Records of stone carvings in Java suggest the origins of the Indian Runner duck date back 2000 years or more. They were first discovered in Malaysia and Indonesia being reared for their prolific egg production and for meat, often sold to crews on rice ships.
Indian Runner ducks were first imported into Europe nearly 200 years ogo. They had been found in the East Indies from which they get their present name, although some of the early importers called them 'penguin ducks' because of their tall, upright bodies.
The Indian Runner duck, like most domestic breeds, is a development of the wild mallard. From their early importation they were crossed with other domestic ducks to such an extent that the pure Indian Runner ducks were almost extinct in Britain by the beginning of the 20th century.
Fresh importations were made by enthusiasts like Joseph Walton and Matthew Smith in the early 1900's and nowadays pure breed Indian Runners are to be found alongside their cross-breed relatives.