America's Oldest Breed of Livestock

Red Dominiques

In February of 2017 the website Backyard Chickens was all abuzz from a guy claiming that he had the last of the old time Red Dominiques.

Let’s nip this in the bud right now! There are no red Dominiques, there are no black Dominiques, there are no colored Dominiques of any kind.

Yesterday I was made aware of a post about Red Dominiques on Back Yard Chickens. They simply do not exist. The bird that was pictured looked suspiciously of Dominique gamefowl (cock fighting) parentage and these birds are not related to the American Dominique in any way.

I have an outstanding collection of old and extremely rare poultry books. When I sold off part of my library I held onto everything about the Dominique and some that are simply too rare to part with. Nowhere is there mention of other colored flocks of Dominiques.

You will find references scattered here an there throughout history both long ago and present about the odd off-colored bird, but nothing about a flock of them. I am reminded of the Dominique Club of America member whose birds were poorly colored and too dark. One day he had a black hen appear and he started breeding towards black birds. Then he started “finding” history to back him up. Well, we parted paths when I started building a rare book collection and found he was fabricating this history.

I do not doubt that the fellow who miraculously “found” these red Dominiques wants them to be legit but in the post I couldn’t help but notice this followed almost exactly the path of all the other profiteers of oddball breeds: the discovery, the publication of the find and finally making stock available for sale.

There are no red Dominiques. This is complete and utter nonsense. Prove me wrong. Cite a reference before 1900 and I’ll go to my library and review it.

Vince Cooper One of the things that initially drew my attention to the Dominique is that they were the oldest recognized breed in America. Thanks for defending, and reminding of that fact. I see it my responsibility as a breeder to seek to always push for those initially established standards which include in part color; as Mark has explained. I also see it as a responsibility to continue to educate and inform others, sounds like there is still plenty of work to be done.

Heather Paxton Couch Amen

Tracey Rodenbach Agreed, Mark- I do know that some folks, depending on the region of the country they grew up in, the color may be slightly different, but bronze, red or any other off shoot of that was never acceptable in the standard. Bronzing or off color plumage was always undesirable. Where I grew up in PA, the Dominiques I knew were more blue looking-with the lighter part being like a light dove gray. They were two shades of gray, not black and white. My uncle always described it as looking at a bedsheet on the neighbor’s washline that has tiny blue calico flowers on it. From a distance, you can’t really see the pattern, but it looks bluish. That “blue gray from a distance” look is what I’ve been working toward in my own flock.

Sam Brush Mark, I had the same adverse reaction as you did after seeing the Red Dominique post. It made me recall the time I judged in New York (Cobleskill I think) and I think it was Harry Clauss (?) who showed a “Cream Barred Dominique” female. I was confused and not a little bit horrified to come upon that hen, but Harry was also a breeder of Cream Barred Wyandotte Bantams, so the pieces came together. Not much of a Dom and I think (hope) they are LONG GONE. Of all the breeds that should not expand into the kaleidoscope of varieties, Dominiques are one where they should hang with the one original variety and stop there. Red Dominiques – ARRRRHHHHHHH.

Wendell Knighton Smith i ran across a gentleman several years ago on BYC that was insisting that dominique was a color pattern and not the breed. He got pretty upset with me over it . I left BYC soon after.

Linda Trader This makes me so sad. We’re fighting the same thing in dogs, and in my breed. People claim bostons come in red or blue ( that’s legit back there although not seen in 100 yrs) or lilac, cream ( coincidentally those breeders also owned breeds that do come in those colors) or merle ( no basis for that, it’s a mix, plain and simple) or ‘rare recessive long hair’ ( also a mix, no basis for that either) It’s so frustrating. There’s a need for heritage preservation breeders. People see this misinformation and relay it without fact checking, just another fake news story.

Jennifer Kassay Phelps Yep, my first thought when I read Mark’s post was “Wow, they even go through this with poultry!” All-too familiar with it in dogs!

Mark Fields Several years ago on PBS I caught an interesting story about the value of Elders in a society. The part that stuck with me was their value at knowing the rules, history and the relationship of the two. I guess I’ve firmly moved from Active Breeder to Elder. Watch out folks Uncle Mark is not pleased with this recent discussion!

Travis Anders Another common term used by a lot of the gamefowl breeders is to call about anything barred a dom. They are referring simply to the barring on any color. They know they’re not Dominiques but used as a descriptive of their line. Some of that could easily bleed over to someone who does not know the difference.

Nadja Adolf went to the BackYard Chickens site and found a photo that was posted by the gentleman. Notice the white in the earlobe, some are speculating this is actually a Crème Legbar cross. Being unfamiliar with that breed, I’m hesitant to pass judgement, but it is not a Dominique.

Nadja Adolf While at PPBA, Michael and I took a run down to Ceres to a feed store the heart of game fowl country. The people there were very knowledgeable on game fowl (in fact there will be a game fowl show there on the 4th of March.) Apparently “Dominique” is used as a term in showing game fowl for birds with cuckoo superimposed on another color. Apparently they are also known as “creels” (creoles?). I hope to have a chance to go to the game fowl show and maybe see one. I am now very curious about this bird.

Brian Decker In fighting game lingo usually anything that is barred no matter what color is called a Dom. I have heard one called a Dominique.

Doing a simple search on the Internet, I found many gamefowl with the same crème barring and whiteish earlobes. I suspect this is what the gentleman actually has in his possession. But as we know “Dominique” gamefowl and our American Dominiques are NOT the same thing.