Gray American Goose? A "new" breed in the SOP?

The American Gray Goose

  • Yes, I am interested in assisting in SOP acceptance.

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  • I have some American Gray Geese.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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10 Years
Jan 25, 2010
Monticello, Arkansas
On another forum the question arose about the various "types" of Toulouse geese. It was stated: It might help if someone would present the common grey goose to be recognized as a distinct breed by the APA.

We need a census on how many of these "common grey goose" exist in North America. These are mostly hatchery Toulouse geese that do not have the dewlap. Below is the ALBC description of the different ypes of Toulouse geese. Though a proper standard would have to be drafted, it would essentially be a Dewlap Toulouse without the dewlap and a bit smller in size.

Please vote in the poll.



The name Toulouse is used for several types of gray geese descended from the European Greylag. People have selected Toulouse as general purpose farm birds, as producers of fois gras, and as show-birds. Oscar Grow, in his 1963 article "The Toulouse Goose", discusses how trying to include both aesthetic and practical traits under the name of one breed is problematic. For this reason, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy recognizes one breed, "Toulouse," and three types: Production, Standard Dewlap, and Exhibition. People have bred the Production type, the most numerous, as a utility bird found on small farms and homesteads. The Standard Dewlap Toulouse is a massively boned bird, bred for ability to gain weight rapidly and produce fois gras when force fed. The Exhibition Toulouse is bred as a decorative show bird with an exaggerated dewlap and keel.

Production Toulouse

Production Toulouse are large (18-20 lbs.) moderate egg-laying (25-40 eggs/year) geese suitable for the home or small farm flock. Most gray geese on farms and homesteads are Production Toulouse or crosses. Their popularity comes from their availability, general practicality, and to some, aesthetic quality. Production Toulouse are the best layers among the heavyweight breeds.

Production Toulouse have large, oval heads; moderately long, heavy necks; and thick, wide bodies. Like all breeds descended from the wild Graylag, the feathers on the sides of the neck are deeply furrowed. Gray is their primary color. Their abdomen is off-white. Lighter markings traverse the dark sides and back giving an attractive laced effect. They have an orange bill and reddish orange legs (Holderread, 1981).

Their dark feathers provide good camouflage and a neater appearance than white feathered geese. However, dark pin-feathers show on plucked carcasses. This trait limited their use commercially since consumers prefer the plucked appearance from white pin-feathered breeds. Ganders may be mated with three or four geese (Holderread, 1981).

When selecting breeders, choose active birds exhibiting fast growth, big, meaty bodies, and good egg production. Avoid birds with refined features, shallow or narrow bodies and weak heads. For aesthetic reasons, many breeders select against white feathers except on the abdomen. Foreign color, however, does not decrease practical qualities (Holderread, 1981).

Standard Dewlap Toulouse

The Standard Dewlap Toulouse is a huge (20-26 lbs.) moderate egg-layer (20-35 eggs yearly). Some specimens tip the scales at thirty pounds or more. Because of their loose plumage, they often appear heavier than they actually are.

Every feature of this placid giant is massive. The bill is stout, the head large and broad, and the moderately long neck is thick and nearly straight. Often suspended from the lower bill and upper neck is a heavy, folded dewlap that increases in size and fullness with age. The body is long, broad and deep, ending in a well-spread tail that points up slightly. They have a rounded breast, and often exhibit a wide keel. The abdomen is double-lobed and often brushes the ground, particularly in females during the early spring. When Dewlap Toulouse are relaxed, their carriage is nearly horizontal.

In the past, goose fat was a primary source for cooking fats and lubricants. People caged Dewlap Toulouse, valuing their ability to put on large quantities of fat when fed plenty of food with no room to exercise. Modern farmers use Dewlap Toulouse as noodling geese. Noodling is force-feeding geese a fat and grain mash. Small farmers massage "noodles" down geese throats by hand. Large producers auger geese full of mash and maximize fat production through intensive confinement. The product is fat-laden flesh and an oversized liver. Even when not confined, these massive birds do not wander far from their food and water. These geese must have access to unlimited food during their first three months, with additional calcium provided to support development of their large frame.

The major considerations when choosing utility breeders are vigor, adequate body size, high fertility, and good egg production. Large keels and dewlaps are byproducts of selecting for large birds. If not carefully bred, all heavyweight breeds of geese may decrease in size every succeeding generation. Do not use birds with narrow or undersized bodies, excessively arched backs, keels with extremely rough underlines, slender necks, small dewlaps, and weak heads. Except in mature laying geese, tails drooping below the line of the back are often a sign of low fertility and lack of vigor. Breeders of production birds should take care not to select for excessive keels as these inhibit a bird's ability to breed. Matings of pairs or trios are usually the most productive. (Holderread, 1981).

Standard Dewlap Toulouse are probably the most challenging domestic goose to raise successfully. Seed stock is expensive, because they do not reproduce consistently until two or three years of age. Fertility and viability of eggs are often considerably lower than for other breeds, although productivity varies widely depending on management, strain and individual birds. Some breeders are able to produce twenty or more goslings from Standard Dewlap Toulouse geese, but such records are the exception rather than the rule.

During the breeding season it is extremely important that producing birds are not overweight, but they do need an adequate supply of concentrated feed that is 18 to 22 percent crude protein. Fertility is highest when birds get sufficient exercise, access to succulent green feeds, and water for swimming.

Exhibition Dewlap Toulouse

The Exhibition Dewlap Toulouse is the result of extreme selection of the Toulouse for show. Breeding of Exhibition Toulouse is complicated because their enormous bulk is combined with the unnatural characteristics of exaggerated keel, lobes, and dewlap. Some Exhibition Toulouse exhibit traits slowly, breeders need to watch their goslings closely for their first nine months and avoid premature culling (Batty, 1985). A buff sub-type has been developed by Paul Lofland of Oregon (Holderread, 1981).

Like the Standard Dewlap Toulouse, the Exhibition Toulouse is very difficult to raise successfully. Selection of breeders is like that of the Standard type, and should be done with an eye for overall health and vigor.

Status: See CPL​
I've got some Blue Americans, and to tell the truth, I can't see much, if any, difference between them and gray Farm Toulouse. Sorry to say, I have no idea where I stand in the whole issue.

There are a lot of Farm Toulouse and they seem to be a separate breed, so it would be nice to have them recognized.

I have no idea whether or not Buff Americans are simply Farm Toulouse of a different color. Maybe someone has to figure that out.
I will invite John Metzer to join us in this discussion. Here is one of his Toulouse Geese and info from his website at


This breed of goose was developed in Haute Garonne, France, where the city of Toulouse is the region's center. They were first exported to England in the 1840s and America in the early 1850s. Though they fatten up well if you want a good roasted goose, their darker pin feathers do not produce as attractive a carcass as a white goose.

But the advantage of the darker feathers is the adult birds appear neater and cleaner than a white goose if it is muddy or late in the season. Specially-bred strains of Toulouse are still used in France for the production of goose foie gras, the force-fed liver that is revered by chefs world-wide for its smooth texture and taste.

Many people first think of Toulouse when geese are mentioned. They are fairly common, lay a good number of fertile eggs and are a sturdy, durable breed. They are one of the best breeds at hatching and raising their own young.​
It is a very valid question concerning the showing of normal/regular/barnyard Toulouse. They are the most common type of Toulouse yet do not qualify for showing as they are not as large and do not have the keel and dewlap as the show type Toulouse. They fall in the same category as the African goose. There are many normal/regular/barnyard African out there but to show, they must be larger and have the dewlap. Our Super African are our show type African and our Large Dewlap Toulouse are our show type Toulouse.

We probably sell 5-8 Super African to every 100 African and less than one Large Dewlap Toulouse for every 100 Toulouse we sell. And most commercial hatcheries don't sell any of the show type African or Toulouse. That is a lot of geese hatched every year that do not qualify to be shown.

The American Poultry Association (APA) governs which breeds of poultry can be shown. The breed names they show are Gray Toulouse and Brown African - but these are the show type geese. There is a process for admitting new breeds and varieties described in the APA By-Laws which is in their annual yearbook. Unfortunately I cannot find the Constitution or By-Laws on their website for which I could provide you a link.

The APA description for admission appears to be for a newer type of breed. I am not sure the procedure for a type that has been in existence for a very long time. I am sure there are exhibitors and judges reading this discussion that would be much more familiar than I am with the procedures for admitting a new type of goose. Hopefully they will share their knowledge.

John Metzer
Im afaid I'm of little use in this discussion as I live in the UK. However there are a large number of Utility Toulouse around but are not recognised for showing. Only the big Exhibition Dewlaps are shown.

However here in the UK we do have American Buffs and these are shown against a strict 'standard'. They fall within the medium weight geese and should be larger and heaver than the other Buff breed in the UK - the Brecon Buff. It may be an American Grey can get acceptance as long as the type also conforms to that of the American Buff? Cetainly there appears to be an expanding range of colours in the 'American' and in time maybe these too will be accepted for showing under the generic standard for the 'American'.

I'll watch with interest how this discussion unfolds but agree that by widening the accepted range of colours more people are attracted to the hobby.


Hi Jim and John,

There is a process to have birds admitted to the APA SOP. The admittance of the gray goose is not a new idea. The problem seems to be that whenever it came up before there was no agreement of which gray goose would be admitted. We can't just admit a bird because it is gray and that there are lots of gray hybrids in backyards around the US. There has to be a standard body description and many of these gray geese look different to knowledgeable waterfowl breeders.

The color is not the problem, the different types of gray geese is the problem. There seems to be a number of body types in these gray geese that people call non exhibition Toulouse/ Graylag etc. There is consistency in type from each source, but not an overall consistency of type in general. Everyone wants the body type of the birds they have be considered the ideal body type.

There seems to be a lot of work to be done before there is a recognition of a Graylag type goose.

Walt Leonard
My Blue American looks absolutely nothing like the Toulouse photo from Metzers. But then, neither do all the loose geese in local ponds that are called Toulouse, nor the geese I see photos of belonging to people who claim they are Toulouse.

I can see where it is going to be problem identifying what qualifies as a Gray American.

You've got my support for the project, though, not that it is worth anything.
Currently, I have too many projects, the Lamonas being one of them. So adding a gray goose would cause me a divorce. But it is deserving of soem of my discussion time.

Walt is correct in which type does the APA choose? Perhaps if Metzer, Ideal etc could get together on a common standard, that would work. After all they are the largest hatcheries. Not that we want hatcheries dictating what we place in the SOP, but they are producing the most of this type goose. I am not qualified to do more than discuss. The last gray goose we had was in 1979. So I am no expert. I started this thread because I felt the topic needed a larger audience.

If the Marans folks could get into agreement for qualification, surely the gray geese folks can.

How different are the types?

Who is the largest supplier?
Getting a bird recognized is not a simple thing to do and getting a goose whose description will be much more hotly contested than the Marans would take at least 6 years from today. As has been discussed before, but it has never gone anywhere. It would also have to be approved by the APA Board and I'm not sure that would happen. The best way to approach recognition is to enlist the help of the IWBA.

There will be a qualifying meet for the Steinbacher goose at Crossroads.


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