Leghorn is the English word for Livorno, the city where this breed must have originated. However, the breed has been brought to the current degree of purity outside its country of origin. Leghorns of different types were selected in various countries, but they all have yellow shanks and white ear-lobes. The Leghorn belongs to the lightweight breeds.

The breed became famous for its exceptional egg laying ability. In the first half of the Twentieth Century it was the national breed in the Netherlands, when about 70% of the commercial poultry stock consisted of Leghorns. In the Fifties, the specially selected egg-producing breeds kept in professional poultry farming were replaced by crossings called hybrids. Poultry fanciers, however, took over the task of caring for the Leghorn and are still preserving it today for future generations.

The Leghorn is called by names that differ from country to country. In the Netherlands, United States and Great Britain the breed is called Leghorn. In Italy, the country of origin, the breed is called Livorno; Belgium has also adopted the name Livorno which coexists together with the name in use in German speaking countries, which is Italiener (German for ‘Italian’). Since Belgium is also a French-speaking country, the French name “Leghorn type moderne” (Italiener type) is another denomination being used in the country. However, in German speaking countries the name Leghorn is specific for the American Leghorn.

The Dutch type is rather elongated in shape, but also very strong in its appearance. The general appearance is that of a slender bird, with broad shoulders that become progressively narrower towards the tail.  The eyes are orange red. The cock’s single comb stands up erect, while the hen’s comb’s blade is lopped and falls over on one side. The rose comb variation is also recognised. The comb spike is protruding backwards.
The cock weighs between 2.5 and 3.5 kg, the hen between 2.25 and 2,75 kg. The bantam cock will weigh 700 to 800 g and the bantam hen will be 600 to 700 g.
The following colour varieties are recognised in the Dutch selection type (please click on the name on the picture to open the page corresponding to the specific colour variety):

  • Brown (USA: Light Brown)
  • Silver Duckwing (USA: Silver)
  • Gold Duckwing
  • Dark Brown
  • Pile
  • Blue Brown
  • Lavender Brown
  • Crele
  • Crele Silver Duckwing
  • Gold Flitter Brown
  • Silver Flitter Duckwing
  • Gold Flitter Blue Brown
  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Buff
  • Exchequer
  • Cuckoo
  • Speckled
  • Columbian or Light
  • Buff Columbian
  • Red (Black Tailed Red)


Additional information