"Vandal," a Black/Red Shamo cock
Photo courtesy of Julia Keeling

Text by Shahbazin / J. Floyd

The Shamo is another of the hard feathered Game breeds; the breed was developed in Japan, but its ancestors came from Siam (now Thailand) between the 17th & 19th centuries (the Tokugawa period). There are many different kinds of Japanese Games, but currently the best known is the Shamo. They were developed for use as fighting fowl, and were imported into many other countries for this reason; they also make fine meat birds, if slow growing, and crosses have been used to develop other types of table fowl. Currently, Shamos are catching on in popularity as exhibition birds. Many American game fanciers refer to the Shamos as "Japs," although this nickname has also been applied to the radically different Japanese bantam.

Shamos are tall, with a rather upright stance; they have the typical Oriental 'bird of prey" expression, with heavy brow ridges and short, sturdy beak. Eyes are usually pearl, the comb is pea, wattles are small or non-existent, and the feathering is exceedingly short and hard, to the extent that the breastbone is left bare. Although broad shouldered and heavily boned, they lack the exaggerated curves of the Malay, and are taller and less compact than the Asil. Tails are small, and generally follow the line of the back sloping downward to the ground. Colors in the American standard include Black, Black Breasted Red (Wheaten), and Dark, and colors in the Japanese standard include Akasasa (red-hackled), Kisasa (yellow-hackled), Shojo (brown), Goishi (mottled), Abura (dark red-hackled), Hakushoku (white), Asagi (blue), and Kokushoku (black).

I found the Shamo personality to be very similar to that of an Asil; birds were generally easy to handle and pleasant tempered, as well as being outstanding broodies & mothers--my Shamo hens were actually quite decent layers though, and far surpassed the Asils in this respect. They were also very territorial and aggressive towards each other; fights among baby chicks were also a problem. I no longer have any pure Shamos, and regret not having preserved my original line, as they are a fairly rare breed. They are handsome fowl, quite clever, and make nice pets if you can allow them personal space away from each other. My old brood cock was sold to a fellow who had bought some of his offspring in the past; his new owner enjoyed riding around in their pickup truck, with the Shamo cock perched on the front seat beside him.

Breed clubs:

The Oriental Game Breeders' Association
P.O. Box 100
Creston, CA 93432
Ph. (805) 237-1010
(This club also promotes Sumatras, Asils, Yokohamas, Phoenix, and Malays.)

The Asian Gamefowl Society
Julia Keeling, British Representative
Ballashee, Staarvey Road, German
Isle of Man, IM5 2AJ
British Isles
phone: (+44)-1624-801825
Speciaalclub Aziatische Vechthoenrassen
Willem van Ballekom (Secretaris SAV)
Hobokenlaan 19
5628 VA Eindhoven
phone: 040-2417208

Shamo Links:

An SPPA article on Manuel Reynolds's Hyderabad Asils and Shamos

Marc King's page on Shamo.

Shamoman's Fowl

You can find pictures of Shamos on Orchard Poultry Farm's page

FowlAfoot Poultry Conservation Farm

The Ultimate Fowl Blog on Manuel Reynolds's Hyderabad Asils and Shamos

"Basilisk" from the front, showing the bare breastbone typical of Oriental hard feathered fowl
Photo courtesy of Shahbazin

A Spangled Shamo male
Photo courtesy of Craig Russell

BB Red male and Wheaten female Shamos
Photo courtesy of Horst W. Schmudde

A very unusual sight -- a flock of Shamo cockerels
This group had to be penned individually shortly after the photo was taken
Photo courtesy of Julia Keeling

The head of a Shamo cock
Photo courtesy of Shahbazin

"Anthracite," a Shamo hen, with her own chicks and a couple of Buff Laced Polish chicks
Photo courtesy of Shahbazin

A pair of Shamos
Photo courtesy of Greenfire Farms

A Blue Mottled Shamo pullet

A Shamo bantam and his head
Photos courtesy of Rev. Rick Thompson

White Shamo pullet and cockerel
Photo courtesy of Julia Keeling

A pair of Shamo, "Hanne" and "Tweed"
Photo courtesy of Julia Keeling

Craig Russell's BBR Shamo cock
Photo courtesy of Nicole Reggia

A Black Shamo cock with red hackles, here "Basilisk" is relaxed and not showing the upright stance typical of the breed
Photo courtesy of Shahbazin

Spangled and Blue Red Shamo roosters from Germany
Photos courtesy of Sascha Michel

A Blue Shamo rooster
Photo courtesy of William Bender, Jr.

Another Spangled Shamo male
Photo courtesy of William G. Bender, Jr.

Pam's Black Shamo cockerel & pullet
Photos courtesy of Pam Marshall

Another Shamo cockerel
Photo courtesy of Greenfire Farms

A White Shamo rooster
Photo courtesy of William Bender, Jr.

Black Shamo chicks
Photo courtesy of Pam Marshall

[Chickens P-Z]


back to Poultry Page

All text ©FeatherSite unless otherwise credited; for graphics see note.

Direct questions and comments to Barry at FeatherSite -- questions and comments