Dong Tao: A Majestic Dragon Chicken

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

With its unique appearance, rareness, and culinary excellence, the Dong Tao chicken is nothing like the average backyard chicken. Join us as we delve into this remarkable breed’s fascinating characteristics, history, and remarkable aspects.

  • Rare and expensive Vietnamese breed
  • Its meat is considered a delicacy
  • Characterized by enormous scaly feet
  • Gentle and sociable temperament


The Dong Tao chicken is instantly recognizable for its unique appearance. It looks nothing like the average backyard chicken!

One of the most striking characteristics of the Dong Tao is its legs.

They are enormous and scaly and look like giant dragon claws. Their feet are an adaptation to the breed’s native environment, providing stability and traction on uneven terrain.

a dong tao chicken

Next to that, their feet are also significantly shorter than those of most other chicken breeds. This characteristic gives them a low-to-the-ground profile, accentuating their stout and sturdy build.

Dong Tao chickens carry a red pea comb, which may or may not be scaly, like their legs. They have reddish-white skin

Dong Tao Meat

Let’s dive deeper into Dong Tao meat’s culinary history and renowned status.

In Vietnamese cuisine, Dong Tao meat has a prestigious place, deeply rooted in traditions and culinary practices.

Historically, this breed was reserved for royalty and nobility, symbolizing prosperity and luxury on the dining table.

Male and female Dong Tao chickens

What sets Dong Tao chicken meat apart is not only its taste, but also the texture, and aroma.

The meat is prized for its succulence and tenderness, owing to the breed’s genetics and how it’s raised.

Dong Tao chickens are often raised free-range or in semi-wild conditions, allowing them to develop robust muscles and rich flavors.

Furthermore, the slower growth rate of Dong Tao chickens contributes to more mature and flavorful meat. Unlike commercial broiler breeds bred for rapid growth, Dong Tao chickens take their time to reach maturity.

This results in denser, more flavorful meat, less prone to becoming dry.

Culinary Purposes of the Dong Tao Chicken

In Vietnamese cuisine, this chicken meat is showcased in various dishes. From hearty soups and stews to delicate stir-fries and grilled specialties, chefs appreciate the versatility of Dong Tao meat.

Its rich flavor profile pairs well with many ingredients, making it a beloved ingredient in traditional and modern creations.

Beyond its culinary attributes, Dong Tao chicken meat carries a sense of cultural pride and heritage.

For centuries, it has been revered as a symbol of prosperity and abundance, representing the finest Vietnamese cuisine.

Today, as interest in traditional and artisanal foods grows, Dong Tao chicken meat remains a delicacy, celebrated for its exceptional quality.

How Much Does a Dong Tao Chicken Cost?

Depending on the strain, an adult Dong Tao breeding pair can cost up to $2500, but lower prices are available for less wanted strains. A breeding pair of sexed chicks cost around $400, and hatching eggs are about $120 per dozen. High demand during seasonal holidays may increase the prices.

Dong Tao chickens are a prized delicacy in Vietnam, especially during the Lunar New Year or Tet Holiday, the most important holiday in Vietnam.

These thick-legged chickens command incredibly high prices, often exceeding $2000; they belong to the most expensive chicken breeds worldwide, next to the Ayam Cemani.

The cost of Dong Tao chickens reflects their status as a luxury breed prized for their appearance and culinary qualities.


Dong Tao chickens are renowned for their meat quality rather than egg-laying capabilities.

While they may produce an average of 45 eggs annually, with an absolute maximum of 100 per year, their primary focus is meat production. In comparison, egg machines like the Leghorn chicken lay more than 300 eggs yearly.

The eggs are medium-sized and tinted white in color.

Personality of Dong Tao Chickens

Despite their somewhat scary appearance, Dong Tao chickens are remarkably friendly and docile. While their large, scaly feet and stout bodies may give the impression of toughness, they are gentle and sociable.

Their calm demeanor and affectionate nature make them a joy to interact with, proving that appearances can be deceiving regarding this rare breed.


The Dong Tao chicken is a unique and rare breed prized for its appearance and culinary excellence. With its striking traits, including short legs and large, scaly feet, Dong Tao chickens truly stand out.

Renowned for their succulent meat, these birds are cherished for their rich flavor and tender texture, making them a delicacy in Vietnamese cuisine.

Despite their imposing appearance, Dong Tao chickens are gentle and sociable, forming strong bonds with their human caretakers.

Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.