Although some maintain that this breed is of German descent, the country of origin of the Lakenvelder is the Netherlands. Equally, it is contended that the original name was "Lakenveller" denoting a white sheet round the middle of black fowl. Research has proved that the name Lakenveller came into use at the beginning of this century, whereas the name Lakenvelder was already in use in the 18th. century. Breeders in the Netherlands and Germany both maintain that the breed originated in their country. The first written mention of the Lakenvelder dates from the beginning of the 18th. century. Then they were spotted near Lexmond and Meerkerk in the community called "Lakervelt" in the Netherlands and extensively described. It was until the 19th. century that they appeared in Westfalen in Germany. Large numbers of the breed were exhibited at the International Poultry Show in St. Petersburg in Russia in 1899 and from 1900, onwards they were also spotted at shows in Great Britain. It is quite possible that the breed was developed in two different places independently of each other, but history does not give us clear clues about that.
The Lakenvelder belongs to the group of lighter breeds and its shape is something between a Leghorn and a Campine. It is a white chicken of which the head, neck and tail are of a deep black color. The cock has a broad black band on the saddle hackles and the hen has white lacing on the tail coverts. The whiter the white and the blacker the black the better the contrast and quality. The Lakenvelder pattern also occurs in other animals such as the Lakenvelder and Belted Galloway cattle, dairy- and pygmy goats and even fancy mice.
Other typical breed characteristics in both sexes include the red, single comb and the medium long, thin wattles that are also red. The ear lobes are of medium length, flat, almond shape and white in color. The eye color varies between deep orange red and red-brown while the leg color is slate blue. The outer webs are white and the inner webs are black. The down color is pale blue-gray. To keep the sharp black and white contrast in the color going, most breeders have two strains from which they breed. One to produce the cocks and the other to produce good hens. The chicks cannot be selected until they have fully grown as their colors are mingled until they have molted through. There is a certain link between Lakenvelders and Campines, as Lakenvelder-marked offspring can be bred from Campines.
Lakenvelders are well known for their vitality and hardiness against the Western European climate. They lay an average of 160 to 180 white eggs a year and they seldom become broody. They can be kept penned up as well as free range.
Depending on age and sex, they weigh between 1400 and 2000 grams.
There are two varieties, namely the well-known Black - White - Black when viewed from front to back. Relatively new in Europe is the Blue Lakenvelder where the black color has been replaced by blue. Sometimes we come across the wrongly named "Golden Lakenvelder". This is where the white has been replaced by a gold colored band, being a totally separate breed with no connections to the Lakenvelder at all!