Chinese native chicken breeds provide useful resources for the study of genetic diversity. In this study, the alleles of CD8 alpha and CD3d cDNA from Chinese native and introduced western breeds of chicken were analyzed at the sequence level. Six alleles were found, due to 13 amino acid replacements in the extracellular domain of the CD8 alpha sequence. There were four alleles detected in the Chinese strains, and alleles 5 and 6 were identified for the first time. Allele 6 was shared by Langshan, Beijing Fatty and Recessive White Feather chickens. Allele 2, found in the Bigbone strain, was the same as that found in the Leghorn strain H.B15.H7, and allele 3 in the Xianju breed was also the same as in the Leghorn strain H.B15.H12. Two Leghorn lines (RPL line 7 and AY519197) and the Camellia possessed an allele (alleles 1, 4 and 5), respectively, that was not found in the other lines. Nine out of 13 amino acid replacements were situated in the putative major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I binding CDR1 (positions 30, 33 and 34), CDR2 (positions 58, 62, 63 and 65) and CDR3 (positions 90 and 106). Except for the Xianju breed, the CD8 alpha cDNA of Chinese native chicken breeds shared high homology. Two alleles were found in CD3d. Three additional nucleotides were found at positions 64, 65 and 66 in the newly discovered allele 2. This led to a difference of four amino acids (at residues 22, 23, 24 and 25) in the extracellular domain of CD3d cDNA from the Gushi, Recessive White Feather and ISA chickens compared with these of the White Leghorn and T11.15 (NM_205512). Five hybridoma clones (1C9, 1H5, 4B11, 6G5 and 13C5) against chicken CD8 alpha were generated by DNA immunization. Two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), 6G5 and 4B11, showed reactivity to the splenocytes from five Chinese native chicken breeds, the Recessive White Feather chicken and the Leghorn (AY519197), while mAbs 1C9, 1H5 and 13C5 showed no reaction with these breeds.