Best Sabong Breeds in the Philippines

Cockfighting is an extremely popular blood sport and many breeders aim to develop the best fighting rooster breed. This is generally done by getting the roosters that won their matches and treating them as brood cocks for their hens in hopes of developing a new breed. Some of the best sabong breeds are ancient birds that have been traditionally known as excellent fighters while others are just recently developed in the 19th century as the birds became even more readily available.

Best Sabong Breeds

Breeders who want to win at official tournaments and local live sabong matches will invest plenty of time and resources to develop fighters. Many of the early breeders who didn’t start out with natural cockfighting breeds did heavy trial and error by using certain breeds or even random birds that won their matches as brood cocks and paired with hens of specific breeds to try and create a new breed.

Modern Filipino breeders now can take full advantage of their predecessors’ successes and use their already established breeds to develop their own lines by crossing these fighters. Some of the best sabong breeds used by Filipino breeders today are the following:

Best Sabong Breed: Asil

The Asils are one of the most popular gamefowl breeds in the Philippines as it is one of the most circulated birds in the country. Asils are well-known as natural fighters and this is evident in the roosters, hens, and even chicks as the birds are all naturally aggressive.


Many gamefowl breeders use the Asil to develop their own separate bloodlines as they follow the belief that it is the only breed to use to improve other fighting rooster breeds. Some breeders even try to develop new breeds by crossing this bird with other fighters, with mixed results.

Best Sabong Breed: Kelso


The Kelsos are a variation of American Gamefowls that were developed after pairing American Gamefowl hens with different roosters that won their matches, regardless of the breed. Walter Kelso’s objective is to create a new breed out of chickens that were known to have won their matches. Kelso succeeded and many breeders today use these birds to develop new bloodlines by crossing them with other birds like the following:

  • Radios
  • Lemons
  • Sweaters
  • Roundheads

Today, many Filipino breeders use this breed to develop new bloodlines to take advantage of the breed’s innate abilities.

Best Sabong Breed: Hatch


Hatches are another American rooster breed that was developed to win cockfights. This bird became popular in the Philippines since they paired well with the Kelsos, Sweaters, and Radios in the country. Stanford Hatch’s birds were further improved by McLean and Leiper and then by McGinnis for their own bloodlines. Many of the popular Hatches in the country today are birds from these breeders.

Hatches are known for having varying colors but the most notable common denominator among the birds are their yellow featherless legs.

Best Sabong Breed: Shamo

Shamos are a traditional cockfighting breed in Japan that became popular in the US, Europe, and the Philippines when some of the birds were taken away from Japan or willingly exported. While many of the birds in Japan have varied uses, like as ornamental birds, the ones in wide circulation in the Philippines are more combat-oriented.


Many breeders use this breed to pass down the Shamo’s stamina, muscular build, and sturdy legs to their existing bloodlines. Most offspring tend to also inherit the Shamo’s feathers, making the birds easily distinguishable in the cockpits.

Best Sabong Breed: Sweater


Sweaters are one of the most popular breeds today with a proven track record of winning multiple derby matches in the cockpits of both the Philippines and Mexico. This breed was developed from underwhelming birds with poor stamina that Carol Nesmith didn’t give up on. Nesmith’s Sweaters eventually got Hatch blood resulting in some Sweaters having green legs while Sonny Ware introduced Radio blood that led to pumpkin-colored Sweaters.

Many breeders use Sweaters to pass down the breeds currently excellent stamina, intelligence, tenacity, and fighting spirit. Some breeders even use this bird as ornamental birds.

Best Sabong Breed: Radio


Radios are an aggressive and noisy fighting rooster breed that focus on going for the kill. This isn’t an intelligent breed but it is a persistent fighter that aim to get the first hit to get an edge over its opponent. This breed was named after its noisy chatty nature and was developed using ½ Whitehackle and ½ Murphy crossed to a Kelso hen and then linebred to 7/8 of the original cock.

Filipino breeders today typically cross Radios with Kelsos and Hatches.

Best Sabong Breed: Malays

Malays were originally cockfighters that became sidelined after becoming extremely endangered. This bird became an extremely rare bird in the cockpits as breeders instead used these birds to revitalize other chicken bloodlines. When pitting Malays in the cockpits or breeding birds using them, the breeders do so for their height, aggressiveness, deadly spurs, and powerful kicks.


The main reason why Malays are popular for outcrossing to other gamefowls or even meat birds and other birds is because they have distinct genetics that allow breeders to pass down the Malay’s health, strength, and vigor to other breeds.


These birds are some of the best sabong breeds, for both actual cockpits and breeding new birds. There are other great birds for sabong, including the following:

  • Roundhead
  • Grey
  • Thai
  • Muff
  • Brown Red American Gamefowl
  • Claret
  • Whitehackle
  • Lemon
  • Peruvian Gamefowl

When betting through Sabong International, keep an eye out for these birds and evaluate which one will likely win a match. Bet on these birds if other random breeds are pitted in the cockpit against them and start winning bets and getting paid out.

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