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KO-SHAMO 小軍鶏

Fiery attitude that far exceeds physical stature



 

KO SHAMO is a true dwarf or bantam, not a miniaturised form of a larger Shamo. It is a popular breed in Japan and was imported into Germany and England in recent years. First imports in Germany were outcrossed with foregone breeds to "correct" the space in the wing and the inverted shrimp tail, so there are many birds available in Europe that are not pure. I will discuss these aspects below.

 

The KO SHAMO should be a muscular bird of distinct, albeit sometimes comical fierceness. Bright-eyed and very erect, they remind one of small dolls dancing around one's feet. It has been told to me many times that a good, "fiery" Ko Shamo should begin to dance on its tip-toes the minute it is set down out of its cage. And I must admit, that it exactly what they do! If they were five to ten times bigger, I would run for my life! Being only 20 - 24cm tall, it makes their fierceness more of a comical antic.

 

I have read diverse standards in English and German and both refer to the broad, compact "strawberry" or "chrysanthemum" comb of walnut type that is positioned rather high on the head. One reference, a reputed translation from Japanese. said that "the KO SHAMO should not have a dewlap like the CHIBI and YAMATO" and yet Ruediger Wandelt in his book co-authored with Josef Wolters illustrates on page 82 of their book HANDBUCH DER ZWERGHUHNRASSEN (ISBN Nr. 3-9801504-8-8) KO SHAMO with extreme dewlap development. This particular example (I have scanned them here) was photographed by Mr Kimata of Japan. The bird shown here in these two examples would be atypical for the Ko Shamo.

 

One of the most important aspect of the Ko Shamo is its 1/3 neck, 1/3 boy and 1/3 leg proportions. This makes it completely distinct from the Chibi and the Tosa Chibi. The drawing from Jan Van de Haan shows this rather well, as does the superb example on the next page of this category.

 

The wings must have the missing flight feathers (the Wing Gap) as in the Chibi as well as the shrimp tail. I have seen many of the German-bred crosses referred to ironically as "Ko-Gunkei" and they all are lacking in the distinctive tail and wing points, even though many are beautiful examples of head points and body proportions. The "Ko Gunkei" crosses have now been stopped and the standards have been changed to match those in Japan for these three mini-gamefowl (Ko Shamo, Chibi and Tosa)

 

In the book I mentioned, HANDBUCH DER ZWERGHUHNRASSEN, Ruediger Wandelt says that the Chibi and Ko-Shamo have similar weights, i.e. from 1000 grams in a Cock to 600 grams for a Pullet and that the Chibi continues to add more body mass and to grow the fleshy points of the head, looking rather bulldog-like after a few years, whereas the KO SHAMO remains more slender in overall appearance. From what I've seen of the Chibi and Tosa, the birds are, however, smaller that the KO SHAMO, with shorter necks and legs, but with much more pronounced, heart-shaped bodies.

 

The KO SHAMO should carry the wing in a nearly vertical position with very prominent shoulders and the tips of the wings should be closed tightly again the body. The wing should not be up on the back.

 

In speaking with judges here in Italy, I was told that the neck hackle, with or without "whispy feathers", should not touch the back, but finish higher up on the neck, leaving a space where the breast-neck feathers ring the neck completely.

 

This breed is also been reported hardier than the very delicate YAMATO, but the experiences of breeders in Europe have shown that depending on the provence of the line from Japan, the birds may need more or less shelter for the cold months. Of the seven birds we imported from Germany in 1998, nearly all died in the frosty weather of 1999, leaving only one hen. These were also lacking in the shrimp tail and wing gap.

 

Julia Keeling, after visiting Japan and seeing many Ko Shamo, Shamo and other Japanese gamfowl, wrote the following.

 

The heavy, wrinkled face of the Ko Shamo photographed by Mr Kenji Kimata may be atypical of Ko Shamo in the West, but I can assure you that it is not, generally speaking, of Ko Shamo in Japan.

 

What we need to realise and accept is that, in its native land, there is a sliding scale of type in the breed. There is not one definitive 'correct' version to which many in the West are attempting to limit it.

 

In some areas the Kos are small and fine, in some they are tall and angular, and in others they are small, chunky and wrinkley, plus various types in between.

 

It must be appreciated by everyone, myself included, that there are many differing opinions as well as types in Japan, but the breeders I spoke to personally in Japan all considered the Chibi to be a variety of Ko Shamo. They could not understand why people in the West were viewing it as a separate breed.

 

Although it is generally accepted that the Tosa Chibi is a smaller version of the Chibi, I could not find an example of the breed on my visit.

 

The ginger stag photographed by John Hutchison shows also the eyebrow and facial fold development
favoured in the West - not too exaggerated.

 

 

The black bird above right, on the other hand, is showing a little too Yamato-like fleshy folds and dewlap for most Western tastes. It is, however, a stunning bird!

 

The birds below are from breeders in Japan, and were photographed by Kenji Kimata, and Julia Keeling on her trip to Japan in 2002. Here we can see what has been called the "five hills" of the back, i.e. the wing tip (2 hills), the back muscle at the base of the wings (2 hills) and the base of the neck as it moves into the back (1 hill). In excellent birds in good condition, these 5 Hills are very apparent - or should be.

 

In Japan there are many different directions and strains of each known breed, and it must be remembered that there is not a nationally agreed standard - there are as many variations of standard as there are prefectures! It is not for us in the West to decide on only one 'correct' version and must remain flexible in our interpretations.

 

     

 

 
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