1984.
Its purely British ancestry makes the Dorking one of the oldest of domesticated fowls in lineage. A Roman writer, who died in AD 47, described birds of Dorking type with five toes, and no doubt such birds were found in England by the Romans under Julius Caesar. By judicious crossings, and by careful selection, the Darking or Dorking breed was established.
The Dutch Bantam (or De Hollandse Krielan) in its country of origin has been around for a long time, though in Holland a club was only formed on 1 December 1946. The breed first appeared in this country around the late 1960s, and a club was formed in 1982. Since then the breed has gone from strength to strength, with thirteen colours standardized, though in Holland many more varieties keep appearing.
Originated in the village of Faverolles, in northern France, this breed was created for its dual-purpose qualities. Its make-up includes such breeds as the Dorking, Houdan and Cochin, while Light Brahma blood as well as that of the Malines may be seen in some of the varieties. Imported into Great Britain in 1895, producers of table chickens crossed it freely with the Sussex, Orpington and Indian Game.
The Fayoumi is an ancient Egyptian breed from the district of Fayoum and has been selectively bred for egg production. They are hardy, very early maturing, strong fliers and vocal when handled. The Fayoumi is not genetically a barred breed but a pencilled breed. All chicks are born brown whether of the silver or gold variety. The plumage pattern is similar to that of the Brakel. They were introduced into the UK in 1984.
Friesian fowls are from the windswept northern coastal region of The Netherlands. This region was very isolated until modem times, so the breed is thought to be very similar to those bred in the area 1000 years ago. They are small, active and hardy birds, a characteristic they share with breeds from other parts of the world where chickens were expected to find most of their own food by foraging. Friesians have attracted several breeders in the UK since the 1980s, most choosing the Chamois Pencilled variety. As large Friesians are a small breed, they have frequently been entered in bantam classes at shows here by mistake. Friesian Bantams are tiny, about the same size as Dutch bantams.
The Frizzle, a purely exhibition breed, is of Asiatic origin, and is notable for its quaint feather formation, each feather curling towards the head of the bird. It is more popular in bantams than in large fowls.
Langshans were first imported into Germany and Austria in 1879 from Major and Miss Croad in England. Some German breeders kept to the Croad type, while others, led by Baron Villa-Secca of Vienna, developed their own Deutsches Langschan. A breed club was formed for their new type of Langshan in 1895. German Langshans are tall birds with unfeathered shanks and feet and a neat rising tail and back line. These characteristics combine to give them their “wine glass” outline when viewed in profile. Johann Heermann, of Wedel, Holstein, developed German Langshan bantams, circa 1902-12. In addition to the Black, Blue and White varieties standardized here, there are several more colours in Germany: Barred, Birchen, Brown-Red, Lemon-Blue, Red and Silver-Blue.
The origin of the Hamburgh is wrapped in mystery. The spangled were bred in Yorkshire and Lancashire three hundred years ago as Pheasants and Mooneys, and there is a book reference to black Pheasants in the North of England in 1702. In its heyday, the Hamburgh was a grand layer and must have played its part in the making of other laying breeds. However, its breeders directed it down purely exhibition roads, until today it is in few hands.
Introduced into England in 1850, the Houdan is one of the oldest French breeds, taking its name from the town of Houdan, and has been developed for table qualities. Developed here it was once classified as a heavy breed, but today is included in the category of light, non - sitting breeds. It is one of the few breeds carrying a fifth toe, a semi-dominant feature when crossed with other breeds.
To Cornwall must go the credit for giving us the Indian Game. Breeds used in the make-up were the red Asil, black-breasted red Old English Game, and the Malay. The breed has been developed for its abundant quantity of breast meat, in which respect no other breed can equal it. When large table birds were the most popular in this country Indian Game males were chosen as mates for females of such table breeds as the Sussex, Dorking and Orpington, to produce extra large crosses. The females chosen for mating belonged to breeds possessing white flesh and shanks. Jubilee Indian Game are similar to Indians, but the lacing is white; in Indians it is black. The two varieties are often interbred.
The all-white Ixworth was created by Reginald Appleyard in 1932, taking its name from the village in Suffolk, and was produced as an excellent table bird with good laying qualities. Breeds used in its make-up included white Sussex, white Orpington, white Minorca, Jubilee, Indian and white Indian Game. In 1938, Ixworth bantams were to follow and at the time their breeder said they were better than the large fowl. The breed is now kept by the dedicated few, in both large fowl and bantams.
True bantams of great antiquity, these are without counterparts in the large breeds. They are the shortest legged of all varieties and are standardized in three feather forms: plain or normal feather, frizzle feather and silkie feather. The frizzle feathered shall follow both the type and colours of the plain-feathered standards, but the ends of all feathers are to curl back and point towards the head. Feathers must be broad and as closely curled as possible. The silkie feathered refers to the feather construction. All birds must follow closely the general Standard, but body feathers shall have a silky, loose feather structure (i.e. feathers have no main centre vein). This cannot apply to primary and secondary wing feathers or to true tail feathers, which would nullify any true Japanese type.
Originated in New Jersey in about 1880, this American breed took the name of `Giant’ because of the extra heavy weights that specimens could record. Its make-up accounts for such poundage as it includes black Java, dark Brahma, black Langshan and Indian Game. When introduced into this country it was claimed for the breed that the birds were heavier than those of any breed, that it was adaptable for farm range, and also for providing capons. Earlier specimens were of exceptional weights.
Ko Shamo are the most popular of the small Shamo breeds, none of which have large fowl counterparts, and none of which should be referred to as “Shamo Bantams”.
They are strong, muscular little birds with very sparse plumage. Slightly differing types are considered to be correct in Japan, their country of origin, and there will probably always be some variation here too. The most important attributes should be character and attitude, strong head and beak, prominent shoulders, very short, hard feather and tiny “prawn” tail.
Kraienkoeppe is the German name, Twentse the Dutch name for this border area breed. The basic breed type began with crosses between Malays and local farmyard fowls in the late nineteenth century. Later, Silver Duckwing Leghorns were introduced. Kraienkoeppe were first exhibited in the Netherlands in 1920 and Germany in 1925. The bantams were developed from crosses of the large breed with Malay bantams. They were first exhibited in the Netherlands in 1940, in Germany in 1955 and in Britain around 1970.
The Kulang Asil is an Indian bird of Malayoid type, kept and fought in its country of origin for hundreds of years. As Indian and Pakistani people migrated to Britain they brought these birds with them, and they have been kept here now for many years. The standard is intended to preserve the original type, which does vary from area to area. Their general appearance is very Shamo-like, the major differences being a rather less exaggeratedly upright stance and less prominent shoulders, and their development having been in India rather than the Shamo’s development in Japan.
The La Fleche is a French breed which has never been widespread in Britain. A large black breed with two vertical spikes for a comb, it is related to the Crevecoeur and in the middle of the nineteenth century was used to produce white-skinned petit poussin for the Paris market.
Lakervelt is a village near Utrecht, in the east of The Netherlands. It is also the place of origin of Lakenvelder cattle, which have a similar black and white colour pattern. The area where the chicken breed developed extended over the border to the Nordrhein-Westfalen region of Germany, where the breed name is Lakenfelder. These distinctively patterned chickens were recorded as far back as 1727. They were not imported to the UK until 1901 and then first exhibited at the 1902 Shrewsbury Show. Their popularity has been limited because very few birds have the desired completely black neck and tail with a white body.
Italy was the original home of the Leghorn, but the first specimens of the white variety reached this country from America around 1870, and of the brown two years or so later. These early specimens weighed not more than 1.6 kg (3 1/2 lb) each, but our breeders started to increase the body weight of the whites by crossing the Minorca and Malay, until the birds were produced well up to the weights of the heavy breeds. In the postwar years, the utility and commercial breeders established a type of their own, and that is the one which is now favoured. In commercial circles the white Leghorn has figured prominently in the establishment of high egg-producing hybrids.
A dual purpose utility breed found mainly in its native Lincolnshire. During the 19th and early 20th Century, it was supplied in vast numbers to the London markets as a white fleshed table bird and was widely sold as a good winter layer. Standardisation of the Buff Orpington, which many at the time considered to be a refined Lincolnshire Buff, lead to its demise in name by the 1920s, although its genetic material still lived on in the Orpington albeit in a much modified form. In the 1980s, the breed was redeveloped in Lincolnshire using this genetic material, with the addition of that of the Cochin and Dorking.
At the first poultry show in England in 1845 the Malay had its classification, and in the first British Book of Standards of 1865 descriptions were included of both the black/red and the white Malay. One of the oldest breeds, the Malay reached this country as early as 1830 and our breeders developed it, particularly in Cornwall and Devon. At the turn of the twentieth century the Malay was the first breed to be bantamized, the bantams proving to be more popular than the large fowl. They were large in comparison to other bantams, and it is difficult to reduce size further without losing the typical large fowl characteristics. They should follow the large fowl standard in every respect except weight.
Taking its name from the town of Marans in France, this breed has in its make - up such breeds as the Coucou de Malines, Croad Langshan, Rennes, Faverolles, barred Rock, Brakel and Gatinaise. Imported into this country round about 1929, it has developed as a dual-purpose sitting breed and the British Standard has clean legs, unlike the original French version. Like other barred breeds the cuckoo Marans females can be mated with males of other suitable unbarred breeds to give sex-linked offspring of the white head-spot distinguishing characteristic.
The Marsh Daisy was created around the 1880s by a Mr J. Wright of Southport, using an Old English Game bantam cock crossed on to cinnamon Malay hens. A cock produced from that cross was mated to hens which were a black Hamburgh/white Leghorn cross. A white rosecombed male produced from that cross was in turn crossed back to the hens of the Hamburgh/Leghorn cross. No other blood was introduced until 1913 when a Mr C. Moore purchased some hens from Mr Wright and crossed them on to a pure Pit Game cock. Desiring to secure the white lobe and willow leg stock, it was crossed with Sicilian Buttercups. The above were the basic ingredients for what we now know as the Marsh Daisy, a moderate layer and good forager. There are no known bantams in this breed.
The Minorca has been developed in this country as our heaviest light breed, and was at one time famous for its extra-large, white eggs. Crossing with the Langshan and other heavy breeds did not improve the egg production of the breed, and concentration on exaggerated headgear had a similar effect. Those times are passed and wiser counsels now prevail. The result is that a much better, balanced type is aimed for on the show bench with moderate size of lobes and of comb, and a more prominent front.
By the introduction of Malay crosses, and with the skill of British fanciers, the Modern Game fowl was evolved. Black-red, duckwings, brown-reds, piles, and birchens were the original recognized varieties, the general characteristics being the same for each, and 13 colours are now standardized.
When Major Croad imported his first Langshans in 1872, some poultry experts questioned whether they were significantly different from Black Cochins, which at that stage were not as profusely feathered as they have been since about 1900. Some Langshan breeders in the UK decided to emphasise the difference by breeding a taller and tighter feathered type of Langshan. It was this group who retained control of the original Langshan Society, with those favouring the medium feathered type, as first imported, forming a new Croad Langshan Club in 1904. Although the taller birds soon became known as “Modern Langshans” among poultry keepers in general, the enthusiasts stuck to the names “Club type” or “Society type” Langshans for several decades. Modern Langshans gradually declined in popularity through the 1930s, and have only just survived to the present day.
Nankins, or common yellow bantams, were among the first varieties of bantams introduced into this country. The variety came originally from Java and some parts of India. Once, they were the most widespread of all bantams and are believed to be the progenitors of nearly all buff bantam varieties. The name is thought to have been given from the resemblance of the colour to nankeen cloth. Nankins are excellent layers and the most tameable and engaging of breeds.
This is the lightest of the small Shamo breeds. The Nankin Shamo is slimmer and more elegant than the Ko Shamo, is more heavily feathered and has a longer tail.
A regional variant exists, the Echigo Nankin Shamo, from the Niigata area. It is very similar to the main Nankin Shamo breed, but is slightly taller and slimmer.
New Hampshire Red
As if to copy the farmers in the State of Rhode Island who developed the breed carrying its name, those in the neighbouring State of New Hampshire developed and named their breed. The New Hampshire Red was bred by selection from the Rhode Island Red without the introduction of any other breed, taking some thirty years to reach standardization in 1935. Early maturity, quick feathering, and a plump carcase are particular features of the breed. Its body shape and colouring are very different from those of the Rhode Island Red.
The Norfolk Grey was first introduced by Mr Myhill of Norwich under the ugly name of Black Marias. They were first shown at the 1920 Dairy Show and were mainly the result of a cross breed between silver birchen Game and duckwing Leghorns. They appear regularly at shows and are plentiful in their county of origin.
Developed in the Kochi Prefecture on the southern Japanese island of Shikoku in the mid-nineteenth century from crosses (details unknown) between long tailed breeds and small bantams such as Japanese (Chabo) or others of roughly Pekin type. They are a short legged bantam with a rounded body, old cocks having extraordinary long tail feathers which drag along the ground. Their name translates: 0=small, hiki=dragging. Not bred in the UK until the 1990s.
Old English Game bantam
The OEG Standard follows the Carlisle ideal. OEG bantams are of comparatively recent creation. They were evolved largely from the common crossbred bantam of the countryside. Probably there is very little large breed blood in them.
In the large breed it is usually agreed that a good Game bird cannot be a bad colour. This remark does not apply to the bantams, which are show birds only, colour playing a very important part.
Old English Pheasant Fowl
This breed was given its name of Old English Pheasant Fowl about 1914, previous to which it had been called the Yorkshire Pheasant, Golden Pheasant and also the Old-fashioned Pheasant. That it is a very old English breed is certain. Some Northern breeders retained their strains as Yorkshire Pheasant Fowls until the present tag of `Old English’ was brought officially into use. It has a meaty breast for a light breed, and has always been popular with farmers.
This breed originally came from the Gilan province of northern Iran, where it was known as the Chilianskaia. Some were taken to Moscow and renamed by Count Orloff Techesmensky. From Russia they became known to British, Dutch and German poultry experts in the 1880s and 1890s, and an Orloff Club existed in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s. Orloff bantams have been known in Germany since 1925, but did not reach Britain until the 1970s. As this Standard indicates, Orloffs are mainly judged on type and character, especially of the head. Plumage colour is a secondary consideration.
William Cook set about creating a fowl “of handsome appearance and a good winter layer” and presented the result at three major National shows in 1886. Named after the Kentish town where it was developed, the first Blacks were quickly followed by Buff, White, Jubilee, Spangled, Cuckoo and White, all of which are standardised today. The increase in bulk and feather in the thirties gave us the exhibition fowl we know today. Bantams arrived in the fifties but not in Cuckoo, Spangled or Jubilee. The first of many Orpington clubs was started in 1877 and all except the Buffs were amalgamated under one present day club in 1975.
Oxford Old English Game
When the Romans invaded Britain, Julius Caesar wrote in his commentaries that the Britons kept fowls for pleasure and diversion but not for table purposes. Many well-known authorities have considered that cock fighting was the diversion. In 1849 an Act of Parliament was passed making cock fighting illegal in this country, and with poultry exhibitions then taking root, many breeders began to exhibit Game fowls. Over thirty colours of Old English Game have been known.
The Old English Game Club split in about 1930 as there was already a divergence of birds being shown with larger breasted, horizontally backed, exhibition type birds tending to win. Breeders of these formed the Carlisle Club, developing only some of the original colours. Breeders of the original type, wherein the back is at 45 degrees to the ground, maintained the well-balanced, close heeled, athletic fighting fowl, and formed the Oxford Club, retaining over thirty colours.
The judge of Oxfords does so with the bird facing away from him to assess the correct balance. It is usually agreed that a good game fowl cannot be a bad colour.
This is a genuine bantam breed, very old and having no real relationship to the large breed of Cochins. It was imported from Pekin in the middle of the nineteenth century, hence its name. In recent years new colours have been added to the Standard.
Specimens of the barred Plymouth Rock were first exhibited in America in 1869, and stock reached here in 1871. The white and black varieties came as sports. About 1890, the buff was exhibited in America and in England. The barred Rock came to us as a dual-purpose breed, but was developed to an exhibition ideal in which body size and frontal development were neglected in order to secure long narrow finely barred feathers. With the introduction of sex-linkage between the black Leghorn and barred Rock for commercial purposes, utility breeders made use of the Canadian barred Rock, a bird with roomy body, full breast, lower on the leg but coarser in barring.
That the Poland is a very old breed goes without saying, although its ancestry is none too clear. Many connect it with the breed named the Paduan or Patavinian fowl, although this original example is illustrated without muff or beard. Poland (gold or silver spangled, black or white) had a classification at the first poultry show in London in 1845, and was standardized in the first Book of Standards in 1865, with white-crested black, golden and silver varieties included. The white-crested (black or blue) varieties are without muffling, while the others have muffs.
The Redcap is one of the most beautiful of all breeds of poultry. It is healthy, hardy and thrives in all parts of the British Isles. It has long been a favourite with poultry breeders in the exposed High Peak district of Derbyshire. The breed is not without value for the table, as year-old birds have a very good breast. It is a non-sitter and excellent layer. It is a grand old English breed, a utility layer of the first class and on the show bench a bird of beauty in shape and feather.
Rhode Island Red
No breed made such a world progress in so short a time as this American breed. It was developed from Asiatic black-red fowls of Shanghai, Malay and Java types, bred on the farms of Rhode Island Province. Red Javas were known there in 1860, and the original Rhode Island Red had a rose comb, although birds with single combs, probably from brown Leghorn crossings, were bred. They were first exhibited as Rhode Island Reds in 1880 in South Massachusetts. In December 1898, the Rhode Island Red Club of America held their first meeting. In 1904, the Single Comb variety was admitted to the American Poultry Association of Perfection, followed in 1906 by the Rose Combs. The formation of the British Rhode Island Red Club took place in August 1909 and the breed has been one of the most popular in this country for all purposes. Being a gold, males of the breed are utilized extensively in gold-silver sex linked matings.
The Rosecomb bantam is a gem of show birds. In former days it achieved probably the highest pitch of artificial perfection ever achieved in exhibition birds.
As is common with any rumpless breed, the parson’s nose or `Caudal Appendage’ (uropygium) is missing. Foreign breeds such as Barbu d’Anvers has a rumpless version called Barbu du Grubbe. The Barbu d’Uccle has the Barbu d’Everberg as its rumpless version and, even in Japan, there is a Rumpless Yokohama, funny though it may sound, with its long saddle hackle making it feasible. A genetic accident with Old English Game many years ago probably created our own Rumpless Game. The breed, though popular in the bantam form is not often seen in large fowl.
The Satsumadori is a very stylish, flashy Japanese Gamebird developed in Kagoshima (formerly known as Satsuma) on the island of Kyushu. Bred originally for steel spur fighting, this is a powerful, agile bird, with tremendous presence.
This breed has been bred in Scotland for more than a hundred years, and the birds used to be known as Bakies, Crawlers and Creepers. Fowls having identical dumpy characteristics have been shown to exist as early as AD900. The bird is considered an ideal broody, being an excellent sitter and mother.
A light, non-sitting breed originated in Scotland, it has not been bred extensively outside that country where, even if it is less popular today, it will doubtless be maintained by keen breeders. It has been bred there for over two hundred years.
This breed is a genuine bantam and one of the oldest British varieties. It has no counterpart in large breeds, but has played a part in the production of other laced fowl, notably Wyandottes. There are two colours, gold and silver.
The Malaysian Serama first arrived in this country in 2004. Its ancestry is believed to date as far back as the 1600’s and is associated with the Thai King Sri Ama. The modern day Serama was created by Wee Yean Een beginning in 1971 by using Ayam Kapans which gave them their very light weight. He then introduced some Japanese bantams, eventually arriving at our present day birds.
The Shamo is a Japanese bird of Malayoid type, originally imported to Japan from Thailand in the seventeenth century, the name being a corruption of Siam, the old name for Thailand. In Japan it was developed into a fighting bird of unmatched courage and ferocity. Its feathers are sparse but strong and shiny, and its powerful bone structure and well-muscled body and legs, coupled with its erect posture, make it an impressive and striking bird. Since its importation in the early 1970s the term “Shamo” has covered all large fowl, but in Japanese classification, birds are divided into Chu (medium) Shamo and O (large) Shamo.
The distinguishing feature of the breed is the cup-shaped comb. This comb variation has been known for centuries, birds with this type of comb are portrayed on paintings in galleries in Rome and Florence, dating back to the 16th century. The first specimens were taken to America from Sicily in the 1830’s. Today’s stock probably descended from imports and subsequent selection by C. C. Loring of Dedham, Massachusetts in the 1860’s or from eggs imported to America in
1892. In 1907 the breed was widely promoted by the efforts of Mrs. James L. Dumaresq, of Easton, Maryland, whose husband had been in the American diplomatic service. She noted ” the chickens were pretty, tame, and abundant layers.” Specimens were brought to Britain in 1910 and in 1913 by a Mrs. Colbeck of West Yorkshire. Soon afterwards a Breed Club was formed, there followed a brief spell of popularity followed by a decline in interest from the late 1920’s. Sicilian Flowerbirds were standardised in 1922, as a distinct breed. The Buttercup in bantam form is a recent creation. Obtaining correct plumage markings on females, well-cupped combs on both sexes and a wholly red earlobe are the main difficulties in breeding show quality Buttercups. The American standard for the breed was changed in the late 1920’s in favour of a white earlobe, hence stock imported to Britain in the 1970’s from the USA were white lobed.
Silkie fowls have been mentioned by authorities for several hundred years, although some think they originated in India, while others favour China and Japan. Despite light weights the Silkie is not regarded as a bantam in this country but as a large fowl light breed, and as such it must be exhibited. Its persistent broodiness is a breed characteristic, and either pure or crossed, the breed provides reliable broodies for the eggs of large fowl or bantams.
The white-faced black Spanish is one of our oldest breeds, and was widely kept and admired long before the advent of poultry shows in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Of striking appearance, with its extensive white face surrounding the eyes and ears and extending lower than the wattles, the Spanish was also a good layer of large white eggs. In the last decade, the breed has gained popularity especially with the re-introduction of the bantam form, although bantam white-faced Spanish were popular around the 1900s.
The origin of the Sulmtaler lies south and south-west of Graz, capital of the Austrian county Stiermarken. Especially in the valleys of Kainach, Lassnitz, Sulm and Saggau (tal = valley), heavy fowls were bred for high quality fattening, mainly being fed on locally grown maize. From 1865 to 1875, these birds were crossed with Cochin, Houdan and Dorkings and then crossed back again to the local fowls from Stiermarken. By 1900, the Sulmtaler had been developed as a breed in its own right and spread into Germany, Holland and England. It is a hardy fowl, fast growing, easy to fatten and a good utility breed.
With head crest, beard, vulture hocks, feathered legs, five toes and snow-white plumage, Sultans have always been an ornamental breed. They were originally found strutting around the Sultan of Constantinople’s palace garden. All today’s Sultans are descended from an importation by Miss Elizabeth Watts of Hampstead in January 1854. They have never been numerous, but have a dedicated following.
The Sumatra, which comes from the island of Sumatra or the Malay Archipelago, was admitted to the American standard in 1883. With the help of Lewis Wright and Frederick R. Eaton the British standard was drawn up in 1906 under the name of Black Sumatras. A long, flowing tail, carried horizontally, and a pheasant-like carriage are distinguishing characteristics. Sumatras are prolific layers of white eggs and excellent sitters, especially being used to hatch waterfowl. In the late 1970s, a strain of bantams was recreated.
This is a very old breed, for although we do not find it included in the first Book of Standards of 1865, at the first poultry show of 1845 the classification included Old Sussex or Kent fowls, Surrey fowls and Dorkings. The oldest variety of the Sussex is the speckled. Brahma, Cochin and silver grey Dorking were used in the make-up of the light. The earlier reds had black breasts, until the red and brown became separate varieties. Old English Game has figured in the make-up of some strains of browns. Buffs appeared about 1920, clearly obtained by sex-linkage within the breed. Whites came a few years later, as sports from lights. Silvers are the latest variety. The light is the most widely kept in this country today among standard as well as commercial breeders. It is one of our most popular breeds for producing table birds. At the time when sex-linkage held considerable popularity, the light Sussex was one of the most popular breeds of the day, the females being in considerable demand for mating to gold males. At an even earlier stage, the Sussex breed formed the mainstay of the table poultry market in and around the Heathfield area. The Sussex Breed Club was formed as far back as in 1903 and is now one of the oldest breed clubs in Britain.
The Taiwan is a very large bird of Malayoid type. The breed is sometimes called Taiwan Shamo, but as this is not a Japanese breed that name is incorrect. The breed’s origins are in the island of Taiwan (formerly Formosa) It is of a similar type to the Shamo, but generally bigger and heavier with longer legs. There is a tendency in Europe to call any unidentifiable big Asian Game breed “Taiwan”, and these birds are often clumsy and of poor carriage. Birds of similar type have been called “Saipan” in USA, also “Chinese Shamo”. The true breed is an impressive, strong, agile, upright bird.
Thai Game is a large game breed of Malayoid type, kept and fought in its country of origin, Thailand.
The standard is intended to preserve this original type.
Their general appearance is very Shamo-like, the major differences being lighter build, a less exaggeratedly upright stance, less prominent shoulders, and a characteristically full tail carried slightly above horizontal.
The first recorded mention of these fowls in the Thuringen state of Germany was in 1793. They were known as Thuringer Pausbuckchen until they were standardized under their present German name of Thuringer Barthuhn on 8 March 1907. For most of their history there were just two colour varieties, Gold and Silver Spangled. Several more colour varieties have been recognized in Germany since then, of which only the Chamois Spangled and the Black has been seen in the UK. Ernst Florschutz was a leading breeder of the first Thuringian Bearded bantams, circa 1890-1914, but current strains are probably post-1945 remakes. They have been seen at British poultry shows since about 2000.
Transylvanian Naked Neck
Transylvania has been part of Romania since 1918, but was once part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Naked Neck chickens have been recorded in many parts of Europe and the Middle East, so it is difficult to be sure about their origin. Exhibition Naked Necks, bred to a standard with completely bare necks, have always been most popular in Austria and Germany: there were 110 Naked Necks at the 1907 Leipzig Show. Karl Huth exhibited the first recorded Naked Neck bantams at the 1898 German National Show. They have never been more than a rare novelty in the UK.
They are active foragers and productive birds, and their bare necks and reduced plumage is not a problem, especially in warm climates. Indeed, the speed with which cockerels can be hand plucked and ready for cooking has no doubt ensured their popularity among smallholders. There are now several naked-necked broiler hybrids, a good example of how even the most unexpected old breed can be useful in today’s poultry industry.
The Tuzo is a hard feather true bantam developed in U.S.A. and Europe from Oriental bloodlines. (Standardised in Germany in 1983.)
Originated in Hamburg by Oskar Vorwerk in 1900, the breed was first shown at Hanover in 1912 and standardized in 1913. The aim was to provide a middle-weight economical utility fowl, good natured, lively but not timid. A point worthy of note is the compatibility of males amongst themselves. These fowls were found to be particularly suitable for smallholdings and farmyards as they are excellent foragers, small eaters and quick maturing.
Named after the village of Welsum, this Dutch breed has in its make-up such breeds as the partridge Cochin, partridge Wyandotte and partridge Leghorn, and still later the Barnevelder and the Rhode Island Red. In 1928, stock was imported into this country from Holland, in particular for its large brown egg, which remains its special feature, some products being mottled with brown spots. It has distinctive markings and colour, and comes into the light-breed category, although it has good body-size. It enters the medium class in the country of its origin. Judges and breeders work to a standard that values indications of productiveness, so that laying merits can be combined with beauty.
The first variety of the Wyandotte family was the silver laced, originated in America, where it was standardised in 1883. The variety was introduced into England at the time, and our breeders immediately perfected the lacings and open ground colouring. Partridge Cochin and gold spangled Hamburgh males were crossed with the silver females, to produce the gold laced variety. The white Wyandotte came as a sport from the silver laced; the buff followed by crossing buff Cochin with the silver laced. In 1896, the partridge variety was introduced from America, the result of blending partridge Cochin and Indian Game blood with that of the gold laced, the variety being perfected for markings in England. It was once called the gold pencilled, and the silver pencilled soon followed from partridge Wyandotte and dark Brahma crossings.
Columbians were the result of crossing the white Wyandotte with the barred Rock, and it was the crossing of the gold laced and the white varieties which produced the buff laced and the blue laced, first seen here in 1897. Blacks, blues and barred have been made in different ways in this country. The latest variety to be introduced is the red, created in Lancashire, from the gold laced variety, with selective matings with white Wyandotte, Barnevelder and Rhode Island Red. It is clear that while the family of the Wyandotte is large, every variety is a made one from various blendings of breeds.
The Yakido is a small Shamo variety that was created around 1850 (the Tokugawa period) in the Mie province. The breed is of Shamo type, but comes below the Chu Shamo in weight, and is shown as a bantam. It was bred originally as a sparring partner for the bigger birds.
The Yamato is the largest of the small Shamo breeds, and could be considered an intermediate size (with the Chibi Shamo being its bantam equivalent). In Britain it is exhibited as Large Fowl. It is an ancient ornamental breed, and the aim is to be as thick-set, exaggerated and full of character as possible within the weight limits. The main feature is a very heavily wrinkled face, which gets more and more grotesque with age.
The earliest recorded long-tailed fowls were found in China and sent home by Japanese diplomatic representatives. This was sometime between 600 and 800AD in our calender. Not all accounts agree about dates and details of events so long ago. The original type birds were called Shokoku in Japan, and from them were developed several other Japanese long-tailed breeds, which are summarized at the end of this Standard. Several of these Japanese long-tailed breeds were exported to Europe, the first recorded by M.Girard, a French missionary, in 1864. These and later shipments were consigned from the port of Yokohama, which became the name by which all long-tailed fowls were called by Europeans who were not able, or did not bother, to discover the true breed names and details from Japanese experts. A leading German fancier, Hugo du Roi, bred and promoted the red-lobed and somewhat gamey, Red Saddled White Yokohama (circa 1880), but it is not clear if he made them himself by crossing various imports or actually imported birds of this colour and type. This variety is unknown in Japan now, but might have existed then. In an effort to bring some order to their assortment of imported types, German fanciers restricted the name Yokohama to the Red Saddled Whites, and invented a new name, Phoenix, for the white lobed, single combed type. British fanciers formed a Yokohama Club about 1904 and decided to use that name for all types; which is why we now have one very long and complex standard for what really should be several breeds. Yokohama Bantams were made by various German fanciers by crossing large Yokohamas with assorted bantams of appropriate colours.