It was bred at the beginning of the 20th century from local fowls of mixed origin: Rhode Island Reds, Barnevelders, Partridge Leghorns, Cochins, and Wyandottes. In 1922-23 steps were taken to fix a standard after the birds began to show a good deal of uniformity. The eggs were originally exported for the commercial egg trade where they were an instant hit. Soon after stock was imported into England. The breed was added to the British Standard in 1930.
It is a light, friendly, and intelligent breed, with rustic-red and orange colour. Representations of cockerels in the media are often based upon the "classic" Welsummer look. The most common example of this would be the Kelloggs Cornflakes rooster. There are three variations of the standard Welsummer, these are the Partridge, Silver Duckwing and the Gold Duckwing. There is also a Bantam Welsummer breed which is similar but lays light brown eggs. Bantams exist in both Partridge and Silver Duckwing colours but are quite rare in North America.
The standard sized Welsummer lays eggs which are a very dark brown, often with dark spots. They lay large brown eggs. People often used to think that the eggs were a trick as the dark colouring can be removed when the egg is scrubbed. The bantams lay a lighter brown egg. The bantams lay quite large eggs for a bantam and are great producers.