Love the pics of the old Houdans, thanks for sharing.
Just my own personal taste, I am not a fan of the leaf comb at all. When I think of a Houdan I think of a VERY pronounced V Comb that almost resembles horns in shape. I have loved this breed for a very long time. Had some great ones 30 years ago.
I have heard of the project that the University of Arkansas is doing with Mottled Houdans. From what I have heard they are hatching out hundreds of birds in an attempt to improve the variety. Kinda cool I think. Hope they succeed. I do believe you can get hatching eggs from them but you have to go pick them up in Fayeteville.
What the University of Arkansas is doing sounds wonderful. I hope the evaluation of the breeds and varieties is done by knowledgeable poultry people. We've had some nice Houdans in the past. Gord Ridler had had them in the '70s but I don't know if they were long term with him. The family Tilt also had them, some very good ones. Nice temperaments on our Tilt stuff. We also had stock from Barb Piper through hatching eggs. They are/were the stuff of legend because they were being shown and winning well. Barb was a highly skilled breeder but in gearing her birds towards what was being put up (beards, color pattern etc.) I'm going to say that for me they lost a lot of the type that Schilling depicted in the old SOP. Much more compact and a different, more elevated carriage by the time we were trying to get some of the older traits out of that gene pool. There had been some excellent birds in years before hand. In fact the last time we saw a really nice one was a cockerel in a sale pen who we felt very much eclipsed her show entry. Very good size, excellent type which by then was evolving towards something more like Polish and very, very dark with good markings, not white or splashed feathers. Tried to buy him and a Dorking breeder and friend had beaten us to the punch. Actually, another Dorking breeder, Craig Russell, has had and may still have them. They are a very interesting breed. Loved seeing the birds from Denmark.