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Learn All About Kelso Roosters

The Kelso breed is a hybrid developed by Walter Kelso that is also considered a variant of American gamefowls. This was developed by crossing the hens he inherited from Madigin with different roosters until he can produce a good gamefowl. The main criteria was the rooster’s performance instead of the breed as Kelso wanted to get the best traits from the roosters that he saw win.

Kelso rooster

Today, the Kelso is a popular bird and can be spotted in many cockpits and gamefarms. This is especially popular in the Philippines.

Key Features of Kelso Roosters:

Kelsos can be distinguished through the following:

  • Bright red plumage
  • Beautiful tail feathers
  • Sleek head
  • Straight comb
  • Medium-size with balanced bodies
  • Strong and sturdy build for cockfighting
  • Agile and quick
  • Precise and intelligent in fights

Other variations of Kelsos, like the White Kelso, still possess some traits of the original Kelsos while lacking their red coloring and instead having white feathers.

How Kelsos Fight

Kelsos gamefowls are medium-sized roosters that are specialized on fighting on the ground. Kelsos aren’t good jumpers and they prefer to stay on the ground and sidestep to dodge their opponents. This ability to dodge Is an innate technique that gives this breed an edge in the cockpits.

The combination of their tactical approach, physical strength, and striking aesthetics make them as popular choices for both breeders and bettors worldwide.

Kelsos in the Philippines

Kelsos first arrived in the Philippines in the 50’s after Kelso succeeded in developing the breed. Thanks to the popularity of both the breed and cockfighting, the Philippines became one of the top producers of high quality Kelsos. In fact, many local breeders are now working on developing the White Kelso.

Today, local breeders are extensively using Kelsos to develop their own breeds and bloodlines by crossing them with other well-known sabong breeds. In the Philippines, Biboy Enriquez, owner of Firebird Gamefarm, is known for producing the most aggressive and strongest Kelsos by mixing their lines with Lemons, Hatches, Roundheads, and Sweaters.

Different Kelso Bloodlines

In addition to local Kelso bloodlines developed by both big-name and small-time breeders, there are other popular Kelso bloodlines in operation worldwide. Some of these are the following:

Jumper Kelso Roosters

Jumper Kelsos are Johnnie Jumper’s Kelso gamefowls that are dominating the cockpits of Mexico. This bloodline is recognized by the yellow feathers, yellow-white legs, and either round or square head shapes.  

Cardinal Kelso

Cardinal Kelsos are a distinct bloodline that sports dark feathers and yellow legs. This line possesses both pea and straight combs and it further distinguishes itself by being good at both ground and aerial combat. This bloodline originated from a trio of Kelsos and a trio of Murphys.

Combat Kelso Roosters

Combat Kelsos are Kelsos crossed with different breeds, including Sweaters, Hatches, Radios, and Brown-Reds. These are the most common variations of Kelsos as both Filipino and breeders abroad continue to develop Kelsos by crossing them with other breeds.


The Kelso gamefowl breed has had a rich history starting off as a variant of American gamefowls until being fully developed by Walter Helso and Johnnie Jumper into their own successful breeds and bloodlines. Today, this is arguably one of the best and most accessible gamecock breeds in the Philippines and worldwide due to how popular it is.

When betting on online sabong matches, bettors should keep an eye out for red medium-sized roosters or their white, yellow, or blackish variations. Keep an eye out for the distinct characteristics that all Kelsos have, which mainly reside on their medium size and quick movements. If you spot them and they’re competing against a different breed, then you might want to consider betting on them.

If you’re looking to breed your own, make sure to look for reputable sellers. Some breeders might have cheaper Kelsos for you but don’t expect too much quality-wise. Keep an eye for these birds in online sabong matches.

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