The African is among the largest and heaviest of the domestic breeds of geese.
Both the African and Chinese have evolved from the wild Swan goose (Anser cygnoides), an Asiatic species, and are distinguished from the Western breeds of geese in having a prominent “knob” rising up from the base of the beak, and having smooth, velvet (pile)-like feathering on their necks. The African also has a soft dewlap which hangs below its beak. Both knob and dewlap increase in size as the bird gets older. This breed has been present in the U.K. since late
17th Century and although standardized in the U.S.A. in 1874 it does not appear in the British Poultry Standards until
1982. The name African is misleading as the Swan Goose is an Asiatic species.
The American Buff was developed in North America from common farm geese and is descended from the wild Greylag goose, which inhabits Europe and North Asia. Its history is obscure and there are several theories on how it may have developed. It was Standardized in the U.S.A. in 1947 and in the U.K. in 1982. It differs from the other solid buff coloured geese, i.e. the British Brecon Buff and the German Celler goose, in being larger and having an orange beak and feet.
Along with the Toulouse, the Embden has been the longest Standardized breed in the U.K., both breeds being accepted for Standard in 1865. The Embden was also known as the Bremen and as a breed has been known for several centuries. It is a large, heavy imposing bird, but gentle in nature. British breeders set about developing the breed and with careful selection increased its size and weight, with a good meat ratio. British Embdens have a slightly different appearance to the continental Embdens in that they are a solid bird with a good strong neck. Continental Embdens tend to have a longer, thinner neck.
The Skane Goose or Skaneges (Swedish) is descended from birds (probably Pomeranian types) brought home from Germany by Swedish soldiers in the 1700s. These birds were mixed with other Swedish breeds and the Skane was the result. Primarily adopted as the farmers’ goose, they mature within 6 months in time for the national “Goose Day” on November 10th. The Skane Goose has fine meat qualities (skin and meat white), is very easy to fatten, fast growing and robust. It has a lovely temperament. It lays few eggs (weight 150 g) and is strongly inclined to sit.
As suggested by its name the Toulouse originated and was developed in the Toulouse region of France. It was bred for meat and was also famous for the production of pate de foie gras. A large, heavy bird was the result of all this breeding for meat and because of this the Toulouse became sought after, being brought to the U.K. in the early 1840s, by the then President of the Zoological Society, the 13th Earl of Derby.The Toulouse and Embden were the first breeds of geese to be standardized in the U.K. in 1865. The Toulouse was also exported to the U.S.A., and British and American breeders were responsible for further increasing the size of the breed and accentuating some of its features to produce a bird which has a slightly different appearance from European bred Toulouse.
West of England
A dual coloured farmyard goose, mainly developed in the West of England.