Shamo Chicken Characteristics, Temperament & Origin

The Shamo chicken is an hard feathered Asiatic Game breed originating in Japan. Although the breed was developed in Japan, but it’s ancestors came from Thailand (which was known as Siam) between the 17th and 19th centuries.

Shamo chicken was developed mainly for using as a fighting bird. And the breed was imported into many countries mainly for this reason. There are many different kinds of Japanese Game chickens, but currently the Shamos are best known.

Breeders looked to the strength and endurance of these original breeds when creating the Shamo breed. The Shamos have been selectively bred for hundred years and now is very different from the original stock.

Actually the Shamo chicken is a strain of the Asil chicken. Which was taken to Thailand and Taiwan and from there to Japan. The real origin place of Shamo is Sindh, Pakistan. And secondary origin place is India.

In different regions of Japan, the Shamo chicken can be found in different variety of colors and sizes. Different regions favoring fowls of different sizes for boxing. The varieties are; o-Shamo, Chu-Shamo and Ko Shamo.

O-Shamo chickens are larger birds with roosters weighting 5.62 kg and hens 3.4 kg. Chu-Shamos are medium birds with roosters weighting 3.63 kg and hens about 2.72 kg. And the Ko-Shamo chickens are smaller birds with roosters weighting 1.81 kg and hens weighting 1.36 kg.

In hopes of avoiding the extinction of Shamo chicken, the Japanese government placed the bird under protection of low in 1941. The breed is available in the United States. It was first imported to the United States in 1874.

But the majority of the chickens In America can be found in the Southern states. The Chu-Shamo and O-Shamo designations are recognized in the United Kingdom. The Australian Poultry Standards have only one form of Shamo, which has a minimum weight of 3 kg.

The Shamo chicken breed was first recognized and admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1981. Today the breed is kept as an ornamental bird in some countries.

And also raised as game birds in some countries. Now the Shamo chicken is listed in the Watch category of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.

Physical Characteristics of Shamo Chicken

Despite being a popular game chicken, Shamo chicken is also known for being the second tallest breed after the Malay chicken. In appearance, the Shamos are large and tall chicken with upright, nearly vertical, body carriage.

They have well muscled thighs, wide and muscular body. They have hard and closely held feathers that often do not completely cover their bodies. They have heavily boned broad shoulder. They are taller and less compact than the Asil chickens, and lack the exaggerated curves of the Malay chicken.

The tails of the Shamo chicken are small and generally follow the line of the back sloping downward to the ground. They have smaller sized bright red colored pea comb. Their earlobes are small and bright red colored.

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Their wattles are also of bright red color, which is very small or missing entirely. They have yellow colored beak and legs. And their eyes are of pearl color. The plumage color vary depending on the color variety.

For example; White variety has standard white plumage, Wheaten variety has standard wheaten plumage, Black variety has standard black plumage, Dark variety has standard dark plumage, Black Breasted Red variety has standard black breasted red plumage, Spangled variety has standard spangled plumage, Buff Columbian variety has standard buff columbian plumage and the Brown Red variety has standard brown red plumage.

American Poultry Association recognizes only four color varieties, which are; Black, Black Breasted Red, Dark and Red. On an average, standard Shamo roosters weight 5 kg and hens about 3.18 kg. And the bantam roosters weight about 1.25 kg and hens about 1 kg. Photo from Wikipedia.


The Shamo chicken has similarity to the Asil chicken. They are usually easy to handle and the hens are pretty calm. But the roosters can be territorial and aggressive towards each other. Even the hens can be aggressive towards other chickens. And fights among the baby chicks is also a problem.

The roosters must be kept separated form other roosters for preventing them from fighting to the death. Although the Shamo chicken likes humans. And they can be tamed easily with proper care from a young age. The hens are good layers than many of the other Asiatic game breeds. They lay medium sized light brown colored eggs.

Hens go broody and are excellent mothers. The chicken breed produce good amount of meat. But their meat has been described as tough and is not favorable by everyone. They are great foragers and good for free range, but can’t do well in confinement. Review full breed profile of Shamo chicken below.

Breed NameShamo
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeOrnamental/Fighting
Breed TemperamentCan’t Bear Confinement Well, Aggressive, Likes Humans not Chickens
Breed SizeLarge
Climate ToleranceHeat
Egg ColorLight Brown
Egg SizeMedium
Egg ProductivityLow
Feathered LegsNo
VarietiesBlack, Black Breasted Red, Dark and Red are the four color varieties of Shamo chicken recognized by the American Poultry Association.
Country of OriginJapan

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