A fighting rooster is an adult male chicken different from normal roosters. Fighting roosters are more intelligent, well trained, with strong legs, broad and bony shoulders, lightweight, more muscular, more aggressive, and good sports in terms of gameness and cheerfulness.

When normal roosters are raised for meat and breeding, fighting roosters are bred to compete with opponents of similar weight, much like boxers and wrestlers. These fights can be brutal, and some do lead to death.

rooster breeds for fighting

Many have argued against the sport due to animal brutality and death, but the games still have many fans. It is illegal in several countries, including the United States, but several nations have no legal restrictions, including Thailand, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands.

Cockfighting was first documented in 1521 in the Philippines, but it is an ancient sport that dates back to ancient civilizations like the Indus Valley from 1900 BCE as well as in Persia, China, and India. In its bare bones, it involves a

Today, cockfighting is an online craze withstanding as a major industry in Southeast Asian nations and attracting millions of people and millions of dollars each year. In fact, betting on such games is legal in licensed venues across many nations, including Thailand, making it profitable.

With much profit to be made, investing in a strong and more capable fighting rooster is a worthwhile endeavor that can earn you millions of dollars annually.

How To Spot A Good Fighting Rooster

So, what kind of roosters are used for cockfighting?

Fighting roosters are part of the normal breed of roosters, just raised for different purposes. You can breed roosters as a source of meat or opt for them to fight, and in places where it is illegal, the capable roosters can be raised as show birds. The choice depends on your needs; therefore, each breeder makes their own fighting rooster family lines.

Firstly, it is important to note that the best fighting roosters, also known as gamecock/gamefowl, are not born but bred and trained. It takes lots of skills, training, and intelligence to turn a normal rooster into a fight-worthy champion.

You should also note that the best gamecocks become such due to intense and expensive chicken care factors, including providing high-quality foods, vitamins, and a favorable environment.

Each breed comes with many variants and families, and since they can be crossbred with others, you can improve some of these fighting rooster properties by breeding them with one another. Although this is for the best, it ends up causing confusion about gamecock naming.

For example, it is not uncommon to stumble upon a fighting chicken named Roundhead when it does not even originate from the Allen bloodline (the original gamecock breed). Features, colors, and fighting styles can sometimes make enthusiasts give the roosters certain names just for marketing purposes and to build hype.

With all that said, to spot a good fighting rooster, pay attention to these characteristics.

  • Genetics– Typical roosters raised as gamecocks have more robust frames with muscular features and strong limbs. Genetics also dictate the aggression of such species, and if a chick is highly aggressive, then the chances of thriving in a cockpit are higher.
    Genetics also dictate the shape of the beak. Enormous short beaks are the most brutal since they can impact a fatal blow, scratch, and bite. Other genetic factors include intelligence and cheerfulness.
  • Fighting Style – This boils down to training and participation. Some gamecocks attack opponents from under and above, while others can only attack from one direction. A more versatile fighting style makes for the best fighting rooster.
  • Gameness and Cheerfulness – Cheerful character translates to a confident and cocky gamecock. This makes for a rooster who is a good sport to watch and entertain many guests. More aggressive and territorial chicken breeds tend to be more jovial and gamey in cockfighting.
    Gameness is the fighting spirit of the rooster and its determination to endure and refuses to give up, thereby creating an exhilarating game full of fierce battles.
  • Speed – Agility, like in any other sport, is very important to ensure your rooster is quick to respond to attacks.
  • Endurance – Albeit not as important as strength and speed, endurance helps roosters stay longer in the fight and not lose easily.
  • Their success in the sport – Already-known success stories like the Sweater and Kelso breeds will make for better fighting roosters since they are an already proven species.

Top 9 Strongest Fighting Rooster Breeds

It is important to note that the best or strongest fighting rooster breed depends on your strategy and preference for the game. Each has its own strength and weaknesses, but you will not go wrong picking one of these options:

1. Old English Game

Old English Game

If you are looking for a bloodline starter that has been used for thousands of years to breed more fighting roosters, then the Old English Game is a great choice. This British breed is one of the few chickens recognized by the American Poultry Association, making it an ideal starter with definable and distinct characteristics that can be spread across generations.

The Old English Game is a highly aggressive and noisy breed of domestic chickens. It has many color variants, with over 12 different colors in the UK and over 28 in the United States, including Black, Dun, White, Spangled, Brown Red, Golden Duckwing, Brassy Back, and Black Breasted Red.

Feathers are tightly linked to their bodies, which helps prevent opponents from easily peeling them off. They have muscular bodies and an average weight of 2 kg (4.4 lbs); the Old English Game is fast and agile with a compact frame.

A long neck with a large curved beak gives the rooster a dominating stature. The fearless eyes and

Their aggression is spread across male and female breeds. If you leave them together after 6 months, these breeds will start to fight all the time in overly aggressive manners – good for cockfighting, not so much for layers, show birds, or meat animals.

It was first bred across the world for cockfighting due to its characters, but since the abolition of cockfights in 1849, most of the breeds exist as ornaments and show birds or as a source of meat. They are not good layers since the females only produce a few & small eggs annularly. However, this depends on the breed.

2. American Gamefowl

American Gamefowl
Source: @farmoffriends

This is another starter breed known for its hardy nature and United States origins. It is not recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA), but the APA does have one of its varieties, American Game Bantam, as the family’s main existing breed. The two should not be confused since the original and larger gamefowl is linked by blood with the new Bantam breed.

It is said that some American leaders used to cheer for the American Gamefowl during the cockfighting era before it was abolished, which led to its naming.

The 3.5-pound bird is an ornamental or cockfighting rooster with a lifespan of about 8 – 15 years and a hardy body that can survive in a wide range of temperatures. The female breed only lays 80 eggs annually, which is why it is not often considered for egg-laying purposes.

With over 10 color variations, the fighting rooster stands as one of the most attractive fighters, which adds to the beauty of its large size.

Five-pointed red combs add to the mesmerizing colors, and its loud voice makes sure you never miss a complaint from the chicken.

Considering the large history the American Game has in cockfighting, it is a perfect breed for someone looking to capitalize on its success.

3. Kelso

Kelso (Yellow Leg Kelso)
Source: @arcompound

The Kelso rooster is a classic gamecock for combat and is a popular choice in many cockfighting rings. It is known for its high intelligence and versatile fighting style of attacking opponents from above and below.

Also, they never attack directly but choose to dodge and evade the opponent while swiftly maneuvering around them for unexpected and unforeseen attacks.

Kelso is named after Walter A. Kelso, who passed away in 1964 with a long-lasting legacy of breeding gamecocks for cockfighting. Through trial and error, Walter was able to create lots of low-quality offspring but later stumbled upon the Kelso Gamefowl in 1951.

The Kelso bloodline comes from the American Gamefowl breed family, and many breeders experiment with other breeds to produce the same rooster. Some of the crosses include Kelso to Sweater, Roundhead, and Hatch.

Johnnie Jumper Farm is one of the main breeders of Kelso roosters, including the White Leg Kelso (white-legged rooster), yellow leg Kelso, and the yellow leg Kelso Cecil Davis. Check them out for more information on Kelso roosters.

4. Whitehackle Gamefowl

Whitehackle Gamefowl
Source: @jeremiahjerrylow

Whitehackle gamefowl comes with an attractive array of colors with red tainted necks, with an array of white, black, orange, and green in their feathers. The straight comb is majestic with mustard hackles, thick plumage, and broad shoulders that show the beauty of a stallion.

With a medium weight of 2 kg (4.4 lbs), the Whitehackle is lightweight and swift, which makes it a strategically agile bird to put in the cockpit. Their endurance is high because of this since they can easily avoid devastating blows and cuts.

The breed first appeared in the United Kingdom, where it was mostly kept as a regular rooster. However, as a descendant of the Old English Game, it featured the high aggression and strength of its predecessor, making it only a matter of time before breeders began to experiment.

Whitehackle gamecocks became so popular that the Whitehackle Club of America was formed in the 1800s to promote its preservation and further breeding. This is an ideal choice if you want one of the proven success stories.

5. Malay Gamefowl

Malay Gamefowl
Source: @happy_acresfarm

Malay Gamefowl is unique because of its long legs and upright stature, making it one of the tallest breeds of chicken.

The breed usually stands at 26 to 35 inches tall and weighs 9 lbs. on average. It is a strikingly colorful chicken with many color variants which makes them great pets and poultry for show or ornamental purposes.

You would think such a long and tall rooster would be confident, but Malays are famously known for their skittish behavior. However, skittish behavior does not mean a lack of aggression.

In fact, Malays are considered the most aggressive fighting roosters since they are highly territorial and will bully other chickens they do not feel comfortable with.

Their aggression and string beaks that can easily pluck feathers make them good fighting roosters. Their relentless fighting style and natural aggression make them highly sought after by experienced breeders.

Despite their capabilities, most Malay Gamefowl are kept for show and meat purposes since the females are not good egg layers.

6. Roundhead

Source: @leos_gamefowl_

Roundhead fighting roosters are one of the most diverse breeds in the world, with many variants and interbed families. This makes it a popular gamecock with a long history dating back to the 18th Century.

The Roundhead Gamefowl originated in the United States and is believed to have been developed from various English gamefowl strains. Its precise lineage is a subject of debate, but it is commonly associated with prominent breeders such as Henry Wortham and John Madigin.

The distinct appearance is its large size with a well-built, muscular body. Also, the roosters have broad chests, strong legs, and a proud posture. They feature a single comb, white or yellow legs, and their feathers come in various colors, including black, red, and grey.

The Roundhead wins by being intelligent and rooted in its bold and confident temperament. Its unique fighting style is another attractive side of them. They are known for their cutting ability, delivering precise and accurate strikes to their opponents with their sharp beaks and spurs.

You should pick the Roundheads if you want a versatile rooster in the cockpit, adapting their fighting techniques based on the situation and their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.

7. Hatch Gamefowl

Hatch Gamefowl
Source: @blankenship.gamefarm

Developed by the legendary breeder Sanford “Judge” Hatch in the mid-19th Century, this breed is highly regarded for its exceptional fighting abilities and competitive nature.

Using selective breeding and crossbreeding programs, Judge managed to create a fighting rooster with a purely distinct bloodline that has been carefully preserved and maintained by dedicated breeders. This makes it one of the most recommended American breeds when it comes to game fowl.

Hatch gamecocks have a muscular frame, strong bones, and a compact yet agile structure. Their physical attributes, including a well-developed chest, strong wings, and sharp beaks and spurs, contribute to their fighting prowess.

Hatch is another breed with many variants, including the popular Hatch Twist fighting rooster. It is a very fast fighting rooster with excellent endurance and great strength for floor combats.

Related: What Are Rooster Spurs?

8. Asil Chicken

Asil Chicken
Source: @saravanakumar_sekar

Did you know an Asil rooster can easily defeat another fighting cock with only his bare heels? Despite its small size and less than 3 kg (6.6 lbs.) stature, the Asil rooster is considered one of the most dangerous gamecocks due to its hard attacks and fatal blows.

Originating from India, Asil roosters are renowned for their loyalty and bravery. They possess a distinctive upright posture and are known for their relentless attacking style.

9. Sweater

Source: @colem_angamefarm

The Sweater is part of the legendary family of cockfighters that have been in the game for longer, including the Hatch, Kelso, and Roundhead.

Sweater is known for its many derby fight wins in the bloodiest cockfights in South America, especially in Mexico and the Philippines. It is believed to have been a product of Carol Nesmith of Black Water Game Farm, who refused an offer to sell the chicken for $5,000 when the original Sweaters won spectacularly.

Today, the Abello Sweater has over 69.5%-win rate in 100 fights according to online betting spaces. The yellow-legged breed has also been crossbred with other gamefowls to create high endurance, swift, taller, and more aggressive breeds, including the Kelso Sweater, Roundhead Sweater, and Asil Sweater.

If you want a fighting rooster, you can bet on 100% of the time and still have a higher chance of winning; then the Sweater breed is a superb choice.

Read More:

Fighting Rooster: FAQs

What Is the Most Aggressive Rooster?

Determining the most aggressive rooster is a subjective matter, as aggression levels can vary among individual birds.

However, the Malay rooster breed is often recognized for its exceptional aggression and fighting spirit. With their towering stature and unyielding determination, Malays exhibit an intense drive to dominate their opponents, making them highly sought after by dedicated cockfighting enthusiasts.

What Is the Most Expensive Fighting Rooster?

Fighting chicken breeds for sale can go for as little as $5 or as much as $4000.

The cost of a fighting rooster can vary significantly based on various factors such as breed, bloodline, age, and reputation. Among the most expensive fighting roosters, prized specimens from breeds like American Game and Shamo often command substantial prices in the market.

Additionally, roosters with successful fighting records or those from renowned bloodlines can fetch exorbitant prices.

What Are Some of The Rare Fighting Roosters?

There are several breeds that stand out due to their limited population or restricted availability. Some rare choices include Thai Gamefowl (also known as Thai Asil and rare due to strict exportation laws), Brazilian Gamefowl, which are naturally rare, and Ganoi from Vietnam.


As much as the cockfighting sport is on the decline due to the laws and awareness being spread worldwide, the game still remains one of the most entertaining for those who have a taste for animal fights and want to make some serious bucks.

The best breeds of fighting roosters, as you can tell, came from years of experimentation, trial, and error. This is to say, if you have the time and resources, you can decide to breed your own fighting rooster instead of picking one of the existing varieties. You may end up creating the strongest fighting rooster ever to exist!

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