Domestication provides an outstanding opportunity for biologists to explore the underpinnings of organismal diversification. In domesticated animals, selective breeding for exaggerated traits is expected to override genetic correlations that normally modulate phenotypic variation in nature. Whether this strong directional selection affects the sequence of tightly synchronized events by which organisms arise (ontogeny) is often overlooked. To address this concern, we compared the ontogeny of the red junglefowl (RJF) (Gallus gallus) to four conspecific lineages that underwent selection for traits of economic or ornamental value to humans. Trait differentiation sequences in embryos of these chicken breeds generally resembled the representative ancestral condition in the RJF, thus revealing that early ontogeny remains highly canalized even during evolution under domestication. This key finding substantiates that the genetic cost of domestication does not necessarily compromise early ontogenetic steps that ensure the production of viable offspring. Instead, disproportionate beak and limb growth (allometry) towards the end of ontogeny better explained phenotypes linked to intense selection for industrial-scale production over the last 100 years. Illuminating the spatial and temporal specificity of development is foundational to the enhancement of chicken breeds, as well as to ongoing research on the origins of phenotypic variation in wild avian species.