What Breed of Roosters are Used in Cockfighting?

Cockfighting is a popular blood sport that has been around for thousands of years. In cockfights, two roosters are placed inside a pit to combat each other until one is subdued, either due to injuries or death.

While animal welfare organizations around the world consider cockfighting to be cruel and numerous countries have prohibited the sport, there are still several regions where cockfighting is legal and popular.

The chickens used in cockfighting are not just your ordinary chickens. These roosters are specifically bred and trained to be formidable against other roosters. Here is a primer on the fighting rooster breeds in cockfighting.

What Are the Fighting Roosters Called?

The term “fighting rooster” refers to chickens or roosters that have been trained to engage in cock fighting. Fighting roosters are called game fowl or gamecock, but they are also known as fighting cocks, fighting chickens, or fighting birds. 

What Kind of Breed of Roosters Are Used in Cockfighting?

Rooster fighting breeds are different from other breeds as they are bred, raised, and trained in different ways. While fighting rooster breeds may be friendly towards humans, they are generally extremely aggressive towards other chickens, no matter if they are hens or roosters. 

Hens hailing from fighting rooster breeds are usually sharp and protective, making them excellent mothers. Even the roosters will watch over their chicks with intensity. Check out some of the game fowl breeds used in cockfighting and learn more about them.


This gamecock is one of the most classic breeds around. This breed was developed in the United States. A sizable bird, the Kelso has a long body and a medium to large tail that is straight and curled.

Kelso birds are aggressive and powerful. This makes them formidable opponents in the ring. Aside from cockfights, Kelsos are also used in shows and exhibitions due to their beautiful feathers.


Shamo chickens are a breed that first appeared in Thailand but gained popularity among the Japanese, leading to its development in Japan.

The Shamo birds are fighting roosters that are known for their hatred towards other chickens. Like other fighting chicken breeds, the Shamo are supernaturally aggressive and while easy to raise, cannot be confined to cages. 

When it comes to appearance, the Shamo chickens have a straight upright posture and stand out from the crowd with their heavily-boned broad shoulders, bright red earlobes, yellow beaks, well-muscled thighs, comparatively short darker feathers, pear-shaped combs, and pearl-colored eyes.

Hatch Twist Roosters

A variety of the Hatch, the Hatch Twist fighting bird has good resistance and great intelligence. It has white or yellow feathers and green legs. Due to its large size, this breed uses intimidation as its fighting style. It is also known for its tenacity and determination. This fighting cock breed also links well with other rooster breeds.

Peruvian Fighting Roosters

Known as one of the most expensive fighting rooster breeds in the world, the Peruvian gamefowl is highly sought-after. This fighting breed is also one of the oldest chicken breeds in history.

In addition to that, Peruvian roosters are considered one of the best fighting rooster breeds in the world. Very few rooster breeds can hold their own against a Peruvian gamefowl.

Unlike other breeds, Peruvian cocks are bred for gameness instead of speed, power, or cut. Aside from using Peruvian game birds for cockfighting, they are also known as exhibition fowls in Peru.

American Game Chicken

American Game chickens are generally bred as ornamental birds or fighting cocks. Compared to other roosters, American Game birds also serve as a decent meal on the table.

As cockfighting is illegal in the United States, the American Game Chicken is a fighting chicken breed that mostly thrives in other countries around the world. 

This bird has a long body with a medium-sized tail that is twisted and curled. The American Game is a fighting cock that has an exceptional fighting style. They are one of the best fighting rooster breeds that will keep attacking until their last breath.

Malay Rooster

When it comes to the most aggressive breeds, the Malay chickens reign at the top, dubbed the “tallest chicken breed”. While Malay roosters come from Malaysia, their true origin is unknown. Some people believe that they have been around for at least 3,000 years. 

A Malay gamefowl stands tall at about 30 inches. The fighting style of Malay chickens is not to be taken lightly as they are fast, furious, and lethal. This aggressive breed does not stop fighting until its opponent stops moving. 

Sumatra Breed

Sumatra chickens hail from the Sumatra islands in Indonesia. These birds have a predatory appearance, believed to be the result of crossing Kampong chickens with wildfowl.

The Sumatra chicken breed is friendly towards humans and is often kept as pets. Even with their good relationship with humans, Sumatra gamefowls are aggressive against other birds. 

The Sumatra birds are known for their ability to fly. They can be easily recognized by their greenish-black coats and long tails that are similar to Yokohama chickens. 

Modern Game

Modern Game chickens were created as a response to the cockfighting prohibition of the British government in 1849. A Modern Game chicken is one bird that isn’t easily overlooked, as it resembles a velociraptor with its extensive neck and legs, compressed body, and tightly packed feathering.

Modern Game birds are fierce even with their small stature.

In the US and the UK, there are over 13 recognized color variations of the Modern Game breed. The hues of this breed are divided into two categories: chickens with dark legs and eyes, and chickens with yellow legs and reddish eyes.


The Asil chicken is a highly ferocious gamefowl. Asil roosters are known to have tremendous strength and are skilled fighters. Similar to their male counterparts, Asil hens are also aggressive, making them great and protective moms.

Despite their aggression against other birds, Asil chickens are an intelligent breed that can be very attentive and docile around humans. 

The Asil is small to medium in size. They have long, strong legs, short tail feathers, and nonexistent combs and wattles, giving them a few weaknesses for other rooster breeds to exploit. Asil chickens also require to be housed in cooler climates.

Brown Red Game Fowl

An attractive bird with brightly colored feathers, the Brown Red Game Fowl was created by breeders in the 1870s. When cockfighting began to decline, this chicken breed found it difficult to find other work since they were too aggressive for most farms. The Brown Red Game Fowl usually has black or slate-colored legs and a round head.

Old English Game Chicken

Old English Game roosters are a British breed developed in the 19th century. They are one of the oldest game chicken breeds used in cockfighting.

Known to be aggressive roosters, Old English Game chickens are small yet feisty. These days, however, this popular breed of chicken is used for poultry shows, exhibitions, and to improve the stock. 

And Old English Game chicken can be seen with black, white, and red feathers. Their well-curved nails make them distinct from other chicken breeds. Old English Game birds also appear to have puffed-out chests, long necks, and short, strong legs.

Radio Fighting Roosters

One of the best fighting rooster breeds, Radio birds are developed in the United States. This bird is known for its fighting ability as it is highly aggressive and executes quick attacks in the air and on the ground.

The Radio fighting rooster has a straight comb, and yellow legs, and is often medium in size. A lot of people often mistake the Radio’s physical attributes with other fighting rooster breeds such as the Hatch and Kelso.

Lemon Fowl

Originating from Germany, the Lemon Fowl are chickens that are known for fighting methodologically. It is a fighting chicken breed that has a unique level of aggression, rivaling that of the Malay breed.

The Lemon Fowl can either have a pea comb or a straight comb, straight red feathers, and either yellow or white legs.

Roundhead Fighting Roosters

This breed is one that is native to the United States. Roundheads are medium in size, with cocks weighing up to four and a half pounds. A Roundhead is distinguished by its long body and curled tail that’s medium to large.

In the cockpit, Roundhead roosters are known for their endurance. They are a tough breed that is not afraid to take on any opponent. Often, Roundheads are used as bait birds in training programs.

Indian Game (Cornish)

Also known as Cornish chickens or Cornish Cross, the Indian gamecock was imported to the UK thousands of years ago but has only undergone extensive breeding in more recent years. 

Different from other rooster breeds, the Cornish rooster is a popular breed that is primarily bred for domestic life but is also used for fighting. 

Cornish roosters are large, muscular, and have powerful legs with huge spurs. Because of their size, they need plenty of space to roam around. They should also not be combined with other rooster breeds.

What Makes a Rooster a Fighting Rooster?

The rooster is a male chicken that is primarily used in cockfighting. While there are numerous rooster breeds, not all of them are suited for cockfighting.

A fighting rooster is one that has a highly aggressive nature. These fighting rooster breeds are then particularly bred, trained, and nourished to engage in combat.

What Makes a Good Fighting Rooster?

A good cock should have several elements, including form, substance, and function. The best fighting chickens can be easily judged by their form; they should have a sound body, great balance, and a nice gait.

The whole genetic composition of a game fowl is also highly considered as there are bloodlines that are a class above other breeds.

As fighting is the primary use of gamecocks, their fighting abilities are perhaps the most important factor. Some desirable traits include aggression, gameness, strength, intelligence, agility, and speed. The ability to pass its traits to its offspring is also considered.

Which Fighting Roosters Breeds Are Aggressive?

When it comes to aggressiveness, the best fighting rooster breeds to look out for are the Malay, Old English Game, and Asil. You can also consider other breeds such as the Modern Game, Kelso, Sweater, Hatch Twist, Peruvian, and American Game fowl.

What Are the Toughest Fighting Chicken Breeds?

Being formidable inside the cockpit is important. The toughest fighting chicken breeds include the Kelso, Peruvian, Hatch, Sumatra, and Roundhead.

What Are the Best Fighting Rooster Breeds?

The best fighting rooster breeds are also some of the most popular breeds in cockfighting. The Kelso, Peruvian, Hatch, Asil, Radio, and American Game.

Final Note

Fighting roosters are chosen for their exceptional aggressiveness, tenacity, determination, and endurance. These birds are specifically bred and trained to do well in any combat.

While the ownership of game birds can be illegal in several regions, there are countries in the world where raising fighting roosters is a thriving industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it illegal to breed fighting roosters?

The legality of breeding and raising fighting cocks can vary from one country to another.

Who is the best gamefowl breeder in the Philippines?

Some of the biggest gamefowl breeders in the Philippines are RGA Gamefarm, Nene Aguilar Breeding Farm, and AA Cobra Gamefarm.

How much is a fighter rooster?

The cost of a game cock depends on several factors: whether it’s a stag or an older fowl, the reputation of the breeder, and its bloodline. The more popular the bloodline, the more expensive it will be.

What breed of chicken is the most expensive?

The most expensive breed of chicken in the world is the Ayam Cemani which hails from Indonesia. This is an extremely rare breed and has an all-black appearance.

How much is a Brahma rooster worth?

A pair of Brahma chickens can cost anywhere from USD 100 to 150.