Thanks so much, Dr. Netland! I thought I remembered reading that somewhere, but then I couldn't find where I read it.The Jaerhon is a very old provincial breed, like many other North European land races. There is no other breed mixed in, and it has been bred pure in a breeding program ever since the Norwegian government rescued a few birds of the old land race around 1910. While little attention was being paid to conformation traits in the beginning, the main focus was on production...and the breeding program established by the government at their research farm emphasized productivity, and the exhibition breeders subsequently started breeding for conformation as well, but without outcrossing. It was used in commercial egg production until some time in the 1970s, when it lost out to the modern-day Leghorn hybrids. The government gene bank keeps a relatively large flock at a research facility in addition to birds kept by hobbyists in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands (and the US). The bantam version was developed by using other bantam breeds crossed in with the large fowl Jaers. They were known to lay white or off-color white (creme colored) eggs all along, and the eggshell color does not denote influence from other breeds.
My Jaers are a cross of three sources: a flock descended from Amyable's, Ideal Poultry, and my 4 original hens from an unknown origin. I keep my hens in two flocks with two roosters in each flock to get as much genetic diversity as possible. Of course all Jaerhons in the US are descended from the eggs Dr. Netland imported in the 90's. Mine are darks, too.I have only dark Jaerhons. If anyone has a flock of dark Jaerhons not related to Amyable's birds, I would love to do some trading.