It was first exported to England in 1850, and to North America in 1865, where it appeared in the first edition of the American Standard of Perfection in 1874. With an attractive appearance, the Houdan combines a number of distinctive features, giving rise to speculation about the breeds that contributed to its development. The Crèvecœur or perhaps the Polish is suspected to have given the Houdan its crest, and either the Dorking or the native five-toed fowl of France is thought have to resulted in the Houdan's five toes (most chickens have only four). As the actual origins of the Houdan predate modern agricultural writing, little can be said with certainty. Houdans have small earlobes and wattles hidden by the crest and feather bearding. Their combs are V–shaped in the American standard, and butterfly-shaped in the British, Australian and French standards.
In terms of plumage, the Houdan comes in two common color varieties: White and Mottled (black with white spotting). The white color was a later development. Originally a dual–purpose fowl kept for both eggs and meat, and for part of the 1800s one of France's main meat breeds, the Houdan today is primarily a rare show bird. However, with a fairly quick rate of maturation and the ability to lay a respectable number of white eggs, it is still occasionally kept in backyard flocks. Classified as a light breed, males are ideally supposed to reach 8 lb (3.6 kg), and females 6.5 lb (3 kg). It also comes as a bantam.
|Cock||3.2–3.6 kilograms (7.1–7.9 lb)|
|Hen||2.7–3.3 kilograms (6.0–7.3 lb)|
|Rooster||670–690 grams (24–24 oz)|
|Hen||620–740 grams (22–26 oz)|
- Ekarius, Carol (2007). Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. 210 MAS MoCA Way, North Adams MA 01247: Storey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58017-667-5.
- Graham, Chris (2006). Choosing and Keeping Chickens. 2-4 Heron Quays London E14 4JP: Octopus Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7938-0601-0.
- Hobson, Jeremy; Celia Lewis (2007). Keeping Chickens. 4700 E Galbraith rd, Cincinnati OH 45236: David and Charles Ltd. ISBN 0-7153-2567-1.
- Périquet, Jean-Claude (2006). Coqs et Poules: les Races Françaises. Éditions Rustica. ISBN 978-2-84038-613-1.
- Russell, Craig (2000). "Old French Breeds: Houdans and Crevecoeurs". SPPA Bulletin 5(2): 3–4.
- Houdan enthusiasts site (Dutch)
- Houdan photos and breed information on poultrykeeper.com
- Houdan at mypetchicken.com
- Houdan at the University of Oklahoma's Dept. of Animal Science breeds list
- PoultyHub Fancy Chicken Breeds - Houdan