The large Shamo is officially known as O-Shamo but their are many sub-lines as Chu-Shamo, Taiwan-Shamo, Tuzo, ..., they are different in wheight and/or type.

This breed was imported in Japan in the 16th century. The breeds name is a derivation of the Japanese expression of the word "Sham" meaning "Siam (Thailand)". This is the reason why most people think that these birds are offspring of an anciant Malayoid jungle fowl, but that bird is extincted. In the beginning of the 16th century the Japanese ruler Ieyashu Tokugawa allowed Japanese merchants and seafarers to start up trade with countries throughout Asia. These socalled "redseal" ships named after the trade permission issued by the ruler himself sailed to India, Vietnam, China, Siam, Philippines, Indonesia, Burma, etcetra. From everywhere new and interesting material was imported into Japan. Also a range of gamefowl. These birds were crossed with each other or with local breeds (only small & middleweight Bankivoid fowl excisted at that time in Japan!).

A whole new range of gamefowl was developed. Through time only the most succesful survived and were bred to more or less uniform standard.The most reputed Japanese bird, also outside Japan, is the O-Shamo. Sometimes called the 'King of Gamefowl' !

Features: triple pea or walnutcomb, pearlish eyes, strong broad beak, the wings are carried a bit off the body the wing joints clearly pointing up, thighs are strong muscled and clearly visible. Prominent shoulders with short strong wings pointing downwards. Bare red skin should show at point of wing and at keel (breastbone).The tail line should be horizontal, in line of the back or in between. The shanks are yellow or yellow with black influence for the black birds. In Europe also willow-green shanks are seen but according to information available this colour is not accepted in the official Japanese 'standard of perfection'. Due to various climatical conditions and different taste in different regions in Japan a slight difference in weight and size is possible. Weight: male 12.3 Lbs (5.6 Kgs), female 10.7 Lbs (4.8 Kgs) according Mr.Yoshihisa Kubota (Secretary of the Japan Poultry Society). Although not many of these big birds are seen in the pits. In Europe O-Shamo cocks must have a minimum weight of 8.8 Lbs (4 Kgs), the hens 6.6 Lbs (3 Kgs). Drawing from collection Eugen Leyopolt
A lot of breeders refer to names as "Koyama Shamo, Suzuki Shamo, Makino Shamo, Teramoto Shamo", Seto Shamo etcetera. These are not to be seen as different types but are simply names of reputed Shamo breeders (strains). According Japanese sources there are only O-Shamo and Chu-Shamo (middleweight Shamo). The O-Shamo is fought in Japan only in naked heels or blunted spurs but never with steel or artificial spurs. However in some parts of the world the Shamo is fought in steel (Belgium). The O-Shamo is a well balanced breed combining size, weight, speed, power, stamina and endurance.

Information : Mr.Yoshihisa Kubota (Secretary of the Japan Poultry Society) and Julia Keeling (Isle of Man).

According to Mr. I. Teramoto (former President of the "Nippon Gunkei Hyogi Kai") their are two sorts of Gamefowl-fights in Japan :

-> 1° A fight where the winner is decided after a serie of fights without artificial spurs and without the object of gaining lots emounts of money. All types of Shamo are used.
-> 2° A fight where the only object is to gain money. This is oftenly obtained by quick fights of light-weight Shamo or Satsumadori.

The "Nippon Gunkei Hyogi Kai" is an organisation which supports the first sort of cockfight. The Shamo used for those fights can be devided into 2 groups, the 'Buchidori'(or semidori) and the 'Ukedori'. The 'Buchidori' has a strong neck, a good concentration and is fast. He defeats his opponent in a short time. His defense-technique is weak. The 'Ukedori' has a lot of endurance. He can avoid an attack of his opponent easily and he strikes back when his opponent is tired.

The organised fights take a break every twenty minutes, to give the birds water for one minute. The'Buchidori' fights are mostly organised in spring with young cocks, which are born after februari of the past year. The fights are devided in 7 groups according to their weight. The ring is called DOKYÔ or SHIBA and has a diameter of 2m and is mainly maid out of bamboo or dry grasses. The first match is 40 minutes, the second match is 60 minutes, the third match and following matches are 70 minutes and the final match is 90 minutes long. A defeat is based on Hirashobu and judged when one of the following events happen :
* Tobidashi or Aikiri : the cock runs or flies out of the ring or he shows he
wants to quit.
* Hashi zeië : the beak touches the ground for more then 3 minutes
* Munetuki : the breast touches the ground for more then 3 minutes
* Kamenoko : the lays on his back.

When their is no defeat after the match is finished, both cocks can participate in the following match against another opponent.

Recent days other sources tell that most of the natural fights in Japan are between a big cock (+4,5 Kg - 5 Kg) and a smaller cock ( lighter then 3,7 Kg). The goal for the smaller cock is to remain standing for 1 hour. So the bigger cock should KO the smaller cock. Because the ring is very small the big cock can't take the space he needs to fully develop his attack. The smaller cocks are quicker and don't need so much space to attack. Japan is the only countrie i know where fights are done between cocks of different weight-classes !


Shamo is a covering-name for the fighting-game in Japan for already 4 century's. The last 40 years the big Ô-Shamo is becoming widely spread and used by gamecock-lovers all over the world. They have earned their place and are famous.
The rest of the family is not so widely spread.
They are different from each other by weight (ranges from 600gr. to 6 Kg European measures) and breeding-goals. In japan these birds are believed to be bred and selected since 1600. Their origin is believed to lie in Siam, the former Thailand. Once the Japanese started to select their birds with a wide range off different types and a wide range of objectives as result. All types have a purpose and an own original look. I've given a resume of the known types at the moment (2006), but Japanese breeders always like to experiment and search for more extreme types. Besides of the big Ô-Shamo, you'll find :



° Tosa-chibi : The smallest in the Shamo-family weighs only 750 gr. They have become very rare ! Their stand is not so extreme vertical and their feathers are softer then those from the Ko-Shamo. Although they are very small, they should always have a normal balanced proportion between neck, body and legs. In Japan their are also examples with extreme short legs.



° Chibi : Is bred to be the small version of the Yamato (see further). An adult male weighs only 1Kg. They are short in neck, legs and body. They should have a lot of wrimpels. They have an upright stand and very short feathers.



° Ko-Shamo : The most famous breed among the small Shamo. They have a long erect and totaly vertical stand, with an 1/3 neck, 1/3 body and 1/3 legs proportion. The head is thick and round but has not so many wrinkles as a Chibi. The feathers are extremely short. Wings are hold away from the body and pulled up at the same time. The wing-tips should end above or next to the tail, not under the tail! The cocks weigh around 1 Kg when they are 1 year old, when they become older they may become a little heavier. Their character is amazing, they know no fear and are very friendly to their keepers, even childeren can find them very nice to play with. In Europe alot of birds have been crossed over the years and so they lost their unique and extreme types. But some breeders have always kept the original type and we are fighting back to restore this beautiful race. Alot of work has been done, but their is still alot to do !


° Tuzo or Nankin-Shamo : According "Cockfighting all over the World" written in 1928 by Carlos Finsterbusch, this breed was only bred and owned by the Japanese nobility. But strange enough in Japan there is no breed known or has ever been known by this name (source: Mr.Yoshihisa Kubota, Secretary of the "Japan Poultry Society"). Their is a big resambling with the Nankin-Shamo.Typical features: Aseel-like in shape and form, pearl eyes, triple peacomb, shankcolours: fleshcoloured with a blackish touch, yellow, all black, Colour of the face: red to blackish depending on the colour of the feathers (all black or blackred). Weight: male 3.9 Lbs (1.8 Kgs), female: 3.3 Lbs (1.5 Kgs) Still today strains are seen having black spurs. Old literature mentioned also a black tongue.


° Kimpa : The breed has been created in 1830 in the city of Akita situated on the main island Kyushu. This small breed has an interesting feature, they are henny feathered. Dispite clasified as small Shamo's the "Kinpa" shows more similarity with the small Aseel.Typical features: triple peacomb, eyecolour: dark (brown to blackish), shankcolour: yellow, yellow with black spots (depending on colour of the plumage). Another typical feature is that the feathers are not pointed but rounded at the end and this feature is known in Japan as "marubane" (= round-feather). Weight: male 3.9 Lbs (1.8 Kg), female 3 Lbs (1.4 Kg). Typical colours: black, white, spangled & wheaten. The best birds are of the black colour .


° Yamato : Pure Yamatos show remarkable big and fleshy heads. Their face skin is owning several deep wrinkles. Typical broad and deep brest is presented rounded in front. Especially the rooster´s legs are of intermediate length, but thick and straight. Rooster up to 2kg , Hen up to 1,7kg (in 2nd year). Yamato´s identificates are the remarkable headpoints. Their scarce plumage is best, to let recognize the strong boned and muscled body.Their laying activity will be just enough to reproduce. Together with an average furtality, this means that they are not easy to breed.


° Yakido : The Yakido is a Shamo-like bird and obviously has been created using the Chu Shamo. The breed is quite young and was created in the village of Yakido (Taki-gun district in Mie province) situated east of Osaka on the main island Honshu. According Japanese information the Yakido was especially created to play the "underdog" role in sparring fights against the much bigger O-Shamo.Typical features: pearlish eyes, triple peacomb. Shankcolour: yellow, or yellow with black spots. Yakido are only present in an overall black colour. Overall discription: Shamo-like apperance. Weight: ± 5.7 Lbs (2.6 Kg). http://www.geocities.com/asiangame/yakido.htm


° Chu-Shamo : The "Chu-Shamo" is just a lighter weight-class of the Ô-Shamo. Adult cock : 3.5 Kg, adult hen : 3 Kg. In type they should completly resamble the big Ô-Shamo, but oftenly they are far more typical, because they don't have to carry that massive body.The first European poultry club to recognize this sub-race was the Italian "National Poultry Association" and the United Kingdom "Asian Hardfeather Club" joined these ranks shortly thereafter. Regretfully most of the Chu-Shamo in Europe have been crossed with the Ô-Shamo to make them bigger.


° Satsumadori : This mid-weight fighter was developed for speed-fights in Japan. They fought with only 1 knive in short games. This game-bird has alot of Shamo-influences, but is crossed with an unknown smaller Japanese longtail-fowl. They can be very aggressive even against their keeper. Their type is very graceful.Weight: cock 3750g, hen 2810g (young birds 2440 ­ 3190g)
Main tail open widely, sickles down to the ground.

  ° Koeyoshi : This Shamo-relative is bred for crowing-competition. The best birds can crow more than 20sec. at one time. Their gameness is less then average.

Mr. Koyama made a drawing of the types which where most seen in the different regions of Japan in the late 1980's. This was shortly translated into flemish by a Belgian Monk who lived in Japan. These where the fighting-types, so you will notice that the Ô-Shamo and Chu-Shamo, according to the Japanese standard of perfection, don't resamble these weights. My opinion is that cock-fighters in Japan crossed and experimented alot like other cockers around the world. So don't take this map to be excact, it's just a point of view of Mr. Koyama at that time.


1. 4 to 5 Kg Attacking type but with a moderate condition to fight long.
2. 3 to 4 Kg Defending type.
3. 3 to 3Kg750gr. The best birds for the fight.
4. 4 to 5 Kg Attacking type like type 1.
5. 3Kg500gr. Steel-fighter called Satsumadori.
6. 5 to 7 Kg Attacking- and defendingtypes called Taiwan-Shamo, they where not adequate for the Japanese fight.

Left : Shamo of Mr. Makino
Right : Shamo of the Osaka-region

Shamo of Mr. Irizumi

Heavy Shamo-type, breeder unknown

Sakaguchi Shamo



Right : Shamo from Mr. Tomari





Shamo Mr Taten

Lin Shamo