America's Oldest Breed of Livestock

Judging the Dominiques

If you have a Dominique that you’d like judged, send us a photograph. We do not give clues to who owns the bird, our intent is not to embarrass anyone – we are doing this to help educate the beginner.

Sam Brush Dominique male
This is a very fine specimen from Sam Brush’s breeding program. Notice the excellent head and even body color. The only fault I can detect from this photo is the top sickle feather has a spot at the base of the feather where the dark barring is missing.
Sam Brush Dominique Male
Look at this Dominique male! He was owned by Sam Brush who wrote “This is a male I had for 7 years running the yard. Several things I didn’t like about him (rough comb, whitish sickles, scissor beak) but I was always attracted to that body. I think I’ve shared this pic with Mark a while back. Even though I kept him around I never got a chick out of him and he died last year. (2016).” I think the Dominique club members summed it up nicely: John Hrycek Jr.:”He is an eye catcher! The width and sweep up through the saddle is spot on for what we need in our Dominiques. Nice.“ Julie Gupton: “YES!!! The body on this boy is wonderful to look at. Such a shame that he was a non-producer. I could use a couple (productive) fellas like this! Or as I wrote about this bird “If I could replace 1/2 the Dominique males in the Nation with a bird close to this I would. This “is” a Dominique!” Sam pointed out some faults but this male is an excellent type Dominique.
Very good Dominique hen head
I want to see more combs like this on our Dominique females. Notice how it sits nicely down on the head and has that nice round spike that is turned up slightly in a graceful arch. From some of the club members: Tracey Rodenbach: Nice eyes, too! Julie Gupton: That is a beautiful head on that hen. Nice eye, stout yellow beak (could stand to be cleaner color) and balanced head gear.
Rather common head
Compare it now with this common head. Too often we see Dominiques in the showroom with this type of head. Poor spike shape and size, weak eye color and lack of yellow coloring in the beak. This is a poor Dominique specimen.
Very old Hyman hen
This is a very old Hyman strain hen. Her pose was not the best, but you can still detect the sloping back and upright carriage. Notice the clear laced barring on her feathers. This is accomplished by having light bars are are wider than the dark.
Dominique male
This male is being presented for two reasons, one the excellent slope to his back and his comb shape. On his back notice that there is no flat spot, instead his topline flows down from his neck and up to his tail in a continuous open curve. The important thing to note about his comb is the upturned spike. Color is average and sickle feathers are a bit short.
Poor quality Dominique rooster
There is very little about this male that is good.  First notice the horrible coarse comb.  Next notice his wings, they do not fold neatly up to this body.  His tail is “stringy” and the feathers are twisted several different direction.   And finally, notice the flat spot in the middle of his back.
Poor quality Dominique hen
The female pictured may have won Best of Breed, but is not a good Dominique speciman. She is over-sized, coarse and poorly marked.
A Dominique flock
There is only one good Dominique in this picture. From the left side, the pullet second from the bottom is nice. The pullet on the bottom left is dark, and has a very flat back as does the young male in the lower right corner. The male in the middle of the picture has nice flowing sickle and saddle feathers but notice the various shades of barring on his body. The three cockerels in the background all have long, flat backs.
Dominique male
his male has excellent color. Too often we are seeing dark colored specimens. As for type, I’m not sure, I believe part of the problem is the pose. His back is short and “U” shaped but the tail is too high. Remember, the Standard of Perfection calls for an angle of 45 degrees. Chest could be carried a little higher up. The blade on the comb appears a flat instead of round, but it is difficult to tell from the photograph.
Flock of Dominiques
A view of the hens that go with the rooster above. Many fanciers would improve their flock color if they bred from females of this hue. There is none of the dark smuttiness seen so often today. The pattern is also nice. The backs appear a little long and the tails pinched, but that may be the pose as it would be difficult to produce the above male from long-backed females. Of greatest concern is the crease down the middle of the comb – something I know all too well. This furrow or “hollow comb” will breed through to the next generation and is considered a fault
Crowing Dominique Male
This male is not in an ideal pose, but is still worthy of note. In particular, notice his comb. It has that wonderful “sweep” that begins low, raises on the head, then slightly down before the spike sweeps back up. Also, notice his color and clear barring. I’m very impressed with this Dominique male’s general color. I do however, think the color in the tail may be a little faded or light, but it’s hard to tell from the photograph.
4H youth Dominique
This photo comes to us from a 4H youth. This pullet has respectable coloring in the bars. I’d prefer it was a shade lighter, but this pullet is better than most shown in a youth show. Next, the backline is good. Even though the pullet isn’t posing well, we can tell by the sweep of the back that this bird should have good type. The tail appears well spread which will help the overall appearance as the feathers develop. The black on the beak and legs is darker than I’d like, though the yellow that shows seems to be of good color. I cannot pass judgment on the comb as it isn’t developed well enough to judge.
Poor quality Dominique
This photo came with the one above from the 4H youth. Sadly, if this bird were on my place it would be culled. The comb is very poor quality – rough and missing the spike entirely. Also, it appears that he is wry-tailed – holding his tail to one side. I don’t like seeing black on the legs of Dominique males and here it is clearly visible. On the positive side, his stance is tall and proud. His color is good and clear, though it does seem the bars are a little too even – almost parallel.
Charles Swanson bantam
On November 1, 2009 Charles Swanson sent 4 photos of his 3rd year of work with bantams he’d gotten from Cackle Hatchery. I founded that flock from the breeders out of my Unbeatable Beauty line. The photo at the left is the first picture I’ve seen since I sold my stock that makes me want to get back into Dominiques. Despite this female being in an odd position I see so many things I like that it brings a lump to my throat. Broad chest, upright carriage, fairly yellow feet and spread tail with minimal fluff around the saddle area. This is a bird I would have gladly kept in my breeder flock. Good job Charles!
Swanson bantams
Another shot of Charles’ bantams. There is a lot I like about this little male, but there are a few things to watch out for. First is the wing carriage as it is a little loose and low. The second is the short tail. I’d like to see longer sickle feathers. His posture and color are excellent. I suspect the hen in the background is the same as the one in the photo above. But of all the Dominiques in the picture I personally am most excited by the one on the right, that we can only see the back half. I have no doubt that this bird has excellent type. She has an almost ideal tail, though the top sickle feather should be 1/4 inch longer and ever so slightly curved down. Her wings are carried up and her color is good. I can only hope that she has an average or better comb.
Bantam pullet
This bantam pullet comes to me for evaluation. I like this pullet with two exceptions. First is the wing carriage as it is too low. The pullet is in mid-stride, so that may be the problem and not the pullet’s type. The second concern is the length of the back. If it were just a bit shorter this would be an outstanding bird. Having said these things, this is an above average bantam. Her comb is nice, her color good and the tail spread is very good. I like that the top main tail feather has a slight curve to it and ends in a narrow dark bar. Chest carriage is very good. I suspect this Dominique pullet would win many Best of Breeds in the showroom. I’d recommend mating this to a male with a very short back.
Single Comb birds
Sometimes I receive emails that are difficult to answer. This picture arrived from a very excited individual who had located these “Dominiques” at a flea market. They are not Dominiques. I suspect these are the barred roosters that are used by hatcheries for some of their sex-linked hybrid laying hens. I have seen them shown as Barred Hollands, but they are not that either. As a side note, they are not Barred Plymouth Rock males as they are too light in color and small in size. I was so sorry to deliver that news.