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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 Tuzo is a hard feather true bantam developed in U.S.A. and Europe from Oriental bloodlines. (Standardised in Germany in 1983.)
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.