Contributed by Marc King

SHAMO in Japanese means "fighter", which is what the Shamo was bred for. The origins of the breed, however, are not Japanese, rather we find Shamoid-type gamefowl in Thailand, India (Asil gamefowl), Taiwan and other parts of tropical southest Asia (Malay). It is documented in Japanese history that the "Shamo", which was probably of Malay and Asil stock, was orignally imported from Thailand, but then underwent a selection purely Japanese, the results of which are a very impressive and beautiful gamefowl.

There are many strains of Shamo in Japan and the name Shamo has been given to many different gamefowl types. The O-Shamo, the largest, and the Chu-Shamo, next down in size, are considered selelctions of the same breed. There are also the bantam breeds Ko-Shamo and Nanking Shamo but they are not the sized-down versions of the other Shamos. These are considered separate breeds and fit in a larger category of gamefowl that include: Yamato Gunkei and Chibi.

The O-Shamo and the Chu-Shamo are birds of upright carriage with very powerful and protruding shoulders, hard feathers, long and powerful shanks. Even the shoulder backs of the birds display body-builder type musculature. Shamo are pea or walnut combed, pearl-eyed and have large and powerful beaks. The head form varies slightly from different strains, but is overall a large, thick, rounded skull form with shortish to medium-length, curved beak. The eyebrows and cheekbones are very pronounced, creating an "eagle-like", piercing gaze. The face is red. The eyes of young cocks can be a shade of light red-orange to yellow, but must be very pale at two to three years.

Other distinquishing factors of the Shamo is is feathering. As in many asiatic gamefowl types, the breast is bare and the tips of the shoulders should also show bright red bare skin. The full tail is "carried above the ground at a less than horizontal position". No feathers drag but in some strains the two top sickles may barely touch the ground.

Color is of no importance. Blacks and red-blacks are the best to type, but there are many variations of wheaten, white, splash, cuckoo, silver duckwing, ginger red and porcelain colors.

Birds take 2 to 3 years to fully develop and should not be "pushed" with super feeds. Much to the contrary, they need to grow slowly at first, to ensure good, solid bone growth. They also prefer warmer climates. If kept in colder areas, it is very important that the O-Shamo and Chu-Shamo have draught-free stalls and a thick layer of straw to walk on.

The Shamo, as well as other gamefowl, is an extremely tame bird if treated with TLC. Some cocks, as in many other breeds, can become aggressive, at which time you might want to look at a good recepie for Chicken Caciatori! Our O-Shamo follow us like dogs, begging for food and almost allowing themselves to be petted! Once they see, however, another full-grown rooster, they go into attack position. The raising of Shamo needs individual pens for the roosters, and even the hens sometimes will not put up with other hens and have need of their own space. But, on the average, a mating of 3 - 4 hens and a rooster will go about their business peacefully.

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